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Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi accuses US of killing dozens of fighters in Syria airstrike Open in fullscreen

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Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi accuses US of killing dozens of fighters in Syria airstrike

The Hashd al-Shaabi can field a total of between 60,000 and 140,000 fighters. [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 June, 2018

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More than 50 fighters allied to the Damascus regime, most of them foreign, were killed in Sunday night's raid on Al-Hari in eastern Syria.

An Iraqi paramilitary force on Monday accused the United States of killing 22 of its fighters in an overnight air raid just inside Syria's border with Iraq that a monitor said left dozens dead.

"US planes fired two guided missiles at a fixed position of Hashd al-Shaabi units on the border with Syria, killing 22 fighters and wounding 12," said the Iran-backed Hashd forces, or Popular Mobilisation Units.

It said the raid took place "700 metres inside Syria", adding that an investigation had been opened and the results would be passed on to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said earlier that more than 50 fighters allied to the Damascus regime, most of them foreign, were killed in Sunday night's raid on Al-Hari in eastern Syria.

It did not say who carried out the attack.

Syrian state media, citing a military source, also accused the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group and said the attack left several dead and wounded, without giving precise figures.

The coalition's press office said it had heard reports that a strike in the area of Al-Hari had killed and wounded members of a pro-regime Iraqi group, but denied it was responsible.

The Hashd said its fighters were deployed inside Syria north of the Albu Kamal border town "because of the desert nature of the zone and for military imperatives to prevent terrorist infiltration into Iraq".

The bodies of at least three fighters of the Hizballah Brigades, part of the Hashd coalition fighting IS, have been repatriated to the southern Iraqi province of Zi Qar, an AFP correspondent said.

The various forces within the Hashd al-Shaabi can field a total of between 60,000 and 140,000 fighters.

The force was established in 2014 after Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged Iraqi citizens to take up arms against IS militants who had swept aside government forces and seized control of much of northern Iraq, threatening the capital Baghdad itself.

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