An Update On ISIS Activities

Notice to our readers: Because of the Memorial Day holiday Monday, our next issue will be on Tuesday the 29th. Enjoy your holiday weekend.

 

May 25, 2018

 

Patriarch Louis Sako

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Coalition reportedly being formed for a technocratic government led by Al-Abadi. [..]

Iraq’s Catholic Patriarch named to College of Cardinals by Pope Francis. [..]

Temporary electricity blackouts hit Tikrit, Baiji, Hawija. [..]

30 terrorists on motorcycles kill 2 PMFs in Baiji. [..]

Heavy battles in Hawija deadly to Daesh and PMFs. [..]

Residents in Hawija village save their mukhtar. [..]

Security personnel arrest Daesh leader in Badoush, recover $800,000. [..]

Another mass grave with 30 executed victims found in southern Ninewa. [..]

 

Syria

Putin, Macron agree to a Syria constitutional committee chaired by US. [..]

US, Turkey officials will meet in Turkey to discuss Manbij. [..]

SDF, Coalition planes, French artillery make major move on Daesh in southern Hasaka. [..]

New Saudi-funded military organization of PYD &tribal  opposition group will set up in Hasaka. [..]

Daesh attacks Syrian-Russian convoy in Mayadin. [..]

19 Daesh fighters captured by anti-government militiamen in Daraa. [..]

Syrian government air-dropped leaflets tell southern Syria opposition militias to surrender or die. [..]

 

Other countries

Libya:  Benghazi car bomb kills 7, wounds 11. [..]

Canada: Bizarre bomb incident in Toronto-area restaurant injures 15. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election/New government

Election

Amir Al-Fayez, a leader in Hadi Al-Amiri’s Al-Fath (Conquest) alliance, warned on Friday that there could be a civil war in Iraq if the results of the CoR elections were annulled.  Al-Fayez told Bas News in an interview, “Talking about cancelling the results [of the CoR elections] is very dangerous … especially since the masses from the winning groups would not be silent about it.”  In the outgoing session of the CoR, he added, “We are warning about a civil war that would last for years, as happened in Lebanon.”  [BasNews]

 

Dozens of people demonstrated near the headquarters of the Electoral Commission on Friday, demanding a hand recount of the votes from the CoR election.  A reporter for Sumaria said that the demonstrators used slogans including “Counting by hand is a legitimate demand to give the next government credibility” and “Objections to manual counting are [from] fear of scandal.”  [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment. Maybe, but objections to voting machines is from irrationality. Moreover, if there were flaws in the election process, as we suspect there were, human causes would be more likely explanations than technological ones.

 

New government

Bas News carried a report on the potential composition of a new government.  They wrote that there are initial understandings between Al-Abadi and Al-Sadr, supported by leaders of other electoral lists, which could lead to a second term for Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi.  The Qatari-owned newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed quoted a “senior Iraqi Minister” as saying that Sairun had agreed to a second term for Al-Abadi provided he implemented an agreed-upon program for the new government.   This would include doing away with sectarian quotas for ministerial positions and favoring technocrats for those positions; the prosecution of all those implicated in corruption; a strategy to reduce poverty and unemployment; reconstruction of Iraqi cities and compensation for the victims of terrorist attacks; and committing to the withdrawal of all foreign troops, especially those of the US, from Iraq.  

The prospective coalition of Victory and Sairun would be joined by Ayad Allawi’s National Alliance, the Al-Qarar (“Decision”) alliance headed by Osama Al-Najafi, and Ammar Al-Hakim’s Wisdom Movement, which would give such a coalition over 140 seats in the CoR.  Bas News commented that the KDP would therefore remain the factor which could tip the balance of power in favor of this coalition.  [BasNews]

 

The Wisdom alliance, led by Ammar Al-Hakim, talked on Friday about its coalition plans, which they said did not include the Al-Fath (Conquest) alliance, headed by Hadi Al-Amiri.  A Wisdom leader, Raed Al-Haidari, told Bas News that dialogues were continuing with groups that may form an official coalition soon, which includes the electoral alliances Wisdom, Victory, Sairun, and the KDP.  Al-Haidari added that Hadi Al-Amiri could join this coalition, but only as the leader of the Badr Organization, not as the head of Al-Fath.  [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment. This seems to confirm the truth of the story above. If the KDP’s final seat total remains 25, adding them to the coalition described above would give the coalition a bare majority of the 329 seats.

 

Despite those developments, a CoR member from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Abd Al-Aziz Hassan, said on Friday that discussion of a majority government with opposition in the CoR is “not applicable in Iraq,” adding that the next government will be formed via consensus between the US and Iran.  Hassan was speaking in an interview with Sumaria, and went on to say that the model of a majority government with an opposition bloc in parliament was something that applied to developed countries that had 5 or fewer [major] political parties; whereas in Iraq there were over 200 political blocs and thousands of parties. He added that consensus between the US and Iran would be necessary in order to form a strong government.  [Sumaria]

 

Meanwhile, the Center for Security Information said that a homemade bomb caused an explosion near the Communist Party headquarters, near Al-Andalus Square in central Baghdad.  The Communists were part of the Sadrist alliance for the election, largely due to their public opposition to corruption. An unnamed source claimed that the explosion was followed by a mortar shell falling nearby.  There were no reported casualties or injuries from either event.  [Sumaria] [Baghdadia]  

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

Joint Ops Command announced on Friday that Iraqi F-16s had carried out an airstrike on a Daesh leadership site in Syria. The targeted site was completely destroyed.  A statement from the JOC said that they had also targeted a site used to store rockets.  [Baghdadia] 

 

The Coalition says it conducted 6 airstrikes on Daesh targets in Iraq between May 18 and May 24, near Qayara (2), Tal Afar (1), Rutba (1), Rawa (1), and Baghdad (1). The airstrike near Baghdad destroyed 5 Daesh tunnels.  [InherentResolve] 

 

Other

In a major news development that came to us late, Pope Francis has elevated the leader of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church, Patriarch Louis Sako, to the College of Cardinals. The appointment was announced in the Pope’s weekly address.  Sako, who is just short of 70, has been the Catholic leader in Iraq since 2013. He will be officially installed on June 29.  [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment. At a time when Iraq is trying to recover its Christian population, much of which fled as refugees or IDPs in the past four years, and which had been leaving Iraq even before Daesh frightened all the Christians in the Nineveh Plain into leaving en masse, this could be a significant political development. Sako has been a strong positive voice in Iraq, and his new position among  the top leaders in the Catholic hierarchy will likely add to his influence.

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

Northwest (Kadhimiya, etc.)

A security source said on Friday that security personnel had arrested a terrorist planning to blow himself up in Shula.  [Ghad] 

 

East (Sadr City, New Baghdad, etc.)

A security source said on Friday that a man was killed in the Kamaliya area of Baghdad by unknown attackers using silenced weapons.  [Sumaria]

 

South (Mahmudiya, Latifiya, etc.)

Baghdad Ops Command announced on Friday that they had arrested wanted persons in various parts of the capital, including 3 arrested on terrorist charges.  The BOC said in a press release that the suspects accused of terrorism were arrested in Latifiya and Al-Shaar in south Baghdad.  The Center for Security Information confirmed the arrests and added that one took place in the neighborhood of Adel in Mansour, western Baghdad.  [Sumaria] [Ghad]

 

West (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

The Directorate of Military Intelligence announced on Friday that a terrorist had been arrested in the Abu Ghraib district.  In a statement, the Directorate credited the arrest to detachments from its 24th Brigade, 6th Division, and said that the arrest took place in the Al-Shiha area of Abu Ghraib.  [Ghad] 

 

Total Baghdad incidents reported:   4(Includes only incidents reported)

Total IED incidents reported:   0

 

ANBAR

Falluja

Daesh says it targeted a tribal PMF vehicle with an IED north of Falluja, wounding one fighter. [Telegram] 

 

Ramadi

The Directorate of Military Intelligence said on Friday that it had stopped a terrorist plot to target security personnel in Anbar’s northern desert.  In a statement, the Directorate said that detachments of their 10th Division carried out raids after receiving information about the plot.  A raid north of the Thirthar desert area found the plans for the terrorist operations, as well as materials including 2 rockets and their launchers, 2 explosive belts, 2 AK-style rifles, 4 bombs, 4 mortar shells, 2 hardware storage units, 6 machine guns, a 120mm mortar, a silencer, a grenade, and a quantity of dry foodstuffs.  [Sumaria] 

 

Rutba

A DaeshDaily source says Border Guard units killed 2 Daesh suicide terrorists near the Akashat border crossing with Jordan. The source says the terrorists came from the Jordan side dressed as shepherds. 

 

SALAHUDDIN

The Electricity Directorate for Salahuddin Province announced on Friday that there was a total blackout in the cities of Tikrit, Baiji, and Hawija, saying that two major power lines had been targeted in Hawija and that the hydroelectric plant in Samarra had broken down.  Director Yusra Rafa’at said that the power outage in Hawija was caused by gunmen targeting the power lines, while the outage in Tikrit and Baiji was due to technical problems with the Samarra station.  He added that the Directorate was working non-stop to restore power and expected electricity to be restored “within hours.”  [Baghdadia] 

 

Baiji

A DaeshDaily source says two PMF fighters were killed in a Daesh attack on their military position in the Fatha area, just northeast of Baiji. The source says around 30 terrorists on motorcycles conducted the attack, coming from the Hawija area. 

 

Tikrit

Daesh publishes photos of an attack on a PMF military position east of Tikrit.  [ICDNMay25]

 

DIYALA

Diyala Ops Commander General Mizhar Al-Azzawi said on Friday that 4 wanted persons had been arrested on terrorism charges (Article 4) in various areas of Diyala Province.  [Ghad] 

 

Diyala Police spokesman Colonel Ghalib Al-Atiyah said on Friday that 5 wanted persons had been arrested on terrorism charges in various areas of Diyala Province.  He said that one of the arrestees had been planning terrorist attacks targeting security personnel during Ramadan.  It is unclear if this included the persons mentioned above.  [Sumaria] [Ghad] 

 

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

The Center for Security Information said on Friday that a wanted person was arrested on terrorism charges in Baquba subdistrict.  [Ghad] 

 

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

A security source said on Friday that unidentified gunmen killed a civilian near his home in Muqdadiya subdistrict.  The source said that the gunmen fled the scene afterwards.  [Sumaria]

 

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)

A DaeshDaily source says local police units killed a Daesh Egyptian suicide terrorist before he blew himself up in Khalis District. 

 

A DaeshDaily source says two PMF fighters were killed and another wounded when a roadside IED exploded on their vehicle near the Udhaim Dam. The source says Daesh sleeper cells have been more active lately in the Diyala area. The source also says Daesh managed to recruit many young men in the area via social media. 

 

A DaeshDaily source says an AAH fighter was killed and another wounded when an IED targeted their vehicle in the Himrin area on the road between Diyala and Salahuddin. The source says the vehicle was carrying food supplies for PMF units in the area. 

 

Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)

The Security Committee for the Diyala Provincial Council announced on Friday that a “very important” Daesh leader had been arrested in the Al-Nida area.  The head of the Committee, Sadiq Al-Husseini, said that intelligence and anti-terrorism divisions from the Ministry of the Interior had carried out the arrest.  He added that the arrestee was responsible for directing attacks on military convoys.  [Sumaria] [Ghad] 

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

A security source in Kirkuk Province said on Friday that an IED had killed a sheep there.  The source said that the IED exploded in the village of Yarmaja, near Altun Kupri, a Turkmen city in Dibis, killing a passing sheep.  [Sumaria] 

 

Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)

A DaeshDaily source says 16 PMF fighters and 25 Daesh terrorists were killed in heavy battles after Daesh attacked PMF units in Gharib village. The source says one of the terrorists was a woman wearing an explosives vest. 

DaeshDaily comment. Some examples of gender equality are less encouraging than others.

 

In a report on the same incident, the Center for Security Information said on Friday that 11 Daesh fighters had been killed during a Daesh attack on the villages of Gharib and Hanaf, which were repelled by a joint force of PMF fighters, Hawija Police, and the Federal Police. The statement said that 5 Daesh fighters were killed in Hanaf and 6 in Gharib, while one member of the Riyadh Police and one PMF fighter were killed and several others lightly wounded.   [IraqPress] 

DaeshDaily comment. It is hard not to notice the discrepancy on PMF casualties in these reports: 16 according to our source, 1 according to the government spokesmen.

 

In another mukhtar incident, a DaeshDaily source says residents of the village of Al-Ahanfa (spelling approximate) in Abbasi subdistrict, stopped a Daesh attack on their village, killing 4 terrorists and forcing the rest to flee. The source says the terrorists were trying to kidnap the mukhtar of the village. 

 

A DaeshDaily source says IFP units stopped a Daesh attack in the Al-Zab area, killing 5 terrorists. However, two IFP members were also killed.

 

A DaeshDaily source says IFP units stopped a Daesh attack on Sadouniya village, killing 2 terrorists, including the Daesh commander of the Riyadh area, Sa’eb Al-Hiyala, aka Aby Anas. However, an IFP member was also killed in the attack. 

 

Daesh says it killed an IFP member and wounded three others, including an officer, in an ambush near Al-Safra village, west of Riyadh. [Telegram]

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad, Taza, etc.)

Federal Police Command announced on Friday that they had found safehouses and materials belonging to Daesh in a search within the Daquq subdistrict.  The IFP issued a statement saying that units from its 5th Division carried out the search.  [Mawazin] [Xendan] 

 

NINEWA

Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya, Tel Keif, etc.)

See story about Patriarch Louis Sako under National News above.

 

Mosul

A DaeshDaily source says security units captured a Daesh member in Jamasa village, in Badoush, and confiscated 1 billion Iraqi dinars (around $800,000) in addition to quantities of jewelry and 30 handguns from his house. 

DaeshDaily comment. Badoush, in far northwest Mosul, is emerging from the rush of recent stories occurring there as a major Daesh location during its control of Mosul.

 

Southern Ninewa

Mosul subdistrict/Shura

A DaeshDaily source says tribal PMFs found the bodies of 30 Daesh victims, including women and children, in a mass grave south of Al-Zahra village, in Shura. The source says the victims were killed execution style with bullets to their heads. The source sent us photos of the mass grave.  

 

A DaeshDaily source says a tribal PMF fighter was killed and four others wounded in a Daesh attack on their military positions in Bashmana village in Shura, on the main road between Baghdad and Mosul.  

 

The Center for Security Information said on Friday that 5 IEDs were found in Adaya, a strategically located village in the Mosul Subdistrict, 30 miles southwest of the city near the Tal Afar line. The IEDs were detonated on site.  [Ghad] 

 

Qayara

A DaeshDaily source says PMF members blew up 4 houses of families of Daesh members in Aslubi village, in Qayara, northwest of the Qayara military base. The source says the village is still empty because its residents haven’t returned yet from displacement camps. 

 

Western Ninewa (No reports)

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

DAHUK

On Friday, Turkish artillery targeted the Barwari and Dhafer Nahali (spelling approximate) areas of Amedi district in northern Dahuk.  A correspondent for Rudaw reported that an artillery shell landed near the village of Kawhrezi (spelling approximate), alarming the populace.  The correspondent said that the scale of casualties and material damage was not yet clear.  [Rudaw]  

 

ERBIL

The HPG announced on Friday that 5 Turkish soldiers were killed in an operation that targeted a vehicle of the Turkish Army, destroying it completely, in the Barzan subdistrict of Mergasor District (in northern Erbil) and Gulmerk in Turkey. [Roj]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY 

 

On Friday, a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Ankara looks forward to seeing the formation of an Iraqi government which is strictly against the PKK and Gulen Movement. [Anadolu]

 

The Turkish Army announced that it has “neutralized 4,474 terrorists since the beginning of the Olive Branch operation.  54 Turkish soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the operation and 233 wounded. Between May 18 and 24, the Turkish Army neutralized 49 terrorists, including 3 of their leaders. [Anadolu]

 

Turkish Police say they arrested 51 foreigners in a major sweep in 16 locations in Istanbul. The arrestees were accused of being affiliated with Daesh. In a separate case, Turkish authorities arrested 33 Afghans, including 8 children, in eastern Turkey, who entered the country illegally. [AlWatan]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Foreign policy

Russia and France

The Russian and French Presidents agreed to establish a constitutional committee that would work under the supervision of the US to formulate a new Syrian constitution. The agreement between Putin and Macron was made during a summit held in Saint Petersburg in Russia. [Dorar]

 

Iran

The Wall Street Journal reports that Iran’s influence is growing in the Middle East despite US pressure and increased resistance in Iraq and Syria. Iraqi discontent with the Iranian intervention is argued to be reflected in the victory of Muqtada Al-Sadr. Iran has established influence in Iraq through numerous sources within the government and elsewhere in Iraq, going against the flow of how Iraqi politics is developing. In Syria, it says, the regime has been trying to decrease its dependence on Iran within the past few months. [Qasioun]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Coalition says that between May 18 and May 24, it conducted 44 airstrikes on Daesh targets in Syria, 40 near Albu Kamal and 4 near Shaddadi. During the first 24 days of May, the Coalition has conducted 184 strikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria, a 147% increase over the 74 strikes conducted in March, and has already surpassed the Coalition’s 183 strikes recorded for the entire month of April 2018.  [InherentResolve] 

 

Northwest

Manbij 

A spokesperson for the Turkish foreign ministry said that US officials, Turks, and special working groups on Syria would hold meetings in Turkey on Friday. The spokesperson said that on June 4, Turkey would negotiate with the US regarding the way forward in Manbij. [Qasioun]

 

Northeast 

Hasaka

SDF says its operation against Daesh in eastern Syria is in its final stage. The SDF is now advancing in Dashisha, south of Hasaka near the Iraqi border. Coalition planes and French artillery are providing support for SDF advances. The SDF spokeswoman says operations are coordinated with the Iraqi army on the other side of the border to eliminate the Daesh presence in the border area once and for all. [Xendan]

 

Media reports are discussing formation of a new Syrian opposition military organization called “Border Guards,” funded by Saudi Arabia. The new formation is a supported jointly by the Kurdish PYD and the Sanadid militia, from the Shammar tribe, headed by Hamidi Al-Jarba. The new group will be based in the Yarubiya subdistrict, on the Hasaka-Iraq border. [Dorar]

 

A DaeshDaily source says Coalition planes killed 6 Daesh terrorists, including an Iraqi commander from Hawija, in an airstrike on a Daesh safehouse in the Tal Al-Jayer area. 

 

Central and West (No reports)

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin District

SOHR reports continued fighting east of Deir Ez-Zor between Daesh and the Syrian Army and affiliated militias, adding that 6 Daesh gunmen were killed in action. Daesh attacked in two directions, in the Mayadin and Al-Bolil desert areas west of the Euphrates. [SyriaHR]

Daesh says it attacked a Russian and Syrian military convoy west of Mayadin on Wednesday, killing 15 soldiers, including Russians, destroying 4 military vehicles, and damaging 2 more vehicles and a rocket launcher. It also says it attacked 3 Syrian Army military positions, killing 8 soldiers, capturing 5, and capturing 3 vehicles. [ICDNMay25]

 

Albu Kamal District

A DaeshDaily source says SDF units allowed 11 trucks loaded with food supplies to enter Hajin and Al-Sha’afa. The source says the food was distributed to people free, but Daesh gave its supporters bigger shares. 

 

South 

Damascus/Rif Damashq 

Opposition militias announced that they had arrested Daesh members who were on their way to the Yarmouk Basin, which is controlled by Daesh affiliate Jaish Khaled. [EnabBaladi]

 

Daraa

Syrian opposition military factions operating in Daraa arrested 19 Daesh members trying to enter the Daesh-affiliated “Jaish Khaled” area in Yarmouk basin to join the group. The arrests were made near Habib village. [Dorar]

 

SOHR says that Syrian government helicopters dropped pamphlets over the areas under the control of opposition armed groups in Daraa, telling them to surrender their arms and return to normal life, or to die fighting, as the army is coming. Observers believe that Russia is inspiring this operation, aiming for a reconciliation agreement without having to start any military operation in the province. [SyriaHR]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

North Africa

Egypt

Egyptian national security arrested the administrative officer of a Muslim Brotherhood group in Minya Province, who was wanted on 8 violence-related charges. The arrestee is 55 and is an employee of the education office in Minya. [VetoGate]

 

Libya

A military source says at least six were killed and 20 wounded on Thursday evening in a car bomb explosion on Gamal Abdel Nasser Street in the heart of Benghazi, in eastern Libya. The street is one of the busiest, especially during Ramadan, and the explosion went off in front of the biggest hotel in the city, the Tibesti. Libyan officials blamed the attack on terrorist sleeper cells.  [AfriGate] [Hawar]

The final count from the car bomb was seven killed and 11 wounded, according to Al-Jala Hospital, which received the bodies and the wounded. Although names of the victims were published, two bodies—including one of a childare not yet identified. [Wasat]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

Canada

A bomb explosion on Thursday evening in a restaurant in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga injured 15 people, three of them critically, according to police. The police said that two suspects who walked into the restaurant and placed the bomb inside fled the scene after the explosion. [Sumaria] 

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Daesh says it killed an Askar Al-Islam member and wounded another with an IED in the Nazyan area, in Nangarhar, on Thursday.  [Telegram]

 

Daesh says it killed an Afghan Army member in Chaparhar, in Nangarhar, on Wednesday.  [Telegram] 

 

Daesh says it shot and killed a pro-government militiaman in the Ghani Khel area.  [Telegram]

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

Daesh published the 133rd issue of its Naba’ magazine, which republished reports about its attacks in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, and Russia. It also published an infographic about its recent attacks in Indonesia and the Philippines.  [ICDNMay24]

 

May 24, 2018