Gorran Operative Attempting to Establish Hashd Al-Shaabi Force in Soran – The operative of the movement claims thousands of youth have been enrolled

Basnews English  – 27/03/2017 – 15:58 – ERBIL — An operative of the Kurdish Gorran (Change) Movement in Soran city, northeast of Erbil, claims that the Iraqi government has promised to support him in establishing an armed force of Hashd al-Shaabi in the area.

Sardar Omar Agha Surchi, the Gorran operative in Khalifan district of Soran, has told the local media outlets that he has a close relationship with a number of Iraqi government officials and they have assured him of their support to establish an armed force from the youth of the area. Surchi said he has been asked to enroll the people in the district for Hashd al-Shaabi, claiming that around 3,000 youth have so far been registered to join the armed unit.

Speaking to BasNews, the mayor of Soran Kirmanj Ezzat, said the Gorran official has been warned that no forces are allowed to exist in the area other than Peshmerga which is the only legitimate force in the Kurdistan Region.

According to reports, Hashd al-Shaabi has begun recruiting Kurdish youths in different locations in Kurdistan Region, particularly in the areas which are under the influence of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

In some parts of Kurdistan Region such as Khanaqin, Chamchamal, Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk, the militia has already recruited a large number of Kurdish youth.

According to a recruit from Hashd al-Shaabi in Halabja city in Kurdistan Region, the militia force is recruiting the Kurdish youth with a tempting monthly salary. Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), is one of the largest militias in Iraq consisting of over 60 militia groups. It was established in 2014 with a fatwa (jurisdiction) of the grand Shi’ite cleric in Iraq Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to fight the Islamic State (IS).The militia has often been reported by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for committing war crimes in different parts of Iraq. However in late 2016, the Iraqi parliament recognized the militia as a national armed force.