Why is Iran’s Qassem Suleimani requesting to fight in Iraq’s Tal Afar?
Analysts view this step as part of the Iranian strategy aiming to make the area a pathway for Iranian troops moving from Iraq to Syria
Iraqi sources reported that Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iranian Quds Force, left Kurdistan and arrived to Baghdad two days ago.
He reportedly wants to discuss the participation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the battle of Tal Afar, a city in the north of Mosul.
Analysts view this step as part of the Iranian strategy aiming to make the area a pathway for Iranian troops moving from Iraq to Syria.
Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization militias are currently situated on the outskirts of Tal Afar, on the borders between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Observers believe that Iran made a strategic choice to secure a passage into Syria, down to its coastline on the Mediterranean.
Iran is supporting Bashar al-Assad’s regime and trying to secure a vital line to help its troops in Syria through Iraq.
Suleimani will reportedly supervise military axes, in which the Popular Mobilization Force is participating and trying to seize areas from ISIS, including the district of Tal Afar, in the northern side of Mosul dominated by Shiite Turkmen.
Controlling Tal Afar will strengthen the coordination between the Revolutionary Guards, the Popular Mobilization militias and the Syrian regime army backed by Iran.
Iranian military officials said have said that “Iran and its allies believe that the battle of Mosul is crucial and will affect the battles in Aleppo and other regions in Syria”.
The news comes in line with the confirmations of Iraqi sources that “the Quds Force commander, Soleimani, held meetings with militia leaders in Baghdad two days ago, to discuss their participation in the Battle of Mosul within the southern axis known as the axis of Qayyarah.
*This article also appears on AlArabiya.net.