Hashd al-Shaabi leaves town in Iraq’s Saladin province

By Hussein al-Amir

BAGHDAD (AA) – The Hashd al-Shaabi, a predominantly Shia fighting force, has begun to withdraw from a town in Iraq’s Saladin province in advance of handing it over to the Iraqi army and local police.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Thursday, Police Lieutenant Numan al-Jabouri said Hashd al-Shaabi fighters “have begun leaving the town of Al-Siniya, located roughly 40 kilometers [about 25 miles] north of provincial capital Tikrit”.

The withdrawal, he added, comes in the wake of a recent meeting between Hashd al-Shaabi leaders and Iraqi military officials.

After the pullout, which al-Jabouri said would take several days, responsibility for securing the town will fall to the army, local police, and Sunni tribal fighters known as the Hashd al-Ashaeri.

Last week, the Hashd al-Shaabi began closing its offices in cities throughout Iraq, especially those in Sunni-majority areas liberated from the Daesh terrorist group.

Established in 2014 with the express purpose of fighting Daesh, the Hashd al-Shaabi was formally incorporated into the Iraqi army last year.