The US military believes that Iran-backed Shiite forces in Iraq now number from 80,000 up to 100,000 fighters. This force plays an important role in the fight against ISIS. Military spokesman Colonel Chris Garver confirmed the figure to Fox and raised “concern” that a significant part of the well-known Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) is Iranian backed.
There are rumors that Shiite militias will massively participate in the liberation of the Sunni-dominated city of Mosul from the ISIS terrorist group. The rumors came amid reports that Iran’s prominent military commander from the Syrian theater of operations, General Qassem Soleimani, has also deployed his troops to the outskirts of Mosu (reported by the US-basde “Long War Journal”). The reports argue that Soleimani is responsible for coordination of a joint operation of Iraqi government forces and the PMF.
However, Garver noted that the US is not coordinating operations with Iran:
“We are not coordinating with the Iranians in any way, we are not working with them in any way.” He said that “the government of Iraq comes up with the plan, we are supporting [their] plan for the seizure of Mosul.”