VIDEO: Shia militias build military base near Khurmatu, south Kirkuk

According to a Kurdish security official, Hashd al-Shaabi Shia militias are building a military base near Khurmatu and are stationing heavy weapons there.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – According to a Kurdish security official, Hashd al-Shaabi Shia militias are building a military base near Khurmatu and are stationing heavy weapons there.

Faruq Ahmed, Head of security (Asayish) in Khurmatu, told a Kurdistan24 reporter that Iranian advisers openly train Hashd al-Shaabi and attend their meetings.

According to the security official, Mr. Iqbalpoor is an Iranian official in the military base who goes to Khurmatu and attends meetings on the city level and within the Hashd al-Shaabi.

“No Iranian soldier is present inside the base,” he stated.  

“This Iranian official has a lot of power, and controls the Hashd al-Shaabi militias in the area,” Ahmed said. “He expresses his opinion firmly in the meetings.”

The Shia militia, from Khurmatu to Amerly, in Salahaddin province, has 4,000 fighters who are divided among 24 factions.

Sabah Ahmed, a member of the Khurmatu Council, spoke to Kurdistan24 regarding the presence of Hashd al-Shaabi militias in the area.

“We have no power over these forces; as the local government, we cannot control where they go and what they do,” he said.

“We do not know whether their guns will be directed at the people of Khurmatu, the [Islamic State] or other groups,” the Council member added.

According to a Peshmerga fighter who accompanied the Kurdistan24 team to the areas near the military base, Hashd al-Shaabi militias have deployed heavy weapons at the location.

On April 24, clashes intensified between the Iraqi Shia militia and Peshmerga forces in the town of Khurmatu, located in the southern part of Kirkuk Province.

Following the battles, 10 Peshmerga soldiers were killed and wounded while 12 Hashd al-Shaabi militiamen were killed, and over 20 were injured.

Khurmatu houses diverse ethnic and religious groups including Kurds, Shia and Sunni Turkmen, and Shia and Sunni Arabs.

 

 

Editing by Ava Homa and Karzan Sulaivany
(Hunar Ahmad contributed to this report from Kirkuk)