Baghdad, Irbil- Intense fighting broke out between the mostly Shi’ite Popular Mobilization forces (PMF) and Kurdish Peshmerga militants based in west Sinjar, a city in Mosul in northern Iraq. This comes off as the first registered encounter between the two groups since the launch of the Mosul offensive in October 17.
The Shi’ite militia shelled, two days ago, several Peshmerga locations near Sinjar. Kurdish forces revealed that they responded to the transgression, and should the offense be repeated there would be a louder and more sizable retaliation.
PMF Spokesperson Ahmed Assadi said a higher investigative committee has been formed between both forces which are looking into the shelling to prevent similar incidents in the future.
He elaborated that the Peshmerga are an integral part of Iraqi armed forces and partners in the fight against ISIS terror group.
Assadi highlighted the strong and comprehensive collaboration among the two groups. “We emphasize that Peshmerga is part of Iraqi forces. They are our brothers and partner in combating terrorism and defeating ISIS,” he said.
Peshmerga leader and Kurdistan Socialist Party leader Muhammad Haji Mahmud said that a number of PMF units and leaders want to exploit such confrontations to their own best interest. He carried on saying that should they choose to go to war, they would evidently lose.
PMF units, also called Hashd al-Shaabi, consist of over 51 Shi’ite militia groups which were created by the fatwa of the top Iranian cleric in Iraq Ali al-Sistani in 2014, and are probably the most controversial partaker in the military effort to retake Mosul.
Many Iraqi, Kurdish and international fronts have cast fears of the groups’ overt bigotry. Prior actions and violations PMF militias staged against Sunni Iraqi citizens in Fallujah, after it was cleared of ISIS dominance, are a great factor as to why such warnings were cast.
Human Rights Watch received information alleging that members of the Federal Police and the PMF had executed more than a dozen civilians from the Jumaila tribe fleeing Sajar, a village north of Fallujah.