Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) released a statement on Sunday condemning President Biden’s Syria bombing and denied that the group was deep inside Syrian territory. The PMF is an umbrella group of mostly Shia state-sponsored Iraqi militias that was formed in 2014 to fight ISIS.
“We officially announce that this attack heralds dangerous future developments, and the competent authorities must do their duty for the PMF who sacrifice for the sake of Iraq’s security,” The PMF said.
The statement was released on Telegram by Iraq’s Security Media Cell, the media arm of the Iraqi government’s security forces. The PMF added that “contrary to US reports,” the group’s members were not deep inside Syrian territory at the time of the attack.
There are conflicting reports on the number of casualties in last week’s airstrikes. According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 22 PMF fighters were killed in the bombing. But on Monday, the Pentagon said it believes only one militia member was killed.
“What I can tell you is that we believe right now there was likely one militia member killed, and two militia members wounded,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
Last week, Kirby said the strikes targeted Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, two Shia militias under the PMF. The US has attempted to frame these airstrikes as a “defensive” and “proportionate” response to rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq. But so far, the US has provided no evidence that either group they targeted was responsible for these attacks, and Kataib Hezbollah has denied any role.