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Hashd al-Sha’abi Turkmen cmdr. calls on US 'occupation forces' to leave Iraq

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US army soldiers stand next to a military vehicle in the town of Bartella, east of Mosul, Iraq, on December 27, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

A high-ranking commander of Iraqi pro-government Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, has described American military forces in Iraqi as “aggressive and occupying,” demanding their withdrawal from the war-ravaged Arab country.

“We don't want the presence of US or any other foreign military force in Iraq. We consider it unacceptable. There is no rational explanation for the American troops’ presence in our country. In the past, they pretended to be fighting Daesh in order to stay in Iraq. Now, Daesh is over and Americans don’t have any reliable excuse,” Kenan Tuzlu, the commander of the Turkmen unit of Hashd al-Sha’abi, told Russia’s Sputnik news agency.

He added, “We were opposed to the American military presence in Iraq even before Daesh was destroyed. Our forces and the Iraqi army were fighting against Daesh. Under a military agreement that expired in 2011, Americans should leave Iraq. However, they don’t stick to that agreement. Iraqi people don’t want US military staff to stay in their country. No country would like to be occupied by another country.”

Tuzlu further warned that if the United States continues its military presence in Iraq, Hashd al-Sha’abi will regard it as an enemy force.

“Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units, never wanted the US presence in Iraq. All senior Hashd al-Sha’abi officers also demand the withdrawal of American forces from the country. American military forces set up their bases mainly in areas where Kurdish forces are active. Hashd al-Sha’abi doesn’t need the US military presence in Iraq.”

On December 9 last year, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations against the Daesh terrorist group in the Arab country.

Members of Hashd al-Sha’abi celebrate after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in the war against Daesh, along the Iraqi-Syrian border west of the border town of al-Qa’im on December 9, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

“Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border and I therefore announce the end of the war against Daesh,” Abadi told a conference in Baghdad.

Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.

Iraqi forces then launched operations to eliminate Daesh and retake lost territory.

Last November, Iraqi forces liberated Rawa, the last remaining town in the grip of the terror outfit.

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