Members of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Saraya al-Salam will participate in the Mosul offensive, Sadr announced. Photo: Haidar Hamdani/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region--The Shiite militia group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq has warned of the consequences if the Peshmerga participate in the liberation of Mosul and said that the participation of Shiite militias will speed the victory.
“We warn against the approval of Peshmerga participation in the Mosul liberation,” said Jawad Al-Tibawi, military spokesperson of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, according to Summaria News.
“And participation of the Hashd [Shiite militias] will help the operation by making the victory faster,” he added.
In another statement in June the group said it is their duty to participate in the liberation of Mosul. “It’s our religious, moral and patriotic duty to liberate Mosul, end the difficulties of the people, and help the people return to their homes in Tal Afar and other areas of Nineveh after the takeover of ISIS.”
The Asa’ib group was founded in 2006. It is an Iraqi Shiite group with a military arm. It is known for being backed and funded by Iran.
Despite Sunnis rejecting the participation of Shiite militia groups in the operation to liberate the Sunni-majority city of Mosul, the militias still insist they will participate. Leading Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr confirmed that in a recent announcement.
“This is a military order to Saraya al-Salam [the military wing of Sadr’s Mahdi army] to coordinate with [Iraqi] special and security forces to accept your service immediately and without delay,” Sadr’s written statement said on Friday.
Forces of the Saraya al-Salam will be deployed to Sharqat in northern Salahadin province, north of Baghdad, to participate in the Mosul offensive, according to Sadr’s announcement.
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Peshmerga forces have already liberated many areas in Nineveh and they will take part in the main battle to liberate the center of Mosul.
“It has been more than a year since the Peshmerga are ready for that war, but the Iraqi forces were not prepared,” said the KRG Ministry of Peshmerga in a statement on Saturday.
The Peshmerga will stay in liberated areas as part of their mission to protect the land and people in those areas, despite their different ethnical and religious backgrounds.
The Iraqi Defense Ministry announced earlier that the KRG and the United States, in the memorandum signed between them earlier this month, agreed that Kurdish forces would withdraw from recaptured areas in order to bring stability to those regions.
Responding to that claim, the Peshmerga ministry said, “The withdrawal is just for Mosul.”
“The war against terrorism has always been our unwavering guiding principle and it is part of the Kurdistan Region’s independence policy,” the statement revealed.