An Iraqi military spokesman says the US had no role in the Arab country’s recapture of Mosul despite Western reports characterizing American troops as leading the operation to retake the city from ISIL.
Recent gains in the Old City of Mosul have brought Iraqi troops closer to victory against ISIL, with the three branches of the country’s security forces fighting the last remnants of the Takfiri group.
The spokesman for Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters Karim al-Nouri told Iran’s Mehr News Agency that “a few remaining terrorists are awaiting their deaths and this is definite.”
“Washington wants to have a share in the final victory announcement against Daesh (ISIL) and benefit from it, but I have to emphasize that this victory was won by the Iraqi people and the United States did not play any role in it,” he said.
Hashd al-Shaabi fighters, incorporating members of all ethnic and religious groups, have joined government forces in operations against ISIL across the country. They were given legal status by Iraq’s Parliament last November.
Hashd troops, Nouri said, have helped re-establish security in Iraq and prevent Mosul’s break-up along ethnic lines.
“This is because Turkey and some of the local parties sought to break up Mosul, but Hashd al-Sha’abi foiled their plot. It also did not allow the conspiracy of the enemies to divide Mosul and other parts of the region to realize.”
Nouri said all of the liberated areas will be under the control of the Iraqi government like before the ISIL terrorist attack, adding there will be no change in the demographic make-up of the city, which has an array of Turkmen, Arab and Kurdish communities.
“This is our red line and we will not retreat from it in any way,” the spokesman said as he dismissed claims by Iraqi Kurdish leaders to parts of the city.
“Everyone agrees on the Constitution, and the Kurdish regional government cannot oppose the Constitution. Mosul is a red line,” he said.
The spokesman said the US-led coalition, which has been bombing Iraq and Syria for the past couple of years, is not serious about fighting ISIL.
“Daesh is working in line with US national security interests,” he said, adding that contrary to its claims of fighting ISIL, the international coalition sometimes even helps the group.
“The Americans are not reliable. US leaders, for the sake of their public opinion, claim to be fighting terrorism but in practice this is not the case,” he added.
The Hashd al-Sha’abi spokesman further praised Iran and the commander of the Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani for their role in Iraq’s victories.
“Iran was the first country to stand with Iraq and support us. General Qassem Soleimani has been and continues to serve as the best adviser on the battlefield against Daesh,” he said.
“There were not many Iranians, but the very few who were in Iraq have had a huge impact on the fight against Daesh through presenting good plans,” he added.
Nouri said Soleimani’s occasional presence on the frontline was causing a wave of panic and fear among ISIL terrorists and leading to Iraqi victories.
“Hajj Qassem has a high humanitarian character,” he said, using an affectionate nickname by which Soleimani is known to his admirers in the region. “He would not allow any harm to the Iraqi people in any way. He defended Iraq and the oppressed. We thank Iran’s position and the actions of Hajj Qassem Soleimani,” Nouri concluded.