Anbar (Iraqinews.com) – Pro-government fighters arrested on Sunday a number of civilians in Al-Qa’im district, west of Anbar, without any reason, a security source was quoted as saying.
“Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi militias arrested a host of civilians in different areas in Al-Qa’im district on the country’s borders with Syria without a good reason,” the source told Basnews website.
“They also closed some shops and cafes in the district,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added.
However, the source underlined that the security situation in Al-Qa’im is stable, pointing out that the U.S. troops and several Iraqi governmental institutions have requested Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi fighters to withdraw from areas liberated from Islamic State after their mission was accomplished there.
Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi, aka Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), is an alliance of volunteer Shia paramilitary forces, who have actively backed the Iraqi government’s military campaign against Islamic State 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.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has recurrently defended PMFs against domestic and foreign accusations of committing human rights violations.