'Popular Mobilisation' militias patrol Iraqi frontier town

'Popular Mobilisation' militias patrol Iraqi frontier town
Exclusive: Photos show the Iranian-backed armed group patrolling Nukhayb, some 80km from the Saudi border.
2 min read
21 May, 2015
The militias appear to have taken over the grand mosque [al-Araby]

The Iranian-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilisation militias have been deployed to the last town in Anbar province on the road south to Saudi Arabia, exclusive pictures obtained by al-Araby al-Jadeed show.

The al-Abbas and Badr militias can be seen in the city of Nukhayb, 80 kilometres from the Suweif border post.

The pictures show hundreds of fighters from the militias along with their military vehicles and medium and heavy weapons present in the city, which is located in the southwestern part of Anbar province.

The militias seem to have converted the grand mosque in the city into a military barracks.

According to a leader of the Shammar tribe in Nukhayb, the militias are deployed in the city and around its perimeter, and also along the roads leading to the border between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and the road leading to the town of Ar-Rutbah in the north, controlled by the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as Isis).

Locals are said to not welcome the miltias' presence

The tribal leader, who asked not to be named, said that claims by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi regarding the withdrawal of the militias from the area were not true.

He said that the militias still maintained a heavy presence while there is an absence of government army and police forces.

The tribes of Shammar and Anza are said to be on high alert in anticipation of assaults by the militias against their strongholds in Nukhayb.

The tribes have imposed a curfew on women and children after sunset and redeployed night guards, citing the alleged robberies and assaults perpetrated by the militias in the past.

The militias are made up of largely Shia volunteers

The situation in the city is quite tense, the tribal leader said, especially after the militias seized the grand mosque and confiscated the only power generator in Nukhayb.