An Update On ISIS Activities

April 20, 2018

 

C:\Users\pemd7\Desktop\Mosul.jpeg

Mosul

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

IHEC warns it will nullify votes compromised by vote tampering. [..]

Iraq resumes reparations payments to Kuwait. [..]

Mass grave of executed Daesh fighters found in Old Mosul. [..]

Army kills 18 Daesh who attacked Tal Afar-Syria border. [..]

 

Syria

State Dept. accuses Russia, Syria of trying to destroy evidence of Douma chemical attack. [..]

Lavrov suggests Russia will install its missile defense system for Syria in response to US strikes; influential Israeli expert suggests Israel would immediately destroy it. [..]

Syria Kurdish political spokesman says Trump’s plan to insert Arab forces into Syria would give Erdogan an excuse to keep occupying Afrin. [..]

Tahrir Al-Sham attacks Syrian troops in northern Latakia. [..]

SOHR reports 28 Daesh killed by Coalition airstrike on Hajin, Albu Kamal [..]

Coalition hits Daesh in Albu Kamal with 23 airstrikes in 1 week. [..]

Daesh deal with Syria to evacuate Yarmouk refugee camp is back on, after heavy Syrian & Russian airstrikes. [..]

Deal reached for opposition militias to evacuate West Ghouta for Idlib, Syrian Desert. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) threatened to nullify the votes of any political alliance, party, or candidate trying to tamper with polling place vote counts, emphasizing that they would punish any manipulator who tried to subvert the people’s ability to choose their own representatives.  The Board of Commissioners issued a statement saying that this included any proven attempt to tamper with electronic vote-counting devices, and that legal action would be taken in addition to nullifying votes from the polling place in question.[Rudaw]

 

Muqtada Al-Sadr urged young people on Friday to turn out in the upcoming election.  Al-Sadr wrote in an article, titled “Future Generations and The Future of Generations, that “There isn’t a basis here for me or my family, but most of all, I want to say that I am concerned for the future of Iraq and the future of the current generations, particularly our children and young people who grew up in wars, fighting, sectarian conflict, etc.  I call upon the generation coming of age, with great hopes and liberal minds, who dislike violence and don’t want to see Iraq become another Kandahar or Chicago. . . .  We don’t want them to have an era like the one we lived through; we want them to have a future that they themselves can plan and build.” [Rudaw]

 

On Friday, a CoR member from the National Alliance accused the intelligence services of other Middle East countries of using cyber warfare in Iraq, which he says violates “Iraqi honor.”  Ali Al-Badiri said that foreign “electronic armies” were fabricating videotapes of candidates in the upcoming elections, and criticized the Ministry of Communications for its weak response to this “invasion.”  He added that seats in the Council of Representatives must be won fairly, and that “Iraqi honor” was a “red line” that could not be crossed. [Sumaria]

 

PM Haider Al-Abadi said on Friday that one enemy in the reconstruction campaign is corruption, saying that corrupt people were continuing to frighten people who had already become frightened.  Al-Abadi issued this statement at a tribal meeting in Maysan province, in which he also said, “We will continue to hunt down and destroy Daesh,” pointing to the airstrike the day before yesterday on Daesh fighters in Syria. [Sumaria]

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Coalition says that between April 13 and April 19 it conducted 7 airstrikes on Daesh targets in Iraq, in or near Al-Qa’im (3), Ain Al-Assad base (1), Hawija (1), Qayara (1), and Tal Afar (1)). [InherentResolve] 

 

Friday, Qasioun quoted Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahya Rasul as saying that Iraq is going to conduct more airstrikes on the Daesh-held sites in Syria in the coming days. He added that those airstrikes will continue as long as Daesh still exists on the border with Iraq, which is considered as a threat to Iraq’s internal security. [Qasioun]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

The British Ambassador to Iraq, John Wilks, said on Thursday that the issue of Kirkuk Province will be on the list of issues to be discussed by Erbil and Baghdad after the May elections.  “We must prevent hate, problems, and violence, and recognize the situation in the disputed areas after their recapture from Daesh,” Wilks said in a statement to reporters, adding, “It is necessary to have a collective effort in those areas, and for everyone to be able to participate in free and safe elections.” [SotIraq]

 

Foreign policy

In a statement released on Friday, the United Nations said that Iraq has resumed paying Kuwait compensation for the destruction of Kuwaiti oil fields and facilities during the 1990-91 Gulf War. Since 2014, payments have been suspended because of security and budgetary problems caused by Iraq’s fight against Daesh. “The United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) today made available $90 million to the Government of the State of Kuwait,” the U.N said. “With today’s payment, the Commission has paid out $47.9 billion, leaving approximately $4.5 billion remaining to be paid to the only outstanding claim.” According to the UN body, payouts will be made quarterly as funds become available. If payments are made on schedule, the debt should be repaid by 2021. Kuwait and Iraq agreed last year that payments would gradually increase from 0.5 percent of Iraqi oil proceeds in 2018 to 1.5 percent in 2019 and 3 percent in both 2020 and 2021. [Dijlah]

 

BAGHDAD (No reports)

 

ANBAR

Al-Qa’im

A DaeshDaily source says units of the PMF Ali Al-Akbar Brigade stopped a Daesh attack on the Akashat Compound, south of Al-Qa’im, killing 3 terrorists. The source says 20 terrorists in pickup vehicles attacked the compound but were forced to flee. 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

A DaeshDaily source says Salahuddin Operations Command units found a Daesh weapons and explosives cache in the Makhoul Mountains area.

 

Tikrit

Friday, the PMF Media Center announced that the PMF 23rd Brigade dismantled 7 IEDs during a search operation in the Mtaibija area along the Diyala border. [Sumaria] 

 

DIYALA

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

The Chairman of the Muqdadiya District Council, Adnan Al-Tamimi, said that Coalition warplanes shelled a Daesh hideout in Al-Zor Basin north of Muqdadiya. An Iraqi soldier was killed and another wounded in an IED explosion near a Daesh rest house in Al-Zor Basin.  [Sumaria]

 

The Chairman of the Diyala PC Security Committee, Sadiq Al-Husseini, said on Friday that a Daesh leader, whom he called the “right hand” of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in the province, had been killed.  Al-Husseini said that the bombing of Daesh locations in Al-Zor Basin had killed two Daesh fighters, one of whom was the “right hand” of Al-Baghdadi, according to preliminary information. [Sumaria]

Daesh says it killed an Iraqi Army soldier and wounded three others, including an officer, with an IED in the orchards of Isaiwid village. [ICDNApr20]

 

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)

Sadiq Al-Husseini, the head of the Diyala Security Committee, said on Friday that what he called the “Diyala security border” with neighboring provinces was complete.  Al-Husseini said that joint operations between Diyala and the neighboring provinces had formed a High Committee under the directive of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (the Prime Minister) in order to locate any gaps that would threaten civilians’ security. [Sumaria]

 

KIRKUK

Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)

Friday, Hawar quoted a Tribal PMF official as saying that Daesh conducted a suicide attack against a PMF security checkpoint in the Al-Zab area on Thursday. [Hawar]

 

A DaeshDaily source says the PMF 56th brigade (Badr) killed 2 Daesh suicide terrorists in Sadouniya village, in Riyadh subdistrict. The terrorists were in Iraqi military uniforms. One was Iraqi from Tal Afar; the other was unidentified. 

 

NINEWA

Mosul

East Mosul

Friday, The Ninewa Police Chief, Brigadier General Hamad Al-Jubouri, said that 3 Daesh members were arrested during a surprise raid in East Mosul. [Xendan] 

 

Center for Security Information spokesman, General Yahya Rasul, said on Friday that various quantities of weapons and explosives used by Daesh had been found.  Rasul said in a statement, “A unit from Ninewa Ops Command found 7 explosives belts, 3 IEDs, 24 grenades, a damaged drone, and 15 flash bangs in the area of Al-Faisaliya,” on the east side of the river.  He added that a different unit had found 4 gaps in the embankment in the village of Asriya, and carried out a controlled detonation of 10 mortar shells. [Rudaw]

 

West Mosul

Al-Etejah Press quoted a security source as saying that security forces found a mass grave in Old Mosul containing the remains of over 60 bodies of Daesh fighters and leaders who were executed by their Daesh commanders after they fled battles with the Iraqi Army. [Etejah] 

 

A DaeshDaily source says volunteer teams working with Civil Defense units retrieved 30 bodies in the Al-Farouq neighborhood and buried them in Wadi Okab cemetery in far western Mosul. 

 

A DaeshDaily source says the Ninewa Police found 32 rockets in the Al-Shifa’ neighborhood in west Mosul.  

Friday, the Iraqi MoD announced that the Ninewa 4th Police Emergency Regiment found 23 homemade rockets left behind by Daesh in Al-Shifa’. [Sumaria] This is probably the same story as above despite the number discrepancy.

 

Southern Ninewa

Mosul subdistrict

Friday, the Center for Security Information announced the discovery of 30 explosives belts, several IEDs, and the body of a suicide bomber during a security inspection just southwest of the city. The Center said the search was carried out by the Army 20th division in the Atshana area.  They also found 7 tunnels, which were destroyed. [Sumaria]

 

Makhmur/Qayara

Daesh says it killed or wounded IFP members in clashes in Al-Khadra village, in Makhmur’s Qaraj (Arab) subdistrict. [ICDNApr20]

 

A DaeshDaily source says armed men in a pickup truck wearing military uniforms shot at the oil pipe between the Qayara Refinery and Hammam Al-Alil. The source says the men were shouting “Our oil is being stolen, we want our share.” Maintenance units from the refinery arrived later and fixed the pipe. 

 

Western Ninewa

Tal Afar

Military sources said on Friday that Daesh had been repelled and 18 of their fighters killed on the Iraq-Syria border.  Major Ali Al-Araji of the Army 15th Division said, “Iraqi forces repulsed a violent attack that Daesh made on the Iraqi-Syrian border near the Rabi’a area, and were able to kill the attackers and seize their weapons.”  Al-Araji added that the same forces had spread out along the border for fear of Daesh fighters sneaking into districts in northwest Ninewa, and that they had subsequently launched a search operation in that area to arrest Daesh affiliates. [BasNews]

Sinjar

Friday, a security source said that a 13 year old Yazidi girl was freed after her relatives paid a ransom of $18,000 to the Daesh members who kidnapped her. According to the same source, Daesh kidnapped her as well as her family over three years ago during its attack on Sinjar District. [Sumaria] 

DaeshDaily comment. It is encouraging to see any Yazidi returning home, but the pattern of paying off terrorists to do it is troubling. Not explained in these stories is whether the money is going to the individual terrorists or through them to the Daesh organization, which of course could use it to kill and kidnap other people. 

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

(No reports)

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY 

 

Friday, Anadolu quoted Turkish security sources as saying that 3 Daesh suspects were arrested during 4 security operations in Turkey’s southeastern Adıyaman Province, north of Gazientep. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Chemical weapons

Thursday, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, said that the U.S. has “credible information” that Russia and the Syrian government are trying to eliminate any trace of sarin or chlorine gases at the sites of Douma’s chemical attack. “We have credible information that indicates that Russian officials are working with the Syrian regime to deny and delay these inspectors from gaining access to Douma,” she said. “We believe it is an effort to conduct their own staged investigations. Russian officials have worked with the Syrian regime, we believe, to sanitize the locations of those suspected attacks and remove incriminating evidence of chemical weapons use,” she added. In addition to destroying evidence, said Nauert, Russia and Syria are pressuring witnesses to change their stories. “We have also watched as some people have seemingly been pressured by the government to change their stories about what actually occurred that night. . . . We have reports from credible people on the ground who have indicated that they have been pressured by both Russia and Syria to change their stories,” she added. [Qasioun]

 

Friday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, said that the United Nations asks to be given access to the Syria chemical attack sites. Al-Hussein said if the Syrian government “wants us to believe its narrative, they should have no problem allowing us in.” “By not allowing us in, then I don’t believe what it is that they are saying,” he added. “We believe that if the evidence suggests culpability, the OPCW should be capable and [impartial] enough to make that decision,” he said. [ZamanAlwasl]

  

Friday, Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that based on the available data, the Syrian government has used chemical weapons at least four times since 2014, according to the German Der Tagesspiegel newspaper. “The German government also has unconfirmed indications that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in three other cases,” it added. [Anadolu]

 

Missile defense system

Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the latest US missile strikes against Syria have removed any moral obligation for Moscow not to deliver advanced S-300 missile defense systems to Syria so it can defend itself in the face of such acts of “aggression.” “We promised not to do it around a decade ago at the request of our partners, and we took into consideration their argument that this would destabilize the situation, despite this [S-300] being a purely defensive system,” he said. “We heeded their call. But now we have no such moral obligation,” the top Russian diplomat added. [France24]

DaeshDaily comment. We suggest that the appropriate US response is that when this system is installed, we are committed to destroying it. However, based on the story below, we won’t even have to bother.

 

In a report published on Friday, according to Bloomberg, the Lavrov announcement has raised fears in Israel, which has conducted airstrikes against various targets in Syria. “Israeli analysts and former defense officials say there’s only one likely response from Israel if the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems are delivered to Syria: An immediate attempt to blow them up,” the report said. According to former Israeli military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, the deployment of S-300 in Syria has been a concern for Israel in the past two decades and “at the end of the day, it will happen.” Yadlin told Bloomberg it was inevitable that the S-300 missile system would be deployed in Syria and then targeted by Israel. “If I know the air force well, we have already made proper plans to deal with this threat. After you remove the threat, which is basically what will be done, we’re back to square one,” he said. [Dorar]

 

Friday, Jordan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman, Mohammed Al-Kayed, said that preserving the “de-escalation” zone in southern Syria is a priority for Jordan. Al-Kayed stressed that de-escalation zone in southern Syria brought an end to most of the bloodshed there. He added that the zone is also a move towards a blanket ceasefire in Syrian territory, which preserves Syria’s unity. [Qasioun]

 

Proposal for Arab troops

Arab forces led by Saudi Arabia that enter northern Syria would apparently face Kurdish political opposition. The Secretary of the Communist Party of Kurdistan (Syria), Najm Ed-Din Omar, said that “Sending Arab troops will give Turkey a pretext to legitimize entering its troops into Afrin and other parts of Syria. . . . We need UN peacekeepers, or a no-fly zone over Syrian Kurdistan and the east Euphrates so that our people can live in peace; if Arab forces come, the Turkish regime will say that it is also in Afrin, occupying 365 villages and 7 cities and towns in Afrin, and that it is the same type of ‘Arab force.’” [Rudaw]

Northwest (No repots)

 

Northeast 

Hasaka

A DaeshDaily source says several Daesh terrorists, including Egyptian and Saudi explosives experts and an Iraqi commander, were killed in an airstrike on a house used by Daesh as a vehicle bomb-rigging factory near Dashisha, by the Iraqi border.  

 

Raqqa (No reports)

 

Central and West 

Homs

Friday, SOHR reported that fierce clashes are still ongoing between the Syrian forces and Tahrir Al-Sham in Salim and Al-Hamrat in rural northern Homs, following a Syrian forces’ attempt to infiltrate the opposition-held area. Casualties are reported on both sides. [SyriaHR]

 

Latakia

Friday, Qasioun reported that 12 members of the Syrian forces were killed, and 9 others wounded in a Tahrir Al-Sham attack on their positions in Tal Rasho in the vicinity if Al-Tufahiya Mountain in northern Latakia. [Qasioun]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin District

Friday, Qasioun reported that Daesh launched a surprise attack on the Syrian forces in the vicinity of Al-Duwair village in Ashara subdistrict in Mayadin. Meanwhile, the SDF heavily targeted Daesh in Hajin, in Albu Kamal, with artillery and rocket bombardments. [Qasioun]

 

Albu Kamal District

Friday, SOHR reported that 28 Daesh members, including 7 leaders, were killed by a Coalition airstrike as they were meeting in a house in Hajin last Tuesday. [SyriaHR]

 

The Coalition says that between April 13 and April 19, it conducted 23 airstrikes on Daesh targets in Syria21 in Albu Kamal and 2 in or near Shaddadi. [InherentResolve] 

 

A DaeshDaily source says the earlier Iraqi Air Force airstrike on Hajin targeted a Daesh weapons and explosives factory and killed several Daesh explosives experts, including an Iraqi.

 

South 

Damascus/Rif Damashq 

Friday, SOHR reported that due to the intensified Syrian forces’ artillery and rocket shelling on Al-Tadhamun neighborhood in Damascus and the Yarmouk Camp, Daesh announced that it “reaccepts” the original evacuation agreement reached with Russia and the Syrian government. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh says more than 100 Russian and Syrian airstrikes have targeted Yarmouk Camp, Hay Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Hay Al-Tadhamun, and Hay Al-Qadam since Thursday. Daesh issues a video of the results of the airstrikes. [ICDNApr20]

 

Daesh says that after heavy shelling and bombing, Syrian Army units attacked Hay Al-Tadhamun in   south Damascus city. It says it killed 10 soldiers, including an officer, wounded others, and damaged a bulldozer with a rocket. [ICDNApr20]

 

Daesh says it stopped a Syrian Army attack on Hay Al-Qadam, south of Damascus, killing three soldiers, wounding others, and capturing light weapons. Daesh says it forces the Syrian Army to retreat. [ICDNApr20]

 

Friday, Dorar reported that Tahrir Al-Sham foiled a Syrian forces’ attempt to infiltrate into Al-Yarmouk Camp south of Damascus, killing 10 members of the Syrian forces and besieging others. [Dorar]

 

However, SANA has reported that a ceasefire agreement was reached between the Syrian government and the anti-government militias, including Daesh, in West Ghouta. According to that agreement, all the anti-government militias, including Daesh, should leave West Ghouta and head to Syria’s eastern desert or Idlib. [Qasioun]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Lebanon

In a report published on Friday, Human Rights Watch criticized Lebanese municipalities for what it called the unjustifiable expulsion of hundreds of Syrians from their homes since 2016, as sentiment against refugees simmers. “At least 13 municipalities in Lebanon have forcibly evicted at least 3,664 Syrian refugees from their homes and expelled them from the municipalities, apparently because of their nationality or religion,” from the start of 2016 through to the end of March this year, and almost 42,000 Syrian refugees remained at risk of eviction in 2018,” the report said. [Hawar]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Friday, Afghan media sources reported that five civilians, including a child, were killed, and nine others wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in eastern Nangarhar province. [Sumaria]

 

Daesh publishes photos of some of its terrorists in the Darzab area, in Jowzjan. [ICDNApr20]

 

Daesh publishes photos of cutting off hands and foot of two men in Kunar. [ICDNApr20]

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

Daesh publishes the 128th issue of its Naba’ magazine, republishing reports about its attacks in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Somalia, and Pakistan. It also includes an infographic about attacks related to the Iraqi elections in Anbar, Diyala, and Kirkuk. Daesh also continues its series of security instructions for its members and supporters. [ICDNApr20]

April 19, 2018

 

Yarmouk Camp

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Iraq signs major financial reform agreement with EU. [..]

Human Rights Watch accuses army troops, PMFs in Mosul of seizing houses of families of Daesh members. [..]

Sunni CoR members allege PMF militias are forcing “demographic changes” in areas they patrol, discouraging IDPs from returning. [..]

Iraq, Iran, Syria Russia military & security officials meet in Baghdad to discuss counter-terrorism. [..]

16 Daesh members arrested in several locations in Mosul. [..]

 

Syria

SDF captures alleged accomplice in 9/11 attacks. [..]

SDF in Tabaqa area discovers mass grave of Syrian Army personnel killed by Daesh. [..]

Iraqi Air Force launches airstrikes against Daesh in Albu Kamal District. [..]

Report says Daesh has agreed to leave Yarmouk Camp for Syria’s eastern desert; then it doesn’t. [..]

Islamic militias reported seizing towns from Daesh in Daraa. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

The former and controversial Governor of Ninewa, Atheel Al-Nujaifi, has postponed his call for the establishment of a region including Sunni provinces. He points out that a large number of Sunni candidates are running on other electoral lists.  “From the Sunni point of view, few electoral lists are still representative of the Sunnis . . . as the Sunni representatives joined national electoral lists or Shia electoral lists, leaving only 2 or 3 lists representing the Sunnis . . . because Sunni candidates see that this status alone [i.e., being Sunni] is not enough to qualify them as Representatives.” [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment. Aside from the other issues about him, Atheel Nujaifi is a known separatist. His statement is at least implicitly a complaint that Sunni loyalty is being watered down, thus undermining his cause. However, the rest of us should see the optimistic side of this—that the election alliances in 2018 mark a political turning point against sectarianism in Iraqi politics. Voter opinion does matter in Iraq, and this development reflects increasing public opposition to this sectarianism and a recognition that it has contributed to all the corruption. 

 

In a report published on Thursday, Rudaw said that there are four Yazidi political parties running in the upcoming CoR elections, including the Yazidi Movement for Reform and Progress, the Yazidi Progress Party, the Yazidi Democratic Front, and the Freedom and Democratic Party of Yazidis, while a number of Yazidi candidates are running for election under the KDP and PUK electoral lists. [Rudaw]

 

Reconstruction

On Wednesday, Iraq and the EU signed a financial reform agreement to strengthen regulatory institutions and develop public financial management in Iraq, intended to increase the confidence of donor countries and investors, worth 15.6 million euros.  The agreement was signed by the Iraqi Minister of Planning Dr. Salman Al-Jumaili, the Ambassador of the EU Mission in Iraq Ramon Blecua, and the World Bank representative Emmanuel Coville. Dr. Al-Jumaili said that this signing was the first product of the Kuwait conference, and would strengthen accountability in institutions. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment. This sounds like a dry public administration story but could be highly significant. International and regional organizations, and many governments, have committed huge sums to Iraq reconstruction. Improving the regulatory process and financial management is essential to preventing massive corruption in the spending of their money. 

 

Internally Displaced Persons

Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused PMF militias and Iraqi forces of seizing civilian homes in Mosul and preventing other civilians from returning to their homes.  HRW said on Thursday that “Iraqi security officers refuse to provide security clearances to relatives of suspected Daesh members, to return control of their houses to them or seek compensation, and security forces have destroyed or confiscated some property.”  They added that they considered this a form of collective punishment.  Lama Fakih, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa division of HRW, said “These families deserve the same protection as all Iraqi citizens.  The courts must ensure non-discrimination.”  Hamid Al-Zijawi, deputy chief of the National Security Agency, told HRW on April 17 that families should not have security problems based on the status of their relatives, but did not deny that this could happen on the local level. [BasNews]

 

Sunni CoR members expressed doubts about the ability of the government of PM Haider Al-Abadi to fulfill its promises to return displaced persons to their homes.  Al-Abadi pledged to allow all displaced persons to return to their homes without demographic changes in their home areas.  A member from Diyala, Salah Al-Jubouri, issued a press statement regarding this prohibition of demographic changes, asking, “Does Al-Abadi refer to Tal Afar or Jurf Al-Sakhar or the villages of Amerli, Suleiman Beg, or Yathrib?” These are areas where displaced persons are no longer present due to security or political differences, as well as the armed groups controlling them.  He said, “There are demographic changes in Diyala province, which are mostly carried out by armed factions,” referring to PMF militias. He added that these issues were keeping the rest of the 2 million IDPs who have not yet returned to their homes from being able to return, out of 5 and a half million total displaced, according to government data. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment. The places mentioned are jurisdictions where pro-Daesh residents aided its takeover and victimized other residents, and were then defeated, mostly by PMFs. The Prime Minister’s policy notwithstanding, it is difficult to adjudicate many people’s right to return, because the loyalties of many are suspected. Iraq lacks a formal legal process that will adjudicate these cases, leaving unqualified and often biased PMFs in position to make the decisions. Those decisions deepen the government’s problem and undermine its efforts to maximize the number of IDPs returning home.

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

The British Ambassador to Iraq, John Wilks, called on the Iraqi government to secure appropriate conditions for elections in the “disputed” areas outside of KRG control.  He added that his country was working with the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to help the elections succeed.  Wilks said that the issue of Kirkuk would be part of talks between the Iraqi government and the KRG after the elections, and called for Baghdad to find a suitable solution to Kirkuk after the elections. [BasNews]

 

The adviser to the KRG Security Council, Masrur Barzani, asked for greater support for Peshmerga forces during a meeting on Thursday with General Walter Byte, Commander-in-Chief of the Coalition forces in Iraq.  A KRG Security Council statement said that terrorist movements and attacks had increased in regions of Syria, Iraq, and Kurdistan outside of the area of KRG control, and described these movements as a “warning bell.”  The statement said that the normalization of the situation in Kurdish areas outside of KRG control must accelerate, and Barzani said, “The Peshmerga are constitutional forces and partners in the war on terror.” [Rudaw] 

 

Foreign policy

According to UN diplomats, the UN Security Council has postponed a UN mission visit to Iraq before the May elections at the request of the Iraqi government.  Mohammed Hussein Bahr Aluloom, the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the UN in New York, told the Security Council that “As the electoral campaign starts on April 14th and all the political parties and constitutional bodies are currently participating, Council members will not be able to meet with Iraqi officials, and so the Iraqi Mission asks the Council to postpone the visit to Iraq.” [Sumaria] 

 

During a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi on Thursday, US Special Presidential Envoy for the anti-Daesh Coalition, Brett McGurk, expressed the US support for Baghdad’s right to hunt down Daesh groups in Syria. “The United States supports Baghdad’s demand to eliminate the remaining Daesh pockets in Syria and fortify the Iraqi border against any attempt by terrorists to infiltrate it,” he said. [SkyPressIq]

 

Security cooperation

Military and security officials from Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Russia convened on Thursday in Baghdad to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts.  Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said, “These countries have a common vision in terms of threats and common interests leading to intelligence cooperation.  These have been successful experiences in terms of restoring regional stability and security, which calls for future cooperation.”  He added that the alliance had played an important role in fighting Daesh. [Rudaw]

 

Wednesday, National Security Advisor Faleh Al-Fayad told the pro-Syrian channel Al-Mayadeen that “Baghdad’s official position will be against sending Arab troops to Syria,” adding that “those [Arab] countries are not qualified to send troops to the inflamed Syrian arena.” “Baghdad is publicly communicating and coordinating with the Syrian government, as it is important for countering terrorism,” he added. Commenting on Abadi’s recently announced policy of disassociation, Fayad said “‘disassociation’ is a negative word. Iraq does not disassociate itself from the dangers surrounding it, and builds its relations according to its interests.” [Arabi21]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

Center (Rusafa, Karkh, etc.)

Thursday, the Baghdad Ops Command announced it arrested 4 persons, one of whom is wanted on terrorism charges, in different locations in Baghdad.  [Baghdadia] 

 

North (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)

Daesh says it destroyed an armored personnel carrier with an IED in the Al-Qasr area, in Tarmiya, on Wednesday, killing or wounding the soldiers inside. [ICDNApr19]

 

ANBAR

Falluja

Thursday, the Samarra Ops Command announced that it destroyed 9 Daesh guesthouses and detonated 21 IEDs during a massive three-way security operation south of Al-Thirthar, north of Falluja city. [Ghad]

 

Hit/Haditha

A security source in Anbar said on Thursday that security and tribal forces destroyed Daesh safehouses north of Hit.  The source said that it was part of a search operation in the desert north of Hit. [Sumaria] [Baghdadia] 

 

Anah (including Rawa)

A DaeshDaily source says a Nujaba’ Movement commander and his driver were killed when their vehicle was targeted by a Daesh rocket on the highway near Rawa. 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

Thursday, Military Media Cell announced that the Baiji Ops Command as well as the 51st Brigade detonated over 34 IEDs and destroyed Daesh tunnels during clearing operations in Al-Khanuqa village, south of Shirqat. [IraqPress] 

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

A spokesman for the Diyala Police, Colonel Ghalib Atiya, announced on Thursday that 14 persons wanted for terrorism and other crimes were arrested.  In a statement, he said that patrols from the Baquba and Al-Khalis police departments had arrested the wanted men. [Sumaria]

 

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)

Daesh says it killed a Diyala Governor’s Office employee and stole his vehicle in an ambush on the Military Road in Khanaqin on Wednesday evening. It also says it wounded four policemen and damaged their SUV when they responded to the attack. Daesh publishes photos of the attack. [ICDNApr19]  

 

The Diyala Police Chief, Brigadier General Faisal Al-Abadi, said on Thursday that police freed a kidnapped man after clashes with Daesh-affiliated kidnappers.  “A security force from the 8thDiyala Emergency Regiment freed a citizen who was the victim of a kidnap attempt by Daesh fighters in the area between Khanaqin and Balqana in the northeast of the province.” [Sumaria] 

 

KIRKUK

Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)

Thursday, a security source in Kirkuk reported that 3 Daesh suicide bombers were killed during clashes with the IFP and tribal PMF members in Al-Khadra village in Al-Zab subdistrict. [Sumaria][AlGhadPress]

 

NINEWA

On Thursday, the Ninewa Criminal Court sentenced to death a Daesh defendant who had worked as a judge in their so-called “Sharia courts.”  The official spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, Judge Abd Al-Sattar Birqdar, said that the defendant was a judge in family-law courts created by Daesh in Mosul.  He said that the trial took place in accordance with Article 4 on terrorism.  The Ninewa Criminal Court previously announced on Wednesday that it had issued 815 sentences, including 212 death sentences on terrorism charges, since the recapture of the province. [Sumaria] [Baghdadia] [Roj]

DaeshDaily comment. Daesh sharia court judges were responsible for executing a lot of people.

 

Mosul

An armed military faction close to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani called on Thursday for the UN to open an office in Mosul and step up its efforts to rebuild the city following the war on Daesh, while stressing that the UN was not a substitute for state institutions.  During a press conference in the rubble of Mosul’s Old City, the General Supervisor of the Al-Abbas Combat Division, Maythem Al-Zeidi, took political and election-related questions, and announced a “great humanitarian campaign” for the rebuilding of the city and relief for the families of the killed and wounded. [Sumaria] 

 

East Mosul

Iraqi police arrested 3 wanted Daesh members during a security operation in Mosul, according to a security official on Thursday.  The Ninewa Police Chief, Brigadier General Hamad Namis Al-Jubouri, said in a statement that the Ninewa police had arrested the 3 at an impromptu checkpoint on the eastern side of Mosul. [Rudaw]

 

A DaeshDaily source says the Ninewa Police captured 2 Daesh terrorists in the Al-Intisar neighborhood.

 

A DaeshDaily source says a child was killed and another severely wounded when a Daesh leftover IED exploded in the Ghabat area, on the river across from central Mosul.

 

The Center for Security Information made an issue of a media report that the village of Alam Louk had been captured by Daesh, and denied that this happened.  The Center called on the media to verify stories before publication. [IraqPress]

 

West Mosul

Thursday, the Iraqi MoD announced that it captured 3 Daesh members in Tal Al-Ruman in far southwest Mosul. [Sumaria]

 

A DaeshDaily source says the Ninewa Police captured 4 Daesh members, including Mohammed Abd Okab, the Daesh hisbah official of Hatra, in Hay Al-Mamoun in far southwest Mosul.

 

A DaeshDaily source says the Ninewa Police captured 2 Daesh terrorists in the Al-Shuhada neighborhood.

 

Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced that the Ninewa Ops Command found a Daesh laboratory for the manufacture of rockets and IEDs during a search operation in the Al-Farouk area of Old Mosul. [Etejah] 

 

North Mosul

Thursday, the Iraqi MoD announced that the Ninewa Police arrested two criminals convicted of murder charges in the Al-Jamasa neighborhood in north Mosul, south of Badoush. [Sumaria]

 

Southern Ninewa

Hammam Al-Alil

A DaeshDaily source says Daesh terrorists killed an Iraqi Army member with a silenced gun after sneaking into his house in Albu Saif village.

 

Qayara

A DaeshDaily source says a Coalition recon drone fell near Al-Shurtaniya village, in Qayara, after a technical malfunction. The source says PMF units in the area refuted social media reports about shooting the drone down. The PMFs handed over the drone to Coalition units at Qayara military base. 

 

WesternNinewa

Tal Afar

Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul reported that the Ninewa Ops Command found 5 IEDs, 2 grenade launchers, 3 mortar shells and 3 artillery shells left behind by Daesh during search operations at the Waeliya Gas Factory. [Etejah] 

 

Baaj

The press office of PM Haider Al-Abadi said on Thursday in a statement that the Iraqi Air Force had carried out lethal strikes against Daesh in Syria.  The statement said that the strikes were carried out along the Iraq-Syria border on the orders of Al-Abadi in his role as commander-in-chief. The exact location was not specified. [Sumaria] 

DaeshDaily comment. Daesh still holds some of the border area in southern Hasaka and menaces Iraqi PMFs patrolling the Ninewa western border.

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

Thursday, an Asayesh source said that two days ago, Daesh set free a Yazidi girl, Dalal Muhsin, after her father paid a ransom of $200,000 to the Daesh members who kidnapped her. The source added that Dalal was kidnapped and locked up near the Syria-Turkey border. [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY 

 

In a statement released on Thursday, Turkish security forces announced that 4 PKK members were “neutralized” in a Turkish security operation two days ago in the Kolb area of Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakir Province. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Eric Bahon announced that the US is officially engaged with Arab states in negotiations to possibly replace the US troops in Syria with Arab forces. “The U.S. has asked its allies, including our partners in the region, to take greater responsibility for turning Syria into a stable and peaceful place where Daesh will never be able to re-emerge. We will keep consulting our allies and partners about future plans,” he added. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, Sputnik quoted a Russian military source as saying that “Al-Nusra Front and the Free Syrian Army are expanding their military control over territory in southern Syria in order to establish a US-sponsored self-government there.” He added that the anti-government militias are planning a coordinated attack on the Syrian forces in the southern provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and Suwayda so as to accuse the Syrian government of violating the “de-escalation” agreement in the region. [Dorar] [Sumaria]

 

Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Britain and France of being the source of chemicals in East Ghouta. “Syrian government troops have found in East Ghouta containers with chlorine, the most deadly chemical weapon, brought from Germany, along with smoke barrels made in the city called (guess where?) Salisbury, the UK,” she emphasized. [EnabBaladi]

DaeshDaily comment. Referring to this and the previous story, one has to admire the ability of the Russians to devise creative story lines out of actual events. 

 

Wednesday, The US Treasury Department put Syrian national Nassif Barakat and his Syria-based company on a terrorist list for smuggling Syrian and Lebanese immigrants with false documents to the U.S, using a variety of travel routes. [ZamanAlwasl]

 

Northwest (No reports)

 

Northeast 

Hasaka

A DaeshDaily source says Daesh arrested 18 Iraqis in the Dashisha area near the Iraq border on suspicion of being PMF spies. The source says Daesh later released 8 of them, who were relatives of Daesh members. 

 

Wednesday, Zaman Al-Wasl reported that eight civilians were killed, and others wounded in Coalition airstrikes on a Daesh-held prison in Al-Sirajiya village east of Abu Hamdha village in the Shaddadi subdistrict.  [ZamanAlwasl]

 

Raqqa

Thursday, the German Bild newspaper reported that the SDF captured Mohammed Haider Zammar, a Syrian-born German national accused of being involved in the planning of the September 11 attacks in 2001. He served as an Al-Qaeda recruiter for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. He joined Daesh in his later years. [Hawar]

 

West Raqqa (Tabaqa, etc.)

A DaeshDaily source says the SDF found the bodies of 60 Syrian Army soldiers, who were executed by 

Daesh in 2014, in a mass grave near the Al-Tabaqa military airport and handed them over to the Syrian government. 

 

Central and West 

Aleppo/Idlib

Thursday, SOHR reported that 20 people were injured when a violent explosion of unknown causes shook the Industrial Area in Idlib city. [SyriaHR]

 

Hama

Thursday, Qasioun reported that the anti-government National Army’s 4th Corps foiled a Syrian forces attempt to recapture the positions they had recently lost near Qubbat Al-Kurdi village in Salamiyah District in eastern Hama, killing 8 members of the Syrian forces and wounding others. [Qasioun]

 

Homs

Daesh says a group of its terrorists attacked 3 Syrian Army positions north of the Third Station, east of Tadmur, on Wednesday evening, killing or wounding soldiers, destroying a 122mm cannon, and capturing a machine gun-mounted vehicle in addition to weapons and ammunition. [ICDNApr19]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin District

A DaeshDaily source says 6 Syrian government troops were killed and 4 wounded when Daesh targeted their positions near Al-Omar Oilfield with 12 rockets. 

 

Albu Kamal District

The Coalition says the Iraqi Air Force conducted an airstrike near Hajin, Syria, against Daesh terrorists operating near the Iraq-Syria border on April 19. The strike was approved by the Iraqi Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Dr. Haider Al Abadi. It says the operation was planned and executed by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command with intelligence support from the Coalition.

“This operation highlights the capabilities of Iraq’s armed forces to aggressively pursue Daesh and to maintain their country’s internal security,” said Brig. Gen. Robert B. Sofge, deputy commanding general of operations, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. [InherentResolve] 

 

A DaeshDaily source says 24 Daesh terrorists, including an Iraqi and an Egyptian commander, were killed in an airstrike on a Daesh guesthouse in Hajin. (We don’t know whether this is related to or separate from the previous story. Hajin has been a frequent airstrike target.)

 

A DaeshDaily source says the SDF released 14 Daesh terrorists, including an Iraqi commander, in exchange for 20 captured SDF members, near Al-Bahra village. The source says the exchange was facilitated through mediation by local tribal leaders. 

 

A DaeshDaily source says more than 200 Daesh terrorists are trapped in Hajin suffering from lack of food and medicine supplies. The source says many terrorists have already fled to Al-Susah town. 

A DaeshDaily source says Daesh captured 4 Syrian Army vehicles loaded with food supplies in the Albu Kamal area. The source says Daesh distributed the supplies among its members in Al-Susah and Hajin.

 

A DaeshDaily source says 14 government forces members, including fighters from Iraq’s Nujaba Movement, were killed in a Daesh attack near Al-Sukkariya village. 

 

Daesh says it targeted a Syrian Army military position in Sukkariya village with an SPG9 rocket, killing one soldier and wounding another. Daesh published photos of the attack. [ICDNApr19]

 

Daesh says it targeted Syrian Army positions in Al-Ashayer and Al-Ghabra villages with 13 mortars. [ICDNApr19]

 

Daesh says its snipers killed a Syrian soldier near Albu Kamal. [ICDNApr19]

 

South 

Damascus/Rif Damashq 

Thursday, Enab Baladi quoted the pro-Syrian government “Damashq Alan” network as saying that Syrian forces will resume their military operations against Daesh in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad neighborhood and Al-Yarmouk Camp after the breakdown of the evacuation agreement reached between Russia and Daesh as Daesh wanted to lay down new conditions before evacuating the region. According to Damashq Alan, Daesh laid down new conditions after “the Daesh affiliate, Wilayat Al-Khair group, refused to receive their families south of Sukhnah.” [EnabBaladi]

 

Thursday, according to pro-Syrian government media sources, Dorar reported that an evacuation agreement has been reached between Russia and Daesh. Under that agreement, Daesh will leave Al-Hajar Al-Aswad neighborhood and Al-Yarmouk Camp and head to Syria’s eastern desert. That agreement came after the Syrian forces offered Daesh fighters 48 hours to approve the deal and evacuate Al-Yarmouk camp and Al-Hajar Aswad neighborhood. Al-Watan journal, close to the Syrian government, said that “in case Daesh refuses to evacuate the area, the army and their allies are ready to launch a military operation to recapture the area and eliminate Daesh in it.” [Dorar] [Qasioun] [BasNews] 

 

A DaeshDaily source says four civilians were killed and 20 Daesh terrorists were killed or wounded in Russian airstrikes on the Yarmouk Camp and the Al-Hajar Al-Aswad area. The source says government forces, using loudspeakers, gave a 72-hour ultimatum to Daesh to leave the area, and several Daesh terrorists have already surrendered. The source also says Daesh is trapped in the area and it suffers from severe lack of food and medical supplies.

 

Thursday, the Syrian government announced that under a previous agreement reached with the Syrian government, Jaish Al-Islam members and their families have started to evacuate Al-Dumair city, 40 km (25 miles) northeast of Damascus, heading to Jarabulus in northern Syria near the Turkish border. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, Dorar reported that the Syrian forces, backed by the Suhail Al-Hassan militias, captured several points on the outskirts of Al-Ruhaiba village in east Qalamoun, following clashes with the anti-government militias there. [Dorar]

 

Daraa/Quneitra

Thursday, Dorar reported that Tahrir Al-Sham and the other Islamic militias participating in the anti-government joint ops room, “Repelling the Aggressors,” have recaptured Sheikh Saad, Jillen and all the other areas recently captured by Jaish Khaled this morning in rural western Daraa, following fierce clashes with Jaish Khaled, with reports of casualties on both sides. [Dorar]

 

SOHR reported that violent clashes were still ongoing between the Daesh affiliate, Jaish Khaled, on one hand, and Tahrir Al-Sham and other Islamic factions in Al-Sheikh Saad, Ashtara and Jillen as well as other locations in Al-Yarmouk Basin in rural western Daraa, following a Daesh attack on the latter’s positions in the region, in which Daesh managed to capture Sheikh Saad northwest of Daraa. Meanwhile, Tahrir Al-Sham and other Islamic factions had launched a counterattack on Daesh in order to recapture Sheikh Saad. At that point, at least 6 members of Tahrir Al-Sham and the other Islamic factions as well as several members of Jaish Khaled had reportedly been killed. [SyriaHR] [Qasioun]

 

Daesh says its affiliate, Jaish Khaled, attacked opposition groups in Sheikh Saad and Masaken Jillen (site of an old military housing complex). It says one of its suicide terrorists detonated a vehicle bomb, killing or wounding “tens” of fighters. It says heavy clashes erupted after that. It says 35 opposition fighters, including 6 commanders, were killed and 42 were wounded in the attack. It says its terrorists returned safely after capturing vehicles, weapons, and ammunition. [ICDNApr19]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

Iran announced its rejection of Turkish military operations against the PKK in northern Iraq, emphasizing the need to respect sovereignty.  Iranian Defense Minister General Amir Hatami, who met on Thursday with Iraq’s National Security Adviser Faleh Al-Fayad, made the statement during the first joint committee for defense cooperation between Iran and Iraq, held in Baghdad. “We strongly believe that Iraq should not become a place to settle accounts between other regional countries. That is why Iran does not support military operations in northern Iraq,” said Hatami. [Rudaw]

 

See related story under Iraq National News above.

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh says it destroyed an Egyptian Army M113 vehicle with an IED near Al-Joura military airport, south of Sheikh Zuweid, on Wednesday, killing the soldiers inside. [ICDNApr19] 

 

Daesh says it damaged an Egyptian Army armored personnel carrier with an IED in the Ubaidat area, west of Sheikh Zuweid, on Wednesday. [ICDNApr19]

 

Daesh publishes photos of the 2 terrorists who attacked an Egyptian Army battalion in the Qasima area, in Central Sinai, on Sunday. [ICDNApr19]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Daesh says it killed an Afghan government “spy” in his house in Sholana village, in Chaparhar. [ICDNApr19]

 

Daesh says it shot and killed a Taliban member in Chaparhar on Wednesday. [ICDNApr19]

 

Daesh says it killed a police officer and a policeman and stole their weapons in Jalalabad. [ICDNApr19]

April 18, 2018

 

 

Turkish Troops in Northern Iraq

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Ninewa Criminal Court issues 815 terrorism sentences, including 212 death sentences. [..]

KDP still trying to create a unified Kurdish electoral list. [..]

Turkish military, PKK still killing each other in northern Erbil. [..]

 

Syria

Chemical weapons inspectors further delayed by armed attack on security team. [..]

Russia, US reps at UN exchange hostile jabs over Syria’s chemical weapons. [..]

Report says Iranian troops in Syria now focused mostly against US troops. [..]

YPG in Hasaka deploying border guards on Turkey border under US plan. [..]

Russian bridge across Euphrates in Deir Ez-Zor threatens SDF positions. [..]

 

Other countries

Australia:  Iraq arrests two Daesh members who plotted to blow up Australia-Abu Dhabi flight. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

Muqtada Al-Sadr expressed his fears about attempts of fraud in the upcoming elections.  In a statement, he said he met yesterday with the Dutch Ambassador to Iraq, Matthjis Wolters, discussing a number of issues including the upcoming elections.  Sadr emphasized the need for fair and transparent election practices, including UN supervision, and said that the Iraqi people needed to develop open relations with other countries, especially Europe.[Rudaw]

 

The PM for the Kurdistan Region discussed the political and electoral process in Iraq with the UN Special Envoy on Wednesday.  Nechirvan Barzani received the envoy, Jan Kubis, to discuss the elections for the Iraqi Council of Representatives in May, and particularly the participation of the Kurdistan Region in the elections. [BasNews]

 

The US announced on Wednesday that it did not support any specific candidate to lead the Iraqi government, emphasizing that it would work with whichever candidate wins the election.  US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said during a weekly press conference in Washington that the Trump administration does not support any specific candidate.[BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment. This is, of course, what they have to say in the current situation, especially because some Iraqi politicians are trying to win votes by making the US a campaign issue. The official statement should not, however, be read to infer that the US has no strong opinions about this election. The stakes are huge for Iraqis, but the US has a lot at stake too, and most of the vast sums of money pledged for Iraq’s reconstruction have behind them some confidence,  along with an element of hope, that the government of Iraq will prove worthy of this support, and of all the sacrifice and money expended on its behalf over many years.

 

Reconstruction

PM Haider Al-Abadi, during a speech to tribal leaders in Diwaniya, said “We are determined to achieve a second victory after breaking Daesh and defeating them, which is the victory of reconstruction. . . . We will not stop pursuing Daesh either in Iraq or in the region.” [Sumaria]

 

Internally displaced persons

Al-Abadi said on Wednesday that the Iraqi government is continuing to restore all displaced persons to their homes, while stressing the need to prevent Daesh from causing demographic changes.  In a speech at the 10th conference of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent in the Middle East and North Africa, he said “The world imagined that Iraq was finished in 2014, but we have achieved strength and unity in our country and overcome Daesh.” [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) media director, Jawad Al-Shamri, said that “there is no truth to the Amnesty International report referring to cases of rape and sexual exploitation of Daesh-affiliated women in IDP camps.He said the reports are “baseless.” [IraqPress] 

 

However, the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration, branches of which are in Ninewa and Kirkuk provinces, asked for reports on the situation in IDP camps in order to respond to the Amnesty International report.  The Amnesty report referred to cases of rape and sexual exploitation of Daesh-affiliated women in the camps.  Ministry spokesman Staar Nurouz told reporters, “We directed the departments in Ninewa and Kirkuk to provide us with up-to-date reports on the camps to confirm what the Amnesty International report said . . . . The Ministry is waiting for reports from these branches.”

Amnesty International’s report, released on Tuesday, said that women and children with alleged links to Daesh are being denied humanitarian assistance, prevented from returning to their homes, and being subjected to sexual violence.  The organization’s report was based on interviews with 92 women in 8 camps for displaced persons in Ninewa and Salahuddin, as well as interviews with 30 NGO camp workers, 11 camp administration officials, and 9 current and former UN officials.[BasNews]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

North (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)

Daesh says it blew up on Monday the house of an Intelligence Service member in Nadim village, near Meshahda, with IEDs, wounding him. [ICDNApr18]

 

Daesh says it killed an Iraqi Army member with machine guns in Tarmiya on Monday. [ICDNApr18]  

 

South (Dora, Yusufiyah, Mahmudiya, etc.)

Wednesday, the Baghdad Ops Command announced that 15 IEDs and 2 mortar rounds left by Daesh were found during search operations in south Baghdad. [Baghdadia] 

 

West (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Iraqi National Security Service said it captured a Daesh terrorist belonging to the Daesh Al-Furqan Brigade, based on accurate intelligence information, as he  tried to sneak into Baghdad. [PUKMedia] 

 

Total Baghdad incidents reported:   2(Includes only incidents reported)

Total IED incidents reported:   2

 

ANBAR

Ramadi

On Tuesday, Iraqi forces began a 7-part operation to hunt down Daesh fighters north of Ramadi.  A source in Anbar Operations Command said in a statement that they had embarked on an operation to hunt down fighters in several areas north of Anbar, from the desert of Lake Thirthar to the southern shore of Lake Thirthar.  The source added that the operation was under the supervision of the Anbar Operations Commander, Major General Mahmoud Al-Falahi, and that the 10th Anbar Police Emergency Division and the Popular Mobilization Forces and tribal forces were participating in the operation, with air support from the Coalition and the Iraqi Air Force.[BasNews]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced that with air support from Iraqi warplanes, 6 Daesh members were killed during search operations in Salahuddin, including 4 in the Kanuqa Mountains south of Shirqat and 2 in Tikrit. [Shafaaq]

 

A DaeshDaily source says a Salahuddin Operations Command soldier was killed by a Daesh IED near Khanuqa village, south of Shirqat.

Daesh says it killed a PMF fighter, wounded two others, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in Khanuqa village. [ICDNApr18]

 

Baiji

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Salahuddin Police announced they found and destroyed 15 explosives belts, 15 grenades, 5 IEDs, 15 land mines and a workshop for the manufacture of car bombs and explosives, while clearing the area extending from Makhoul subdistrict to Bakka Bridge in the Baiji desert. [Etejah]

 

A DaeshDaily source says Kata’eb Hezbollah killed 2 Daesh terrorists and captured another in clashes in the Makhoul Mountains area. However, 3 KH fighters were killed. 

 

A DaeshDaily source says the KH stopped another Daesh attack in the Makhoul Mountains area on Wednesday evening, killing 5 terrorists including Ahmed Jum’a, a Saddam Army captain who joined the AQI back in 2007 before he joined Daesh. However, 4 KH fighters were also killed. 

 

Southern Salahuddin (Balad, Dujail)

Daesh says it attacked an Iraqi Army military position Adhiya village in Ishaqi on Tuesday, killing four soldiers and wounding six others, including a lieutenant colonel. Daesh also says it destroyed an IFP vehicle that came to the area, with an IED, killing or wounding the soldiers inside. [ICDNApr18]

 

Daesh says it destroyed a Badr militia vehicle with an IED in Albu Hassan village, in Yathrib, on Tuesday. [ICDNApr18]

 

DIYALA

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)

Wednesday, Bas News reported that four people were wounded, including two Iraqi Federal Police (IFP) officers, in a terrorist attack near Khanaqin. According to local sources, the two IFP members were wounded while trying to foil an attempt by 7 gunmen to kidnap civilians near a factory in Khanaqin. [BasNews]

 

Wednesday, a security source in Diyala said that 3 civilians were wounded when unidentified gunmen opened fire on their vehicle on the outskirts of Khanaqin District. [Sumaria]

 

KIRKUK (No reports)

 

NINEWA

Wednesday, Ninewa Criminal Court announced that since the recapture of the province, 815 sentences, including 212 death sentences and 150 sentences of life imprisonment, have been issued to people convicted of “terrorism.”  The spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, Judge Abd Al-Sattar Birqdar, said in a statement, “The majority of these sentences affected Daesh fighters, proven to have conducted criminal operations, in public trials held in accordance with the law. . . . The Court also issued other sentences, including 341 sentences of provisional imprisonment, but 112 defendants were released after their guilt was not proven.”  [Sumaria] [Baghdadia] [Anadolu]

 

The judge also said that Ninewa Criminal Court sentenced a well-known Ninewa lawyer to death for joining Daesh and participating in the assassination of several judges.” [Baghdadia] 

 

Mosul

Security forces belonging to the Ninewa Operations Command arrested 6 wanted persons and detonated 35 IEDs. Another force arrested 6 wanted persons in Al-Kawar in southwest Mosul, and engineers blew up 2 explosive devices in nearby Al-Sina’a and detonated 6 IEDs in Qara Tapa, north of Tal Afar Airport. [Buratha

 

The spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior, Major General Saad Maan, announced on April 18th that intelligence units had arrested a man with a silenced pistol, glycerin usable in C4 explosives, and 9 homemade explosives in west Mosul.[IraqPress]

 

In a statement released on Wednesday, Security Media Center denied a report that Daesh has captured Alam Louk village in east Mosul. [Sumaria]

 

Southern Ninewa (No reports)

 

Western Ninewa

Baaj

A security source said Wednesday that security forces had killed a Daesh-linked smuggler in a military operation near the Iraq-Syria border.  The exact location on the border was not clear. The smuggler, Abu Hudayfeh Al-Iraqi, aka Al-Aydhab, was responsible for transporting weapons and explosives to Daesh.  He was killed in a tunnel near the border following an intelligence lead. [Sumaria] 

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Babel

Wednesday, the Babel Police announced they found a large cache of IEDs in the Al-Fadhiliya Al-Oula and Al-Abd Wais areas in Jurf Al-Sakhar in Al-Musayyib District, northern Babel, as part of a comprehensive plan to secure the upcoming CoR election. [Baghdadia] 

 

Dhi Qar

Wednesday, a local source said that security forces arrested a 60 year old man wanted on terrorism charges in Al-Fajr subdistrict in northern Dhi Qar Province. [Ghad] 

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

ERBIL

Wednesday, a member of the KDP politburo, Hoshyar Zebari (Iraq’s former Foreign Minister), said that the KDP, as the largest Kurdish party, is seeking to unify all the Kurdish parties running for the upcoming elections under one electoral list in order for the Kurds to enjoy a strong position in the Iraqi Council of Representatives as well as other federal institutions in Baghdad. He argued that the multiplicity of Kurdish electoral lists in the current situation isn’t a healthy phenomenon due to the challenges facing the Kurds now. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment. We don’t like to criticize such a distinguished gentleman, but while Kurdish political unity is good in some ways, unity imposed by the KDP to serve its own, often dubious purposes is not. The “current situation” is not good for the KDP, but the independence demonstrated by other parties in the face of KDP pressure is good for the KRG and for Iraq. The KDP is the source of the current disunity and should not pose as the solution.

 

Wednesday, Turkey’s Chief of Staff announced that 5 PKK terrorists were neutralized in Turkish airstrikes on 3 PKK positions in the Zab area near the northwest border of Iraqi Kurdistan. [Anadolu]

 

Wednesday, Hawar reported that the PKK in northern Iraqi Kurdistan attacked Turkish Army personnel in Tal Bayrak village in the Barzan subdistrict of Mergasor District in northern Erbil, killing 5 Turkish soldiers and destroying 3 Turkish military sites. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment. Barzan is the home territory of the Barzani family.

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Chemical weapons

Wednesday, Hawar reported that a UN security team came under fire in Douma while doing reconnaissance for OPCW inspectors intending to visit sites of the suspected chemical weapons attack.  OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü said the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) had decided to carry out reconnaissance at two sites in Douma before the inspectors would visit them. “At site two, the team came under small arms fire and an explosive was detonated. The reconnaissance team returned to Damascus,” he said. Britain’s ambassador to the OPCW, Peter Wilson, said it was now unclear when the inspectors would be able to reach Douma. [Hawar]

 

Tuesday, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia rebuffed the new Western bid for an investigation into the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Douma, telling the UN Security Council that there was no point establishing a new inquiry to determine blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria because the United States and its allies had already acted as “judge and executioner.” “The idea of creating a mechanism on attributing responsibility for the use of chemical weapons no longer makes any sense as Washington and its allies have already determined who’s guilty and in essence are already acting like self-appointed executioners,” Nebenzia said. [Qasioun]

 

On the other hand, Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelley Currie told the UN Security Council that “Russia has called us here as part of a messaging campaign to try to distract from the atrocities committed by the (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s) regime.” “In order to do that, Russia has asked this Council to focus its attention on the one part of Syria where the Assad regime isn’t pummeling civilians to death with barrel bombs or banned chemical weapons,” she said. [Qasioun]

 

Wednesday, the Belgian weekly Knack magazine reported that 3 Belgian companies, including A4E Chemie Trading, Anex Customs, and Danmar Logistics, are being prosecuted for exporting to Syria and Lebanon 24 shipments containing a total of 168 tons of isopropanol, a product used to manufacture chemical weapons material such as sarin gas, between May 2014 and December 2016, without the necessary authorization. [Hawar]

 

Russia

Wednesday, Wes Mitchell, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said that the US doesn’t seek confrontation with Russia in Syria, but warned that it is ready to use force if needed. He also noted that Russian mercenaries have tried to attack US military positions in Syria. “We do not seek a confrontation. But our forces will not hesitate to use necessary and proportionate force to defend themselves as they are in engaged in operations,” Mitchell said. According to Mitchell, the US has fulfilled its role in preventing the escalation of conflict with Moscow, maintaining contact with it via special channels created to prevent incidents in the very complicated and “overloaded” battle space. He added that the US and its allies are close to defeating Daesh in Syria and Iraq. “In the upcoming days and weeks, the US and its allies will weaken and defeat Daesh, support a stable Syria, and limit the malicious influence of Iran,” Mitchell said. [Qasioun]

 

Foreign policy

United States

Wednesday, Syria’s presidential Political and Media Adviser Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban said that “the media leaks that the US President Donald Trump called for replacing the US forces there by an Arab alliance are very strange.” “In case the media leaks were true, it would be very strange for an illegal occupying power to send an invitation to other parties to come and occupy the country as well,” she added. [Dorar]

 

Iran

 In a report published on Wednesday, Foreign Policy magazine said that with Daesh in retreat and anti-regime militias losing ground, Iranian-backed militias in Syria are shifting their focus on the ground from battling Daesh toward Washington and its allies. According to the FP report, Western military officials and independent analysts have long said it was only a matter of time before U.S. forces on the ground in Syria were targeted by the Iranian-backed militias. Now, this weekend’s U.S.-led airstrikes on alleged chemical weapons installations could hasten such attacks. 

   On April 6, the Baqir Brigade, one of a number of Iranian-backed militias operating in Syria, announced on its Facebook page that it would begin attacks on U.S. military personnel. Armed groups in Syria with direct or suspected connections to Tehran have become increasingly vocal about their intention to target U.S. forces in Syria, mostly grouped in the country’s north and northeast.  “After the fight against Daesh, now they’re making it clear Americans are their enemies. If a conflict heats up between the U.S. and Iran, these guys are the agents on the ground,” says Renad Mansour, an Iraq-based researcher for Chatham House who has spoken with leaders and members of pro-Iranian militias. 

   Just hours after the U.S. attack on alleged Syrian chemical sites, hundreds of Iranian-backed militia fighters reportedly surrounded a U.S. air base to the west of Baghdad, defying the orders of commanders in the city, according to the Lebanese newspaper Ad-Diyar. US military officials declined to confirm or deny the incident but cautioned that all Iraqi forces, including militias, must obey the central government. “Coalition forces maintain the right to defend themselves and our Iraqi partners against any threat,” said US Army Col. Ryan Dillon in response to an emailed question about the report. [Qasioun]

 

Israel

In a report published on Wednesday, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that “Israel will respond strongly to any retaliation attack against it launched from Syria.” “Based on data, Iran is determined to respond as soon as possible to Monday’s attack on its drone base in Syria, which killed Iranian soldiers. Revenge could be taken directly or by one of Iran’s proxy organizations, through a rocket barrage from Syria, a terror attack near the fence or abroad, or a cyber attack on Israeli computer systems,” the newspaper said. [Qasioun]

 

Northwest (No reports)

 

Northeast 

Hasaka

Wednesday, according to local activists in Hasaka, Arabi 21 reported that the YPG has started deploying border guards across the border from Turkey. Ibrahim Al-Habash, Al-Khabur website director, said that “the Kurdish PYD militia is reinforcing its positions in Ras Al-Ayn on the Syrian-Turkish border in Hasaka province, applying a US plan to form border guard units from these militias and deploy them to the border with Turkey.” [Arabi21]

 

Central and West 

Idlib

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that the Syria Liberation Front captured Tal Ja’afar near Khan Sheikhoun city in southern Idlib, following clashes with Tahrir Al-Sham.  

Meanwhile, a child was killed during clashes between Tahrir Al-Sham and the Syria Liberation Front in Tarmala, Faqie, and Karsaa villages in the Kafr Nabl subdistrict of Maarat Al-Numan; and on the outskirts of Ihsim and Marayan in the Ihsim subdistrict of Ariha District. [Qasioun] 

 

SOHR has now reported that the Syria Liberation Front recaptured Tarmala, Faqie, and Karsaa. Meanwhile, Tahrir Al-Sham reportedly executed two members of Ahrar Al-Sham captured during the fighting. [SyriaHR]

 

Hama

Wednesday, the anti-government Abu Amara Special Task Brigade announced that it blew up a Syrian forces’ ammunition depot in Qamhana village in northern Hama. [Qasioun]

 

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that Syrian anti-government militias captured Qubbat Al-Kurdi village in Salamiyah District in eastern Hama, following a counterattack on the Syrian forces’ positions in the village, forcing them to withdraw from the village and seizing their weapons and ammunition. [Qasioun]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor District

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that the Russians are building a bridge across the Euphrates River to connect Deir Ez-Zor city with the SDF-held villages of Marat, Khasham, Tabiya and Hatla located on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in Mayadin and Albu Kamal, in what was described as a Russian attempt to advance towards the Conoco oilfield, northeast of Deir Ez-Zor. [Qasioun]

 

Mayadin District

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that 18 members of the Syrian forces were killed, and dozens wounded in a violent Daesh attack on Syrian positions in Mayadin. [Qasioun] [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that Russian warplanes conducted several airstrikes on the Daesh-held area in the Mayadin desert in rural eastern Deir Ez-Zor. Meanwhile, the Syrian forces shelled Al-Baghouz and Susah towns in eastern Deir Ez-Zor, without any reports of casualties among civilians. [Qasioun]

 

Albu Kamal District

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that the SDF captured two Daesh members in Gharanij. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh says it targeted 2 Syrian Army positions, in Al-Ghabra and Al-Sukkariya villages, with SPG9 rockets. Daesh publishes photos of the attack in Al-Ghabra. [ICDNApr18]

 

South 

Damascus/Rif Damashq 

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that five civilians were killed, and others wounded by the Syrian forces’ shelling on the outskirts of Al-Ruhaiba village in east Qalamoun, as part of the ongoing clashes between the Syrian forces and the anti-government militias there. [Qasioun]

 

A DaeshDaily source says 6 Jaish Khaled terrorists including an Iraqi explosives expert, and one civilian, were killed by a Russian airstrike in Abdin town. 

 

Daesh publishes photos of the fighters of its affiliate, Jaish Khaled. [ICDNApr18]

 

Daesh says its snipers killed two Syrian soldiers near Al-Yarmouk Camp. [ICDNApr18] 

 

Daraa

Wednesday, Shabab Al-Sunna Forces (Youth of Sunna Forces) announced that they stopped a Hezbollah attempt to infiltrate into Bosra Al-Sham city in eastern Daraa, killing several Hezbollah members and capturing others. [Dorar]

 

Wednesday, the anti-government joint ops room, “Repelling the Aggressors,” declared Daraa’s western Daesh-held towns of Al-Shajara, Saham Al-Jolan, Al-Qusayr, and Quraysh as military zones in preparation for shelling them and launching a military operation against Daesh there, urging civilians to stay away from Daesh headquarters as far as possible for their safety. [Qasioun]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

Iran Defense Minister Amir Hatami arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday for a two-day visit.  Hatami said that the purpose of the visit was to discuss the recent US missile strike on Syria, as well as developing military and security cooperation between Iran and Iraq.  The Iranian state news agency IRNA reported that the General Secretary of the Iraq Ministry of Defense, Major General Muhammad Jawad, greeted Hatami at Baghdad International Airport.[Sumaria]

 

Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Othman Al-Ghanmi said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic of Iran stood by Iraq against Daesh, saying, “the two peoples’ blood has become mixed.”  Al-Ghanmi met with Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami and said that Iran and Iraq were cooperating to fight terrorism, and added that he was confident that Iran would support Iraq in its future reconstruction, according to the Iranian news agency Fars.[Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment. We suspect, however, that the real purpose of Hatami’s visit was to get Iraq’s support of Iran’s anti-US policy in Syria.

 

Bahrain

According to the Qatari newspaper Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, Bahrain failed to retrieve 40 wanted Bahraini citizens who are in Baghdad.  The newspaper said that the Bahrain Foreign Ministry has wanted these 40 people for years on terrorism charges, but chose an inopportune time to make the request, since it coincided with the elections.  [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment. The political complication is likely that  the men are Shia. It is also true that “terrorist” is a convenient term for the Sunni Bahrain government in dealing with opposition from its majority Shia population.

 

North Africa

Egypt

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Egyptian Armed Forces announced it has killed the Daesh leader in central Sinai.”The Third Field Army forces raided a number of rugged, mountainous areas in central Sinai and killed Nasser Abu Zakoul, the emir of the Daesh terrorist organization in central Sinai during extensive fire exchange.” Egypt’s Armed forces found six automatic rifles, two hand grenades, large quantities of ammunition and a wireless communication device in possession of the emir, the statement added. “Third Field Army will continue their efforts to eliminate all takfiri and terrorist elements in the area,” the statement said. [AlBayan[AhlMisr]

 

Daesh says it detonated on Tuesday 2 IEDs on 2 Egyptian Army Humvees in the Dawadin and Dhahir areas, south of Sheikh Zuweid, destroying one, damaging the other, and killing or wounding the soldiers inside. It also says it killed or wounded four soldiers, including an officer, with an IED in the Al-Joura area, south of Sheikh Zuweid. [ICDNApr18]  

 

Libya

Wednesday, Arabi 21 reported that one person was killed and three others wounded when the motorcade of the Libyan National Army’s Chief of Staff Abdul Razek Al-Nadori was targeted by a car bomb as it was passing through Sidi Khalifa, one of the eastern districts of Benghazi. Sources said that the bombing was followed by gunfire and the military expelling people from the area.  The office of the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces said on its Facebook page that the bomb was placed at the eastern entrance to Benghazi in Sidi Khalifa and exploded immediately after the motorcade passed. Initial reports indicate that Al-Nadori survived the attack. [Arabi21][Wasat][Wasat]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

United States

Tuesday, Dijlah reported that the US government has decided to transfer the detained John Doe, a US citizen of Saudi origins with suspected ties to Daesh, to the custody of another country in no fewer than 72 hours. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is defending John Doe, has announced that it intends to submit a petition to the court to stop his deportation on the grounds that he has not been charged with terrorism, and that he has the right to appear before a court under US law. [Dijlah]

 

Australia

Wednesday, The Guardian said that Iraqi authorities arrested two Daesh members, Ahmed Marei and a Lebanese Daesh commander, Tarik Al-Khayat. They are accused by authorities of conspiring with the Sydney-based brothers of one of the arrestees to blow up Etihad Airways flight EY451 from Sydney to Abu Dhabi last July, which had 400 passengers and crew members on board. [IkhNews]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Wednesday, Anadolu reported that a bomb blast has killed five people, including a police commander, in the southern Kandahar province, according to an Afghan official. A Kandahar police spokesman says Col. Janan Mama, commander of the border rapid reaction force, three of his police bodyguards, and a civilian were killed in Wednesday’s attack. The spokesman, Zia Durrani, says the sticky bomb was placed on the commander’s vehicle in Kandahar, the provincial capital. The Taliban claimed responsibility in a statement sent to media. [Anadolu]

 

Daesh publishes a photo of one of its terrorists, saying he was killed in Afghanistan. [ICDNApr18]

 

Pakistan

Daesh says it killed a Shia person and wounded another with a handgun in Quetta city. [ICDNApr18]