Iraq Situation Report: May 6 - 20, 2017

Iran-backed Shia militias set conditions to disrupt or deny U.S.-backed forces freedom of maneuver near the Iraq-Syria border. Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) forces began clearing territory in western Ninewa Province toward the Syrian border. Iran-backed PMU forces also conducted offensives against ISIS in northern Diyala and Salah al-Din provinces, and defended positions north of the Makhoul Mountains and southwest of Tuz Khurmatu from ISIS ground assaults. ISIS remains operational in eastern Iraq, particularly in Diyala Province, despite clearing operations led by the Badr Organization since late 2014. ISIS also launched attacks in and around Baghdad in the week prior to its annual Ramadan campaign, anticipated to begin on May 26.