Members of Iraqi pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), known in Arabic as Hashd al-Sha'abi, have stopped a US military patrol in the city of Mosul, according to a new report.
Rezvan al-Anzi, Hashd's deputy commander, confirmed the news on Saturday, saying the American troops were scared and requested air cover.
“We consider this act by the US forces deliberate provocations, hence we acted directly, closed roads and warned them,” al-Anzi said in a statement, according to Iraqi al-Sumaria television network.
The Iraqi commander accused American troops stationed in Iraq of engaging in futile operations in order to cover up their defeats and create insecurity in recently-liberated areas from Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
This is not the first time Hashd forces stop US troops from performing a “suspicion reconnaissance mission” that it argues are aimed at collecting critical information about the movements and positions of the voluntary forces in Iraq.
Commander of the volunteer forces in western Anbar, Qassim Mosleh, told al-Sumaria last month that Hashd had blocked another US patrol mission.
The patrol, he said, violated Iraq's sovereignty and could have seriously endangered Iraqi troops on the Syrian border by exposing their deployments and arms depots to terrorist groups.
Mosleh said then that Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had forced American troops to return to their base, and not approach them.
Iraqi lawmakers have also long called on American forces to leave their country. In December, US President Donlad Trump announced plans to end US military presence in Syria and Afghanistan but said he had no similar plans for Iraq.
The US first deployed forces to Iraq under the banner of war on terror in 2003, two years after invading Afghanistan under the same pretext. The deployment was followed by rampant violence and chaos, which set the stage for the emergence of Daesh in 2014.
Washington then mobilized its allies in another mission to allegedly root out the terrorists. The US-led coalition, however, was suspiciously slow in progress, while its airstrikes against purported terrorist positions led to heavy civilian casualties and damage to Iraqi infrastructure.
The volunteer forces helping the Iraqi army have on numerous occasions urged US forces to withdraw from Iraq. They have documented evidence showing Washington provides the Daesh terrorists with weapons and military support.