Hashd Al-Shaabi to Seal Off Iraq-Syria Border to Block ISIS's Passage

The Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) are planning to close Iraq-Syria border by launching military operations in the surrounding areas of the city of Mosul in Nineveh province, media reports said.
"Hashd al-Shaabi forces who are fighting the ISIL in Mosul city are planning to move towards Iraq's border with Syria and seal off the borders in a bid to prevent the ISIL terrorists from escaping to Syria from Iraq," the Russian-language Isvestia newspaper quoted Ehsan al-Shamri, a senior advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, as saying on Saturday.

Al-Shamri also said this move comes as the battle of Mosul will end soon and the threat posed to the Iraqi forces by the ISIL terrorists who are now stationed in Mosul is less serious than the ISIL terrorists stationed along the Syrian border.

He also pointed to the ISIL's movements between Iraq and Syria as well as dispatch of ammunition and medicine as one of the main problems in the fight again the ISIL, and said, "The Iraqis have decided to prevent the ISIL terrorists from moving across the border with Syria and consequently facilitate the Syrian army troops' fight against the ISIL terrorist group.

In relevant remarks in mid-May, a senior commander of Hashd al-Shaabi announced that the PMF forces are attempting to block Iraq's borders with Syria to prevent ISIL's traffic between the two countries.

"Liberation of Qeirawan (near Mosul) was the second page of operations to retake Mosul and one of the goals pursued by the liberation of Qeirawan is imposing control and sealing the border with Syria to the ISIL," PMF Deputy Commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes told al-Mayadeen news channel on Saturday.

"Closing the borders to the ISIL is a strategic objective which serves Iraq's main goal that is annihilation of the ISIL," he added.

Al-Mohandes, meantime, underlined that the PMF forces will never enter the territories in Syria unless under an agreement between the Syrian and Iraqi leaders.

The PMF forces launched the second phase of multi-front operations, codenamed Mohammad Rasul Allah 2 to recapture areas West of Mosul in the early hours of Friday.

Hashd al-Shaabi launched a large-scale operation on Friday morning, hitting hard ISIL terrorists' last bastion Southwest of Tal Afar city in Northwestern Iraq.

The Hashd al-Shaabi, backed up by the country's Air Force, made their first push to capture the Nahiyah al-Qeirawan area on Friday, striking the ISIL's defense lines from two different directions.

Sources told local media on Thursday that the Iraqi Security forces made a new progress in fight against ISIL militants during the operations to capture the right bank of Mosul city.

The sources said sections of the Iraqi Army's 16th Division crossed the Tigris River and recaptured Mesherfa and Hawi al-Kanisa neighborhoods on the Western bank of Mosul, after inflicting heavy losses on ISIL.

The sources stated that these forces had destroyed ISIL tunnels and killed 4 suicide bombers.

They added that the forces had destroyed the terrorist group's ammunition and weapons depots.