Previously I have mentioned that the Hashd Sha'abi Commission has 'directorates' for some specialized units. One of those directorates is the Missiles Directorate, with which I conducted an interview. Another of those directorates is the Tanks Directorate.
To learn more about the Tanks Directorate, I conducted an interview with Jalil al-Fatlawi, who does media work for the Tanks Directorate.
This interview was conducted on 2 August 2019. The interview is slightly edited and condensed for clarity. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: When was the Tanks Directorate formed? And what was its origin exactly?
A: It was formed on the first day of the issuing of the Blessed Fatwa. In the beginning it was called the Tanks Battalion of the Hashd Sha'abi. It has been independent from the first day. The leader Abu Dhanun al-Khalidi from the first day of the formation has been working in coordination with all of the factions. Any faction that has needed a tank, he gives it to them.
Q: In which battles has the Tanks Directorate participated and how many martyrs has it offered?
A: Without any exaggeration: there are hardly any battles in which the Tanks Directorate has not participated, except the operations that took place a month ago from the Baghdad Belt to the Syria-Iraq borders ['Will of Victory Operations'].
The number of martyrs is 36.
Q: How many battalions are within the Directorate currently?
A: Three battalions. But our preoccupation with the battles made us fall short in the issue of administration and organization.
Q: In which areas does the Tanks Directorate operate now?
A: Some of the tanks are on the Syria-Iraq borders, in particular the Okashat area [in west Anbar]. And there are tanks in Hamrin and some of them in Diyala.