New cases of Assyrian-owned lands in Ankawa, Erbil appropriated by the Kurdistan Regional Government

Eyewitness photo of confiscated farmlands provided to the API.

The chronic and systematic expropriation of Assyrian land in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) has been a long-term problem that continues unabated in the present. Speaking to the API by phone today, Christian Assyrian residents from Ankawa reported that approximately 1000 dunams of agricultural lands belonging to local farmers have been seized by Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) authorities on or around April 27, 2021. The expropriated farmlands are located in close proximity to Erbil International Airport, and were seized without any notice given to the legal owners. Local Assyrian farmers continue to hold the deeds to the lands, but have not been offered compensation despite the harm caused to their livelihoods. These seizures have effectively robbed local Assyrian farmers of their livelihoods and immediately threaten their ability to remain in their ancestral lands.

According to locals, the land rights have been granted to a privately-owned construction company based in Erbil called the Lalav Group, which on April 26 announced plans to build "villas, luxury apartments, a hotel, and a mall." There are numerous cases across the IKR where Kurdish officials, individuals, or developers have seized Assyrian lands on which they build new properties for either personal or commercial use.

"Our crops were destroyed. They [the KRG] didn&