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Shia and Kurdish forces may clash on Iraq-Syria border

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Significance

The pro-Iranian Badr Organisation is one of the larger PMUs -- groups of mostly Shia armed volunteers established in 2014 to help the army fight IS. They launched a new offensive in early May to capture border villages to the west of Mosul, stretching Iranian influence towards the Syrian border as well as bringing them into potential conflict with Kurdish fighters.

Impacts

  • Intra-Kurdish fighting in Sinjar could delay or disrupt the US-led effort to expel IS from Raqqa, which effort depends on Kurdish militias.
  • Iran could gain access to a land route into eastern Syria and the wider Levant.
  • Border clashes could deter potential foreign funding for Iraq after the fall of Mosul.
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