TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – An Iraqi commander denounced French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for disarmament of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Shaabi.

Those fighting against terrorism are not militias or terrorist groups, Sami al-Massoudi, a Hashd al-Shaabi commander, was quoted as saying by Al Mayadeen TV.

Slamming Macron’s interference in the internal affairs of Iraq, the commander noted that the Iraqi popular forces fought against a terrorist group unparalleled in crimes and bloodshed.

Hashd al-Shaabi is not a militia group, Massoudi underscored, saying the popular forces will keep supporting the Iraqi Army and Police in protecting the volatile border regions.

On Saturday, the French president visited Iraq, calling for "a gradual demilitarization" of the forces and for all militias in Iraq to be "dismantled."

Reacting to Macron’s call, Iraq’s vice president and former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, said in a Facebook posting that "Emmanuel Macron interfered unexpectedly in Iraq's internal affairs by calling for the dismantling of a legal institution, Hashd al-Shaabi."

Hashd al-Shaabi fighters played a major role in the defeat of Daesh (ISIL) by helping the Iraqi troops and police forces.

On November 19, the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group was flushed out of its last stronghold in Syria’s Al-Bukamal. The city’s liberation marked an end to the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate it had declared in Syria and Iraq in 2014.

Daesh militants made swift advances in northern and western Iraq over the summer of 2014, after capturing large areas of Syria.