BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – An Iraqi commander says the United States prevents Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi counter-terrorism organization from conducting reconnaissance drone flights against terrorists in the Iraqi skies.
Qasim al-Kariti, commander of the PMU’s 41st Brigade, made the remarks to Iraq’s al-Ma’loumah news agency in an interview that was published on Tuesday.
The U.S., he said, is coming in the way of the PMU’s efforts to surveil terrorist movements around Iraq in line with Washington’s bid to “support the terrorists.”
Washington continues to exercise “complete control” over Iraq’s airspace, al-Kariti regretted.
“The U.S.’s interference in the security dossier, has contributed greatly to terrorist groups’ activities,” said the official.
This is while, the PMU’s drones are capable of monitoring the terrorists’ “every move” and are equipped with thermal imaging cameras that could be used to monitor the security situation on the ground and whatever potential criminal activity in Iraq’s north-central Salahuddin Province, noted the commander.
Had it not been for the Americans’ interference, the same drones could even be used to neutralize the terrorists, he announced.
In 2014, the PMU, a predominately Shia defensive organization, was called on by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to help the country fight against the terrorist group of Daesh.
In a recent incident, a military convoy belonging to Hashd al-Sha’abi has reportedly come under attack by U.S. airstrikes near the Iraq-Syria border.
Sabereen News, a Telegram news channel associated with the PMU, said the attack took place late on Tuesday and targeted three vehicles carrying infrared monitoring equipment in the town of al-Bukamal in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.
The news channel said the convoy was struck by four missiles fired from U.S. F-15 fighter jets, and that the attack left no casualties.
Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing military officials in Iraq’s western Anbar province, said, “Warplanes and drones directed four missiles at the headquarters of the Popular Mobilization regiments that are securing the Syrian-Iraqi border strip.”
Media reports indicate that the attack was carried out by the United States, but the U.S. military denied any involvement, with Army Colonel Wayne Morotto saying in a tweet that the U.S. “did not conduct air strikes in al-Bukamal, Sept. 14, 2021.”
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has denounced the illegal U.S. military presence in the region, warning that Washington is actually seeking to disintegrate Syria.
In an interview with RT Arabic on Tuesday, Ryabkov stressed that Moscow is opposed to the American “scenario of a de facto partition of Syria.”
“One of the main reasons for the instability and continuation of the conflict in Syria is the illegal presence of the United States in the country,” he said.
“I think that in their arsenal there is a scenario of a de facto partition of Syria. We are against this and are acting in accordance with the existing resolutions of the UN Security Council, which has confirmed the territorial integrity of Syria.”
Russia has been helping Syrian forces in the ongoing battles across the conflict-plagued state, mainly providing aerial support to ground operations against foreign-backed terrorists.
However, the U.S. has deployed forces and military equipment in Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.