Hashid Shaabi Plans To Fight Alongside Syrian Government Forces
Hashid Shaabi announced the planning to cross the border into Syria to fight alongside President Bashar al-Assad after "clearing" ISIS militants from Iraq.
Iraqi militiamen are already fighting on Assad's side in the country's civil war, and the coalition is currently participating in an Iraqi government offensive to recapture the northern city of Mosul from ISIS.
The announcement by the coalition, known as Hashid Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization, would formalize its involvement in Syria.
"After clearing all our land from these terrorist gangs, we are fully ready to go to any place that contains a threat to Iraqi national security," said Ahmed al-Asadi, a spokesman for the coalition at a news conference in Baghdad.
Hashid Shaabi aims to capture villages west of Mosul and reach the town of Tal Afar, about 55 km (35 miles) from the city, Hashid Shaabi spokesman said. Their goal is to cut off any option of retreat for ISIS insurgents into neighbouring Syria, or any reinforcement for their defense of Mosul.
Iraqi soldiers and security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, backed by a U.S.-led air coalition and thousands of Western military personnel, have been advancing in the last 15 days on the southern, eastern and northeastern fronts around Mosul, which remains home to 1.5 million people.