17 February 2019 - 19:05
News Code 83212987
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'US wants to create new conflict with Iraq's Hashd forces'

Baghdad, Feb 17, IRNA - The US is seeking to provoke Iraqi armed forces in the northern Nineveh Province in a bid to create a new conflict, a former commander of Christian fighters told IRNA.

“A recent move by the US forces to patrol around the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) (also known as Hashd al-Sha'abi) inside the city of Mosul, capital of Nineveh Governorate, shows that Americans are seeking to provoke Iraq’s armed forces in this province,” Rayan al-Kaldani, former commander of the Babylon Movement, a Christian militia in the PMF, told IRNA on Sunday.

Members of Iraqi pro-government PMF, known in Arabic as Hashd al-Sha'abi, stopped a US military patrol in the city of Mosul in early February. The American forces were later forced to retreat from the area that was under the control of popular forces.

Al-Kaldani said such actions show the US intentions to create conflict with Hashd forces, but he assured that Iraqi armed forces backed by the popular forces are in control of the situation in the region.

The ex-commander noted that there are still pockets of terrorists from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) on the western bank of the Tigris River that runs through the provincial capital Mosul. The city was the ISIS self-proclaimed capital when the terrorist group emerged in 2014.

Former commander of the Babylon Movement said there are currently only 10 Christian families in Nineveh who didn’t flee their historical hometown after the ISIS took over the area. More than 400 Christian families lived in Nineveh before 2014.

Rayan al-Kaldani stressed that the ISIS terrorist group has been defeated militarily.

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