Breaking: Iraqi Popular Militias reach Syria border

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

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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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