An Update On ISIS Activities

Notice to readers: Daesh Daily will not publish on Monday due to the Presidents Day holiday, but we will continue to track major developments. Our next issue will be on Tuesday the 20th.

 

February 16, 2018

 

Afrin

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Allawi coalition says Kuwait conference led to misallocation of proceeds. [..]

State of Law coalition charges Barzani family with turning over Daesh prisoners to the Turks. [..] 

500-600 bodies remain to be removed from central Mosul. [..]

 

Syria

Tillerson, Cavusoglu discuss Manbij, but conclusion is unclear. [..]

Rumors suggest possible Afrin deal between Syria, PYD. [..]

Coalition lands 35 more airstrikes on Albu Kamal. [..]

Turkish forces reported gaining in western Afrin. [..]

 

Other countries

Lebanon. Guterres warns of risk to Lebanon from another Israel-Hezbollah war. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh Campaign

Between February 9th and 15th the Coalition conducted 4 airstrikes in Iraq, near Rutba (1), near Baiji (2), and near Tal Afar (1). [CentCom]

 

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s office announced that he left Baghdad for Munich on Friday to attend the Munich Security Conference. [Sumaria] 

 

An Iraqi court sentenced a female Russian national to one year in prison for crossing the Iraqi border illegally, the first sentence of its kind. She had been forced to live in a Daesh-controlled area, but was declared innocent of terrorism by the court, according to a member of the Russian Federal Council, Ziyad Sabsabi. [Sumaria]

 

In total contrast to the expressed opinions of some Shia PMF spokesmen against US troops in Iraq, Shafaaq reports that political leaders in the Sunni governorates, Anbar, Salahuddin, and Ninewa, view the neutral presence of US forces as a critical factor in ensuring that terrorist organizations do not return, and in deterring Shia factions from spreading to Sunni cities under the guise of maintaining security. Shafaaq cited an Anbar PC member who requested to remain anonymous. He said “Let’s be honest; any day the US forces are in our cities is an unhappy day for remaining Daesh fighters, because they know well the threat of drones and airstrikes of the Coalition.” [Shafaaq]

 

Reconstruction

Friday, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi reiterated that rebuilding and investing in Iraq and improving its level of services requires security, and “this security is interconnected with the security of the region and the world. Al-Abadi added that “terrorist organizations are not bound by geographic borders, whose members hail from all countries of the world and receive money from several states.” He added that “we need global cooperation” in order to fight terrorism. [Sumaria] 

 

The Al-Wataniya (Nationalism Coalition) party, led by Ayad Allawi, called the Kuwait conference a wasted opportunity which could have supported the reconstruction and revival of the economy of Iraq. The party stated that “instead of attending the conference with specific demands and commitments that serve areas liberated from terrorist organizations, Iraq attended the conference with a delegation that included irrelevant parties.” [Rudaw] 

DaeshDaily comment. The concern seems to be that the money raised through the conference will be spread around much of Iraq instead of being focused on the mostly Sunni areas that are more likely to vote for Mr. Allawi’s party. 

 

Election

Friday, State of the Law Coalition, headed by Nouri Al-Maliki, alleged that a “conspiracy” on Iraq is under way by the Kurdish leading family, the Barzanis, in cooperation with Turkey. State of the Law demanded that the federal government pressure Erbil to surrender all the terrorists held in its prisons. State of Law representative Mohammed Al-Saihoud stated that “the KRG authorities handing over terrorists stained with Iraqi people’s blood to Turkey is against the law and the constitution. He alleged further that this is one of a series of conspiracies by the ruling family in the Kurdistan Region. He added that “this arrangement is a conspiracy between the Barzani ruling family and Turkey, and it has specific goals, and they are absolutely against Iraq.” [BaghdadToday] 

 

Friday, Wisdom Movement representative, Mohammed Al-Lakkash, revealed that Prime Minister Al-Abadi was the one who suggested de-linking the electoral alliance of his bloc and the Wisdom Movement headed by Ammar Al-Hakim. Al-Lakkash said that the Wisdom Movement had intended to enter the elections on a stand-alone list before Al-Abadi extended an invitation to join his Al-Nasr Alliance, which at that moment included the Al-Fatah coalition, and Al-Abadi’s withdrawal from the electoral alliance came as a surprise. [Rudaw] 

DaeshDaily comment. We can’t help thinking that there is still more to this story. This alliance appeared to be a major plus for both Al-Abadi and Al-Hakim, and letting it go so easily seems to weaken both to some extent. 

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

West (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

Friday, the Military Intelligence Services announced the arrest of 2 wanted suspects on terrorism charges in Abu Mnaiseer subdistrict and Al-Tamar Al-Sihha area in Abu Ghraib. [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR 

Hit/Haditha

Daesh says it severely wounded a government “source” and destroyed his vehicle with a sticky IED in Hit city. [ICDNFeb16]

 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Eastern Salahuddin (Al-Daur, Tooz)

Friday, head of the PMF’s 23rd brigade media, Hussein Al-Husseini, said that the PMF prevented the attempted infiltration of a number of Daesh members into the Al-Aith area in Al-Daur, taking advantage of the rainy weather. [Ghad]

 

DIYALA

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya, Abu Saida) 

Daesh says it killed three Shia in an attack in the Dhababa area, south of Muqdadiya. [ICDNFeb16]

 

Daesh says it wounded two PMF fighters in clashes nu Luhaib area, in Muqdadiya District, on Thursday. [A3maq]

 

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)

Chairman of the Diyala PC Security Committee, Sadeq Al-Husseini, further explained the death of the Daesh military emir of the Al-Waqf Basin northeast of Baquba, reported yesterday in Daesh Daily. He died from wounds he received in an airstrike on a Daesh guesthouse near the Mukhaisa farms last week. [Forat]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

A DaeshDaily source says SDF units killed a Daesh suicide terrorist who attacked them with a vehicle bomb north of Kirkuk. The source says the terrorist is originally from the Chamchamal area. 

 

Hawija (Riyadh, Zab, etc.)

Daesh says it blew up the house of an MoI lt. colonel in Madina village, east of Hawija, on Wednesday. [ICDNFeb16]

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad, etc.)

A security source in Kirkuk reported that a terrorist on a motorcycle was wounded on Friday as he tried to plant an IED in the Daquq street market. [Sumaria]

 

NINEWA

Mosul

Friday, the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights reported that 40 bodies were removed from under the rubble in the Al-Qlei’at and Tawalib areas in Mosul, while hundreds remain buried under demolished houses and roads on the west side of the city. The observatory noted that 10 out of the 40 bodies belong to Daesh fighters. It says that although it is challenging to differentiate between civilian and Daesh bodies, Daesh bodies are recognizable by their clothing. Medical sources in Mosul estimate there are still 500-600 bodies in Old Mosul that have not been removed. [Buratha]

 

A DaeshDaily source says Osama Al-Nujaifi pressured PM Abadi to issue orders to allow Daesh families to return to their areas. 

DaeshDaily comment. While it is important to have innocent people, even if they were Daesh family members, to return to their houses, it should not be done without proper security checks. Otherwise, it is a certainty that some of these families will provide shelter and support networks for Daesh terrorists. This move of course comes for election purposes. Since 2003, thousands of terrorists were released, and continued on with their terrorist attacks, because of such political games.  

 

Southern Ninewa

Qayara/Hatra/Makhmur

A DaeshDaily source says 4 Daesh terrorists, using silenced guns, shot and wounded a Rapid Intervention service member near his house in Tal Al-Sha’er village in Qayara, before fleeing toward the Qaraj subdistrict in Makhmur.  

 

Hatra

A DaeshDaily source says four PMF fighters were killed and three others wounded in a Daesh attack near Maymouna village, south of Hatra. 

 

A DaeshDaily source says PMFs killed 3 Daesh suicide terrorists south of Hatra. 

 

Western Ninewa

Tal Afar

Thursday, the Military Intelligence Services announced the arrest of a “terrorist” in Zummar in northern Tal Afar. The terrorist worked as a doctor for Daesh members who were wounded in the liberation campaigns. [Ghad] [IraqPress]

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

ERBIL

KDP leader Masoud Barzani, during a meeting with KRG parliament members, reported that the two main driving forces behind the Kurds’ holding of the independence referendum were the “constitutional breach and the violation of partnership on the part of the Iraqi government, [SotIraq]

DaeshDaily comment. It seems that Mr. Masoud just can’t let it go, still defending his referendum constantly, and it seems also that the results of his disastrous leadership on the issue have not changed his public posture that he is always right. However, the hostility he has incurred from others in Iraq (for example the story above under National News) as well as the hostility from a growing number of Kurds still living in financial crisis, has cast his leadership in a different light.

 

Manager of the Warte subdistrict reported that although 3 years have passed since Turkish planes shelled Zargali village in the Rawandoz district due to PKK camp nearby, which displaced dozens of families, only 9 IDP families have returned so far, as tensions and fears of renewed shelling continue. [BasNews] 

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Manbij issue

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday that he and his US counterpart, Rex Tillerson, reached an agreement to resolve the crisis in Manbij city, saying ”Ankara will take joint steps with the US in Syria as soon as Kurdish militias leave the Syrian city of Manbij.” Cavusoglu stressed “the need to fulfill promises and commitments made by Washington on the ground, rather than just in the context of statements.” [Dorar]

Tillerson’s statement about the meeting, as reported by the pro-Erdogan Anadolu, stressed the “mutual commitment of the two countries to ensure their security and defense as strategic allies and partners.” [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment. After reading these two stories, we admit we still don’t know what Tillerson said to Cavusoglu about Manbij. If we are to accept Cavusoglu’s characterization of the meeting, the US has just caved in to Turkey on Manbij as it did (apparently to its immediate regret) in Afrin. However, this would seem to contradict General Funk’s recent statement that the US had no plans to leave Manbij. We also remember the recent statement by President Erdogan characterizing his telephone discussion with President Trump immediately after the Afrin invasion started, making it sound like Erdogan’s perspective was accepted. The truth was that Trump had called and sharply criticized his invasion. 

So Mr. Secretary, we appreciate that you are weary from all your travel, but we hope you will issue a clarification about Manbi. We also urge you, in your own interests, to avoid having any of your future meetings defined by the Turks.

 

Afrin issue

Sources in the YPG told Al-Mayadeen news that “executive procedures for the entry of the Syrian Army into [Afrin] city have begun, but the timing has not yet been determined.” Al-Mayadeen reports that they are “waiting for executive and logistic procedures” and that “the agreement was signed and only operational measures are needed. The various military authorities have taken the steps needed to deploy the Syrian Army’s soldiers in Afrin and in the surrounding area.” [Qasioun]

 

A Russian spokesman warned of the repercussions of the entry of the Syrian government’s forces into Afrin. Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee in Russia, said that “The media reports indicate an alleged agreement between the Syrian government and the Kurds for the introduction of Syrian forces to Afrin, which I do not think is correct. Estimates must be preliminary and cautions,” he said. [Dorar]

 

A source close to the PYD-defined “West Kurdistan Autonomous Administration said on Friday that there are ongoing meetings between regional and international parties to resolve the Afrin problem politically, “including Americans, Russians, Iranians, and the Autonomous Administration.” He said discussions revolve around surrendering Afrin city to the security forces and civil police of the Syrian government, and the exit of all military forces from the area entirely. The source said a French delegation is currently visiting Qamishli city to meet with PYD officials to discuss Afrin. [BasNews] 

 

The Kurdish Salvation Movement, an anti-Assad militia, expressed its full support of Operation Olive Branch led by the Turkish Army and Syrian opposition factions, stressing their support for preserving the integrity of Syria’s territory. [Qasioun]

 

United Nations

Sweden and Kuwait revealed a revised version of a draft resolution calling for a 1-month truce in Syria, circulated to members of the Security Council. According to Agence France Presse, the truce will not include Daesh and Al-Qaeda and would allow the Syrian government forces to continue their military operations, especially in Idlib Province.

The draft resolution provides that the cease-fire shall enter into force 72 hours after its adoption by the Security Council and emergency humanitarian aid will be delivered 48 hours after the start of the ceasefire. A Security Council vote on the draft resolution is expected next week. [Hawar]

 

Friday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the failure of the de-escalation agreement reached by the guarantors in the Astana talks to calm the situation in Syria, adding that the conflict is reigniting in the country again. [Dorar]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

Between February 9th and 15th the Coalition conducted 39 strikes in Syria near Albu Kamal (35), near Deir Ez-Zor (2), and near Al-Shaddadi in Hasaka (2). [CentCom]

 

Member of the Diplomatic Relations Assembly in the PYD, Dara Mustafa, responded to Lebanese Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, who said on Friday that “we know that there is between $500-700 million under the title “Kurdish Protection” in the Pentagon’s budget. He urged Kurds to “learn from past experiences and realize that the US is using them as tools to implement its plans in the region, and they will sell you out in the slave market in the end.” 

Mustafa said that “our view is different from Nasrallah’s; the US hasn’t bought us to sell us. There are clearly defined lines in cooperating with the US, considering it is an international power that seeks to lower the level of terrorism spreading in the region through Turkish-led terrorist groups,” and aid from the US was used to clear Kurdish areas from terrorism. Mustafa noted that Russia is using the Syrian government and its allies, and was able to gain a foothold in the Khmeimim base and vast areas of Syria. [BasNews] 

 

Northwest

Afrin/Azaz

SOHR reports clashes between the Turkish forces and Kurdish units in Mahmudiya village south of Jinderes in southwestern Afrin. [SyriaHR]

 

Qasioun reports that the Turkish forces captured 5 villages and have moved further into both the Rajo and Sheikh Hadid subdistricts in western Afrin. [Qasioun] [Qasioun]

 

Pro-PYD Hawar, but also other outlets, report that 6 civilians were injured by suffocation as a result of Turkish bombing with chemical weapons in Aranda village. [Hawar]

 

Northeast 

Hasaka

More dueling reports:

Hawar reports that 40 young men joined the SDF in Al-Shaddadi District in the presence of the YPG and SDF after finishing training courses. The training courses are just 30 days in length, during which combatants receive military and war tactics training. [Hawar]

However, Dorar reports that the PYD launched a wide search for new recruits in Hasaka Province who fled the front lines after being forcibly recruited into the YPG. Dorar reports that the PYD failed to find and arrest any of them. [Dorar]

 

Raqqa

Raqqa city & district

Thursday, unknown assailants assassinated Ibrahim Al-Salama.  Al-Salama served as coordinator of negotiations between the SDF and Daesh in Raqqa Province. Al-Salama suffered a mysterious explosion during the negotiation process, which led to the amputation of his leg. He was transferred to Iraq’s Kurdistan Region to have a prosthetic leg attached. [Qasioun]

 

Central and West (No reports)

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin

Friday, Syrian troops shelled SDF positions in Dhiban, east of the Euphrates. [Qasioun]

 

The Syrian Army announced that it found a 500-meter-long Daesh tunnel in Mayadin and surrounding villages that was used as Daesh’s headquarters and had stores of ammunition. [SyriaNow]

 

Albu Kamal

A DaeshDaily source says Daesh arrested four men in the Hajin area after accusing them of cooperating with the SDF. The source the men were selling fuel when Daesh terrorists captured them and took them to an unknown location. Later on, the source says Daesh executed the four men. 

Daesh says it captured several SDF positions near Abu Khater village, east of Hajin. [A3maq]

 

A DaeshDaily source says Coalition planes killed 11 Daesh terrorists, including an Iraqi commander, in an airstrike on the Sha’afa area. 

 

Daesh says it killed eight SDF fighters, captured another, and captured a vehicle, weapons, and ammunition in an attack on SDF positions northeast of Al-Sha’afa, near the Iraq border. Daesh also says Coalition planes mistakenly bombed an SDF position northeast of Sha’afa, killing or wounding several fighters. [ICDNFeb16] [A3maq] 

Daesh publishes photos of the attack. [ICDNFeb16] [ICDNFeb16]

Daesh issues a video of an SDF fighter it captured in the attack. [A3maq]

 

A DaeshDaily source says Deir Ez-Zor Military Council, an SDF faction, killed 3 Daesh terrorists who sneaked into Bahra village. 

Daesh publishes photos of battles with the SDF in West Bahra village. [ICDNFeb16]

Daesh says it killed two SDF fighters and wounded two others with rockets in Bahra. [A3maq]

Here Daesh says it killed two SDF fighters and wounded another with a rocket in Bahra. [A3maq]

DaeshDaily comment. Despite the boastful words, notice from these reports that Daesh is fighting from outside Bahra, a tacit admission that it does not control the village. 

 

Daesh says its snipers hit four Syrian soldiers near Baghouz Bridge, east of Albu Kamal city, on Thursday. [ICDNFeb16] 

 

South 

Damascus/Rif Damashq 

The Syrian Human Rights Network documented the killing of 729 civilians in eastern Ghouta during the past 3 months (through February 14) in shelling by the Syrian forces. [ZamanAlWasl]

 

SOHR reports clashes between Tahrir Al-Sham and Daesh in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp south of Damascus city. [SyriaHR]

Daesh says it captured 2 neighborhoods in the Yarmouk Camp after an attack on Tahrir Al-Sham, killing 5 Tahrir Al-Sham members, including 2 commanders, and capturing weapons and ammunition. [ICDNFeb16] [A3maq] [ICDNFeb16]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Lebanon

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that a new war between Hezbollah and Israel would be “the worst nightmare because it would mean the destruction of a large part of Lebanon.” Guterres said “we need a common vision in the Security Council for the situation in the Middle East.” [Anadolu]

 

North Africa

Morocco

The Moroccan Ministry of Defense said that on Thursday it arrested 3 dangerous individuals, aged 24-30 and involved with Daesh. The MoD said “they are involved in incitement and have sought to gain experience in manufacturing explosives and IEDs. Initial evidence indicates that one of these members had previously joined the Polisario Front separatists. Last week, a Moroccan official had announced that there is a connection between the Polisario and terrorist organizations in the region, which the Front denies. [Quds]

DaeshDaily comment. The Polisario Front is a separatist organization fighting to end Moroccan control of the adjoining former Spanish colony of western Sahara.

 

February 15, 2018

 

A Daesh House in Hatra 

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Al-Abadi says reconstruction will include every governorate; promises immediate follow-up with Kuwait conference donors. [..]

KDP decides not to run in Kirkuk provincial election.  [..]

Report in LeMonde describes a Mosul reconstruction that is failing. [..]

17 Daesh fighters reported killed in failed northwest Mosul attack. [..]

17 more PMFs killed in Daesh attacks in Hatra, Baaj. [..]

 

Syria

Turkey-allied militias capture several Afrin villages from YPG. [..]

PR issue arises over how many Russians died in US Deir Ez-Zor airstrike on forces attacking SDF. [..]

 

Other countries

Lebanon. Tillerson raps Lebanese Hezbollah role in visit to Beirut. [..]

Israel. Israel threatens retaliation if chemical weapons used near Golan Heights. [..] 

Egypt. Major Egyptian Army offensive gains momentum in Sinai area. [..]

Afghanistan. UN: 3,438 Afghans died from warfare in 2017; 7,015 wounded. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh Campaign

Al-Khalij Online reports that since Daesh was expelled from Mosul by the Iraqi forces and from Raqqa by the SDF, Daesh’s has been reported to be over by officials and spokesmen, but western officials oppose this line and emphasize that Daesh is still active and may return in a more dangerous form. [Sumaria]

 

Thursday, the Iraqi government began applying the CoR decision issued earlier in 2018 to freeze terrorists’ money, according to a statement by the Ministry of Justice’s Department of Facts. [Rudaw]

 

Thursday, MoD Director of Intelligence and Counterterrorism and leader of the Al-Suqur Intelligence Celll, Abu Ali Al-Basri stated that the cell was able to locate Daesh commander locations in Syria and to track the movement of the terrorist Ismail Alwan Salam Al-Eithawi, head of the Daesh top-level commission and supervisor of the walis and diwan emirs. Al-Eithawi held the position of minister of “Iftaa” (issuing fatwas) in the so-called Islamic state. Al-Suqur Al-Istikhbaratiya cell detected his movement across Syria towards Turkey to settle in Sakarya city using his brother’s name during transit. The cell contacted the Iraqi embassy in Ankara and worked with official Turkish bodies to arrest him in accordance with international counterterrorism agreements. [SNGIQ] [INA]

DaeshDaily comment. This terrorist was one of the heads of the Daesh commission hired by Al-Baghdadi to explain Daesh’s religion. He was accused by some Daesh members of being one of the “Ghulat” (ultra radicals).

 

Reconstruction

Thursday, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said in his weekly press conference that the number of participants in the Kuwait conference to rebuild Iraq was three times greater than expected, noting that the reconstruction steps will include all governorates, and that contracting sessions with investment companies will kick off next month. [Sumaria]

 

Thursday, the media office of Prime Minster Haider Al-Abadi announced that the Council of Ministers made a presentation about the Kuwait conference in its regular meeting. The meeting instructed holding meetings with ambassadors, organizations, and representatives of international agencies to begin activating the financial commitments made, starting early next week. The announcement added that the Council voted for extending the maintenance contract for the Mosul Dam and rebuilding the Baiji refinery. [Sumaria]

 

Election

Thursday, an informed source reported that 8 parties withdrew from Al-Qarar Al-Iraqi Alliance (the Iraqi Decision) chaired by Osama Al-Nujaifi, citing the entry of individuals suspected of corruption to the alliance. The source, who requested to remain anonymous, said that the most prominent political figures to withdraw were: Talal Al-Zoba’i, Nahida Al-Dayni, Fares Al-Fares, Mohammed Al-Dayni, Ahmed Al-Mashhadani, and Sheikh Haibat Al-Halbousi. [Sumaria]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

Southwest (Rasheed, etc.)

A source in the Iraqi Police reported that two people were wounded due to an IED explosion near a commercial area in Al-Furat neighborhood in southwest Baghdad on Thursday afternoon. [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR

Hit/Haditha

Thursday, a source in the Anbar Police reported that a sticky IED attached to the bottom of a civilian car belonging to a mukhtar exploded in the Al-Duwara neighborhood in Hit city, wounding the mukhtar. [Sumaria]

 

Al-Qa’im

The Ministry of Immigration and Displacement announced the return of 230 IDP families to their home areas in Anbar and Salahuddin. Director of central governorates affairs, Wameedh Sa’eed, stated that the ministry returned 242 IDP families in Al-Qa’im in Anbar and 78 IDP families to Salahuddin. The IOM provided the IDP families with food parcels. [PUKMedia] 

 

SALAHUDDIN

 

See Al-Qa’im report above.

 

Shirqat

A DaeshDaily source says Coalition units in the Qayara Base shelled Daesh hideouts in the Hawi Kan’ous area, killing or wounding several terrorists. 

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Thursday, Chairman of the Security Committee in the Diyala PC, Sadeq Al-Husseini, announced the death of the “military emir” of Daesh in Al-Waqf basin, 25 km (15 miles) northeast of Baquba, due to wounds he incurred nearly one week ago when a Daesh guesthouse near the Mukhaisa farms was targeted with an airstrike. [Sumaria]

 

Thursday, a highlevel security source in Diyala reported gunshots fired into the air during a dispute between bodyguard units of election nominees near the IHEC building in Baquba. The source denied reports that gun shots were fired inside the building. [Sumaria]

 

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

Thursday, Security Committee chairman of the Abu Saida subdistrict council, Awwad Al-Rabi’i, reported that Daesh members infiltrated and set up ladders on the walls of the Al-Rifah Elementary School in Abu Karma near Abu Saida on Wednesday night, in an attempt to attack security points nearby. Al-Rabi’i added that the school guard foiled the attack(s), using his personal weapon, and was wounded in the confrontation. Village residents and security units chased the terrorists away. [Ghad] 

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Thursday, the official in charge of the KDP election organization, Khasro Goran, said that the KDP will not participate in the upcoming CoR elections in Kirkuk, adding that the KDP has previously called on other Kurdish political factions to participate in the elections under a united list but this list never materialized. He added that the nominee list for the CoR elections in other areas have been prepared and would be submitted to the IHEC on Thursday. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment. This is not a decision based on principle. In Kurdish politics, Kirkuk is known as PUK country, given its greater closeness to Suleimaniya Province (though it also borders on Erbil). The KDP thus has little to lose by bowing out and seeking Kurdish votes elsewhere. The PUK has the same disadvantage relative to the KDP in Ninewa.

 

A security source in Kirkuk reported that several mortar shells fell on the K-1 military base, setting a weapon and ammunition depot on fire. The source added that the shelling targeted the first gate of the base at the same time an RBG projectile targeted its second gate. [BasNews]

 

Thursday, informed sources in the Kirkuk governorate reported that the Kurdistan flag was raised over the political office of the PUK in Kirkuk based on instructions from the deputy head of the PUK’s “organizational center.”  He said the raising of the flag was temporary, and he takes responsibility for any legal repercussions. However, the top official of the organizational center denies any knowledge of the flag being raised. [IraqPress] 

DaeshDaily comment. Perhaps “repercussions” were expected. There were no names mentioned in this story, nor is it clear what the “organizational center” is and whether it is in Kirkuk or Suleimaniya. 

 

A security source in Kirkuk reported that on Thursday evening, a weapons depot in the Al-Hurriya (Freedom) Air Base in Kirkuk exploded due to an electrical fault. [Sumaria]

 

Thursday, a security source in Kirkuk reported that a sticky IED attached to the bottom of a civilian car exploded in Kirkuk city. [Sumaria]

 

NINEWA

Thursday, MoD official spokesman Saad Ma’en revealed in the MoD’s weekly conference that a Daesh gang commander was captured after a security check at the Citizenship and Personal Status Directorate in Ninewa. [Forat]

 

Mosul

French newspaper Le Monde reported that while east Mosul is returning to normal, west Mosul is still uninhabitable in places due to the level of destruction, the leftover mines, and the bodies of Daesh members that have not been removed. [IraqPress] 

 

Thursday, a Ninewa Ops Command source reported that 17 assailants in 3 vehicles attacked a security convoy of 5 Hummer vehicles in a village in Badoush subdistrict, in far northwest Mosul. The source added that the military unit clashed with the assailants for nearly half an hour, killing all of them, and destroying one of their vehicles, in addition to seizing their weapons and equipment. He added that 3 soldiers were wounded in the clashes. [BasNews] 

 

A DaeshDaily source says security units captured large quantities of Daesh weapons and explosives in a tunnel in Old Mosul. 

 

Southern Ninewa

Hatra

A DaeshDaily source says Daesh killed six PMF fighters, including a commander, and captured four others in an attack on Maymoun village, south of Hatra. 

 

A DaeshDaily source says PMF units destroyed the houses of 4 Daesh terrorists in Hatra. The source sent us photos of the destroyed house. 

 

Western Ninewa

Baaj

Thursday, the PMF’s 1st brigade destroyed an armed Daesh vehicle that attempted to attack the PMF from Syria, killing the terrorists inside, on the Iraqi-Syrian border south of the Tal Safouk crossing. [Forat]

 

A DaeshDaily source says Daesh killed 11 PMF fighters and captured 3 pickup vehicles in an attack near the Syrian border. The source says Daesh terrorists returned to the Dashisha area in Syria after the attack.  

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

Masrour Barzani, leader of the Kurdish Region’s National Security Council, will participate in the Munich Security Conference, which starts on Friday, according to a Council statement. [Rudaw]

 

ERBIL

Thursday, Erbil Governor Nawzad Hadi announced that 12 people were arrested after Kurdish and Arab young men clashed in Erbil on Wednesday. He said the incident is “far” from Erbil’s culture which is characterized by peaceful co-existence and respect for tourists. [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY 

 

During a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Nurettin Canikli late Wednesday on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels, Defense Secretary James Mattis urged Turkey to remain focused on fighting Daesh in Syria, according to a Pentagon statement. “He called for a renewed focus on the campaign to defeat Daesh, and to prevent any vestige of the terrorist organization from reconstituting in Syria,” the statement added. [Hawar]

 

Thursday, in a joint press conference with Lebanese President Saad Al-Hariri in Beirut, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that the US did not give the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria heavy weapons, contrary to Turkish claims. [Rudaw]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

At a Security Council meeting on the worsening crisis in Syria on Wednesday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley accused Russia of not taking enough steps to stop the Syrian forces’ attacks, including the chemical attacks against civilians. He called on Russia to use its leverage over the Syrian government to accept peace and end the war, saying that “Russia can push the regime to commit to seeking a real peace in Syria.” “Now is the time for Russia to use that leverage,” she added, to “push the Assad regime to do what it plainly does not want to do.” [Arabi21][ZamanAlWasl]

 

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the Army of Islam, a Syrian opposition militia, has allowed representatives of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to enter areas under the Army of Islam’s control in eastern Ghouta in order to conduct investigations. [Dorar] 

 

Northwest

Afrin

Thursday, Russia Today reported from a Syrian Army military source that the Syrian Army denied a request from the YPG for Syrian government forces to enter Afrin, until the Kurdish forces surrender their weapons to Syria. [Rudaw]

 

Thursday, following fierce battles with the YPG, the Turkey-allied Syrian opposition militias captured Duraka village in Bulbul subdistrict in northern Afrin, Jaqla Tahtani in Sheikh Hadid subdistrict in western Afrin, and Diwan Fuqani in Jinderes subdistrict in southwest Afrin, and the villages of Karri, Shadiya, and Sharbanli as well as three hills in Rajo subdistrict in northwest Afrin. [Qasioun][EnabBaladi]

 

Thursday evening, Qasioun reports that Turkish forces captured Kharab Samaq village in rural Rajo. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, Hawar reported that the YPG destroyed a Turkish military vehicle on the road between Adma and Alibiskeh villages in Rajo subdistrict, killing 2 Turkish soldiers and wounding 5 others. [Hawar]

 

Thursday, Hawar reported that the SDF destroyed 4 Turkish military vehicles during clashes with the Turkish army in Diwa village in Jinderes subdistrict. [Hawar]

 

Northeast (No reports)

 

Central and West 

Idlib

According to medical sources, six civilians were killed and dozens wounded in intensified Russian airstrikes with vacuum and cluster bombs on the southeast Idlib village of Tarmala on Thursday morning. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, a Turkish convoy, including dozens of military vehicles and equipment, reached Sarman village in eastern Maarat Al-Numan subdistrict in southern Idlib, after passing through the Kafr Lusin area on the Turkish border in northwest Idlib, to establish a new observation point in the region, as part of its monitoring role in the de-escalation agreement reached in Astana. [SyriaHR][Qasioun]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor

Thursday, according to local sources, US troops have been put on heightened alert in the Conoco oil field in rural Deir Ez-Zor, which is Syria’s largest oil field, in anticipation of an attack by the Syrian forces, who resumed shelling the vicinity of the oil field after the US airstrike last week. 

According to the same sources, the US aircraft carried out an airstrike on the pro-Syrian government Iranian militias’ positions in the city of Khasham in Deir Ez-Zor District. [Dorar]

 

Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said that five Russian citizens, who were not military personnel, may have been killed in the US airstrike last week in Syria’s Deir Ez-Zor province, describing the reports putting the Russian death toll in the dozens or hundreds as “disinformation.” [EnabBaladi]

 

The truth may turn on the definition of “Russian military personnel.” Wednesday, CNN said that a number of Russian fighters were killed by US airstrikes on February 7 when the Syrian forces tried to advance into the Conoco oil field in Deir Ez-Zor. However, according to CNN, those fighters were working for a private Russian company called Wagner, which has sent hundreds of combatants to Syria to help both the Russian military and the Syrian forces. It also said that Wagner personnel had been operating with a special forces unit known as the “Daesh Hunters.” 

Meanwhile, Bloomberg quoted Russian sources as saying that 200 professional soldiers, most of them Russian, were killed by the US airstrikes on February 7. [Qasioun] 

DaeshDaily comment. We reported previously that there is actually a legal restriction in Russia on sending Russian troops to foreign countries. The Russian contract soldiers in Syria appear to be a concession to that restriction. It follows that the Putin regime would like to avoid scrutiny of this arrangement. In that context, the US airstrikes were bad news in Moscow. Whether the “disinformation” on this issue is mostly from CNN as the Foreign Ministry says or from a Foreign Ministry anxious to hang that accusation on those reporting the bad news would be a fair question.

 

Albu Kamal

A DaeshDaily source says four SDF fighters were killed in a Daesh attack on Albu Khater village, near Hajin. 

 

Daesh’s A3maq reports that Daesh attacked Syrian forces’ positions and killed 5 soldiers from the Syrian forces on the outskirts of Albu Kamal. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh issues a video of targeting a Syrian Army military position near Albu Kamal city with a rocket. [A3maq]

Daesh publishes photos of targeting 2 Syrian Army positions near Albu Kamal with SPG9 rockets. [ICDNFeb15]

 

Daesh issues a video of the results of “American” bombing on Al-Sha’afa town. [A3maq]

 

South 

Damascus/Rif Damashq 

Thursday, SOHR reported that violent clashes resumed between Tahrir Al-Sham and the Daesh affiliate, Jaish Khaled, on Haifa Street in the Yarmouk Camp south of Damascus, accompanied by intensified mutual shelling, with reports of casualties on both sides. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh says its snipers killed a Nusra fighter in the Yarmouk Camp. [A3maq]

Daesh publishes photos of a couple of school children taking exams in the Yarmouk Basin area. [ICDNFeb15]

 

Daraa/Quneitra

A DaeshDaily source says opposition militias stopped a Jaish Khaled attack near Sheikh Saad town, northwest of Daraa, killing several terrorists. The source says opposition fighters were killed or wounded in the attack. 

Daesh says Jaish Khaled killed four opposition fighters and wounded another in an ambush on the road to Sheikh Saad. [A3maq]    

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Lebanon/Israel

At a joint press conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Thursday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused the Lebanese Hezbollah of shedding the Syrian peoples blood in Syria and jeopardizing regional security. He also urged Hezbollah to cease its activities abroad to help reduce tensions in the region, saying “it is not acceptable for a militia like Hezbollah to operate outside the authority of the Lebanese government.” [Anadolu]

 

In a telegram sent to Israeli ambassadors abroad on Thursday, the Israeli government warned that it will conduct a harsh response if the Syrian government used chemical weapons against rebels near the Golan Heights. It called on the international community to put pressure on Iran to withdraw from Southern Syria. [Dorar]

 

North Africa

Egypt

Thursday, spokesman of the Egyptian Army Col. Tamer Al-Rifa’i said in a press conference that Daesh units are transferring from Iraq and Syria to the Sinai Peninsula, where they are planning to create a new terrorism center. The Egyptian forces have been carrying out a large-scale attack on Daesh locations in the Sinai Peninsula, the Delta, and western desert. Spokesman Al-Rifa’i announced the destruction of 137 targets since the launch of the operation in 2018 by the Egyptian Army in cooperation with the MoD. He added that 53 terrorists were killed and 378 hideouts and over 3,000 tunnel openings were destroyed. [BasNews] [AhlMisr]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

Russia Today posted the story of Yuri Balakshin who joined Daesh in Syria but managed to escape back to Russia. After suffering from headaches at age 20, Balakshin could not find a medical solution for his problem, so he turned to the church, then to a mosque, after which his condition started resolving. When the situation in Syria erupted, he became interested in relevant forums and social media pages and ended up entering Syria through Turkey. However, he decided to flee Daesh once they tried to convince him to carry out a suicide attack. He turned himself in to Russian security, which decided not to prosecute him because of his cooperation.  [Sumaria] 

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

In its annual report released on Thursday, the United Nations announced that 3,438 Afghans were killed, and 7,015 others were wounded in the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan during 2017. According to the report, most of the casualties were caused by suicide bombings and IED attacks. [Hawar]

 

Daesh says it wounded two Taliban fighters in an attack on their position in Chaparhar, on Wednesday. [A3maq]

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

Daesh issues a propaganda video asking its terrorists to keep on fighting. The video might be a response to its defeat by Nusra in the Idlib area. [ICDNFeb15] 

 

Daesh published the 119th issue of its Naba’ magazine, which republishes this week’s attacks in Iraq, Syria, and other countries. It also publishes infographics about its attacks in West Africa. Daesh also vows to continue its attacks in Egypt and claims that the recent Egyptian Army campaign in North Sinai has not been successful. [ICDNFeb15] 

 

February 14, 2018

 

Captured Daesh Terrorists

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Kuwait international conference pledges $30 billion to help Iraq reconstruction. [..]

Guterres says Iraq is “on the right path.” [..]

5,000 more IDP families returning to northern Diyala. [..]

UN expert says Daesh mines will plague Mosul neighborhoods  for a decade. [..]

Daesh Daily report says PMFs on Syria border executed 6 Daesh prisoners. [..]

 

Syria

Tillerson says Iran should remove its troops from Arab states. Iran, Syrian leaders demand that US leave Syria. [..]

UN Syria envoy sees “no end in sight” for Afrin situation. [..]

Macron threatens military attack on Syria over chemical weapons; Syria says it doesn’t use any. [..]

Legal complications surround Daesh prisoners held by SDF. [..]

Daesh attack kills 16 pro-government militiamen in Albu Kamal. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh Campaign

Tuesday, the ministers of Coalition states confirmed their continued efforts to confront the Daesh threat until it is eradicated. Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah said in a press conference with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson on Tuesday that the goal of the Kuwait meeting is to garner international support for the fight against Daesh. He discussed a strategy to ensure the continued coordination across various areas including the combatting of Daesh’s financing sources, preventing the arrival of foreign terrorists, and destroying Daesh’s internet and social media capacities for propaganda, incitement, and recruitment. [Rawabet]

 

Wednesday, British Minister of Defense Gavin Williamson emphasized that the Coalition will not allow Daesh to achieve any victories in Syria and Iraq after all the losses it incurred due to the Coalition’s military campaign against it. He added that the most important point to be discussed in the upcoming NATO meeting is the war against Daesh. [Shafaaq]

 

Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “gave his backing for a bigger train-and-advise mission in Iraq after three years of war with the Islamic State, heeding a call from U.S. President Donald Trump for the alliance to do more against the militants.” [Sumaria] [RT]

 

The US Mine Action Agency said on Wednesday that demining and explosive ordinance disposal in Iraq could take up to 10 years at a cost of $216 million. [Anadolu]

 

CNS News reports that “the Pentagon’s just-released FY 2019 budget request includes $850 million to ‘train and equip’ the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga (along with $300 million for equivalent activities in Syria).”  CNS reports that the budget overview states that “the training, equipment, and operational support in this request will consolidate the gains achieved against ISIS and prevent its reemergence.” Leader of the pro-Iranian Asa’eb Ahl Al-Haq PMF, Qais Al-Khazali, warns that the US troops will face a “dark night” if they remain in Iraq, tweeting “we believe that America wants to keep its military presence in western Iraq in order to find safe havens for armed groups in the future, in order to complete what it has failed to achieve in dividing Iraq through ISIS.” [CNS]

Wednesday, US intel chief Dan Coats said that the political and social challenges in Iraq contributed to the emergence of Daesh, and Iran had a role in creating this crisis in Iraq through its armed affiliates there. [Dijlah]

 

Kuwait conference/Reconstruction

In a speech at the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq in Kuwait on Wednesday, PM Haider Al-Abadi said that his country is suffering from its bureaucracy, but pointed out that the Iraqi government has managed to return 2.5 million out of 5 million Iraqi IDPs to their original areas of residence. “Our vision for development in Iraq is based on the principle of integration rather than conflict,” Al-Abadi said, adding that “we seek integration with our neighbors first, with our Middle East environment, and with the international environment.” He also promised international companies to “confront the financial crisis; fight corruption and bureaucracy; light up economic reform; simplify procedures; and remove obstacles to reconstruction and investment.” [BasNews] [Sumaria]

Al-Abadi said that “our goal is to create a sound economic environment and provide employment opportunities for all of our citizens,” adding that investment in Iraq will help reconstruction, and the number of investors in Iraq is increasing daily. He also noted that the Iraqi government resolves to combat corruption. [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah announced the successful conclusion of the Kuwait conference to rebuild Iraq, with $30 billion raised in total. He commented that the “valuable contributions” of all participants “clearly reflected the international community’s commitment to instilling a safe future for Iraq. [Sumaria]

The Foreign Minister also emphasized that Iraq’s debts to Kuwait are totally separate from what was pledged in the Kuwait conference to rebuild Iraq. [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment. He is referring to the obligations resulting from Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. The fact that Kuwait was the host country for this conference is a story in itself.

 

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that “based on the instruction of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, we announce the allocation of $1 billion to rebuild Iraq and $500 million to support Saudi exports to Iraq. [Sumaria]

Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey will provide facilitations and loans worth $5 billion to rebuild Iraq. [Sumaria]

Wednesday, the UAE announced supporting the reconstruction process in Iraq with $500 million, in addition to private sector investments in Al-Rasheed military base and the Umm Qasr harbor worth $5.5 billion. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Qarqash, emphasized that the UAE’s vision aligns with the vision of Kuwait’s emir that Iraq’s stability is part of the region’s stability. [Sumaria]

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini announced that the EU would invest 400 million Euros in humanitarian, development and stabilization aid to Iraq. According to her, this money will be invested in addition to individual contributions from EU member states. [BasNews]

Those were among the many pledges of Arab and other countries, which were documented by various sources including the Al-Qabas newspaper. Among others, Qatar pledged $1 billion in loans and investments, the Islamic Development Bank $500 million. The Finnish Minister of Commerce pledged $10 million for mine removal. Malaysia pledged $100,000. [Sumaria]

 

Iraq Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari expressed gratitude for the organizations and states that extended grants, loans, and investments during the conference. Al-Jaafari said the amount will contribute greatly to reconstruction, but it will not cover all of Iraq’s needs. [Sumaria]

 

In a closing statement at the Kuwait conference on Wednesday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that “a prosperous Iraq will be a pillar for development and stability in the region.” He said that Iraq is on the right path, and the international community has demonstrated its confidence in it. [Sumaria]

 

Other conference developments. At the Kuwait conference on Tuesday, German Development Minister Gerd Muller urged the reconstruction of destroyed cities and villages in Iraq to facilitate the return of IDPs and refugees to their original areas of residence. According to the minister, there are currently about 100,000 Iraqi refugees living in Germany. Muller says Germany’s Ministry of Development has set up a program to motivate them to return home. He stressed that the main thrust of reconstruction in Iraq should be launched from the Iraqi government itself. He explained that some of the main problems facing Iraq are “the high bureaucratic obstacles, the unfair procurement processes, and the widespread corruption.” He added, “The economy must be the engine of reconstruction in Iraq and I am pleased that so many well-known companies in Germany want to participate in the rebuilding.” [BasNews]

 

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on the sidelines of the Kuwait conference and discussed bilateral cooperation between Iraq and Saudi Arabia and the victories over Daesh. [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment. The $1,000,000,000 pledged by Saudi Arabia to Iraq’s reconstruction was the real message from the Saudis.

 

Wednesday, the office of Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced that Al-Abadi met with Russian Deputy PM Arkady Dvorkovich on the sidelines of the Kuwait conference and discussed strengthening the bilateral cooperation between Russia and Iraq, and the anticipated investment by Russian companies in Iraq. [Sumaria]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

At the opening of the Kuwait conference, UN Secretary General António Guterres and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini called for the continuation of dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad in order to solve the disputes and outstanding issues between both of them. [BasNews] [SotIraq]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

West (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

A security source says an IED exploded, wounding civilians, near a store in Al-Ma’amel in western Baghdad. [Ghad]

 

ANBAR

Falluja

Wednesday, the PMF raided eastern parts of Falluja city in search of wanted infiltrators, according to local sources. Media reported from PMF commander Mahmoud Mardhi Al-Jumaili that PMFs and the Qarma Police carried out searches in various parts of the Qarma subdistrict, after intelligence data indicated that wanted suspects infiltrated the area with returning IDP families. [BasNews]

 

SALAHUDDIN (No reports)

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

The Diyala Police Command announced that a joint security force launched a search in the villages of Abdul Karim, Hassan Khalil, Beni Zaid, Al-Baijat, and Tal Al-Thalab, south of Baquba, eventually destroying a terrorist hideout containing 4 solar cells, 14 battery bombs, and food and equipment. 3 IEDs were found on the road leading to the villages. [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, the Diyala Police reported that a search in areas south of Buhriz and Kanaan led to the destruction of a Daesh location that contained a power generator, 4 solar panels, 14 explosives batteries, and other equipment.  [Youm7]

 

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)

Wednesday, the Deputy Chairman of Diyala’s High Committee to Return IDPs, Ali Al-Saadi, said that the Committee, in cooperation with the Dijla Operations Command, received formal approvals to return 5,000 IDP families to their liberated areas in Jalawla, Al-Jubara, and Saadiya, following security checks. [Sumaria]

 

KIRKUK (No reports)

Hawija

Daesh says it killed a PMF “spy” in Sayyed Hamid village, southwest of Riyadh, on Sunday. [ICDNFeb14]

 

NINEWA

Mosul

Wednesday, a UN mine expert said that unexploded bombs will remain scattered in Mosul city for a decade, putting 1 million or more civilians who want to return to their homes in danger. [BasNews]

 

Wednesday, a security source who requested to remain anonymous reported that a dispute between PMFs in the Sayyed Al-Shuhada’ brigade and Iraqi soldiers led to an exchange of gunfire at the entrance to the 4th bridge in west Mosul, wounding 1 soldier. The source added that a PMF unit in the Sayyed Al-Shuhada brigade arrested 4 members of the police’s 8th division in the Al-Tayran neighborhood in central Mosul. [SotIraq]

 

Southern Ninewa

Hatra

A DaeshDaily source says the PMF Nujaba’ Movement found large quantities of Daesh light and mid-sized ammunition in a tunnel near Sakhriyat village, south of Hatra.

 

Western Ninewa

Baaj

A DaeshDaily source says PMFs executed 6 Iraqi Daesh members who returned from Syria and surrendered near Tal Safouk village. 

 

A DaeshDaily source says three PMF fighters were killed in a Daesh attack in Wardiya village, in the desert near Baaj. The source says the PMFs killed a Daesh female suicide bomber and two other foreign terrorists. 

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

ERBIL

Wednesday, the KRG stated that KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Deputy PM Qubad Talabani, and a number of KRG officials met with a military and diplomatic US delegation led by CENTCOM commander Joseph Votel. The meeting discussed the military and security situation in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, the post-Daesh phase, the discussions between the Baghdad and Erbil technical committees, and the Al-Abadi-Nechirvan Barzani meetings in Baghdad and Davos. Barzani commended America’s continued military support to the Peshmerga in the war against Daesh, expressing hope that they continue. He also reiterated the KRG’s willingness to resolve outstanding issues with the federal government on the basis of the Iraqi constitution. Votel confirmed the continuation of US military aid to the Peshmerga. [Sumaria] [SotIraq]

 

Wednesday, in a KDP meeting, Masoud Barzani again insisted that the violation of the constitution and principles of harmony, balance, and partnership are what led the people of the Kurdistan Region to decide to hold the referendum. He commended the role and sacrifices of the Peshmerga in fighting enemies. Barzani emphasized the role of the KRG parliament in the Kurdistan Region, and said elections are the best option to correct the course of the political process in the Kurdistan Region. [BasNews]

 

DAHUK

Wednesday, the PKK armed branch claimed responsibility for an attack on Turkish Army locations in the Gre Biye area in the Zakho District in northwest Dahuk. It says it attacked the Turkish military base from 8 sides, and claims this resulted in the deaths of 22 soldiers and the wounding of 10 others. [Sumaria] [Hawar]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY 

 

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that the PKK terrorist organization has moved its activities to Syria after having lost its grip in Iraq and after being thwarted by Turkey’s counterterrorism operations. Yildirim also cited the presence of the PKK’s ally, the US, as another reason why the PKK has moved its activities into Syria. [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment. Considering the article just above, perhaps the distinguished Prime Minister should read Daesh Daily before commenting on the helplessness of the PKK. The truth is, of course, that the incompetence of the Turkish government’s foreign policy and its politically motivated Afrin invasion have widened its war with the PKK, further complicating Turkey’s problems. The US is a convenient scapegoat for any bad news that follows.

 

Hawar reports former US Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman saying that Turkey is out of control and that America must take a firm and frank stance towards it, without imposing sanctions. [Hawar]

 

Tuesday, Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli slammed the US for its announcement that it would provide the SDF with financial support, saying that “20 million Vietnamese had given 200 million Americans a hard time during the Vietnam War. Turkey will do five times as much.” He added, “America cannot forget what it went through in Vietnam . . . and what those who returned to America went through.”Bahçeli said that the claim that a Turkish tank had been hit with a U.S. rocket was very serious. “The moment that claim is evidenced, in my eyes the U.S. becomes a criminal state,” he said. [BasNews]

 

Wednesday, the “24” news website reported that the leader of the “Al-Wasat” group, Shahmardan Sari, who has been detained in Erbil for 3½ years, was deported to Turkey on Tuesday evening. Turkish security classifies the Al-Wasat group as a Daesh branch. [BaghdadToday]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Iran in Syria

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Iran to withdraw its forces from several Arab countries, most notably Syria, after the recent escalation on the border between Israel and Syria. [Dorar]

 

Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader, responded to Tillerson by saying that the Iranian military presence in Syria is legitimate and based on a call from Damascus and calling on the US forces to leave Syria. [SyriaNow]

 

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Al-Jaafari said that America’s presence in Syria violates resolution 2254, which confirms the preservation of the sovereignty, independence and unity of Syria. [SyriaNow]

 

Afrin issue

Wednesday, UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura confirmed that there is no clear end in sight to the situation in Afrin, which has been undergoing military attacks by the Turkish Army and its allied militias since January 20. De Mistura called for an unconditional ceasefire to protect civilian life. [Rudaw]

 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Turkey has some legitimate security concerns and that none of the members of NATO have been subjected to more terrorist attacks than Turkey. However Stoltenberg said “we want Turkey to have a parallel and proportionate response.” [Anadolu]

 

Wednesday, the France’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Francois Delattre, warned of the risk of the conflict in Syria going out of control unless the Security Council moves quickly, calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities across Syria to allow unimpeded humanitarian assistance throughout Syria. [Anadolu]

 

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, suggested that to ease the burden on host countries with many refugees, Syrian refugees should be transferred to other countries, pointing out that the war in Syria is becoming more complicated every day and it will be a long time before the country is stable enough for the refugees to return. [Dorar]

 

Chemical weapons issue

De Mistura also stated that the UN cannot verify claims about the use of chlorine gas in Syria, clarifying that Al-Nusra Front is also active in Idlib, killing civilians and threatening the infrastructure. [Rudaw]

 

Tuesday, French President Emanuel Macron threatened to launch a military strike against the Syrian government in the case of repeated use of chemical weapons against civilians. [Dorar]

 

Wednesday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad denied the Syrian government’s use of any chemical weapons because “it is immoral and unacceptable,” adding “the government categorically denies that Syria possesses any weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons.” [EnabBaladi]

 

Daesh prisoners

Arab 21 reports that after a meeting of 14 defense ministers in Rome, the Coalition failed to reach a final agreement on what to do with the foreign Daesh fighters arrested in Syria who could pose a serious security threat if they are allowed to escape justice.  Secretary of Defense James Mattis says that the SDF is holding “hundreds” of foreign fighters in Syria. [Arabi21]

 

The Times issued a report saying that the two British Daesh members who were recently captured have been stripped of their British citizenship for having joined Daesh and the UK does not want them returned to Britain to be tried. Britain insists that they be tried in Syria.  [TheTimes]

 

Northwest

Afrin/Azaz

Dueling reports:

Pro-PYD Hawar reports that the YPG thwarted a Turkish attack on Tala Balilka in the Rajo area, forcing the Turkish forces to flee. [Hawar]

Qasioun reported that Turkish-backed Syrian opposition factions captured Quda village near Rajo. [Qasioun]

 

Turkish forces announced the neutralization of 1,485 YPG members since the start of Operation Olive Branch. This comes as the operation enters its fourth week. [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment. This number is unverified and unverifiable, and probably includes civilians killed by Turkish military action.

 

Northeast (No reports)

 

Central and West 

Aleppo/Idlib

Wednesday, Tahrir Al-Sham launched a large-scale operation to expel Daesh cells in eastern Idlib and, it says, to crush them permanently in Idlib Province. [Dorar]

 

Qasioun reports that a Turkish ceasefire monitoring delegation entered Al-Ghadfa village in southeast Idlib, about 20km (12.5 miles) from the Turkish observation post in Tal Al-Touqan in order to survey the area near the line of contact between the opposition factions and the government forces in southern rural Idlib. [Qasioun]

 

Homs

Tuesday, Rastan in northern Homs saw a demonstration against the presence of Tahrir Al-Sham. An agreement was reached that Tahrir Al-Sham would leave and hand over control to the Rajal Allah brigade, an opposition militia, according to a news correspondent for Al-Modon. [Modon]

 

Sources familiar with the Syrian Badia area near the Iraq and Jordan borders say that there is  cooperation between the Syrian government and Daesh emirs in which the Syrian government facilitated the Daesh emirs’ passage to Damascus through the Syrian Badia. When asked about the purpose of such cooperation, the source said that the Syrian government is probably going to use Daesh against the opposition factions in eastern Ghouta as it recently did in Idlib. [Dorar]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin

US officials say a US military drone destroyed a Russian-made Syria-operated T72 tank in Tabiya on Tuesday – the second defense strike against the Syrian government and pro-government forces in Syria in less than a week. The US military says it destroyed the tank after it entered into the territory of Coalition-backed forces. [Qasioun]

 

Albu Kamal

A DaeshDaily source says 16 pro-government militiamen were killed and 4 others wounded in a Daesh attack on Al-Ghabra village, north of Albu Kamal city. 

 

Daesh says it destroyed 2 Syrian Army military positions and a vehicle with heavy machine guns. [ICDNFeb14]

Daesh publishes photos of the attack. [ICDNFeb14]

 

Daesh says it destroyed an SDF Humvee with a rocket northeast of Al-Susah. [ICDNFeb14]

 

Daesh says it killed or wounded five SDF fighters with a rocket near Bahra village on Monday. [ICDNFeb14]

Daesh says its snipers killed an SDF fighter in Bahra. [ICDNFeb14]

Daesh says it targeted SDF positions near Bahra with SPG9, RGC, and mortars. [ICDNFeb14] 

 

South 

Damascus/Rif Damashq 

Zaman Al-Wasl reports that Daesh fighters launched an attack on Tahrir Al-Sham positions west of Yarmouk Camp. Sources close to Daesh say Daesh is preparing for a “huge” military operation and is preparing vehicle bombs and heavy weapons for the coming operation. [ZamanAlWasl]

 

Daesh says it captured a street and several buildings in the Yarmouk Camp after an attack on Nusra. [ICDNFeb14]

Daesh publishes photos of the clashes. [ICDNFeb14] 

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Jordan/Israel

Wednesday, 7 Israeli soldiers were wounded in a mine explosion near Jericho city. [Sumaria]

 

Al-Rai Al-Youm newspaper reported from a Jordanian government source that the Jordanian government has previously received a request to hand over the daughter of Saddam Hussein, Raghad, to the Iraqi government, and the Jordanian government continues to ignore such requests. [Sumaria]

 

North Africa

Egypt

The Egyptian Army announced the killing of 15 members of “extremist” armed groups and destroying of 11 shelters belonging to militants during the “Sinai 2018” operations. [Hawar]