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Popular Mobilization Units prevented Baghdad’s fall: Iraq minister

23 January 2016 10:07


The Iraqi defense minister dismisses criticism of volunteer Popular Mobilization Units, saying the force prevented the fall of Baghdad and continues to assist the Iraqi army in the  fight on Daesh. 

Khaled al-Obaidi also rejected allegations that the volunteer forces were involved in criminal acts, saying the accusations were an attempt by “outside forces” to foment sectarian strife.

“The role of the popular mobilization forces is clear, and it is to assist the Iraqi armed forces,” he added.

The defense chief further said certain countries in the region which he didn’t name seek to destroy Iraq by turning the Arab state and neighboring Syria into “conflict zones.”

Obaidi also hailed recent military gains on the battlefield against Daesh terrorists, saying Iraqi armed forces will “foil foreign plots and protect the country.”

Violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh terrorists launched an offensive in June 2014, and took control of parts of the Iraqi territory. The militants have been committing crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq.

The Popular Mobilization Units, which were formed after the rise of Daesh in Iraq, have joined forces with the army and are currently battling to win back militant-held regions.

In one of their biggest advances, Iraqi forces and allied volunteer fighters entered the city of Ramadi, 110 kilometers (68 miles) west of Baghdad, which had been under Daesh control since May.

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