16:00 GMT13 July 2020
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    Russia has been successful in fighting against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria while the United States has been engaged in counterterrorism efforts solely because it suits Washington's interests, Irfan Abdulselam Muhammed, a Turkmen commander with the People's Mobilization Forces (PMF), told Sputnik.

    "We will be happy if Russia, having reached an agreement with the central government, will fight against Daesh on Iraqi territory," he added.

    Moscow is currently involved in counterterrorism efforts in neighboring Syria. Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces, assisted by the US-led coalition, the People's Mobilization Forces (PMF) and Kurdish fighters have tried to destroy Daesh in Iraq. They are currently focused on liberating Mosul, the second largest city in the country and the last bastion of the terrorist group in the country.

    Irfan Abdulselam Muhammed described the offensive on Mosul, formally known as "We Are Coming, Nineveh," as "successful," adding that the battle for the city of Tel Afar will be instrumental in the overall campaign.

    "We've taken many villages close to Tal Afar under control. We are currently working on a plan to besiege the city center. We hope that this operation will help to sever links between Daesh fighters in Iraq and Syria," he explained. "If we succeed, we will prevent the jihadists from fleeing to Syria. At the same time we will not allow radicals from Syria to come to Iraq."

    Irfan Abdulselam Muhammed further spoke about the Popular Mobilization Units, also known as al-Hashd al-Sha'abi. He said that Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Turkmen and people of other ethnical and religious background have been fighting in the Shia-dominated Iraqi state-sponsored militias.

    "It is not true that al-Hashd al-Sha'abi fighters have tortured Sunnis and have treated them badly. If we manage to take Daesh fighters prisoner, we hand them over to the authorities. The court determines their fate. We torture no one, we are not cruel to anyone," he said.

    The commander further said that Turkey should be proud of the Popular Mobilization Units since Turkmen are fighting in its midst. Ankara has accused self-defense forces in Iraq of human rights violations and blamed them for fomenting sectarian violence.

    Haşdi Şabi komutanı Abdulselam Muhammed
    © Sputnik / Hikmet Durgun
    Haşdi Şabi komutanı Abdulselam Muhammed

    "Turkey has never taken care of Turkmen in Iraq. [Ankara] has not stood up for ethnic Turks even when Daesh fighters assaulted and occupied Turkmen cities, including Tal Afar, killed Turkmen, grabbed their belongings and destroyed their homes. And now Turkey wants to protect them? This is a lie. Turkey has carried out an incorrect policy."

    Irfan Abdulselam Muhammed was referring to comments made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who earlier this week warned the PMU that if its fighters "terrorize" Tal Afar, Turkish forces will respond.


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    military operation, counterterrorism, Daesh, Turkey, Tal Afar, Mosul, Iraq, Russia
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