ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s Iranian-backed militia group, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, on Thursday announced it had fired dozens of rockets at Islamic State “headquarters” in Syria.
The shelling targeted Syria’s al-Baghouz area, near a small pocket of land Islamic State militants still occupy as the group’s complete military collapse looms. The region is located in Deir al-Zor Province on the Iraqi border.
The Hashd al-Shaabi “bombarded Da’esh [ISIS] headquarters” in eastern Syria’s al-Baghouz with 50 rockets “based on accurate intelligence,” the militia group claimed on its website.
The statement added that the artillery strikes targeted militants attempting to cross into Iraq. It gave no further details, nor any casualty number.
This is not the first time the Hashd al-Shaabi has launched such attacks into Syrian territory. Two days ago, they performed a similar operation but did not provide details on the operation.
In January, the militia group claimed to have killed and injured 35 members of the terrorist organization in an artillery attack that had targeted the group’s militants in the town of Sousa.
The leading ground force in the fight against the Islamic State, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), believes the group’s figurehead, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may be in Baghouz.
The SDF, led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), recently announced a slowdown in what appears to be the last major campaign to defeat the group territorially, as the jihadists resort to desperate tactics.
“Da’esh terrorists have nothing left with which to defend themselves as their last days are numbered, but they are using civilians as human shields. As a result, we have to pause the fight sometimes,” Firat Rojhat, an SDF fighter, recently told Kurdistan 24, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
Editing by Nadia Riva