Shia fighters that withdrew from the battle against Isis in Tikrit after US air strikes have claimed that America was trying to “steal a victory” from Iranian-backed militia groups.
In a statement to Arabic language Iraqi newspaper Al-Sawmariyah News, Naeem Al-Abdaoui, a spokesman for radical Shia paramilitary group Asaib ahl al-Haq, or ‘League of the Righteous’, said that the militias neither wanted nor needed American help fighting Islamic State (formerly known as Isis).
“We are fully capable of freeing those areas as the security forces and the resistance factions and tribes have managed to free around 90% of those areas, and America is trying to come into the remaining 10% to steal the big victory,” said Al-Abdaoui.
“We won’t join any battle that the United States is leading, whether that be by air or land, and refuse to enter a battle that the international coalition are joined in.”
Al-Abdaoui added: “We don’t trust the United States as what happened in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Latifiya and Baiji when many people fell victim to the airstrikes.”