Breaking: Iraqi Popular Militias reach Syria border

The Popular Militias fighters have not been getting western credit for their anti-terrorism efforts

… from  Southfront 

The Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have reached the border with Syria in the western part of the Iraqi province of Nineveh. PMU fighters have liberated the villages of al-Falus, al-Ani, Markab and the nearby areas, reaching the area in Syria controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

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Clearing Iraq’s huge western desert area is going to be a big job, but it has to be done to deny ISIS safe havens

[ Editor’s Note: This long fought for event is being called a Ramadan miracle, but these are advance recon units who have done this. There is still a lot of ISIS-held territory behind the PMU border tip-of-the-spear people, that will need clearing to secure a safe logistics supply line for continued operations.

There is a north-south road on the Iraqi side of the border, which the militias could use to head down to the key Al-Bakamal crossing, but how they could establish an combat offensive supply line over that distance would be a big question.

We have heard little from Baghdad over the past month, despite the several months of reporting on the Iraqi military working closely with Syria to secure the border from ISIS infiltration and even having the PMU help clear the border on the Syrian side.

It did allow a Norwegian force to deploy on the Baghdad-Damascus road to the Iraqi side of the Al-Tanf crossing, but that basically put the US coalition in control of both sides. It is hard to understand why Baghdad did not send its own troops.

Update: 3:00pm EST – I have just added a more extensive Press TV report on the PMU getting to the border, with more details. War reporting is always a moving story for battles that are not over yet.

On another note, see an interesting story below on how Qatar has been charting an independent course from Saudi Arabia, appearing to be seeking better relations with both Iran and Iraq, which has pissed King Salman off royally, pardon the pun.

This 500-million dollar cash “donation” from Qatar to the Popular Militia Forces to help them keep killing ISIS Sunnis has come at a key time. We may never know all the real story behind thisJim W. Dean ]

Jim’s Editor’s Notes are solely crowdfunded via PayPal[email protected]

This includes research, needed field trips, Heritage TV Legacy archiving, and more – Thanks for helping out

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Iraqi Popular Militia fighters, proof that they are at the Syrian border

[ Editor’s Note: This road runs all the way down the border to Al-Bakumal, on the Euphrates river, where the PMU could join the SAA in a two pronged attack on Deir-Ezzor that would not only decrease the Syrian coalition casualties but reduce the chances of ISIS fighters escaping to join the guerrilla and terror war they have promised.

The next trick is to see how the PMU is going to use this road. Do they just want to cut off supplies from Kurdish Syria? And if so, why hasn’t anyone let us know, like Baghdad. And if they are going to use it for the run down to Al-Bakumal, where are they going to get their supplies from to keep all the smaller crossing points blocked and have something to fight with when they get to the Euphrates? JD ]

… from  Press TV,  Teheran

Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi in Arabic, are pressing forward to liberate a key town, west of the embattled city of Mosul, from the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, after arriving at the Syrian border and establishing their control on a series of towns and villages in the area.

According to the Arabic-language al-Sumeria television news agency, the paramilitary fighters, consisting of some 40 mainly Shia Muslim groups, reached the Syrian border in the north on Monday, and are further tightening the noose around Daesh in the strategic town of al-Ba’aj.

“The Hashd al-Sha’abi forces just reached the Iraqi-Syrian border,” announced Secretary General of Iraq’s Badr Organization Hadi al-Ameri on Monday, adding that their fighters were already stationed in the border village of Um Geris.

Earlier in the day, the pro-government forces liberated the two villages of Taro and Wadi al-Midar, both located west of al-Qahtanyia area, which was completely freed on Sunday.

The two villages are also located north of the flashpoint town of Ba’aj, which, according to Sheikh Sami al-Masoudi, another Hashd al-Sha’abi leader, “is a strategic town for Daesh as it is the last supply line,” linking the terror group with war-torn Syria.

Masoudi, whose remarks came shortly before Ameri’s announcement of reaching the Syrian border, added that as soon as the PMU forces reached the border, they “will erect a dirt barricade and dig a trench to derail Daesh move.”

The Hashd al-Sha’abi forces, backed by the air force, launched a major offensive last Monday to liberate Ba’aj and its surrounding villages and areas from the grips of Daesh, trying to reach the Syrian border and cutting the vital supply line of the terror group, whose days are numbered in Mosul, their last urban bastion in the Arab country.

The PMU forces reportedly number more than 100,000 fighters. Iraqi authorities say there are between 25,000 and 30,000 Sunni tribal fighters within their ranks in addition to Kurdish Izadi and Christian units.

The fighters have played a major role in the liberation of Daesh-held areas to the south, northeast and north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, ever since the terrorists launched an offensive in the country in June 2014.

Masoudi, whose remarks came shortly before Ameri’s announcement of reaching the Syrian border, added that as soon as the PMU forces reached the border, they “will erect a dirt barricade and dig a trench to derail Daesh move.”

The Hashd al-Sha’abi forces, backed by the air force, launched a major offensive last Monday to liberate Ba’aj and its surrounding villages and areas from the grips of Daesh, trying to reach the Syrian border and cutting the vital supply line of the terror group, whose days are numbered in Mosul, their last urban bastion in the Arab country.

The PMU forces reportedly number more than 100,000 fighters. Iraqi authorities say there are between 25,000 and 30,000 Sunni tribal fighters within their ranks in addition to Kurdish Izadi and Christian units.

The fighters have played a major role in the liberation of Daesh-held areas to the south, northeast and north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, ever since the terrorists launched an offensive in the country in June 2014.

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A hunting party, “in route”. You have to see it to believe it.

– First published  …  May 29, 2017

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Qatar has asked to transfer ransom money meant for the release of Qatari hunters from their captors in Iraq to Shia paramilitary troops as a “gift”, a Saudi newspaper has claimed.

Quoting unnamed Iraqi sources, Saudi paper Okaz said in a report on Monday that  Qatari Foreign Minister, Mohammed  bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who met with Iraqi premier Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad last week, had asked to transfer US$500 million, originally meant as ransom payment for the hunters’ release, as a “gift” to the Popular Mobilization Units, the alliance of Iran-trained Shia paramilitary groups fighting Islamic State militants alongside the Iraqi government forces.

The 26 Qataris, including members of the country’s ruling royal family, were abducted by militiamen during a hunting trip in southern Iraq in 2015. They were released in April.

A diplomatic row erupted upon the release of the captives when Baghdad said it discovered suitcases containing hundreds of millions of dollars in the possession of a high-profile Qatari delegation which arrived in Iraq to follow up on the release. While Baghdad suggested the amount was meant to pay ransom to kidnappers without its approval, Doha maintained the money entered Iraq with the government’s knowledge, and that it was designed to “support the Iraqi government’s efforts” to ensure the release of the abductees.

Okaz added that the Qatari move came before Al Thani and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps commander, Qassem Suleimani, held a meeting in Baghdad a week earlier.

The Saudi newspaper’s report comes amid a growing rift between Qatar and its Gulf allies led by Saudi Arabia regarding relations with Iran. Qatar has criticized the outcome of a U.S.-Arab summit held in Riyadh last week which, it said, involved an escalation against Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch regional rival.

The report also comes after recent diplomatic tensions that saw Saudi Arabia blocking a number of prominent Qatari media outlets over statements attributed to Qatari king Tamim bin Hamad which criticized the Riyadh summit’s stance against Iran. Qatar has denied the statements, saying the media outlets had been hacked.

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14 Responses to "Breaking: Iraqi Popular Militias reach Syria border"

  1. kaho  May 31, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    What is the flag they are holding up in the photo?
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/download-2-640×528.jpg

    The four men are holding up a white flag with a circular motif. I think it would tell us what unit they belong to. But I wasn’t able to find other photos showing the same flag or banner. Can anyone help identify it?

  2. US-First  May 31, 2017 at 6:05 am

    Leading Saudi in Moscow to see Putin. Wonder if the Qatar volte face – welcome as it is, indicates a broader shift of regional alliances. An isolated Saudi Arabia suddenly becomes an embattled loner through a thin patina of power sharing with Pentagon zionists and Tel Aviv snake-charmers. This ain’t the way events were meant to shape up for the Middle East shake-down. Photo in mind are matters now at a point where ‘the falcon cannot hear the falconer’ and ‘the blood-dimmed tide’ has turned?

  3. kaho  May 30, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    “Clearing Iraq’s huge western desert area is going to be a big job, but it has to be done to deny ISIS safe havens”
    But you cannot expect them to dwell in the daeshert for extended periods, or to roam around in wastelands. They would need supplies, storage facilities etc. That must also be the reason why they chose conquered towns and cities as their base.

  4. kaho  May 30, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Jim, by combing the distances displayed on the photo, combined with information obtainable via Google maps, I was able to find out where the photo was taken. It turns out to have been taken ca. one hundred kilometers inside Syria on the road connecting HOMS with ATTANF.
    How do I know that?
    Well, Google maps gives Homs–At Tanf (sic) as 257 km.
    And then the road sign says Point X–ATTANF = 101 km.
    Subtracting these two numbers then gives Point X–Homs = 156 km.
    And this agrees very well with the road sign that says “HOMS 157 km”.

    Furthermore, the road sign says “IRAQ 108 km”. And Indeed Google maps informs us that At Tanf is 23 km from the border, which does not quite agree. For I have no doubt that it is the road sign that is correct. which clearly indicates that ATTANF is 7 km from the Iraq border. And if you actually zoom in on the point Google has marked as “At Tanf”, then there is nothing there. But 7 km from the border you do see buildings and lots of parked trucks (on Route 2).
    Hence we may conclude that Google is inaccurate. Sure – but what can you expect from a fast-moving company ? Military maps used to be very accurate once upon a time. But now with all these NGOs taking over, you can’t expect accuracy.

    • kaho  May 30, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      A much better map is found here :
      http://geonode.wfp.org/uploaded/documents/SYRIA_GENERAL_LOGISTICS_PLANNING_MAP_25_MARCH_2011_1.png

    • kaho  May 30, 2017 at 10:35 pm

      With this map it is immediately clear exactly where the photo was taken.
      It is on the road from Damascus going East towards Ar Rutbah in Iraq. The road sign is located just a short distance from the intersection where you turn left to go to both Palmyra and Homs (yellow road). Choosing the the right hand branch, means staying on the red road, going straight ahead towards the Iraq border.

  5. JohnZ  May 30, 2017 at 5:36 am

    When the forces of Iraq meet up with the Syrian Army and let’s hope they do so, the future of DAESH is going to become very much shorter. Highly in doubt will be Washington’s ability to stop this from happening with out major casualties on both sides. Just what America needs after this weekend. That and Trumpy’s plan to reduce Veteran’s benefits, so his own can get their hands on the money, should be enough to convince any Will this end up as another Thrilla in Manilla with each side punching itself out or will Syria and Iraq finally go for the K.O and end the fight? It should be noted that after that battle both Ali and Fraser were never the same again.
    Washington is desperate in trying to prevent the link up but they will fail and it’s proxies will get mopped up, just as they have been for the past two years.
    What will it take for all those Trump supporters to realize they’ve been had?

    • JohnZ  May 30, 2017 at 5:39 am

      Hmmm, don’t know what happened but I meant to say, should be enough to convince any young person to avoid a military recruiter at all costs.

  6. Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor  May 30, 2017 at 5:30 am

    Thanks for the mention Laura, My editor’s notes are always limited for time and space for what all can be in them. I use that style as so many of the news reports are short and follow a bare bones construction formula, which makes and “dot connecting” hard to see. That is what we labor to help the readers with here at VT. The world does not need more “news repeaters” for people that can help others understand what is really going on.

  7. Chris Paul  May 29, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    The Spetznaz showed great innovation infiltrating Allepo to remove Terrorist Leadership before the house to house fighting. Hard learned lessons from places like Stalingrad in 1942 still reside in the collective memory of the Russian Army.

    The British SAS started off doing parachute drops in Nth Africa to place plastic explosives with acid activated delay fuses on the wing roots of Stukas, after knifing the perimeter guards. Logistically, parachute drops were less effective than what the Long Range Desert Group used, what later became known as a “BediCopter”, the well know GMC truck. That and walking with an 80 pound pack.

    Basically the SAS reverted to one of their less glamourous but key roles, recconnaisance.The LRDG would take them to a proximate place near the Coast Road, they would walk in and set up a hidden observation post. Then count trucks to see if Rommel had enough petrol for his tanks etc.. In Afghanistan the SAS had refined this to spot a laser beam onto a vehicle and a smart bomb would float down from 50k feet and take it out.

    Intergovernmental co-operation between Iraq and Syria could strangle The Terrorist’s logistics in the border area, using modern air power.

  8. Amelius  May 29, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Although it’s not the point of the article, I must say, I find the picture of that hunting party very interesting, all those uncaged falcons just chillin on the jumbo jet..Pretty cool. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor  May 29, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      I went looking for a hunting party image and up that came, quite and image, so that was an instant decision. Talk about having money to burn. Wow.

    • JohnZ  May 30, 2017 at 5:25 am

      Jim, that was my impression as well. Unbelievable in this day and age. The 21st century and certain parts of the world continue to live as though it was the 10th century.
      The trouble is how do you get them all fed?
      Um, I can imagine what it smells like inside that plane.Well, maybe I don’t want to.

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