US jets make landings on Daesh-held territory in Iraq: PMU
Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) says it is in possession of evidence showing that American aircraft have made flights to territory controlled by Daesh, possibly indicating secret interactions between the United States and the terrorist group.
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the PMU’s second-in-command, said during a press conference in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Friday that there was evidence to prove American aircraft had made landings on Daesh-occupied territory in Iraq.
He did not provide more details but seemed to suggest that the US was in some form of cooperation with Daesh on Iraqi territory.
The US and its allies have been conducting a campaign of airstrikes against what they say are Daesh positions inside Iraq and Syria since 2014. However, the air raids have not fulfilled their declared aim of dislodging Daesh.
‘Tal Afar surrounded, Iraqi forces ready to go in’
Elsewhere in his comments, Muhandis touched on the situation in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, saying it is encircled by the Iraqi forces, who he said were now awaiting Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s order to launch the liberation operation.
Last month, Iraqi forces fully recaptured the city of Mosul, Daesh’s de facto capital in the Arab country.
The Iraqi commander also provided information on the PMU’s role in counter-terrorism operations in neighboring Syria, explaining that the group had not advanced into Syrian territory but had rather targeted Daesh positions there with artillery and missile attacks.
Hashd al-Sha’abi is a group of Shia and Sunni fighters that was formed after the emergence of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in Iraq in 2014. In the early days of Daesh’s terror campaign, the then-volunteer fighters played a major role in reinforcing the Iraqi army, which had suffered heavy setbacks in the face of lightening advances by the terrorists.
Last November, the Iraqi parliament recognized Hashd al-Sha’abi as an official force with similar rights as those of the regular army.