Iraq’s Shia force enters Syrian territory despite Kurdish warnings

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Kurdish YPG fighters (L), Iraq's Shia PMU fighters (R). File photo

ARA News

Iraq’s Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) on Friday crossed the border into Syria. This comes despite repeated warnings by the Kurdish YPG leadership and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Kurdish-led SDF troops warned that any movement by the PMU towards the Syrian northeastern border would lead to undesired tensions.

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.

Fighters of the Iraqi Shia paramilitary PMU entered villages in the Kurdish-led Hasakah province, in northeastern Syria, local sources confirmed to ARA News.

Members of the Popular Mobilisation Units have reportedly crossed the border into Syria’s Hasakah, moving into the villages of Quseba al-Soritin and Bawardi.

“The move led to the displacement of hundreds of civilians from the two villages for fear of possible clashes between the PMU and the Kurdish forces,” media activist Azad Sleman told ARA News in Hasakah.

This comes just two days after the PMU spokesman Karim al-Nouri said that their fighters are ready to cross into Syria and back the Assad government in its fight against terrorism.

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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