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'Sectarian policies fuel extremism'

The rise of the Islamic State (IS) terror group is down to "sectarian and abusive" policies of the Iraqi and Syrian governments for fuelling extremism, a human rights watchdog has said.

Pinpointing IS as one of the world's biggest challenges in its annual report, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the US and its allies of allowing military action against the IS to overshadow efforts to push Syrian president Bashar Assad's government to end its own abuses.

It also accused the Iraqi government of relying on Shia militias who are killing and cleansing Iraqi areas of Sunni civilians with impunity in the battle against IS.

HRW also accused the international community of indifference to violations carried out by both governments.

Its 656-page World Report 2015, released in Beirut, reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries.

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