ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Security in Iraq’s Nineveh province will be jointly administered between the Hashd al-Shaabi, Iraqi army, and local police, an Iraqi official announced on Tuesday.
Falih Fayadh, National Security Adviser and head of the Hashd al-Shaabi Council, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), said during a press conference that Iraqi security forces, as well as the PMF’s 30th brigade, would administer the security of Mosul.
Fayadh said the Shia militias 30th division would “keep checkpoints inside the Nineveh Plains, except for the Kokjali checkpoint which would be jointly controlled between the Iraqi army and the PMF.”
The announcement came after a delegation consisting of top Iraqi security officials arrived in Mosul on Tuesday after protesters blocked main roads in the area in opposition to Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi’s decision to remove the Hashd al-Shaabi division 30 from the area and hand the security over to Iraqi forces.
The protests on Monday consisted of PMF members and their supporters who blocked all the main roads to Mosul. The demonstrators also stoned Iraqi forces, preventing them from advancing toward the security points.
Supporters of the Shia Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) militia brigade 30 who blocked the Mosul - Erbil main road on Monday - attacked Iraqi army vehicles with stones. The army came to open the road and take charge of the area's security, replacing the militia group.#TwitterKurds #Iraq pic.twitter.com/SsR4ge90jN— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) August 5, 2019
Sources told Kurdistan 24 that a majority of the Sunni population inside Mosul support Abdul Mahdi’s decision. They also claim those who support the Hashd al-Shaabi financially benefit from their presence in the area.
On July 31, the Iraqi prime minister ordered the integration of the Hashd al-Shaabi into the Iraqi army, or they would face disarmament.
The Hashd al-Shaabi was formed in late 2014 after a decision by top Iraqi cleric Ali al-Sistani to protect Shia shrines in central and southern Iraq from the threat of Islamic State attacks. The Shia force has repeatedly been accused of being under the direct command of Tehran rather than Baghdad.
International human rights organizations have also accused the PMF of committing war crimes in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany