Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Four paramilitary troopers fighting Islamic State alongside Iraqi troops were reportedly killed Monday in clashes with the group west of Mosul.
Kurdish-owned BasNews said four members of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) were killed during clashes at Mahalabiya, a region which Iraqi forces and PMUs had previously isolated from Mosul.
Al-Hashd’s media has made no mention yet about the reported casualties.
PMUs have been fighting Islamic State west of Mosul and at other provinces witnessing an IS presence since they were formed upon an edict by Iraq’s top Shia clergy in 2014. The alliance of at least 60, mainly Shia, troops, won government recognition as a national force in November and enjoys ardent backing by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
The militia had made remarkable victories since the campaign to retake Mosul launched in October, retaking several villages and severing IS supply routes from Syria to Mosul.
Iraqi forces recaptured eastern Mosul in January, and have been struggling to retake the western side of the city since mid February. Generals say they control at least 50 percent of land at that region, and, while admitting to the difficulty of battles, reiterated that IS had lost most members of its upper ranks.