World, Middle East

Hashd faction asks Baghdad to let it guard Syria border

Arab tribes in Mosul object to request, saying Hashd presence on border would ‘pose risks’

Ali Murat Alhas   | 28.11.2018
Hashd faction asks Baghdad to let it guard Syria border FILE PHOTO

Ankara

By Haydar Karaalp

BAGHDAD 

Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq (affiliated with Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi), has called on Baghdad to mandate the group with protecting the Iraq-Syria border.

"Given the Hashd al-Shaabi’s past successes, the government should officially task it with protecting the Iraq-Syria border,” he said.

Noting that Iraq had yet to entirely eliminate the Daesh terrorist group’s presence in the country, al-Khazali asserted: "As long as Syria remains unstable, the Hashd al-Shaabi should maintain a presence at the border.”

Al-Khazali’s request has reportedly drawn fire from Arab tribes based in Mosul, the regional capital of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.

Tribal spokesman Mezahim Ahmad al-Huwait warned that a Hashd al-Shaabi presence on the border could be potentially “risky”, adding that he had already notified U.S.-led coalition officials regarding al-Khazali’s request.

A largely Shia fighting force, the Hashd al-Shaabi was established in 2014 to fight Daesh, which had overrun much of Iraq -- including Mosul -- earlier the same year.

In 2017, the Hashd al-Shaabi was formally incorporated into the Iraqi armed forces.

Led by al-Khazali (who is known for having close links to Iran), the Asaib Ahl al-Haq is one of the Hashd al-Shaabi’s more militant factions.   

*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from Ankara

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