Sulaymaniyah-An Iraqi Kurdistan security official revealed that Iran Revolutionary Guard forces have been located at the city outskirts. “The battalions are preparing to partake in the Mosul offensive,” the official said.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had announced the launch of the offensive early on Monday. The campaign serves to free Mosul which fell to ISIS ultra-hardline militants since June, 2014.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official told Asharq Al-Awsat that Iraqi Kurdistan security forces have been detecting Revolutionary Guard activity in the region for over two months now.
Most activity is central to Avroman, a mountainous region located within the provinces of Kurdistan and Kermanshah in western Iran and in northeastern Iraq.
A military training camp has been established in the area and is used as a base for Iraqi militiamen to receive combat guidance, added the official.
“Revolutionary Guard forces will enter Iraqi grounds—and rush to help Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in the Mosul offensive,” said the official.
The official expressed deep concern on Iran militia forces using Iraqi Kurdistan routes to reach Mosul’s frontier.
“Iran has long desired to secure a land route which connects it directly to Syria—the closest mapped route available is that passing through Mosul, PMF forces will aid Tehran in finding foothold in Nineveh,” the official said.
Nineveh is located in modern-day northern Iraq and lies on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and now is a governorate in Mosul.
PMF factions had already arrived, in large numbers, to Mosul’s premise, taking primary position near the Mosul Dam, the largest in Iraq.
Information detail shows that over 200 PMF armored military cars topped with heavy arms and a tank have camped near Mosul’s dam on Sunday in preparation to partake in the long-anticipated Mosul offensive.
PMF militias insist on contributing to the Mosul offensive amid a wide public rejection. The people of Mosul have repeatedly expressed their refusal towards PMF gunmen participating in the operation to rid their land from ISIS dominance.
More so, Nineveh tribes and Turkish forces located in Bashiqa loudly sounded their rejection towards PMF forces joining in for the liberation of Mosul.
PMF forces are government-backed paramilitary forces largely composed of Shi’ite gunmen who receive Iranian support.
The participation of the Shi’ite militia is resented because of fears of it eventually leading to a sectarian war in the post-liberation calculations. PMF militiamen are notorious for being highly bigoted and committing civil and human rights violations.