Iraqi Shia force vows to enter Syria to support Assad


A convoy of Iraq's Shia Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU). File photo

ARA News

Iraq’s Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) are willing to cross the border into Syria to support the Assad regime, a PMU official said.

“The PMU is ready to enter the Syrian territory to fight alongside the Syrian government in the war on ISIS terrorists,” PMU spokesman Karim al-Nouri said.

“We are willing to cross into Syria as long as the Iraqi government approves the move,” the official said.

The Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) on Monday reached the Syrian border from the Iraqi side.

As the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continue their war on ISIS in northern Syria, the Iranian-supported PMU has been locked in fierce fighting against ISIS at the Iraqi side of the border.

The PMU, known in Arabic as al-Hashed al-Shaabi, this week pushed ISIS militants out of the border village of Umm Jrais, cutting off the last ISIS supply line between Iraq and Syria.

“We are prepared to fight ISIS inside Syria in coordination with the Syrian government,” Nouri was quoted by the pro-Hizballah al-Mayadeen TV as saying.

According to the PMU spokesman, a remarkable shift has taken place in the nature of the fight against the ISIS as the group nears losing its final holdouts in Iraq’s northwestern Mosul city.

“By taking the border area, we have given the Syrian army the ability to comfortably advance on Raqqa,” Nouri added.

However, the Kurdish-led SDF forces have launched a major offensive against ISIS in Raqqa. The US-backed forces imposed a siege on ISIS militants inside the city, which is deemed a de facto capital for the ISIS self-proclaimed Caliphate.

On Monday, the Kurdish Security Police of the Rojava Asayish held a meeting in Qamishli city, in northeastern Syria, to discuss the ‘Iranian project’, after the Iraqi Shia paramilitary Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) linked up with areas held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Asayish said in a statement that a broad security meeting was held in Qamishli in the presence of the general commander of the Asayish forces, Ciwan Ibrahim, to discuss the formation of a defence system in Rojava-Northern Syria ‘to confront the Iranian project’ that is supported by the Baath regime forces and affiliated Shia groups.

According to the PMU, they reached the Iraq-Syria borders from the north of al-Ba’ah district, and from an area near Sinjar. The PMU said that the Wadi al-Midar and Taru villages [in northwestern Iraq] were liberated from ISIS, adding that 21 ISIS fighters were killed in the operation backed by the Iraqi air force.

Qasim Musla, brigadier general of PMU group Liwaa Al-Toufouf, told ARA News that the Iraqi air cover facilitated their progress against ISIS near the border with Syria.

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