Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) announced Tuesday that it had prevented US forces from carrying out a “suspicious” field reconnaissance operation on the border.
The troops had attempted to carry out their activity in an area under PMF control.
PMF field operations commander in the Anbar region Qassem Mosleh said: “The American provocations have reached such an extent as to reveal our secret intelligence on the border.”
“The Anbar command stopped the troops from continuing their reconnaissance, forcing them to turn back to their base,” he added.
“Such reconnaissance is considered a violation of Iraqi national sovereignty,” he charged.
Moreover, Mosleh accused the American forces of extracting critical information from security forces deployed along the Iraqi-Syrian border.
They inquired about the number of Iraqi forces on various border points, as well as the types of weapons and ammunition they possess, he revealed.
The PMF opposes the deployment of American troops in Iraq and its representatives at parliament often demand that the government order them to withdraw from the country.
The Iraqi-Syrian border is under strict security measures for fear of the infiltration of ISIS militants back into Iraq.
The US military did not comment on the PMF claims
PMF deputy chief in Anbar, Tareq al-Aasal, however, doubted that the American troops were truly barred from continuing their reconnaissance.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “I did not receive any information about the issue as I am currently in al-Ramadi. I do, however, rule it out because no one can stop the Americans.”
Armed groups expert Hashem al-Hashemi said that the PMF was treating the Americans the same way the Americans treat it, whereby neither side is allowed to approach their areas of deployment.
“This is the third time that the PMF bars American forces from continuing a reconnaissance mission,” he revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat.
One of the incidents took place in 2016 and the second just two weeks ago, he said.
He noted that all American activity in Iraq takes place with the accompaniment of the Iraqi army.
“It is rare for them to move around without official Iraqi forces,” Hashemi explained.