Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, at the behest of Iran, is expected to send around 800 of its elite militants to fight alongside Iraqi forces and Shiite militias to retake Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), reports the London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed newspaper.
Iran is reportedly seeking to ensure the U.S. does not deploy ground forces to push ISIS out of Mosul as some American lawmakers have suggested. It wants to lead the battle without the assistance of U.S.-led coalition forces.
“[Hezbollah] Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah agreed to send around 800 of his party’s elite fighters following an official Iranian-Iraqi request,” a senior leader in the Popular Mobilization Shiite militia told the news outlet.
“Politically, objections made by Sunni leaders against Iranian intervention in Iraq apply to a lesser degree with [Hezbollah] because it is a Lebanese Arab force,” he proclaimed.
Shiite militias have joined Iraqi forces and Sunni tribal fighters in their fight against ISIS in Iraq.
Nevertheless, Shiite militias in Iraq have reportedly committed ruthless acts that are seemingly indistinguishable from those carried out by ISIS.
Videos have begun to surface showing the Iran-backed Shiite fighters beheading and dismembering the bodies of innocent Sunni civilians.
Iran-backed Hezbollah, a Shiite group, is considered a legitimate political party in Lebanon.
The terrorist group has been fighting in support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime near the Lebanon-Syria border, which means battling Sunni groups ISIS and al Qaeda in the region.
Iran is expected to arm Hezbollah fighters in Iraq with heavy weapons, the source told al-Araby al-Jadeed.
“The Popular Mobilization leader said [Hezbollah’s] fighters would arrive in Iraq within two or three weeks, as long as the situation does not deteriorate along Lebanon’s southern border. Last month, [Hezbollah] withdrew its advisers from Iraq after Israeli forces carried out an attack on the border area,” notes al-Araby al-Jadeed.
The Hezbollah jihadists are expected to be stationed in special camps located in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra, where they will prepare and plan the offensive to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and ISIS’ main stronghold in the country.
Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a notorious Iranian commander, is in charge of an operations center in Samarra along with other leaders from the Popular Mobilization and Hezbollah militias, the source told the London-based newspaper.
In the battle to retake Tikrit from ISIS in Iraq, the Iraqi forces and Sunni tribal fighters are far outnumbered by the 20,000 Iran-backed Shiite militias who have joined them, U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers last week.
Iranian Commander Soleimani once led a deadly campaign against American troops in Iraq.
Soleimani is the former commander of the elite Quds Force, the special operations component of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC).
Reportedly, Iraq’s fight for Tikrit has not received support from U.S.-led airstrikes.
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