Syria's SDF warns Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi from crossing Syria-Iraqi borders

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-01 21:25:37|Editor: ying
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DAMASCUS, June 1 (Xinhua) -- The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Thursday warned Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, or Hashd al-Shaabi, from crossing into predominantly-Kurdish areas on the Syrian side of the borders.

The SDF, backed by the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition, warned the predominantly-Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi group from crossing into areas under the Kurdish control in northeastern Syria, following the advance made by the Iraqi paramilitary group against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and its declaration that it reached the Iraqi-Syrian borders.

Talal Silo, the military spokesman of the SDF, was cited by Kurdish media outlets on Thursday as saying that "We will confront any attempt by the Hashd al-Shaabi to enter areas under our control, and we will not allow any force to enter our areas."

Hadi Amiri, a leading commander in the Hashid al-Shaabi, recently stated that his forces are moving toward the Iraqi city of Qaem, close to the Syrian Bukamal area, which is under the IS control in eastern Syria.

Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi PM, recently said that his government had a plan to secure the Iraqi-Syrian borders.

The statement by the Kurdish-led SDF reflects a bigger conflict, as the Syrian and Iraqi governments are on the same page regarding the need for a cross-border cooperation between the Syrian and Iraqi forces to clear the border areas of any IS presence.

But for the U.S. and its Kurdish allies, the situation is different as Washington wants to have the sway in eastern Syria near the Iraqi borders, which explains last month U.S. strike on a Syrian military convoy advancing in the Syrian desert close to the Tanf border crossing with Iraq.

The strike was read as a message that Washington will not allow the Syrian army or the Shiite fighters fighting with the Syrian forces to advance near the Iraqi borders.

But the military forces in Syria stressed their resolve to take more areas in the desert, making a notable advance.

Earlier this week, pan-Arab Mayadeen TV said U.S. warplanes dropped leaflets on Syrian army forces, urging them to retreat and stay away from Tanf, where the U.S. and British army have bases and allied Syrian rebels.