Hashd al-Shaabi militants. Rudaw photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A vast majority of members of the Mosul Provincial Council voiced their opposition to having the Shiite militia-majority Hashd al-Shaabi group participating in the battle for Mosul on Monday in a meeting held in the Assyrian town of Alqosh northern Mosul.
"The council session consisted of 31 members in the town of Alqosh, 22 voted against the participation of Hashd al-Shaabi," Ghazwan Daoudi, a member of the Nineveh Provincial Council from Kurdish Shabak minority, told Rudaw.
The decree was issued, Daudi explained, because "Mosul residents, including Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Christians and Yezidis do not want Hashd al-Shaabi to take part as it might cause sectarian conflict in the region."
He urged the government and counter-ISIS coalition to "arm forces fighting ISIS in Mosul."
He also explained that members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan bloc, a member of the Supreme Islamic Council, a Shiite Turkmen group and some others in the council did not vote against it.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on January 29 that the Hashd al-Shaabi, as well as Peshmerga forces, will take part in the battle for Mosul alongside government forces.
Baghdad has begun preparations to launch an operation against ISIS in Mosul by sending large reinforcements to Makhmour in coordination with the Kurdistan Region and the United States-led coalition.