Shia paramilitary wants U.S. troops excluded to keep Mosul battle “clean”

Spokesman for Asaib Ahl al-Haq Jawad Telbawi. File photo.

Mosul ( A senior leader of the paramilitary forces fighting Islamic State in Iraq has asked to keep away U.S. forces from taking part in the battle to make it “clean”.

Jawad al-Tleibawi, spokesperson of Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, a component of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units), urged the Iraqi government in statements Monday to “assume its responsibilities and issue orders to exclude American forces from Mosul liberation battles,” so as to “keep the battle clean”.

Tleibawi accused the U.S. forces of committing “a crime” by using “excessive force” in its operations in Mosul.

A U.S.-led coalition has been backing Iraqi troops in its fight against Islamic State militants since the government launched a major operation in October to retake the city. The Iraqi government has reiterated that coalition support was limited to airstrikes and ground combat advice, but occasional reports told of active ground involvement by foreign troops.

The coalition has been under fire over the past week due to accusations that its fighter jets caused hundreds of civilian deaths in strikes targeting IS militants. U.S. commanders said they were going to investigate deaths that occurred at areas of their troops’ operations.

Iraqi government forces recaptured eastern Mosul in January and have been sweeping through the western region since mid February.

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