TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Commander of Iran’s Basij Force Brigadier General Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar said Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Shaabi, played a major role in the recent liberation of the northern city of Mosul from Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terrorists.
“After the treachery of some local authorities in Mosul and the occupation of (the city and other) areas by Daesh, Americans claimed that the liberation of these areas from terrorists would last more than 10 years,” Brigadier General Gheibparvar said on Sunday.
“However, everyone witnessed that the Iraqi Muslim nation, with the presence of popular forces and volunteers, managed to liberate these areas stage by stage over a relatively short period of time,” he added.
The commander also hailed the 2014 fatwa (religious edict) issued by top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali al-Sistani on the fight against Daesh in the Arab country, saying fatwa caused a huge number of volunteer forces to join the Iraqi army in the campaign against Daesh.
Daesh militants made swift advances in northern and western Iraq over the summer of 2014, after capturing swaths of northern Syria.
However, a combination of concentrated attacks by the Iraqi military and the volunteer forces, who rushed to take arms after Ayatollah Sistani issued the fatwa calling for the fight against the militants, blunted the edge of Daesh offensive and forced the terrorist group to withdraw from much of the areas it had occupied.
Iraqi military forces on Thursday captured the Mosul mosque at the heart of the northern city, which Daesh had declared its de facto capital.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the liberation of the site of the symbolic al-Nuri Mosque in Old Mosul as “the declaration of the end of the statelet of Daesh.”
Iraqi authorities expect the long battle for Mosul to end in coming days as remaining Daesh militants are bottled up in just a handful of neighborhoods of the Old City.
Daesh stronghold in Syria’s Raqqa is also close to falling.