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US forces must leave Iraq after Daesh defeat: Senior Commander

A senior commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, says American military forces must leave his country’s soil following the eradication of the Takfiri terror group.

In an exclusive interview with Press TV, Hadi al-Ameri, who heads Iraq’s Badr Organization, said the popular forces would call on the parliament to draw up legislation to demand the US pull out all its troops from the Arab country.

“We will adopt a parliamentary decision to pull out all American troops”, who were allegedly fighting Daesh terrorists in the conflict-stricken Arab country, he said.

Ameri said the popular forces won’t allow even “one US soldier” to remain in Iraq now that the Takfiri terrorists have lost their major bastions in the Arab state in the face of successful Iraqi army operations.

Hashd al-Sha’abi is a group of Shia and Sunni fighters that was formed after the emergence of Daesh in Iraq in 2014. In the early days of Daesh’s terror campaign, the then-volunteer fighters played a major role in reinforcing the Iraqi army, which had suffered heavy setbacks in the face of lightning advances by the terrorists.

Fighters of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (Hashed al-Sha’abi) gather around the Tal Afar airport, west of Mosul, on August 27, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Iraqi armed forces, backed by volunteer fighters, launched a vast operation on October 17 to retake Mosul, the last stronghold of Daesh in Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi  had earlier said that US military forces would not stay on in the Arab country once Iraqi forces retake Daesh-held areas.

The Iraqi commander further urged the international community, the US and Europe in particular, to stop the influx of terrorists into Iraq.

“As for the role of international intelligence we are only asking that they stop the influx of foreign terrorists at the time when we are exerting intelligence efforts. We would like all international and Arab countries to be serious in halting the influx of terrorists into Iraq and Syria,” he said.

On November 17, Iraqi armed forces liberated the town of Rawa near the border with Syria, which was the last remaining town under Daesh’s control, and raised the Iraqi flag over its buildings.

Two days later, Syrian army soldiers, backed by pro-government fighters from popular defense groups, fully liberated Bukamal, Daesh’s last stronghold in Syria, which is a strategic city in the country’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr on the border with Iraq.

The recapture of the two towns marked an end to Daesh’s reign of terror, which started in 2014 with the group making vast territorial gains in a lightning offensive and establishing its self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Iraq’s Mosul and Syria’s Raqqah.

Ameri also dismissed as baseless the claim that Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units persecuted Kurdish residents of Iraq’s Kirkuk city and confiscated their properties during the operations to dislodge the terrorists from the embattled city.

He said Kirkuk is one of the most stable regions in Iraq, adding that many of the Kurdish families who were deceived into leaving Kirkuk have returned to the city.

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