Iraqi paramilitary groups known as Hashd al-Shaabi has launched operations crush Islamic State in rural areas near the Syrian border days after ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released a new video. The Iraqi paramilitary groups are known as Hashd al-Shaabi – the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a 100,000-strong group of mostly Shi’ite militias operating in Iraq.
An operations command in Iraq’s western Anbar province released a statement saying that four units would participate, including armored vehicles as well as engineering and communications forces. Intelligence reports indicate that the operation that will also include border guards is projected to clears at least 230km of the border between Iraq and Syria.
Recent reports showed ISIS activity stretching across some areas of Iraq from the Hamreen Mountains and near Makhmur all the way to Syria. In late March, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces defeated ISIS in Baghouz on the Euphrates in Syria. But ISIS sleeper cells are still active in the war-torn country.
This area was taken from ISIS in 2017 by the PMU but it remained restive – and ISIS members were able to hide out in these desert areas.