Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Iraqi Armed Factions Eye Controlling Strategic Town North of Baghdad

Iraqi Armed Factions Eye Controlling Strategic Town North of Baghdad

Thursday, 22 July, 2021 - 08:00
Militants from the Popular Mobilization Forces (INA)

A suicide attack at a crowded market in Baghdad’s Sadr City on Monday revived armed factions’ ambitions to restore their control over al-Tarmiyah town and its suburbs north of the Iraqi capital.

Sayyid of Martyrs Battalions Secretary-General Abu Ala al-Walai said that his forces were prepared to retake al-Tarmiyah and al-Mushahadah regions from the “claws of terrorism” within two days.

Leaders of armed factions in Iraq have repeatedly called for duplicating the reconquest of “Jurf Sakhar” in other parts of the Baghdad belt, starting with al-Tarmiyah.

Al-Tarmiyah enjoys a strategic location, as it extends on the Tigris River to connect four major cities, namely Baghdad, Salah al-Din, Diyala, and Anbar. More so, the town links two prominent Shiite shrines.

The market bombing sparked a wave of media reports about a “terrorist” group having emerged from one of al-Tarmiyah’s agricultural fields to stage the attack.

This type of reporting prompted activists close to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) to demand the state-sponsored umbrella organization drives ISIS fighters and supporters out of the city.

“Acts of violence within the area come from various sources, including ISIS, which exploits the security void in orchards in the vicinity of the town,” field sources reported.

Copying the reconquest of Jurf Sakhr in al-Tarmiyah means that locals will be uprooted, and extreme security vetting will be facing individuals entering and leaving the town.

Jurf Sakhr is now under the total control of some of the most influential PMF armed factions.

Like Jurf Sakhr, al-Tarmiyah will also become a hub for military camps and bases operated by armed factions.

“Enforcing security and imposing stability in any region, including al-Tarmiyah, must be subject to the contexts of the state, exclusively,” a Victory Alliance consultant who requested anonymity told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Armed factions have displayed an inclination towards going above and beyond fighting ISIS to securing total control over areas liberated from the terrorist group.

Local sources warn that the factions will not give up their plan to seize al-Tarmiyah, given its strategic location.

Editor Picks