Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi vowed Tuesday to give Popular Mobilization Forces payments equal to other government troops, also reiterating military victory over Islamic State militants.
Speaking during a weekly press briefing at the cabinet’s building in Baghdad, Abadi was quoted by Iraqi websites saying that “the government pledges to equalize the salaries of the Popular Mobilization Forces with their peers at security forces”.
He also pointed that security forces had cleared “14.000 square kilometers” of al-Jazirah desert area, a region surrounded by Anbar, Salahuddin and Nineveh where troops carry a last operation against Islamic State vestiges.
“On a military level, Islamic State in Iraq is over,” Abadi told reporters.
Popular Mobilization Forces, an alliance of volunteer Shia paramilitary forces, have actively backed the Iraqi government’s military campaign against IS since 2014, when they were formed upon a top Shia clergy edict to counter the Sunni Jihadist group.
PMF won official recognition as a national force late 2016, becoming under the command of the prime minister, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces.
Abadi has recurrently defended PMFs against domestic and foreign accusations of committing human rights violations.
Earlier this month, Abadi said IS’s territorial influence collapsed with the recapture of its last bastion, Anbar’s western town of Rawa.