US-led forces laud Hashed militias fighting IS in Mosul
The Hashed al-Shaabi forces have played an important role in the fight against IS which had captured a great part of Iraq in 2014
The US-led coalition which helps Iraqi forces in their military operations against Islamic State on Sunday hailed the militias involved in the fighting, not taking some of their links to Iran into consideration. The coalition which consists of more than 60 nations has been very much keen to keep a distance with the Hashed al-Shaabi a paramilitary outfit dominated by Tehran-backed Shiite militias.
But the commander of the coalition Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend had only words of praise for the militias coinciding with the launch of an offensive on the west bank of Mosul.
“The entire Coalition salutes and wishes God’s blessings on the brave Iraqi soldiers, police and militias who today are fighting to liberate their country and make the region and the world a safer place,” Townsend said in a coalition statement.
The Hashed al-Shaabi forces have played an important role in the fight against IS which had captured a great part of Iraq in 2014.
But their record of human rights violations and primarily alleged links with Iran has made the coalition to stay away from providing direct assistance hence focusing on the army, the police and elite forces.
In a four-month-long military offensive to regain Mosul, IS's last major occupied territory, Hashed militia have mainly operated on a remote desert front southwest of the city.
Their army has retaken swathes of land and villages thereby isolating the jihadists in the town of Tal Afar and cutting off supply lines between Mosul and the Syrian border.
“Mosul would be a tough fight for any army in the world, and the Iraqi forces have risen to the challenge,” Townsend said in the statement.
“They have taken the fight to the enemy and sacrificed their blood for the people of Iraq and the rest of the world,” he added.