November 16, 2018
Daesh Tunnel in Shirqat (DD Nov 14)
CoR committee proposes to take government cars away from CoR members & other officials. [..]
Baghdad, Erbil strike new oil export deal. [..]
US denies it will extradite Fethullah Gulen to reduce heat on Saudis [..]
Putin, Erdogan set meeting to discuss Syria constitution committee. [..]
UNICEF says 870 children have died in eastern Syria this year. [..]
Syrian Army, jihadists killing each other in “demilitarized” Latakia. [..]
SOHR highlights plight of 584 women, 1,248 children in SDF-run IDP camps. [..]
Daesh formalizes its human shields strategy in Albu Kamal. [..]
Syrian Army struggling to close Daesh out in Suwayda desert. [..]
Saudi Arabia: CIA concludes Saudi Crown Prince ordered Khashoggi assassination. [..]
Yemen: World Food Program warns of impending famine in Yemen due to war. [..]
Egypt: Egyptian observatory says Daesh showing signs of being bankrupt. [..]
Nigeria: Nigerian Air Force battles Daesh in northeast Nigeria. [..]
Chad: US providing boats, military vehicles to Chad to fight Boko Haram. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
Council of Representatives
The Legal Committee of the CoR proposed a draft law on Friday that would strip state officials of “privileges that they have gained over the past years” to “cut costs.” The legal committee said in a statement that the proposed law would comprise 3 parts. First, it bans officials (including CoR members) from having government cars and other financial privileges. Secondly, it would take back all government cars and auction them. Zaman Al-Wasl notes that the proposal came after a threat from Moqtada Al-Sadr on Twitter on Thursday, wherein he threatened to strip officials of their support if they continued to vote for their own personal interests and privileges. [Zamanalwasl]
Demonstrators in Baghdad demanded the dismissal of the governor of the Iraqi Central Bank from his position. The CoR is expected to investigate how 7 billion Iraqi dinars stored in public bank coffers were lost. The governor says that the dinars were destroyed in a flood in 2013. [Basnews] [National]
Baghdad and Erbil have struck a new deal to export between 50,000 and 100,000 barrels of oil daily from Kirkuk, after oil cooperation stopped between the 2 entities about a year ago. Basnews reports that the White House welcomed this new development. [Basnews] [Aljazeera]
Former Interior Minister of Iraq and Badr Organization commander, Baqir Jaber Al-Zubeidi says that interrogations of Saudi terrorists conducted by the ministry under his command in 2005-2006 revealed that the Saudi government was allowing terrorists to enter neighboring states from which they would enter Iraq without Saudi official knowledge. Regarding the Khashoggi assassination, Al-Zubeidi said that Saudi officials were attempting to spare some involved officials from blame, such as Khalid Bin Ali Al-Humaidan, the Director of Saudi’s General Intelligence Directorate. [Sumaria]
On Friday, a senior foreign policy representative for the European Union told Abd Ul-Mahdi over the phone that the EU approves of the new Iraqi government. He stated that the EU would support Iraq politically, financially, and in security issues. [Sumaria]
West (Mansour, Abu Ghraib, etc.)
Baghdad emergency police said it found an ammunition cache buried underground in Ameriya containing TNT, IEDs, other explosives, and detonators. The cache was reported by civilians in the area. [Sumaria]
A security source in Anbar says a bomb attached to a car exploded on Street 17 in Ramadi city, causing damage. [Sumaria]
A PMF commander of the west Anbar sector says PMF units are ready for any emergencies on the Iraqi-Syrian borders. He says that the top PMF leaders in west Anbar have discussed the security and logistical situation in Al-Qa’im and broader areas. [Rudaw]
Daesh issued photos of targeting a tribal PMF position in the Tilul Al-Baj area with 2 Katyusha rockets. [ICDNNov16] Daesh had reported the attack on Wednesday.
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that PMF units captured a Daesh member near the Makhoul Mountains.
Daesh said it killed or wounded tribal PMF members and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in the Siniya area, northwest Baiji, on Thursday. [ICDNNov16]
Daesh said it shot and wounded an Iraqi soldier in the Al-Qatoun area, west of Baquba, on Thursday. [A3maq]
Daesh said its snipers killed a policeman in Abu Qarma village, in the Al-Waqf area northeast of Baquba, on Thursday. [A3maq]
Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)
Daesh said it targeted the Shia area of Abu Saida with a Katyusha rocket on Thursday. [ICDNNov16]
Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)
Daesh said it targeted a tribal PMF gathering in Al-Islah village, in Jalawla, with 5 mortar shells, on Thursday. [ICDNNov16]
DaeshDaily comment. In such reports, when Daesh says “gatherings” it basically means civilian locations.
The IFP says its 6th division and affiliated units destroyed 4 Daesh depots and 4 tunnels in an operation that covered 6 villages. General Raed Shakir Jawdat, an IFP commander, says 8 IEDs and other explosives were also destroyed. [Sumaria]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
Daesh said on Friday it killed or wounded IFP members and destroyed their Humvee with an IED near Al-A’waj village, west of Riyadh. [ICDNNov16]
Daesh said on Friday it killed or wounded tribal PMF members and damaged their vehicle with an IED near Hay Ash village, south of Hawija city. [ICDNNov16]
Imam Ali Regiments, a PMF faction, arranged a protest in Abbasiya in Basra, demonstrating against the US decision to place their commander Shibil Al-Zaidi on a list of supporters of terrorism. The protesters said that they’d take action against any US decision against them. They burned American and Israeli flags. [Marbid]
On Friday evening, demonstrators in Basra blocked roads with burning tires to protest delays in meeting their demands. Locals said that there were “many” youth taking part in the demonstration and that they demanded basic services, employment, and accountability for corrupt officials. [Basnews]
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REPORTS FROM TURKEY
The State Department has denied a report claiming the Trump administration was mulling how to extradite Gulen. The move was reportedly designed to ease pressure on ally Saudi Arabia after a journalist was murdered.
The US is studying the motivations of a Turkish request to extradite preacher Fethullah Gulen, the US state department said Thursday.
NBC News earlier reported that the White House was attempting to send Gulen, despite reportedly holding permanent residency, to placate President Erdogan at a time when he is agitated by the standoff with Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told AFP news agency it rejected that report. “We have received multiple requests from the Turkish government… related to Mr. Gulen,” Nauert said. “We continue to evaluate the material that the Turkish government presents requesting his extradition.”
She said there was no relation between those extradition requests and the Turkish backlash to continued American support of Saudi Arabia. She said that the White House “has not been involved in any discussions related to the extradition of Fetullah Gulen.“ [DW]
Turkey has reacted angrily to suggestions that it might tone down its attack on Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi if the US agrees to extradite Fethullah Gulen.
Officials said on Friday that there was “no connection” between the investigation into Khashoggi’s murder and the fate of Fethullah Gulen, a former ally whom Mr. Erdogan now regards as his number one enemy. Mr. Gulen lives in exile in Pennsylvania. [TheTimes]
Also see story below under Saudi Arabia
Anadolu claims that Reuters and the New York Times reported that the US announced that it would consider replacing the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman with another “less reckless dangerous” leader. [Anadolu]
DaeshDaily comment. We can’t confirm this report from government-affiliated Anadolu.
Military & security developments
The Turkish army says it killed 68 PKK and Daesh fighters during the period from 9-15 of November. It says total terrorists killed in the “Olive Branch” operation led by Turkey last January is 4585. [Anadolu]
On Friday, Turkey launched a new attack against the YPG in north Syria. [Eldorar]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will discuss Syria’s constitutional committee next Monday. The two presidents are meeting on the occasion of finalizing the marine part of the Russian gas pipeline through Turkey. Previous meetings to discuss forming the constitutional committee have failed, including one such meeting on Thursday. In a meeting at the end of January, the sides have agreed that the committee should be comprised of 3 parts: the Syrian regime, opposition, and guarantor states. [Qasioun]
DaeshDaily comment. OK, show of hands here. Raise your hand if you think democracy in Syria will result from the fraternal cooperation of the presidents of Russia and Turkey.
On Friday UNICEF said in a statement that from January to September 2018, 870 Syrian children have been killed in eastern Syria. It said that this was the “highest number ever” for this time period since the crisis began in 2011. [Rudaw]
The UN says that “bad things” are expected in Syria unless progress is made in negotiations with armed opposition factions. It says it is optimistic though cautious about Idlib. [Qasioun]
US says it will vote against any resolution in the UN General Assembly stipulating sovereignty of Syria over the occupied Golan Heights, stating that resolution is biased against Israel. [Eldorar]
Central and West
The Syrian regime requested that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) send Iranian peacekeepers to Idlib. The IRGC said that its peacekeepers are on the way, and also said that it does not currently have armed fighters in Syria. [Qasioun]
SOHR reported that intense fighting between the Syrian Army and the opposition factions in demilitarized areas including Latakia have produced casualties on both sides. [SyriaHR]
SOHR reported on Friday that in Latakia, jihadists killed 9 Syrian soldiers and the Syrian Army killed 5 fighters belonging to the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Guardians of Religion (aka Harras Al-Din). [SyriaHR]
The Syrian Army blocked an attempt by Jaish Al-Izza to approach demilitarized areas north of Hama. Government media reports that Jaish Al-Izza said that the Syrian Army used light guns and mortars to stave them off. [SyriaNow]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Deir Ez-Zor District
SOHR says hundreds of women and children, as well as Daesh escapees, are homeless and are staying in SDF run camps in Deir Ez-Zor. SOHR sources say 1,248 children and 584 women from various nationalities are kept in these camps under heavy SDF surveillance. [SyriaHR]
Albu Kamal District
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that Daesh issued more restrictive orders in areas under its control in east Deir Ez-Zor province. The orders included:
No one can leave these areas. Anyone who gets caught leaving will be killed. And if someone manages to escape, their house will be blown up.
Anyone who has escaped will be targeted in future Daesh attacks on areas under SDF or government control.
Every person should become a Daesh member, otherwise they could be imprisoned and whiplashed.
Anyone who communicates with the government, the Coalition, or the SDF will be killed immediately and their bodies will be thrown in front of their houses or in the river and no one will be allowed to bury them.
People, especially farmers and cattle owners, must pay more “taxes” to Daesh.
Mobile phones are strictly prohibited. No one may contact anyone outside Daesh controlled areas. Any violation will be punished with death.
No one has the right to buy or sell any furniture.
All tribal and community leaders must renew their pledge of allegiance to Daesh.
DaeshDaily comment. This document is highly revealing. It is essentially the Daesh human shields strategy for situations in which Daesh is surrounded and facing defeat. It is a replay of the west Mosul strategy, which dragged the Mosul liberation campaign out for months despite Daesh’s massive manpower disadvantage and left parts of the city devastated. Daesh intimidates people into staying in their homes or wherever Daesh says, and they do shoot civilians who try to flee, including women and children. Daesh turns these residential neighborhoods into military positions. This forces the Coalition to avoid bombing Daesh, so as to avoid civilian casualties (a military advantage for Daesh) or ensures heavy civilian casualties when they bomb anyway. (a propaganda advantage for Daesh). Either way, Daesh wins. This in turn forces the SDF and US artillery units into relying on ground offensives that could increase their own casualties. In Mosul, we had elite Counter Terrorism Service troops to lead the house-to-house battle where this hostage strategy was employed. The US is now relying on a militia organization to play the same role in Albu Kamal. We wish the Pentagon would break its silence on developments in Albu Kamal and articulate a strategy for how Daesh will finally be closed out.
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that Daesh killed two young men after accusing them of providing information to the Coalition. The source said Daesh claimed it had found photos of Daesh positions in the mobile phone of one of the victims.
Daesh said on Thursday it targeted Syrian Army positions in Al-Ramadi and Al-Khairat villages, near Albu Kamal, with more than 45 mortar shells. [ICDNNov15]
The “popular resistance” attacked the Syrian Army in Daraa with a hand grenade on Thursday in Jasim city in Izra District. The militia claims to have killed 1 Syrian Army soldier in Hama. [Eldorar]
SOHR reported on Friday that Daesh and the Syrian Army fought in east Suwayda, mostly in Tilul Al-Safa, where the Syrian Army shelled Daesh positions with rocket and artillery fire. Local media sources say Daesh killed over 30 Syrian soldiers in the Suwayda desert, including 2 officers. [EnabBaladi] [SyriaHR]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that government forces sent hundreds of soldiers and 25 tanks in addition to Iraqi militiamen to the Al-Safa Hills area.
DaeshDaily comment. This and countless other stories lately from the Al-Safa Hills remind us that the Syrian Army can’t seem to close Daesh out either.
Qasioun reported on Friday that within the past few days the militias that reconciled with the Syrian government, also known as “settlement factions,” have suffered heavy losses due to Daesh mortars and sniper fire in Tilul Al-Safa, eastern Suwayda. 7 were killed and 27 were wounded. [Qasioun]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
The Washington Post reported Friday that the CIA has concluded that the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. [Yahoo]
The World Food Program announced on Friday that if the conditions of Yemen continue to deteriorate at their current rates, then about 18 million people will face famine over the next 6 months. [Anadolu]
The Egypt-based Observatory of Takfiri Fatwas and Extremist Ideas announced that Daesh media is exhibiting signs of bankruptcy. [AhlMisr]
A civilian was killed on Thursday night by an unknown gunman in Ajdabiya in Libya. [Wasat]
A Tunisian counter terrorism agency announced on Friday that 23 people convicted of terrorism would have their assets frozen. [Anadolu]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
Also see stories above under Turkey and Saudi Arabia
Nigerian Air Force spokesman Ibikunle Daramol said that several Boko Haram operatives were decimated Thursday as Air Force fighter jets struck the terrorist group’s locations on the fringes of Lake Chad and Sambisa Forest in Borno State, in a renewed operation tagged “Green Sweep,” targeting terrorists in the Northeast. The bombers strafed the terrorists around Lake Chad as well as areas around the Alagarno Forest near Sambisa. [AllAfrica]
A Nigerian military officer in Maiduguri told AFP on Thursday “We lost three soldiers in the fight and several others are still missing.” The attack on Kareto, a base some 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of the Borno state capital Maiduguri, started late Wednesday. At the same time, Boko Haram fighters attacked Mammanti village, just outside Maiduguri, killing one person and burning the entire village. They then stole hundreds of cattle, the local chief of the village and residents said. [Vanguard]
Daesh said it killed or wounded Nigerian soldiers and destroyed a tank and a vehicle in an attack in Kareto town, near Lake Chad, on Thursday. [A3maq]
In another version, Daesh said it killed three Nigerian soldiers and wounded several others after attacking a Nigerian Army position in Kareto with machine guns, on Thursday. It said its terrorists set on fire 2 tanks and an SUV and captured weapons and ammunition before “returning safely.” [ICDNNov16]
The United States on Friday donated military vehicles and boats worth $1.3 million to Chad as part of a campaign against terrorists in the country. Chad is one of several West African states engaged in Western-backed operations against Boko Haram and Daesh in a region where militants have gained a foothold. Richard K. Bell, US Embassy charge d’affaires, said that the US donated six boats and six trucks to Chad’s military brigade operating in the Lake Chad basin. A group of 13 Chadian soldiers are in training in the United States, Bell said at a ceremony in the Chadian capital N’Djamena. “The threat from Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa is centered mostly in the waters and rivers of the Chad Basin and the northeast of Nigeria,” said Samantha Reho, a spokeswoman for AFRICOM, the US military’s command in Africa. The most recent attack by Boko Haram in Chad was last month, when eight soldiers were killed. [Vanguard]
Senior Afghani intelligence officials warn that the Fatemiyoun militia may return from Syria to Afghanistan. [Eldorar]