Mosul (IraqiNews.com) All Popular Mobilization Forces (PMFs) were ordered to withdraw from Mosul city, an official source has told Baghdad Today.
“The Popular Mobilization Forces will no longer be responsible for the security file in Mosul city,” the source said on Wednesday, adding that local police in Nineveh province will take on this mission instead.
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.
PMFs won official recognition as a national force in late 2016, becoming under the command of the prime minister, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces.
On July 10, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over Islamic State militants who had held the second largest Iraqi city since 2014. More than 25,000 militants were killed throughout the campaign, which started in October 2016.
Since the city was declared free, security troops continued to comb western Mosul areas for hidden IS cells. Despite the victory over IS there in the city, observers say Islamic State is believed to constitute a security threat even after the group’s defeat at its main havens across Iraqi provinces.
A government campaign, backed by PMFs and a U.S.-led international coalition, has been fighting the Islamic State group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014.
Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in Iraq earlier this month with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.