An Update On ISIS Activities

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]

 

April 17, 2018

 

C:\Users\pemd7\Desktop\Daesh Tunnel.jpg

Daesh Tunnel 

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Stance toward role of US in Iraq divides Al-Jubouri, Al-Maliki. [..]

46 Daesh tunnels discovered in Iraq since January 1. [..]

Iraqis returning home have enabled closing of 32 IDP camps. [..]

Amnesty International says IDP camps discriminate against wives and children of suspected Daesh members. [..]

McGurk says Iraq “is moving in the right direction. [..]

Kirkuk SWAT commander and 20 associates reportedly arrested on multiple felony charges. [..] 

US commits $75 million for reconstruction in Nineveh Plains, Sinjar. [..]

Christian woman rescued from Daesh tells a 4-year horror story. [..]

22 gunmen from Daesh cells arrested north of Tal Afar. [..]

 

Syria

Trump Administration trying to persuade Middle East countries to replace US troops in Syria. [..]

DoD requests $550 million to support SDF role in Syria. [..]

Russia trying to negotiate Daesh out of south Damascus. [..]

 

Other countries

Tunisia/Libya: Tunisia discovers 44-mile Daesh tunnel linking Tunisia, Libya. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

Tuesday, the MoD warned that whoever destroys candidates’ photos or their electoral programs published in public places in order to harm them or affect the electoral process will be jailed for at least one month, pay a fine of at least 1,000,000 Iraqi dinars, or both. [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment. We commented yesterday on a story from Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq about a PMF threat to trash other candidates’ campaign photos.

 

The maximum spending on advertising for electoral campaigns in Baghdad, as set by the Electoral Commission, has risen to $1 million per candidate, and $144 million for electoral lists.  Spending limits in Basra were set at $350,000 per candidate and $16 million for electoral lists.  [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment. All of you who wish Iraq politics were more like American politics could take heart from this storyor maybe not.

On Tuesday, the PMF announced its intention to launch large-scale operations to provide electoral security in areas of eastern Anbar, Samarra, and Baghdad.  The PMF operations commander in eastern Anbar, Karim Al-Khaqani, said that coordinated security operations would begin soon.  He added that their goal was to eliminate dormant Daesh cells and safehouses.  The overall commander of operations in eastern Anbar, Major General Saad Harbih, had previously announced large-scale search operations for electoral security. [Rudaw]

 

On Tuesday, the Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Salim Al-Jubouri, emphasized the need for Iraq to draw upon both internal and international support in order to ensure the participation of everyone in the upcoming elections.  Al-Jubouri asked the Special Envoy to the Coalition, Brett McGurk, to help remove all obstacles that might prevent Iraqis from voting, especially IDPs and citizens of cities liberated from terrorism.  He went on to praise US support for Iraq and its people, and called for US companies to play a bigger role in rebuilding Iraq.  [Rudaw]

 

By contrast, spokesman Abbas Al-Musawi of Nouri Al-Maliki’s State of Law alliance said that past experience proved that “Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are not honest with us. He stressed that the State of Law alliance “will not allow the US embassy to choose the next prime minister.” “There are now American military bases in Iraq,” he said, adding that “Western and foreign agendas are the ones that created problems in our country, and the State of Law Coalition does not want problems with any country, but rejects foreign intervention in Iraqi affairs.” [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment. The former Prime Minister may actually be on to something here, as his repeated anti-American statements would seem to make it less and less likely that the US would favor his return to power, even assuming his that previous job performance had not already eliminated that possibility. Of greater concern is the possibility that the experienced Al-Maliki believes public opinion, in Shia areas at least, is still anti-American and that he needs to tap into that.

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

A number of tunnels used by Daesh have been found in Iraq in 2018.  (We covered a few major tunnel stories in yesterday’s issue.) A Defense Ministry official says there were more than 200 tunnels of varying size in Anbar and the Mosul desert.  The newspaper Al-Arabi Al-Jadid Al-Qataria reported that 46 tunnels dug by Daesh have been found by Iraqi forces in the north and west of Iraq since the beginning of 2018.  “Some of the tunnels have small bedrooms, cooking areas, and weapons caches, all between 5 and 10 meters underground,” wrote the report.  Iraqi officials were quoted as saying that the tunnel digging in many areas of the country started after the coalition airstrikes in September 2014. There was information indicating that Al-Baghdadi lived in one such tunnel. [Sumaria]

On April 17, an Iraqi court sentenced the French jihadi Jamila Boutoutou, 29, to life in prison for belonging to Daesh.  In February, a 27-year-old French jihadi, Melina Bougdir, was sentenced to 7 months in prison for illegally entering Iraq. [Rudaw]

 

Tuesday, the Central Criminal Court sentenced 3 Azerbaijani women and a Kyrgyz woman to death, and a French woman as well as two Russian women to life imprisonment on charges of joining and working with Daesh. [Sumaria][Anadolu]

 

Reconstruction

Tuesday, the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Center (JCMC) announced that 32 IDP camps have been closed, including 7 in Baghdad, 6 in Dahuk, 5 in Erbil, 8 in Anbar, 3 in Salahuddin, 2 in Diyala and 1 in Kirkuk, following their IDPs’ return to their home areas.  [PUKMedia]

 

Amnesty International accused Iraqi authorities of imposing “collective punishment” on women and children with suspected ties to Daesh, referring to “denial of humanitarian aid, people being prevented from leaving IDP camps, and sexual violence against women.”  An Amnesty International report detailed widespread discrimination against women and children in IDP camps who are believed to have family ties to Daesh members.  Lynn Maalouf, the Middle East research director for Amnesty International, wrote that “Women and children associated with Daesh are being punished for crimes they did not commit.” [Rudaw] [Hawar]

 

During a meeting with Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the anti-Daesh Coalition, on Tuesday, Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi stressed that “Iraq insists on unifying Iraqis towards the goal of reconstruction and creating an attractive environment for investment.” He also stressed the importance of “the stability of the region, preventing causes of tension and focusing on ending terrorism.” Meanwhile, Brett McGurk expressed the US support for Iraq in “this phase of reconstruction and security enhancement.” “The United States believes that Iraq is moving in the right direction,” McGurk said.  [Sumaria]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

The Vice Chief of Staff for the Kurdish Peshmerga forces revealed that the Iraqi MoD has not yet invited Peshmerga forces to redeploy in the “disputed” Kurdish areas outside of KRG control.  He expressed the hope that the Peshmerga could receive an official invitation to redeploy in order to provide added security ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, saying that the security situation has deteriorated under the control of Iraqi forces.  [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment. The deterioration of security since Iraqi military units replaced Peshmerga in disputed areas is a constant Kurdish talking point. As we have commented, however, political power is a larger motive than security. Having Peshmerga patrolling parts of Iraq outside of Kurdistan, a KRG strategy since 2003, has been strategy for extending KRG political influence beyond its own borders, not for supporting the security of Iraq, though the policy  has always been supported by the rationalization that fellow ethnic Kurds and other minorities in those areas need security that Iraq can’t provide.    

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

West (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

Tuesday, the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) announced that 4 terrorists were captured while trying to sneak into Baghdad. [Ghad] 

 

ANBAR

Falluja

Tuesday, Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced that Al-Jazeera Ops Command units destroyed 7 Daesh guesthouses and 3 tunnels, and detonated 24 IEDs during search operations in Anbar. [Sumaria] 

 

Tuesday, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced the launch of a security operation to clear the Jazeera (desert) areas and Upper Euphrates in Anbar in order to “prevent the establishment of terrorist groups.” [Sumaria]

 

Ramadi

Perhaps related to the previous story, the Anbar Operations Command launched a large-scale operation on Tuesday to hunt down Daesh members north of Ramadi.  An anonymous senior leadership source said that the operation would span many areas of northern Anbar, the desert around Lake Thirthar, and the southern shore of Lake Thirthar.  The source said that the operation was under the supervision of the Anbar Operations Commander, Major General Mahmoud Al-Falahi, with the participation of the 10th division, the Anbar Emergency Police, and PMF units. [Sumaria]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced that Salahuddin Ops Command found a laboratory for the manufacture of IEDs containing 37 IEDs, an ammunition depot containing 8 SPGs, 9 missiles, and 12 RPGs, as well as a Daesh guesthouse, during search operations in Salahuddin. [Ghad]

 

Samarra

Tuesday, the PMF Media Center reported that PMFs found Daesh hideouts containing IEDs, land mines and foodstuffs during search operations in the Salahuddin desert. [Buratha] [Sngiq]

 

Tuesday, Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced that Samarra Ops Command and a PMF unit conducted a search operation in different locations south of Jazeerat Samarra (Samarra Island), clearing 1760 km. Eight IEDs were found, according to Rasoul. [Ghad] 

 

DIYALA

Tuesday, Diyala Police spokesman Colonel Ghalib Atiyah said that 11 wanted persons were arrested on terrorism and criminal charges in different locations in Diyala. [Ghad]

 

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Tuesday, a security source in Diyala said that three citizens were injured when an IED exploded in Al-Askari neighborhood in central Khan Bani Saad subdistrict. [Ghad] 

 

Daesh says it three Iraqi soldiers, wounded two others, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in Al-Naqib village, south of Buhriz. [ICDNApr17]

In another report, Daesh says it killed one Iraqi soldier, wounded four others, and damaged their vehicle with an IED in the same village. [ICDNApr17]

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

The Security Committee of the Diyala Provincial Council announced on Tuesday that a Daesh leader” was killed by PMF forces around Imam Wais. The head of the committee, Sadiq Al-Husseini, said that the Daesh leader was killed by PMF intelligence units who had been monitoring his movements.  Al-Husseini added that Daesh has lost around 30 leaders and gunmen in the first quarter of 2018 from military and PMF operations in Diyala.  [Sumaria]

A Diyala Police captain, Habib Al-Shammari, repeated the same story but credited the killing to Iraqi security forces, saying that the Daesh leader and two of his companions had been killed in an ambush by Iraqi forces around Imam Wais.  [Rudaw]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Tuesday, a member of the Bait Nahrain Democratic Party, Amer Huzairan, said that the Christian voters in Kirkuk and the Ninewa Plain are under pressures from other political parties that are trying to deprive Christian voters of their right to vote freely. [Rudaw]

 

According to sources in Ninewa, an arrest warrant was issued Tuesday for the commander of the SWAT force in Kirkuk, Captain Luwai Muhammad Reda, as well as 20 of his associates. A media official for the PMF, Jawdat Al-Assaf, said that the arrest warrant was issued on the basis of gang members’ confessions to armed robbery, car theft, and detonation of car bombs. They said that Luwai Muhammad Reda was the one who gave the orders to detonate the car bombs, which killed a number of civilians. [IraqPress]  

 

Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)

Daesh says it killed two PMF fighters and destroyed their vehicle with an IED on the road between Riyadh and Hawija. [ICDNApr17]

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad, Taza, etc.)

Tuesday, a Tooz District leader, Ali Al-Husseini, denied a report that Daesh has captured a village in Iftikhar subdistrict in Daquq District. He said that “the situation in Daquq is secure and stable.” [Sumaria] 

 

NINEWA

Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya, Tel Keif, etc.)

Tuesday, Joey Hood, Deputy Chief of the US Ambassador to Iraq, said that the U.S. has allocated $75,000,000 for the reconstruction of Sinjar District and the Ninewa Plain, which were destroyed during the war against Daesh.  [ArabsToday]

 

In a report published on Tuesday, the Daily Mail said that an Iraqi team of two members working for the Iraqi Christian organization, Shlama Foundation, successfully rescued a Christian woman who had been held by Daesh for over three years. Rita Habib, a 30-year-old Christian woman, was kidnapped from Qaraqosh in Hamdaniya. Raped by numerous men, all of whom had wives and children, Ms Habib was sold from one member of the extremist network to another in an endless cycle of abuse. She said “The worst of all was girls aged nine who were raped. Girls would be sold for 4,000 to 15,000 dollars.” The two team members stepped in pretending to be Daesh members wanting to buy a sex slave. The pair paid £20,000 to buy her and a Yazidi woman being held with her.  [KnoozMedia]

 

Mosul

Tuesday, a security source said that 3 officials in the Ninewa Health Office were arrested on charges of joining and working with Daesh and killing civilians. [BasNews] 

 

A security source said on Tuesday that the Ninewa court for investigating terrorism had issued an arrest warrant for the President of the Umm Al-Rubayeen Housing Association in Ninewa, Najat Khalf Muhammad Al-Jubouri, charging her with 4 counts of terrorism. [Sumaria]

 

East Mosul

Tuesday, the MoI announced that security forces found a workshop for the manufacture of IEDs and gun silencers in East Mosul. Brigadier General Saad Maan, spokesman for the Ministry, said in a statement that the Ninewa Intelligence Directorate, working together with the Ministry, was able to seize the workshop following the confession of one of the accused.  [Buratha] [Ghad]

 

West Mosul

Tuesday, Al-Ghad Press reported that a Swedish team of seven members started lifting the decomposing corpses of Daesh members that are still under the rubble of buildings in Old Mosul.  [AlghadPress]

 

Ninewa police arrested 6 Daesh members in the Al-Ma’moun neighborhood in southwest Mosul, on terrorism charges. [Mawsleya] 

 

Tuesday, Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced “that the Ninewa Ops Command found and destroyed 2 homemade missiles, 4 IEDs and 3 tunnels containing 4 tank shells, a mortar shell and 5 homemade rockets during search operations.” [Baghdadia] 

 

Southern Ninewa (No reports)

 

WesternNinewa

Tal Afar

The captain of the National Security Service in Ninewa, Salam Al-Khashmani, said on Tuesday that Iraqi forces had completed a large-scale operation to clear Daesh cells from the village of Tamarat, north of Tal Afar.  Al-Khashmani said, “The operation resulted in the arrest of 22 Daesh gunmen who were wanted for trial, the destruction of 4 IEDs, and the destruction of 3 tunnels used by the gunmen to hide from security forces.” [Rudaw]

 

Sinjar

 

See Sinjar-related story above under Nineveh Plain.

 

Baaj

Tuesday, Ninewa Police commander Hamad Namis Al-Jubouri announced that 4 wanted Daesh terrorists were captured in Al-Salamiya Camp in southeast Mosul. [Buratha] 

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

Tuesday, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said that “there is no official dialogue with Baghdad over the Peshmerga deployment in disputed areas.” He also expressed “the KRG concern over the security situation in disputed areas,” saying that “the KRG is ready to participate in maintaining security in those areas.” He also pointed out that the KRG has good relations with Iran, and is going to improve its relations with Turkey. [ROJ]

 

ERBIL

Turkish artillery shelled border areas in far northern Erbil on Tuesday, according to eyewitnesses.  One witness said, “The bombing targeted the areas of Kly Ras, Kly Magari, Khawakarak, and Jidali,” (spelling approximate) and said that casualties were unknown so far. [Sumaria]

The PKK announced on Tuesday that they had killed and wounded 16 Turkish soldiers in 3 attacks launched within the borders of the Kurdistan region.  The PKK statement said that its members attacked 3 separate areas where the Turkish army was posted in Sidekan subdistrict in northern Erbil.  The Turkish army confirmed yesterday that 3 soldiers were killed and one wounded in a PKK attack in Sharnakh. [BasNews]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY 

 

Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Turkey will send trainers to participate in the NATO-led training mission in Iraq. He said that Turkey has expressed its full support for the NATO-led training mission there. “We are working on a plan to train Iraqi officers and soldiers, and what we want to do is to establish military schools and academies, from which trainers will later graduate to supervise the training of the Iraqi Army.” [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Tuesday, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he hopes that the airstrikes by Washington, Paris and London will pave the way for pushing the faltering political process in Syria and reaching a political settlement under the UN auspices to end the Syrian conflict. “All signs indicate that Syria has become incapable of creating chemical weapons. However, if such weapons are used again, France and its allies will not hesitate to launch new strikes against Syria,” he added. [Hawar]

 

Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Donald Trump and his administration are seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the U.S. military in Syria. According to U.S. officials, the plan would use the Arab force to help stabilize the northeastern part of the country after the defeat of Daesh. The initiative comes as the administration has asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars to help restore northern Syria. It wants Arab nations to send troops as well, officials said. “Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE have all been approached with respect to financial support and more broadly to contribute,” an administration official said. 

   According to the report, John Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser, called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, in an attempt to persuade Egypt to join the force. “Mr. Trump, who has expressed growing impatience with the cost and duration of the effort to stabilize Syria, alluded to the push on Friday night, when he announced the missile strikes,” the WSJ said. “We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing larger amounts of money,” the WSJ quoted Trump as saying. 

   According to the WSJ, the idea also has caught the attention of Erik Prince, the private businessman who founded Blackwater USA and who has helped the UAE and Somalia set up private security forces. Mr. Prince said Monday that he has been informally contacted by Arab officials about the prospect of building a force in Syria but that he was waiting to see what Mr. Trump would do. [Qasioun]

 

Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that Riyadh is ready to send troops to Syria as part of a wider coalition if it is proposed. “We’ve been discussing sending forces of the ‘Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition’ to Syria,” the minister said at the joint press conference with UN Secretary-General António Guterres after a meeting in Riyadh. [Arabi21]

 

Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that “there are ongoing discussions with Washington about the type of troops that should be deployed to eastern Syria and where they will come from.” He stated that the deployment offer was “not new”, adding that Riyadh had previously proposed the idea to former US President Barack Obama. “We are in discussion with the US, and have been since the beginning of the Syrian crisis about sending forces into Syria,” Al-Jubeir told reporters in Riyadh during a press conference alongside Antonio Guterres, the UN chief. “We made a proposal to the [previous] Obama administration that if the US were to send forces . . . then Saud Arabia would consider along with other countries sending forces as part of this contingent.” [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment. The last point may be the key. Even if Saudi Arabia and maybe other Arab countries considered sending troops, they would prefer to augment American forces, not replace them. 

 

Tuesday, Yahya Kadwani, deputy chairman of Egypt’s parliamentary committee, said that Egypt welcomes the initiative to deploy its troops to Syria. He told Sputnik that Cairo would do so only after UN Security Council approval, but the matter has not been discussed by lawmakers. [Dorar]

The US DOD’s 2019 budget document for overseas operations revealed that the Pentagon had requested arms and ammunition for a force in Syria of between 60,000 and 65,000 fighters from the YPG and the SDF.  The Pentagon requested $300 million for weapons for forces aiding Washington in fighting Daesh, and another $250 million for aiding the same groups with border security. 30,000 of the fighters were expected to cover ongoing clashes in the Euphrates Valley region of Syria, and another 35,000 to maintain security in areas from which Daesh had been expelled. [Rudaw]

 

East Ghouta

Monday, the Russian Novosti news agency reported that clashes broke out between the Syrian forces and some “gunmen” who haven’t left Douma. Casualties have been reported on both sides. [Qasioun]

 

Monday, according to local sources, Dorar reported that two car bombs exploded in the vicinity of the chemical attack site in Douma, killing one civilian and wounding another. [Dorar]

 

Northwest (No reports)

 

Northeast (No reports) 

 

Central and West 

Idlib

Tuesday, SOHR reported that clashes resumed in Idlib between Tahrir Al-Sham and the combined Ahrar Al-Sham and Suqur Al-Sham in the vicinity of Tal Aas and Tal Ja’afar near Khan Sheikhoun city as well as the subdistrict capital of Hish, all in Maarat Al-Numan in southern Idlib, with reports of casualties on both sides. [SyriaHR]

 

Homs

Tuesday, Syrian Now reported that the Syrian forces have eliminated Tahrir Al-Sham’s last strongholds and groups in the vicinity of Al-Jin Mountain in rural northern Homs, killing several members of Tahrir Al-Sham. [SyriaNow]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal District

 Tuesday, Coalition Spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said that based on intelligence information, “Daesh has stepped up its operations against the Syrian forces on the western bank of the Euphrates River in the vicinity of Albu Kamal.” He also pointed out that the International Coalition “isn’t carrying out any operations against Daesh on the western bank of the Euphrates River.”[Sumaria]

 

Daesh says its snipers hit a Syrian soldier in Al-Ashayer village on Monday. [ICDNApr17]

 

Daesh says it targeted a Syrian Army military position in Al-Ghabra village with and SPG9 rocket. [ICDNApr17]

 

South 

Damascus/Rif Damashq 

Tuesday, the Syrian government announced the commencement of the agreement reached with Jaish Al-Islam about Al-Dumair city, 40 km (25 miles) northeast of Damascus. According to that agreement, about 1,000 members of Jaish Al-Islam will leave Al-Dumair city and go to Jarabulus in northern Syria near the Turkish border. [Qasioun]

 

Tuesday, SOHR reported that the Syrian government is holding negotiations with Daesh in order to move it out of south Damascus. According to sources, Daesh refused to evacuate and move to southern Syria. It tried through negotiations to secure a safe exit towards northern Syria instead. [SyriaHR]

DaeshDaily comment. If they go to southern Syria they could run into the Coalition-affiliated opposition militias, perhaps exactly what the crafty Russians had in mind and what Daesh wants to avoid.

 

Tuesday, SOHR reported that the Syrian forces targeted with over 40 mortar shells and missiles the Daesh-held locations in Al-Yarmouk Camp and the Al-Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood just south of Damascus, killing a child and wounding others. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh says its snipers killed three Syrian soldiers, including an officer, near the Yarmouk Camp and Hay Al-Tadhamun, south of Damascus. Daesh issues a video of a Syrian officer targeted by its snipers in Yarmouk Camp. [ICDNApr17]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards announced on Tuesday that one of their soldiers had been killed and 5 wounded in an attack on one of its positions in Sistan and Baluchestan province on the Pakistan border, at the main border crossing between the two countries.  The state news agency IRNA and the private pro-regime news agency Tasnim reported that a terrorist group from Pakistani territory attacked the forces of the Revolutionary Guards at a border control tower near Mirjaveh, the small border city on the Iran side of the border. [BasNews]

 

Yemen

Daesh published photos of printing out and distributing its Naba magazine in Baida. [ICDNApr17]

 

North Africa

Libya/Tunisia

Tuesday, a senior Tunisian security official said that a 70-km-long (44-miles) underground tunnel linking Tunisia and Libya was recently discovered by Tunisian security forces. “The tunnel was previously prepared to facilitate smuggling Tunisian Daesh terrorists outside the country to reach the regional hotbeds of conflict, and help them get back to their home country,” the official added.  [BasNews] 

 

On Monday, the Vice-Directorate to Combat Narcotics, within the Judicial and Police Directorate, announced that it had arrested two people, aged 41 and 46, one of whom is a member of a takfiri group and was wanted by the Central Directorate to Combat Terrorism for National Security.  Their car was searched and found to contain 20 kilos of cannabis, 200 Tunisian dinars, and 100 Euros, said to be the proceeds of drug trafficking. [Tunisien]

In Libya, the Military Engineering Wing assigned to emergency operations recovered a 500-kilo shell left behind in the residential neighborhood of Sayyada Aisha in Hawari, west of Benghazi.  The operation followed a tip to the Military Engineering Wing, which is working to recover shells and war debris left behind by terrorist groups during their control of some neighborhoods in Benghazi. [AfriGate]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

AFRICA

Somalia 

Daesh issues a video of shooting and killing a Somali solider in Afgooye on Monday. [ICDNApr17]