Iran-linked militia calls up thousands of volunteers to fight US forces

Little more than a month prior to the official end to the US “combat mission” in Iraq, an Iran-linked armed group has called for “volunteers” to fight any forces remaining post-midnight Dec. 31.

A man known as Abu Ala al-Walai, commander of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), on Nov. 19 announced a call for volunteers to fight the “US occupation” should troops fail to leave.

US President Joe Biden had in July announced after meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi that US forces in Iraq would “continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with” the Islamic State (IS), but that they would no longer be “by the end of the year in a combat mission.”

KSS spokesman Sheikh Kadhim al-Fertousi claimed to Al-Monitor on Nov. 24 that “so far we already have 45,000” calls from would-be volunteers for the post-December fight against US forces should they remain in the country.

“We also received calls from organizations that also want to join, each of which has about 1,000 to 1,500” people, he said. “Some used to fight alongside [popular Shiite cleric Muqtada al-] Sadr, while others fought in the past against IS.”

He said they had received several requests from women who also wanted to volunteer, but “we don’t usually accept this sort of request.”

The offer, he said, had nonetheless “lifted our spirits.”

KSS was formed in 2013, initially fighting alongside Syrian government forces against armed opposition groups there. They began fighting against IS in Iraq starting in 2014.

The group has historic links to Kataib Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

KSS fighters just across the Iraqi border in Syria have been targeted in at least two attacks over the past year by US forces — in February in the first known offensive military action taken by the Joe Biden administration declaredly in retaliation for rocket attacks on bases hosting international forces, and in June.

Source: Al-Monitor

Also Read: Iran’s proxy militias in Iraq defying its terrorist designated IRGC

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