It is not uncommon for Hashd units to have contingents based out of recruitment from specific areas. Fawj Dir' al-Qa'im (The al-Qa'im Shield Regiment) presents an interesting case of a Sunni contingent attached to the Imam Hussein shrine-affiliated Liwa al-Tafuf (Hashd 13th brigade), whose commander Qasim Muslih heads the Hashd west Anbar operations command.
To learn more about Fawj Dir' al-Qa'im, I interviewed a member of the group on 21 June 2019. He wishes to be identified only as Abd al-Salam.
The interview is edited and condensed for clarity. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: When was the regiment formed and in which battles has it participated?
A: It was formed in 2016. It participated in the liberation of Ramadi, Rutba, Okashat, the desert and al-Qa'im town.
Q: Is the regiment affiliated with the 13th brigade in the Hashd Sha'abi Commission?
A: Yes affiliated with the 13th brigade.
Q: It was affiliated with the 13th brigade from the beginning of its formation?
A: No in the beginning of its formation [it was affiliated] with Anbar [operations command- of the regular army], and they did not agree on the formation of the regiment and we joined the 13th brigade. They [the Anbar operations command] did not give salaries to the fighters and later we joined the 13th brigade and 3 months ago we received salaries. Note in these years that have passed we did not lay claim to any salary but we were steadfast and praise be to God, God granted us success and we have received a salary.
Q: Most members are from the town of al-Qa'im?
Q: From the Albu Mahal tribe?
A: Yes, the Albu Mahal tribe.
Q: But can you clarify something? You are saying that the Anbar operations command rejected the formation of the regiment in the beginning?
A: The Anbar operations [command] did not give us salaries. They said the number of the Hashd has been completed.
Q: What is the number of martyrs?
A: Regarding the martyrs before our formation [affiliated] with the Hashd Sha'abi, our tribe gave the greatest number of martyrs of al-Qa'im as they fought off the terrorists.
Q: Currently the regiment operates in al-Qa'im town only?
A: Yes in al-Qa'im but its obligations are with the Hashd Sha'abi operations in Anbar in general.
Q: Before the formation of the regiment were you in another formation? For example Kata'ib al-Hamza?
A: Our tribe was one force but we separated into regiments to form the greatest number of fighters.