An Update On ISIS Activities

January 4, 2018

 

Hawija

 

 

 

TODAY’S MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

IOM counts 3.2 million displaced Iraqi returned, 2.6 million still displaced. [..]

Iraqi units kill at least 51 Daesh in Hawija “purge” campaign. [..]

Gorran leader says Kurds now have more faith in Al-Abadi than the KRG. [..]

Iraqi intelligence announces arrest of perpetrators of deadly Nasiriya attack. [..]

 

Syria

Daesh mines still killing many civilians in Raqqa. [..]

Syrian forces take five more southern Idlib villages from Tahrir Al-Sham. [..]

53 civilians reported killed in one week of Syrian airstrikes in Damascus area.[..]

 

Afghanistan

Daesh stages deadly suicide attack on police officers in Afghanistan. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh Campaign

A security source says Iraqi security forces have launched several raids and search operations aimed at pursuing Daesh cells in the cities of Kirkuk, Mosul, and Diyala. The source added that “the region has recently seen significant activity of Daesh elements and security forces have intelligence on where these cells are located and are working to flush them out.” [Baghdadia] 

 

Sumaria News reports that British Minister of Defence Gavin Williamson arrived in Baghdad for an official visit on Thursday. A source who asked not to be named says Williamson discussed with Iraqi officials and Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi the relations between the two countries and the security and political situation in Iraq and the Middle East in general. [Sumaria]

 

Foreign Affairs magazine published an editorial warning that just because Daesh is defeated, that does not mean that the world is safe from extremist groups. The article said that Salafist jihadis constitute about 35% of the major armed groups in Iraq, 50% of the armed groups in Somalia, and 70% of the armed groups in Syria. [SkyPress] [ForeignAffairs]

 

Reconstruction

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as of the end of December 2017, 3.2 million displaced Iraqis had returned to their homes while 2.6 million are still displaced.  More than 1 million people have returned to Anbar Province where the last battle against Daesh took place. Among the returnees, “about a third say they found their homes completely or largely destroyed. 60% found their homes moderately damaged” according to IOM spokeswoman Sandra Black. [Xendan]

 

Election

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday “I pledge my support to the Iraqi government to urge it to disarm militias that are not linked to the government.” Macron added that the Iraqi government must be helped “to hold free elections and restore calm to the country.” [BasNews]

 

Thursday, Head of Independent Electoral Commission Maan Al-Hitawi said that the PMFs have no right to participate in the special voting in the upcoming elections, along with other security forces. “All the PMF voters have the right to participate in the public voting, and thus, they cannot be allowed to participate in the special voting for there is no data about the PMF members,” Maan said. [BasNews]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Thursday, a leader in the Gorran (Change) Movement, Saber Ismail, said that the Kurdish people have much more confidence in Al-Abadi’s government than in the KRG, pointing out that “the Kurdish people have fully realized that Baghdad is the capital of all Iraqis and political forces.” “The Kurdish powers are fully aware that without holding a dialogue with Baghdad, the Kurdistan region will not be financially, administratively and politically settled,” he added. [Buratha]

 

The office of Iraqi PM Al-Abadi announced that Al-Abadi received a delegation comprising a number of Kurdish parties on Thursday. Al-Abadi stressed that the central government is continuing to secure the salaries of the Kurdistan employees, stressing that he wants to maintain the unity of Iraq while ensuring its ethnic and sectarian diversity. [Sumaria]

 

KRG PM Nechirvan Barzani met with US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman on Thursday. A statement from the Barzani’s office says the two sides discussed the situation in the Kurdistan Region and the need to secure the financial amounts owed to the Kurdistan Region in the budget while maintaining stability after the tensions between Baghdad and Erbil. They also discussed preparations for the elections and steps to reform the Kurdistan Regional Government. [Sumaria]

 

Nechirvan Barzani said on Thursday that Turkey could play a positive role in solving problems between the KRG and the central government. Barzani received new Turkish Consul Hakan Karajai in Erbil and indicated that Karajai stressed the development of relations between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region and Turkey’s readiness to exert efforts to solve the problems between Erbil and Baghdad. [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment. It says something about Barzani’s desperation to find support against Baghdad that he is now appealing to the Turks, who were among those most hostile to the independence referendum.

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

The General Directorate of Intelligence and Security announced the arrest of a man wanted on terrorism charges in Baghdad. [Baghdadia]

 

ANBAR

Al-Qa’im

A security source in Anbar Province said on Thursday that a Border Guard officer was wounded in an IED explosion on the Al-Qa’im-Syria border. [Sumaria]

 

Thursday, according to the PMF website, military engineering teams dismantled the communications towers in Al-Qa’im District in the effort to restore the towers to actual service. “The troops set up a field hospital to provide medical services to fighters and civilians in the Province,” the official PMF website added. [Baghdadia]

 

The General Staff of the 13th brigade announced on Thursday that “the brigade forces have secured the return of 5,000 displaced families to Al-Qa’im District.”[IraqPress]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

Daesh says it killed a PMF fighter, wounded others, and damaged a vehicle in clashes in the Makhoul Mountains area. [A3maq] 

 

DIYALA

An official in Diyala Province said on Thursday that the first steps are being taken to withdraw the army from city centers and hand over security responsibility to the police. [Sumaria]

 

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Thursday, according to Dijla Ops Commander Mizhar Al-Azzawi, Dijla Ops units killed 13 terrorists and wounded 1 other in a security operation in northeast Baquba, finding explosives belts with the terrorists. [Baghdadia] 

 

The General Directorate of Intelligence and Security announced that a security unit found a pile of hardware in Baquba that terrorists were planning to use as explosives. [Baghdadia]

 

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)

Thursday, the Security Committee in the Diyala Provincial Council announced that Special Operations Intelligence in the Counterterrorism Apparatus killed Daesh’s “Governor of Diyala” in the Himrin Hills.  [Sumaria] 

 

KIRKUK

The Military Information Cell announced on Thursday that the Kirkuk Operations completed the inspection of 30 villages in several areas of Kirkuk. [Sumaria]

 

Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)

Thursday, a member of the Hawija Provincial Council said security forces killed more than 40 Daesh terrorists and arrested 10 during the first day of the “purge of Hawija District.” [Sumaria]

Ali Al-Hamdani, leader of the PMF, announced the end of the first phase of the purge of Hawija and surrounding areas in the western part of Kirkuk.[AIN]

 

A DaeshDaily source says a joint PMF and Tribal PMF force, disguised as Daesh fighters, ambushed and killed 11 Daesh terrorists and confiscated 2 vehicles in Halat village, in Riyadh subdistrict. 

 

A security source said that security units began raids and search operations for Daesh terrorist cells in Kirkuk Province in the areas of Hawija, Rashad, and Kirkuk city.[Baghdadia] 

 

NINEWA

Mosul

According to local sources, Daesh leader Abu Omar was arrested in Mosul. Omar is known as a barbarically brutal figure and enjoyed causing panic among the residents in Mosul when Daesh had control of the city.[Ghad] 

 

Southern Ninewa

Qayara/Hatra

The PMF announced it killed 4 Daesh terrorists in Imam village on Thursday in western Qayara. [Ghad]

 

A DaeshDaily source says PMF units stopped a Daesh attack on Qayara’s Ihjala village. The source says that as the Daesh members were fleeing, a citizen shot at them, killing 2 terrorists, an Iraqi and a Moroccan. The source sent a photo of the dead Iraqi terrorist. 

 

A DaeshDaily source says four PMF fighters were killed in a Daesh ambush in Al-Sakhri village, south of Hatra. 

 

WesternNinewa

Baaj

Daesh says it killed or wounded Iraqi Border Guard members, including an officer, with 2 IEDs in the Tal Safouk area. [A3maq]

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Dhi Qar

The Falcon Intelligence Cell (Al-Suqour) reported on Thursday the arrest of the planners and executors of the terrorist attack in Nasiriya which took place on September 14, 2017. [Mawazin]

 

Najaf

Thursday, a security source says border guards on the Iraqi-Saudi border found a tunnel heading in the direction of Najaf with “entrances, exits, and rooms.” [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Al-Arabiya News reported on Thursday that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard withdrew a number of its members from Syria to return to Iran to help suppress the protests there, which have been ongoing for 8 days. [Dorar]

 

In response to a question about whether the PYD should participate in the Syrian Dialogue Conference in Sochi, Russia, Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Turkey’s President, said that a terrorist organization cannot represent the Syrian people. “They are not Syrian Kurds,” Kalin said, “Turkey is well aware how injustice has been exercised to expand the territory it (the PYD) controls.” Kalan accused western media of ignoring PYD abuses because “its practices are part of a US plan that is currently being implemented.” [Anadolu]

 

Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa)

Raqqa

Raqqa city & district

Syrian activists documented the deaths of 83 civilians last month from mines left behind by Daesh in Raqqa Province. [EnabBaladi]

 

West Raqqa (Tabaqa, etc.)

According to the Coalition, a Coalition team worked with Syrian partners and erected a steel bridge in record time on December 27, 2017 near Hawi Al-Hawa village west of Raqqa. Commanding General James Jarrad says the bridge will help the Raqqa Internal Security Force to provide better security for the people of Raqqa and will facilitate humanitarian relief and assistance efforts in Raqqa. [CentCom]

 

Northwest

Aleppo/Idlib

Thursday, Qasioun reported that Syrian forces, backed by intensive artillery shelling, captured Idlib’s southern villages of Um Saharij (Hama), Maar Hattat, Rasm Al-Abd, Labidah and Fahil Jallas, after battles with Tahrir Al-Sham.  [Qasioun] [SyriaHR]

 

Thursday, Qasioun reported that 5 civilians were killed, and more than 10 others, including women and children, were wounded in Russian airstrikes on Al-Tuqan city in rural eastern Idlib, according to medical sources. [Qasioun]

 

Central and West (Homs, Hama, etc.)

Latakia

Thursday, Sputnik reported that air defense forces at the Russian Khmeimim airbase destroyed two drones, used by the Nusra Front to attack different residential locations in Jableh and Mhardeh cities in Latakia. [SyriaNow]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin

Thursday, Hawar reported that the SDF captured Al-Jadila and Ilyas villages, 23 kilometers southwest of Mayadin, following violent clashes with Daesh, killing 11 Daesh members. [Hawar]

DaeshDaily comment. It is noteworthy but unexplained that the SDF is still fighting in Albu Kamal while government troops seem to have stopped fighting.

 

Albu Kamal

A DaeshDaily source says Coalition planes killed Sabah Hassan Sanbar Al-Ahmadi, AKA Abu Omar Al-Shayeb, a senior Daesh leader, in an airstrike near Albu Kamal, in addition to several other terrorists. The source says Ahmadi, originally from Mosul, was one of the first Iraqis to join Al-Qaeda, and was appointed the general security commander of the “caliphate.”     

 

Daesh published photos of targeting SDF positions near Al-Bahra village (near Hajin) with mortars. [ICDNJan3] 

 

South 

Damascus/Rif Damashq 

SOHR reports the first week of the violent attack by Tahrir Al-Sham and the Ahrar Al-Sham militia against the Syrian forces on the outskirts of Harasta city has ended. The region has seen intensive bombardment, causing extensive destruction of infrastructure and causing the death and injury of dozens of civilians. 53 citizens have been killed during this bombardment in Eastern Ghouta since Friday December 29, 2017, according to SOHR. [SyriaHR]

Thursday, according to police sources, a woman and a girl were killed and 24 civilians were injured when Syrian opposition militias shelled the Al-Emarah neighborhood in Damascus city and Harasta in Rif Damashq. [SyriaNow]

 

Thursday, SOHR reported that the Syrian opposition militia Jaish Al-Islam launched an attack on the Syrian forces’ positions in Al-Nashabiyah town in Rif Damashq, killing at least 14 members of the Syrian forces.  A number of Jaish Al-Islam’s members were also killed and wounded. [SyriaHR]

 

Thursday, SOHR reported that 4 civilians, including a woman and a female child, were wounded by  Syrian forces shelling of thee town of Masraba in Eastern Ghouta. Meanwhile, the Syrian forces reportedly targeted the Rif Damashq cities of Hamouriya, Arbin, Douma and Harasta with rocket and artillery shelling and airstrikes. [SyriaHR]

 

Daraa

Wednesday evening, Dorar reported that Syrian opposition militias foiled a surprise attack by Daesh’s affiliate, Jaish Khaled, on their positions near Al-Sheikh Saad town in rural western Daraa, killing and wounding many members of Jaish Khaled. [Dorar] [ZamanAlWasl]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh sources say a policeman and two other persons were killed in an ambush on the International Road, west of Arish. [ICDNJan4] 

 

A new Daesh propaganda video released on Wednesday says that the Egyptian wing of Daesh has declared war on Hamas for allowing Trump to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The video shows the execution of a man who Daesh claims worked with Hamas’s armed wing. [Newsweek] [ICDNJan4]

 

Tunisia

Wednesday, the Tunisian National Unit for Research on Terrorist Crimes of the National Guard in El-Aouina dismantled a Takfiri cell consisting of 9 operatives in Sousse Province. [Tunisien]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Thursday, officials and eyewitnesses confirmed that a suicide attack targeted police officers who were handling a protest. Daesh has claimed responsibility. The Police Department says 5 officers were killed and 11 were wounded. [BBC] [Ghad]

Afghanistan’s TOLOnews channel quoted the Ministry of Health and the Kabul Police as confirming that at least 15 people were killed and 20 injured in Thursday evening’s suicide attack on Afghan Police forces in Kabul. [Anadolu]

January 3, 2018

 

Christians in Mosul (BBC)

 

 

 

TODAY’S MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Al-Abadi says government trying hard to bring Iraq’s Christians home. [..]

Discussions begin between GOI, KRG officials on managing disputed areas. [..]

Al-Jubouri moves to soften post-referendum anti-KRG measures. [..]

Al-Qa’im council chairman says restoring normal services will cost $1.5 billion. [..]

 

Turkey

Erdogan again says Turkey’s attack against Kurds in NW Syria is imminent. [..]

 

Syria

SDF spokesman says Coalition will continue supporting autonomy for SDF-held areas. [..] 

Syrian Army, Russians regain three villages in southern Idlib. [..]

SDF captures three more villages in Deir Ez-Zor. [..]

 

Somalia

US airstrike targets Al-Shabab militants west of Mogadishu. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Reuters has reported that three Iranian intelligence officers were killed in clashes in the western Iran city of Piranshahr, near the border with Erbil Province in Iraqi Kurdistan. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards issued a statement saying that the three died in “a fight with revolutionary elements,” suggesting that the clash resulted from the protests ongoing in Iran. 

However, Rudaw, a Kurdistan media source, says the clash was between KDP-Iran Peshmerga and Iranian troops. Their “local sources report the deaths of 6 members of the Iranian forces. [Rudaw] 

 

Anti-Daesh Campaign

Iraqi PM Haider Al-Abadi said on Wednesday that there are still security challenges in Iraq, citing plans to eliminate terrorism and corruption. Al-Abadi said “we must expose corruption in order to preserve the victory achieved by the blood of heroes,” referring especially to any corruption in the security forces that might impair their effectiveness. [Sumaria]

 

Since Mosul’s liberation in July, 3,000 missing persons reports have been filed by Mosul residents. Most of the missing persons are men or boys, some taken by Daesh, others being held by Iraqi security forces on suspicion of fighting for Daesh. According to Human Rights Watch, around 20,000 people are being held in detention centers across Iraq on suspicion of belonging to Daesh and there are unthinkable numbers of bodies in the many mass graves Daesh left behind. One Iraqi investigator says it will be years before these families find out what happened to their relatives, as Iraq does not have enough forensic experts to exhume the dozens of mass graves left by Daesh and the Iraqi judicial system is illequipped to efficiently process all the detainees that were taken during the liberation process. [WashingtonPost] [Mada]

 

Reconstruction

Prime Minister Al-Abadi also said Wednesday that religious and sectarian diversity must be preserved in Iraq, adding that the government is “working full force” to return displaced Christians to their areas of residence. According to a statement from the PM’s Media Office, Al-Abadi received the heads of the Christian denominations and “wished them a merry Christmas and happy new year filled with love and peace,” reassuring all Iraqi citizens of their rights as citizens “regardless of their affiliation, religious or political.” [Sumaria]

 

See reconstruction story below under Al-Qa’im

 

Election

CoR Speaker Salim Al-Jubouri said on Wednesday that no official date has been set for the upcoming parliamentary elections, while the electoral process is linked to budget laws and the elections. Al-Jubouri reassured that “there is no intention at all to formally delay the elections.” [Sumaria]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Delegations from the federal government and the KRG arrived in Mosul to negotiate the management of disputed areas on Wednesday, according to a local source. The central government delegation is headed by Iraqi Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Othman Al-Ghanmi and the KRG delegation by Interior Minister Karim Sinjari. The source said “the 2 delegations resumed negotiations for the purpose of agreeing on a joint formula to manage the disputed areas. [Buratha] [Sumaria]

 

Leader of the Kurdistan Islamic Group, Shwan Rebar, announced on Wednesday that a Kurdish delegation is heading to Baghdad for talks with government officials. Rebar said “The delegation will meet with Iraqi PM Haider Al-Abadi and the Iraqi political parties,” adding that the delegation is a joint political delegation including the Taghyir Movement (Gorran), the Kurdistan Islamic Group, and the Justice and Democracy Alliance led by Barham Salih. [Sumaria]

 

Deputy Head of the Gorran (Change) CoR delegation, Amin Bakr, warned of any side agreements or secret negotiations between Baghdad and Erbil, suggesting that such negotiations would serve only the political parties and not the people of Kurdistan as Iraqi citizens. Bakr said that secret or undeclared negotiations could lead to concessions made by the KRG in return for KDP political gains. Bakr says he supports a dialogue to resolve differences through legal and constitutional means in the public interest but that should not mean “offering the people of Kurdistan as a sacrifice to fix the ruling party and those who stand with it, with the sole intention of preserving chairs.” Bakr stressed that all Kurdistan parties should be represented in the dialogue, not just the two main parties. [Sumaria]

 

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Wednesday that Baghdad and Erbil intend to form a joint committee to review all controversial issues. The committee will be composed of 7 members: 5 from the national government and two from the KRG. [Sumaria]

 

CoR Speaker Salim Al-Jubouri announced on Wednesday an official letter to the Federal Supreme Court to inquire about abolishing the punitive decisions taken against the Kurdistan Region after the referendum held on September 25, 2017. Al-Jubouri said “we have stated that the decision of the Federal Court canceled the consequences and effects of the Kurdistan referendum.” He added “I think if everyone is confident that the referendum has been canceled, those decisions will be canceled and we will return to legislation as it was before September 25, 2017.” [BasNews]

 

Al-Jubouri said on Wednesday that the amount of money obtained from oil exports from the Kurdistan Region could be enough to cover the salaries of all of the Kurdistan Region staff. [Sumaria]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

South (Dora, Yusufiyah, Mahmudiya, etc.)

Wednesday, Detachments of the General Directorate of Intelligence and Baghdad Security arrested a man on terrorism charges and found a stockpile of materials and mechanisms for building, detonating, and launching explosives in Latifiya. [Baghdadia]

 

West (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

The Military Intelligence Directorate arrested a fugitive on terrorism charges on Wednesday in Mansour. [Baghdadia]

 

Wednesday, Baghdad Operations Command announced the arrest of 2 people on terrorism charges and the seizure and dismantling of explosives in Abu Ghraib. [Baghdadia]

 

ANBAR

A statement made by the Mistry of Defense said that security units found hidden caches in agricultural and residential areas in Anbar Province used by terrorists to target innocent civilians. [Mawazin]

 

Ramadi

Al-Sabaah news reports that tactical units of the Falcon Cell (Al-Suqour) destroyed a secret Daesh tunnel in the Ramadi desert. [Sabaah]

 

Al-Qa’im

Wednesday, a police source said three policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb targeted a security patrol in Al-Qa’im District. [BasNews]

 

Head of the Al-Qa’im District Council, Nathim Bardan, said on Wednesday “the security situation is stable in Al-Qa’im District but the infrastructure and service projects are completely destroyed.” He added that “the electricity, health, and education departments are more than 90% destroyed and the District needs more than $1.5 billion to restore services to what they were before 2014. [BasNews]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Southern Salahuddin (Balad, Dujail)

Samarra Operations Command announced on Wednesday that security units killed 4 suicide terrorists in southwest Dujail. [Sumaria]

 

DIYALA

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)

Wednesday, a local official in Diyala revealed that security services have started moving their patrols along the Kirkuk-Baghdad Road in the Al-Adhim area near the Salahuddin border. The new security method is being used to close coverage gaps on the road that allow Daesh to kidnap civilians. The official says this is a temporary measure and that permanent security points need to be erected to fully secure the road. [Sumaria]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

A security source said that a member of the Tribal PMF was killed in a clash with Daesh in Dibis District in western Kirkuk Province. The source said armed confrontations broke out between the Tribal PMF and Daesh and one Daesh terrorist was killed. [BaghdadToday]

 

Eyewitnesses reported that two federal police officers were wounded in Dibis. A police unit carried out a search around the perimeter of Ghara village in Dibis and during the search they were ambushed by two armed gunmen. [Shafaaq]

 

NINEWA

Southern Ninewa

Hammam Al-Alil

A security source in the Ninewa Operations Command revealed on Wednesday that 17 people were killed and 17 arrested in a security operation in the central Al-Jazeera area south of Mosul between the town of Albu Saif and the village of Al-Shamisat. The sources said “the Joint Security Forces carried out a raid in the central Al-Jazeera area for the second time based on information that Daesh had infiltrated the area.” He added “the security forces managed to kill 11 Daesh terrorists and arrest 6 others during the operation today.” [This seems to contradict the casualty numbers earlier in the story.] [BasNews] 

Wednesday, Deputy Commander of Ninewa Operations Command Maj, Gen. Ahmed Salim Bahjat said that Iraqi security units killed 6 Daesh members on the Tigris River islands in southern Mosul. [Youm7]

 

Qayara

Wednesday, the General Directorate of intelligence announced the arrest of a person on terrorism charges in Qayara. [Baghdadia]

 

Western Ninewa

Sinjar

Tuesday, Dorar News reported that the Iraqi PMFs have started to reinforce their positions on the Iraqi border with Syria in the Jeghaifi region in northwest Ninewa, to prevent any infiltration or attacks by Daesh members from the Syrian side, according to the director of the PMF military engineering unit, Zulfiqar Al-Aridi. [Dorar]

 

A security source announced on Wednesday the start of the restoration and rehabilitation of the military embankment on the border with Syria to prevent Daesh attacks coming from Syria. [Baghdadia]

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

According to official Kurdistan media, Asayesh forces have arrested a number of terrorist cells in the past few days, including an all-female group associated with Daesh. [Baghdadia] 

 

SULEIMANIYA

The Ministry of Defense announced that detachments of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security arrested 4 people on terrorism charges in Suleimaniya. [Baghdadia] 

 

Wednesday, Bas News reported that the PKK revealed the identities of the two Turkish intelligence agents, who were kidnapped in Suleimaniya in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region back in August, 2017. [BasNews]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY 

 

A television station close to the Turkish government said that Turkish President Recep Erdogan gave his instructions regarding the alleged military operation on the Afrin region of “Western Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan)” and that the attack on the Syrian Kurdish YPG is about to begin. Turkey’s stated goal is to dismantle “terrorist bases and sites” that pose a threat to its borders and the region at large, seeing the YPG as the Syrian extension of the Turkish PKK terrorist group. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment. This attack has been threatened numerous times before, usually with pro-government news media as the conduit, and has not yet happened. So the stories are losing credibility, or maybe Erdogan is still testing the reaction of the US and others. All of these threats should be taken as anti-American statements, as we have supported the Kurds militarily, and the US should make a definitive public statement that such a move by Turkey is unacceptable. Erdogan keeps throwing up this trial balloon because so far the US has failed to puncture it.

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

An official source in the SDF said in no uncertain terms that the geography of Syria will be reconstituted and that the areas under SDF control will be protected by the US-led Coalition. The source said “Syria will be composed of 2 administrative regions, the first west of the Euphrates River run by the Syrian Government, backed by Russia and Iran, and the second east of the Euphrates River which includes West Kurdistan (Kurdistan in Syria) and areas in the north east of Syria and on the Iraqi border.” The source added “the area east of the Euphrates and northeast in Syria will declare a federal government with all components of Kurds, Arabs, and others, and will have its own army and its own flag similar to the Kurdistan Region.” The source stressed that the Coalition forces will stand by the SDF’s side in this matter and neither the Syrian nor the Turkish forces will be able to enter the “federal borders of Western Kurdistan and Northern Syria.” [BasNews]

 

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that the SDF has arrested Emily Koenig, a 33-year-old French woman who has become one of the most famous French jihadists since traveling to Syria in 2012, where she played a key role in online propaganda and recruitment for Daesh. [Qasioun]

 

In an interview with the Al-Mayadeen TV channel on Wednesday, Secretary of Iranian National Security Ali Shamkhani called on the US to withdraw its troops from Syrian territory, describing their presence as “illegal.” He added that “Iran will support Syria in seeking the withdrawal of the US troops from its territory, and we will demand that in all international forums.” [Dorar]

DaeshDaily comment. While the gentleman was making his latest anti-American propaganda statement, Iranians were protesting in the streets against the regime he represents.

 

Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa) (No reports)

 

Northwest

Aleppo/Idlib

Wednesday morning, Qasioun reported that under the cover of dozens of Russian airstrikes, the Syrian forces captured Idlib’s southern villages of Al-Tubiya, Rajm Al-Mushrif and Mushrifat Al-Khanzir, following violent clashes with Tahrir Al-Sham and other Syrian opposition factions.  [Qasioun][EnabBaladi]

 

Wednesday, Anadolu reported that 2 civilians were killed and 10 others wounded in airstrikes by Syrian planes that struck a hospital and a bakery in Idlib province. [Anadolu]

 

Afrin/Azaz

Wednesday, Hawar reported that the Turkish army continues to intensify its military equipment along the “Ghir” hill in the Bulbul area of Rajo Subdistrict in Afrin, while continuing to build the separation wall between the Turkish and Syrian territories of Kurdistan, amid continuous shelling of Afrin’s villages. [Hawar]

 

Wednesday, Hawar reported that the YPG foiled attacks by the Turkish forces on the outskirts of Afrin, killing 2 Turkish soldiers and wounding 5 others, according to a YPG military source. [Hawar]

 

Hawar reports Kurdish Asayesh forces seized a truck loaded with thermal weapons belonging to the Turkish Army in the Afrin region. [Hawar]

 

Central and West (Homs, Hama, etc.)

Homs

Tuesday, SOHR reported that at least 9 members of the Syrian forces, including two Hezbollah members, were killed in a violent Daesh attack on their positions in Hamima town in easternmost rural Homs, which was followed by violent clashes between the Syrian forces and Daesh, with reports of casualties on both sides.  [SyriaHR] [Dorar]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin

On the 116th day of the Al-Jazeera Storm campaign, the SDF liberated 3 more villages in Deir Ez-Zor from Daesh: Al-Mahmida, Ard Al-Zir, and Al-Majid, 28 km (17 miles) southeast of Mayadin and 20km (12 miles) north of Hajin in Albu Kamal. [Hawar]

 

South 

Damascus/Rif Damashq 

According to sources in Civil Defense, Russian aircraft targeted towns and cities in eastern Ghouta on Wednesday evening, killing at least 20 people including children. The death toll is expected to rise. [Anadolu]

 

Wednesday, Syria Now reported that several members of Tahrir Al-Sham, including a senior Tahrir Al-Sham commander, were killed during the ongoing clashes with the Syrian forces on the outskirts of Harasta in Eastern Ghouta, Rif Damashq.  [SyriaNow]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

See lead story under Iraq National News above.

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

AFRICA

Somalia

Wednesday, the U.S. military said it killed two militants in Somalia in an airstrike targeting the Al-Shabab militia, an Al-Qaeda-linked group. The military’s Africa Command said the strike took place around 50km (30 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday, and that a “vehicle-borne improvised explosive device” had also been destroyed in the early morning attack. [Anadolu]

January 2, 2018

 

Santa in Old Mosul 

 

 

 

TODAY’S MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Report says Daesh will announce shortly the death of Al-Baghdadi. [..]

Iraq border patrol cites 100 Daesh tunnels across Iraq-Syria border. [..]

GOI, KRG may be close to agreement on control of border crossings. [..]

Turkmen political party official assassinated in Kirkuk. [..]

Daesh stages attacks in east and south Mosul. [..]

 

Syria

Egypt’s Foreign Minister supports UN’s Geneva process; Russia and Iran supporting rump constitutional assembly to buttress Assad. [..]

SOHR tallies the casualties: 10,204 civilians killed in Syria in 2017. [..]

Syrian Army, SDF clash in southeastern Raqqa. [..]

SDF still battling Daesh in Deir Ez-Zor. [..]

 

Other countries

Daesh attack in St. Petersburg, Russia kills 18. [..]

US service member killed in Afghanistan. [..]

Russian envoy estimates Daesh has over 10,000 fighters in Afghanistan. [..]

Trump confronts Pakistan over alleged harboring of terrorists. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Sunday, the Observatory of Fatwas and Takfiri Movements announced that Daesh’s Al-Naba’ newspaper is preparing for a formal announcement of the death of Daesh’s leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. [MasryAlYoum]

 

Anti-Daesh Campaign

The US Department of Defense confirmed on Tuesday that it is pursuing small Daesh pockets in Iraq, according to James Mattis. He added that Daesh still possesses weapons and plans to “renew chaos.” [Sumaria] [Baghdadia] 

 

The Coalition revealed it has conducted more than 14,000 strikes against Daesh in Iraq. Coalition Spokesman Thomas Phil said 2,000 strikes have been carried out in Iraq since last September. [Aghier]

 

UNAMI said on Tuesday that 69 Iraqi civilians were killed and 142 wounded in violent occurrences in December. Baghdad was the worst hit, with 24 people dead and 98 wounded. [@UNAMI] [Rudaw]

 [Baghdadia] 

 

The Iraq Ministry of Interior announced that IFP units killed 15 Daesh terrorists who were moving across the Iraqi-Syrian border (location unspecified). [Sumaria]

 

Tuesday, Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed newspaper published an article expressing concern about Daesh’s tunnels in border areas that enable the flow of Daesh members into and out of Iraq. According to the newspaper, General Haqqi Muwahed Al-Janabi, a commander of the Iraqi border guards, said the biggest challenge in terms of securing the Iraqi border with Syria to prevent Daesh infiltration is the approximately 100 trans-border Daesh tunnels. According to Al-Janabi, Iraqi border guards discovered 4 tunnels in the past month, some reaching 1.5 km in length. He added that Daesh has a map of the tunnels which the security forces are searching for. The newspaper also reported that Al-Janabi expressed concern that due to political conflicts, the Syrian government may be pressured to release Daesh detainees or overlook their movements, as it did two years ago. [BaghdadToday]

 

Tuesday, an unnamed source from the Iraqi Army reported that Baghdad has launched a large-scale military campaign to track Daesh cells in western and northern Iraq. General Malik Satir said the goal of the campaign is not to allow remaining Daesh members the “chance to regroup and catch their breath.” Satir added that information from civilians about Daesh members and suspected members is “flooding in” and action is being taken promptly. [AlAraby]

 

On Sunday, Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, said that the Coalition would be taking a series of measures in eastern Syria and western Iraq to prevent a resurgence of a new version of Daesh. According to McGurk, the first quarter of 2018 will focus on the elimination of Daesh, and afterward will shift to stabilization. He added that the US is preparing to remain in Syria until it is certain that Daesh is eliminated and will not return. In the meantime, the Pentagon warned of Daesh resorting to lone wolf attacks. [Qurtas]   

 

Wednesday, Sputnik reported that there are 7 women with German citizenship detained in Iraqi prisons in Baghdad, and another one detained in Erbil. According to Sputnik’s sources, most of the detainees have children, and interrogations are ongoing; they have not yet been charged with working with Daesh or entering Iraq illegally. Wednesday, head of the Iraqi Supreme Legal Council, Faeq Zidan, met with Germany’s Ambassador to Iraq, Cyrill Nunn, to discuss German citizens charged with terrorism as well as the fate of their accompanying children, according to spokesman Abdulsattar Bairaqdar. [Sputnik] 

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Tuesday, Secretary of Iranian National Security Ali Shamkhani said Iran is mediating between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region to resolve the outstanding crisis between them. [Rudaw]

 

Monday, Ihsan Shammari, a close associate of Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, announced that several decisions have been taken towards ending the crisis between Baghdad and Erbil, including the handover of border crossings with Iran and Turkey to the central government and the formation of a committee to organize the work of the work of border crossings, customs, and airports. [Buratha]

 

Tuesday, Prime Minister Al-Abadi confirmed that the Iraqi government is committed to disbursing the payments of KRG salaries and that the issue of the number of employees will not stand in the way of their salary payments. [Rudaw] 

 

Tuesday, Council of Ministers spokesman Saad Al-Hadithi stressed the need to launch technical dialogues with the KRG, which depend on committees looking into oil wells, water resources, border crossings, and disbursement of employee salaries. He said that international flights from Erbil and Suleimaniya airports are prohibited until the airports are handed over to the federal authorities. Al-Hadithi stated that no delegation from the KRG has come to Baghdad up to this point. He also said the KRG is still exporting oil from oil fields under its control. [Mawsleya]

 

Tuesday, KRG spokesman Safeen Dizayee said that the KRG has “sensed a sort of good intention” towards Baghdad’s recent steps. He reiterated that the KRG is willing to discuss the administration of the border crossings and airports with the Iraqi government in accordance with the Iraqi constitution. Dizayee said that a delegation from the Iraqi government visited the Kurdistan Region and demanded the creation of a joint committee to engage in dialogue concerning the border crossings, airports, and dams in the Kurdistan Region. Dizayee added that the Iraqi government delegation demanded the lists of employee salaries in the KRG’s Health and Education ministries in order to disburse the payments. [Sumaria] 

Tuesday, KRG spokesman Safeen Dizayee confirmed that the talks between Baghdad and Erbil concerning joint administration of the Kurdistan Region’s border crossings are underway. He denied the Kurdish media reports claiming the KRG agreed to hand over the border crossings to Baghdad. Dizayee explained that there is joint supervision of the borders, as opposed to a handover to the central government. [Sumaria] [IraqPress]

 

Tuesday, President Fuad Masoum received the US Ambassador and exchanged well wishes on the occasion of the new year, emphasizing the bilateral relationship between the two countries. According to the President’s office, the meeting reviewed the overall political developments in Iraq and emphasized the importance of accelerating the dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil to resolve outstanding issues based on the constitution. [IraqPress]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

North (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.) 

Ghad News reports a roadside bomb exploded in Tarmiya when an army patrol passed by, wounding two soldiers. [Ghad]

 

Tuesday, the MoD announced the arrest of a Daesh member with Egyptian citizenship in the Rashidiya area in northern Baghdad. [AlAraby]

 

Northeast (Adhamiya, etc.)

The Directorate of Military Intelligence announced on Tuesday the arrest of a terrorist in Adhamiya. [Ghad]

 

ANBAR

Anbar Operations Command has repatriated 164 displaced families to their areas of residence according to Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Khalaf Abdul Aziz Al-Falahi. [MoD Website] 

 

Sunday, the Security Committee in Anbar Province called for the return of all Daesh families to liberated areas, insisting on “the necessity of rehabilitating the families of the terrorist organization psychologically” and “the importance of holding reconciliation in different areas of Anbar.” Chairman of the Committee, Na’im Al-Ka’oud also warned of possible tribal reprisals that could cause security breaches in the province. [BaghdadNews]

DaeshDaily comment. This is an enlightened perspective that needs to be replicated throughout Iraq. For an example of the opposite perspective, see the Ramadi and Hit stories below. 

 

Ramadi

Tuesday, a security source in the Anbar Police Command reported that one civilian was killed and three others wounded, including a policeman, by a remotely detonated bomb-rigged vehicle that was parked close to a civilian’s house in Jazeera Albu Dhiab northwest of Ramadi. The source said that security units have identified the terrorist who carried out the attack and he is being hunted down. [BasNews]

    However, tribal PMF commander Mu’ayad Al-Hamishi stressed that the incident in Albu Dhiab was not a Daesh attack on a policeman’s house; rather it was a family feud and “investigations will prove it.” Al-Hamishi explained that after the federal government’s orders to return all IDP families were issued, the tribal PMF received the list of returning families, which are being scrutinized with the mukhtars of the areas. Al-Hamishi added that whoever is proven to have Daesh membership or familial ties with Daesh members will not be allowed to return. [BaghdadToday]

 

Hit/Haditha

Hit District Council Chairman Mohammed Muhannad reported that over 600 families in the Hit District who had relatives killed by Daesh protested the return of nearly 25 other returned IDP families with members connected to Daesh. Muhannad added that the Hit District Council held a meeting with families of victims in order to relay their demands to the Anbar Provincial Council and, in turn, to the Prime Minister. Muhannad added that these 25 families are disrupting the security within Hit, and he called on the local government to find a replacement location for the Daesh-affiliated families. [Dijlah] 

DaeshDaily comment. These collective punishment incidents are multiplying in Iraq. The motive is understandable, as are the grievances behind it, and excluding Daesh-connected families may help security in the short run. However, the results of such extra-judicial initiatives are often unfair and unavoidably inconsistent, with the risk that who gets to come home and who is excluded could be decided based on political, tribal, family, or other non-merit factors, and in some cases will be decided by whether bribes have been paid. A lot of families have members who joined Daesh; in most cases, the rest of the family did not join or support Daesh. Many prominent Iraqi officials have relatives who joined Daesh. We are betting that they won’t be forced to move or prevented from returning. 

 

Anah (including Rawa)/Al-Qa’im

Tuesday, the Iraqi MoI announced that it killed 15 Daesh suicide bombers on the Iraq-Syria border. [Anadolu] [Sumaria]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Southern Salahuddin (Balad, Dujail)

Sunday, the PMF said four people were killed and nine others were wounded in a Daesh attack north of Balad District in Salahuddin. The Daesh gunmen used light weapons and then planted an IED before withdrawing. [Shafaaq]

 

The Samarra Operations Command announced on Tuesday that it cleared the entire area of Al-Ajiliya, safely detonating 7 explosive devices in Yathrib subdistrict south of Balad. [Ghad]

The Samarra Operations Command is carrying out large-scale search operations for Daesh stragglers, according to the Samarra Operations Commander, Maj. Gen. Imad Al-Zuhairi. [MoD Website]

 

DIYALA

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

Tuesday, the Diyala Criminal Court issued 2 execution sentences against a terrorist who transported two suicide attackers who set themselves off in Muqdadiya, according to spokesman Abdulsattar Bairaqdar. [Sumaria]

 

Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)

Tuesday, Diyala Province representative Ra’ad Almas reported visiting Al-Awadel village in Balad Ruz to meet with the residents. According to Almas, the residents reported that there is a security gap resulting from the vast areas that are not controlled by any entity, which poses a threat to Balad Ruz and other areas of Diyala, especially the east and southeastern sides. [Ghad]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Tuesday, a security source in Kirkuk reported that an armed group attacked a Turkmen Front official in a military neighborhood in south Kirkuk. The assailants escaped after shooting Alaeddin Al-Salhi to his death. [Sumaria]

 

Tuesday, the four Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) members of the CoR warned of a “civil and sectarian war” taking place in Kirkuk and parts of Salahuddin due to the “terrifying and miserable situation” they are under. The KIU called on Iraq officials to intervene in order to preserve the stability of these areas. [Sumaria]

 

Tuesday, KIU leader Muthanna Amin expressed disapproval of Kirkuk’s acting governor and the commander of Salahuddin Ops, Rakan Al-Jubouri, who he alleges have ordered security forces to expel Kurds from southern Kirkuk and parts of Salahuddin. Amin demanded that the federal government accelerate the return of Kurdish residents to their original locations in south Kirkuk and Salahuddin, and stop expelling people to achieve Arabization of their areas. [IraqPress]

 

Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)

Sunday, Kurdistan 24 news reported the “return of Daesh gangs” to areas in northern Iraq, following an attack on the Farahatiya area near Balad, Salahuddin on Friday. Peshmerga Deputy Minister, Serbat Lazjin, stressed that there are still Daesh pockets in Hawija. [Knooz] 

 

NINEWA

Mosul

East Mosul

Monday, Ninewa Operations Command announced it had foiled a large-scale attack on East and South Mosul. 40 Daesh terrorists were killed and 30 others were arrested. [BasNews]

 

West Mosul

Ninewa Provincial Council member Hani Kandour said last Tuesday that a mass grave containing Yazidi remains was found in northwest Mosul. [Mawazin]

 

South Mosul

Sunday, Ninewa Police Chief Col. Wathiq Al-Hamdani said Iraqi forces supported by the Coalition killed 12 Daesh members who were hiding on the Island of Mosul, in the Tigris River. [AlAraby]

 

Southern Ninewa

Mosul subdistrict/ Hammam Al-Alil/Shura

The CoR Security of Defense Committee announced the killing of 17 Daesh leaders on Saturday evening by Iraqi forces during an operation in the Albu Saif region south of Mosul city in Hammam Al-Alil. [ArabsToday]

 

Tuesday, a security source says 21 terrorists were arrested as they tried to infiltrate into Hammam Al-Alil south of Mosul. [Baghdadia] 

 

Also on Tuesday, however, Captain Amir Watheq in the Ninewa Police reported the deaths of 2 policemen in a trap set up by a Daesh group in Hammam Al-Alil as the policemen returned to their homes. Captain Watheq also reported that a Daesh cell consisting of 20 members was captured in Hammam Al-Alil after infiltrating the area on Sunday. [BasNews] The last point probably overlaps with the story above.

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

See Iraq-KRG stories under National News above.

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY 

 

Tuesday, security sources in Ankara reported that during the past year Turkish authorities arrested 1,447 people in Ankara, mostly foreigners, suspected of being Daesh members. Anadolu reported that counter-terrorism units in the Istanbul Police carried out 58 operations against Daesh in 2016, and that Turkish intelligence foiled several attacks targeting restaurants, parking lots, and shopping centers in Istanbul. [Kuna]

 

Saturday, Turkish police announced the arrest of a Daesh “prosecutor” from Raqqa, Syria, in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa. Turkish police in Bolu, northwest of Ankara, arrested 2 Iraqi citizens on charges of belonging to Daesh. The Turkish Police announced on Tuesday December 26 that 714 people have been arrested in Istanbul on suspicion of belonging to Daesh since last September. [Kuna]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Tuesday, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri confirmed the need to resume Syrian negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva and stressed “the continuation of the Egyptian position supporting the political solution in Syria in a manner that preserves the entity and unity of the Syrian state and its institutions and meets the aspirations of the Syrian people, who have been suffering from the scourge of fighting and destruction.” [Dorar]

 

Tuesday, Secretary of Iranian National Security Ali Shamkhani said “Turkey, Iran, and Russia are seeking to form a Syrian national assembly in Sochi to determine the fate of the current constitution and the future of Syria.” He added that “everyone accepts the survival of President Bashar Al-Assad at this stage and in the upcoming elections.” [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment. This is a blatant effort to undermine the UN’s Geneva process and keep Assad in power.  We now have dueling conference strategies. There is the UN strategy, supported by the Coalition countries and most others, and the Putin strategy, designed to rig the process in Assad’s favor. 

 

In a report released on Monday, SOHR said that it documented the killing of 10,204 civilians, including 2,298 children and 1,536 women, in Syria in 2017. According to the report, the Syrian forces killed 4,148 civilians, including 754 children and 591 women, while 211 victims died due to torture at the hands of the Syrian forces. Russian forces killed 1,436 civilians, including 439 children and 284 women.  Kurdish militias killed 316 civilians, including 58 children, 54 women, and five who died due to torture. The International Coalition killed 1,759 civilians, including 521 children and 332 women, while Daesh killed 1,421 civilians, including 281 children, 148 women, and one victim who died from torture. In addition, Tahrir Al-Sham killed 25 civilians, including two children, one woman, and four who died due to torture. [ZamanAlWasl]

 

Last Wednesday, the Coalition estimated that there are less than one thousand Daesh members left in Iraq and Syria, not including western Syrian territories under the Syrian government’s control. The Coalition said that the vast majority of extremists who fought in Iraq and Syria have either died or been captured. [ArabsToday]

 

On Thursday, however, the Coalition accused Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad of allowing the remaining Daesh fighters to move around in the government’s areas of control without being punished. One of the Coalition’s British leaders, Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, said that Daesh members seem to be moving without punishment in the territory controlled by the government, which clearly shows that either the government does not want, or is unable, to defeat Daesh within Syria’s borders. [BaghdadNews]

 

General Gedney said on Friday that the Coalition does not intend to target jihadi organizations in areas under the control of the Syrian government, although he says the Syrian government is not doing enough to prevent jihadi group members from moving across its territory. [AlArab]

 

Saturday, the US Department of Defense reiterated that the US is not supporting Daesh in Syria. Russia says the attempted Daesh attack on Khmeimim airbase would have been impossible without US support. [Forat]

 

Saturday, Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the head of the Pentagon’s Central Command, reported that the US is developing a training program for the Syrian border guards in order to help eliminate the “significant threat” of Daesh militants, who are regrouping their ranks in Syria. [AP] [Ghad] 

 

Dagestan authorities have announced that thousands of Russian citizens are still in Iraq and Syria, and many others may have moved to neighboring Arab countries. [Sumaria]

 

Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa) (No reports)

 

Northwest

Aleppo/Idlib

Tuesday, Hawar reported that the Turkish military has deployed an air defense system near Dar Azza in rural western Aleppo province. [Hawar]

DaeshDaily comment. Considering the (pro-YPG) source, and the location specified, we would like to see confirmation before believing this story.

 

Tuesday, it was reported that Syrian forces, backed by artillery shelling and Russian aircraft, captured Idlib’s southern villages of Al-Zarzour, Sham Al-Hawa and Umm Al-Khalakhil, following violent clashes with Syrian opposition groups, [Qasioun] [EnabBaladi] [SyriaHR]

Tuesday, SOHR reported that violent clashes are still ongoing between Tahrir Al-Sham and the Syrian forces, after the latter captured Idlib’s southeastern villages of Umm Al-Khalakhil and Al-Naiha. [SyriaHR]

 

Monday, Qasioun reported that the Syrian forces captured the Al- Khawin village in rural southern Idlib, after hit-and-run battles with Tahrir Al-Sham. [Qasioun]

 

Central and West (Homs, Hama, etc.) (No reports)

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor

Tuesday, Qasioun reported that clashes broke out between the SDF and the Syrian forces on the banks of the Euphrates River near Maadan village in southeast Raqqa, west of Deir Ez-Zor, with reports of casualties on both sides. [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment. The SDF and Syrian Army had coexisted in this corner of Raqqa District, and the Syrian Army took the responsibility for dislodging Daesh there. Most of Raqqa is held by the SDF and (in north Raqqa) by the YPG.

 

Mayadin

Tuesday, Hawar reported that the SDF captured two Deir Ez-Zor villages, Abu Hardoub, 25 km (15.5 miles) south of Mayadin), and Al-Neba’i, 25 km north of the Albu Kamal town of Hajin, after violent clashes with Daesh, killing 17 Daesh fighters and destroying 2 vehicles.  [Hawar]


Albu Kamal

Tuesday, SOHR reported that clashes are still ongoing between the SDF and Daesh in Hajin on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, accompanied by mutual shelling, with reports of casualties on both sides. [SyriaHR]

 

Monday, a number of civilians were killed and others were wounded in airstrikes, believed to have been conducted by the US-led Coalition in Susah. [Qasioun].

DaeshDaily comment. Given Qasioun’s known proclivity for reporting all casualties as civilians and blaming the Coalition, we suggest waiting for confirmation on this report. 

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

US Permanent Representative to the UN, Nikki Haley, said on Tuesday that the US is consulting with the Security Council about holding an emergency session on the protests taking place in Iran since last Thursday. [Anadolu]

 

Tuesday, a report from the Al-Arab London-based newspapers revealed an Iranian “scenario” that entails Tehran summoning certain armed Iraqi groups to suppress the protests growing in Iranian cities, with reports that its official security bodies rejected this idea. 

Al-Arab carried a report by Najah Mohammed Ali, an Iraqi journalist it says is specialized in Iranian affairs, that the US Embassy in Baghdad has employed real and fake social media accounts to intervene in the Iranian protest movement and “veer it off path.” [BasNews]

 

Tuesday, Iranian authorities re-opened two border crossings with the Kurdistan Region, after closing them for over three months following the Kurdistan referendum, according to Ali Tawfiq, manager of the ParvizKhan border crossing by Khanaqin in Diyala). Iranian officials also re-opened the Haji Omeran border crossing along Erbil’s eastern border. [BasNews]

 

Algeria

Tuesday, the Algerian MoD announced that in 2017 the army killed 91 terrorists and arrested 40 others in sporadic operations over the course of the year. [Anadolu]

 

North Africa

Egypt

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced on Tuesday that the country will remain under a state of emergency for 3 more months, beginning on January 13. [Anadolu]

 

Friday night, Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack on the Mar Mina Church in Halwan, 16 miles south of Cairo. According to Daesh media, the attack left 10 “crusaders” and policemen dead, in addition to one of the attackers. The Egyptian Ministry of Interior reported that the attack was carried out by a militant on a motorcycle, killing a policeman and 6 civilians and wounding 4 others. The attacker was arrested. The Egyptian Ministry of Health reported that the attack resulted in 10 deaths and 5 casualties. [BasNews] 

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

Russia

Daesh claimed responsibility, on Tuesday, for the terrorist attack carried out last Wednesday in a shop in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, which killed 18 people. [TRT]

 

United States

Saturday, Daesh published a video on the internet appealing to American Muslims to carry out attacks on US soil, calling on its supporters to exploit US laws that facilitate the acquisition of firearms. [ArabsToday]

 

On December 22, former US Marine Everitt Aaron Jameson was arrested for allegedly offering to carry out a terrorist attack on Christmas day in San Francisco. [Sanfrancisco] [Ghad]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

The Pentagon announced Tuesday that a US soldier was killed in the eastern Nangarhar province during armed combat.

 

Tuesday, the Afghan Ministry of Defense announced that 91 militants, including Daesh commanders, were killed by Afghan security forces in a security operation in north and east Afghanistan. [Sumaria]

 

Afghanistan’s local news channel, TOLONews, has reported 63 suicide attacks in different parts of the country over the past year, carried out either by the Taliban or Daesh. The Taliban claimed responsibility for 48 attacks while Daesh claimed responsibility for 15 attacks. [Anadolu]

 

Tuesday, Russia’s Special Representative to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said that the number of Daesh members in Afghanistan has reached more than 10,000. [TRT]

DaeshDaily comment. Any readers who think Daesh has been defeated should read this story again.

 

A spokesman for the Afghan Interior of Ministry announced last Monday that a suicide attack in Kabul killed six civilians. [Forat]

 

Pakistan

Tuesday, Pakistan rejected US charges of “providing safe havens for terrorists” saying the allegations are “contrary to the facts,” according to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. He also said that “the loss of thousands of Pakistani civilians and security forces cannot be underestimated by linking it to a material value which is exaggerated,” referring to US President Donald Trump saying that the US provided Pakistan with $33 billion over the past 15 years. [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment. This is a long-standing issue with Pakistan. It helps in the war on terrorism in some ways, but also harbors a lot of terrorists who move across the Afghan border to kill Afghan and American troops. The issue has many complications and has been soft-pedaled in the past. The difference now is that Trump has chosen to confront Pakistan publicly on the issue.

 

Notices to Daesh Daily readers:  

DaeshDaily will be taking the remaining days of the holiday period off. Tonight’s edition is the last before the holiday. Our next issue will be on January 2. If there is a major development of imminent importance within that time, we will send out a special report.

 

On a separate matter, although Daesh Daily is distributed free, there are costs involved. The current institutional support for some of those costs expires at the end of the year. If your organization benefits from Daesh Daily, this would be an opportunity to share in its support.  We encourage you to contact us at info@daeshdaily.com. 

 

December 21, 2017

 

Kurdistan Demonstrations 

 

 

 

TODAY’S MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Masoum says Iraq-KRG talks will begin after holidays. [..]

PMF units in Hawija issue ultimatum to Daesh families to leave. [..]

3 more Daesh graves discovered near Badoush in Mosul. [..]

 

Syria

Latest future-of-Syria conference begins in Kazakhstan. [..]

Violent Syrian Army vs. Tahrir Al-Sham clashes continuing in southern Idlib. [..]

Daesh, Tahrir Al-Sham still battling in rural NE Hama. [..]

 

Other countries

German police prevent truck attack on Karlsruhe ice rink. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Iraq-KRG issues

President Fuad Masoum said the Iraqi government and the KRG will launch their talks concerning their disputes following the New Year’s holidays, and UNAMI representative Jan Kubis will play an important role in the meeting, according the official PUK website. [BasNews]

 

Thursday, the US Embassy in Iraq issued a message to its citizens in Iraq asking them to take appropriate security measures as the recent protests in Suleimaniya may turn violent. [Sumaria] [USEmbassy]

 

Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry called on the Iraqi government and the KRG to engage in a dialogue and resolve outstanding disputes peacefully, according to Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. [BasNews]

 

Reconstruction

Thursday, Vice President Osama Al-Nujaifi met with Kuwait’s Ambassador to Iraq to discuss the bilateral relations between the two countries and mutual interests. Al-Nujaifi presented his views on the current political scene and its effect on the upcoming elections and the required procedures and mechanisms needed in order for the elections to succeed. Al-Nujaifi’s office statement added that in the meeting, President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem was denounced and condemned, adding that the decision serves the extremists, is unacceptable, and lacks any legitimacy. Concerning the donor conference scheduled for February 2018 in Kuwait, Al-Nujaifi stressed the importance of “exerting great effort in order to ensure its success,” noting that the conference reaffirms Kuwait’s active role in rebuilding Iraq. Al-Nujaifi also made a presentation about the situation in Mosul. [Sumaria]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

MoI spokesman General Saad Ma’en warned that Daesh will attempt to carry out attacks on citizens, following its defeat in Iraq. 

Concerning the reports about Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s capture by US forces, Ma’en said that Al-Baghdadi has been defeated and is no longer important, and Daesh has lost all of its military locations in Iraq. [Shafaaq

 

Thursday, Coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said that the long-term mission of the US forces in Iraq includes stabilization operations and maintaining the achievements and victories over terrorism. Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported that there are US bases in several parts of Iraq, including Ayn Al-Asad (Anbar), Qayara, Balad, and Erbil. [BasNews]

 

Thursday, the joint security forces reported that Daesh has been using solar panels as a new way to supply the electricity demands for their communication devices and other equipment. [Sumaria] 

 

Election

At a commencement speech at the University of Technology, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi reiterated that the Iraqi battle against corruption is ongoing, and it will be won in spite of challenges and obstacles, noting that the Iraqi people have overcome Daesh and separatism through unity. Abadi added that the families of martyrs and casualties and students who participated in the liberation battles must be honored. He also said “we must encourage investment and increase sources of revenue, and not depend only on petroleum,” part of his call for launching investments in agriculture, industry, and commerce. [Sumaria]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

South (Dora, Yusufiyah, Mahmudiya, etc.)

Thursday, an unnamed security source reported that a Tribal PMF member was wounded in a sticky IED explosion in Latifiya, in south Baghdad. [Ghad] 

Daesh also reported a Tribal PMF fighter wounded when a sticky IED exploded under his vehicle in Latifiya. [ICDNDec21] 

 

ANBAR (No reports)

 

SALAHUDDIN

Eastern Salahuddin (Al-Daur, Tooz)

Thursday, dozens of Tuz Khurmatu residents protested, demanding that the federal government send reinforcements to the armed forces in the district. [Sumaria]

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Thursday, Diyala CoR member Furat Al-Tamimi reported that the “largest” suicide bomber guesthouse yet discovered was seized in an abandoned area south of Kanaan. He noted that this guesthouse housed the terrorists who carried out the attack in Nahrawan, which killed and wounded 45 people. [Sumaria]

 

Muqdadiya/Abu Saida/Central Diyala

Thursday, Al-Tamimi, warned of a “bloody strife” in Abu Saida. He called on Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi for urgent intervention. [Sumaria]

 

Daesh says it killed two PMF fighters and wounded four others by detonating an IED in the Abu Khanazir area, in Abu Saida, on Wednesday. [A3maq] 

 

Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)

Thursday, the Diyala Police Command announced that units from the Balad Ruz Police, the Diyala Security and Intelligence Directorate, and the military intelligence seized an explosives depot in the Shah Ali village. The Diyala Police Command added that the depot contained 7 mines, 5 mortar shells, 3 rockets, and IEDs. [Baghdadia] 

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Thursday, MoD spokesman, General Saad Maen, announced that the Iraqi-Turkish oil pipeline extending from Kirkuk to Mosul (passing Riyadh, Baiji, and Mosul) has been cleaned, and hundreds of IEDs have been removed. [BasNews]

 

Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)

A DaeshDaily source says PMF units gave an ultimatum to Daesh families to leave Hawija within 24 hours or they would be killed. 

 

Daesh says it killed nine Tribal PMF fighters in Al-Asakra village, west of Riyadh. Daesh publishes photos of attacking the fighters while they were sleeping. [ICDNDec20] 

 

Daesh says it killed the mukhtar of Kubaiba village and wounded two of his companions with an IED east of Hawija on Monday. [A3maq]

DaeshDaily comment. Mukhtars are civilian, local officials who pose no military threat to Daesh or anyone else. Increasingly, however, the mukhtar system appears vulnerable to terrorism, as mukhtars are largely defenseless against Daesh assassination squads and Daesh’s first step in taking over any area is to kill mukhtars, local police, etc. who represent government authority so as to undermine local governance and destroy public confidence in it. As Daesh seeks to recycle its insurgency, we see increasing reports of assassinations of such officials, including several mukhtars in recent days. Perhaps the mukhtar system needs to be rethought and either revised to provide personal security to mukhtars or replaced by a system of officials who are protected by some government-provided security.

 

NINEWA

Thursday, Ninewa Ops commander Najm Al-Jubouri said that the Ninewa Ops Command is willing to deploy additional EOD units provided that new locations are specified, however, the Ninewa Ops EOD’s capacities are limited. He noted that the farmlands span thousands of kilometers, and even with the current Coalition contractors support in Old Mosul and Tal Afar, the Ninewa Ops Command is in need of greater reinforcements. [Ghad] 

 

Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya, Tel Keif, etc.)

Daesh sources say three Nimrud PMF fighters in Hamdaniya were wounded in an IED explosion. The sources say the fighters were threatened to be killed if they didn’t leave the PMF. [ICDNDec21] 

 

Mosul

Thursday, Ninewa representative in the CoR, Farah Al-Sarraj said the number of martyrs of Mosul residents exceeded 20,000. Al-Sarraj called on Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and the Iraqi justice system “to assume their constitutional, legal, and national responsibilities and prosecute the defaulters who allowed Mosul to fall in the hands of Daesh on charges of treason.” She also called on the Iraqi government and the international community to accelerate the reconstruction of the Ninewa governorate and return the IDPs. [BasNews]

 

Head of research for Amnesty International in the Middle East, Lynn Maalouf, said “we are horrified, but not surprised, by these new figures. These numbers are directly in line with our previous findings that thousands of civilians were killed during the battle for Mosul.” She added “The failure of Iraqi and coalition forces to acknowledge and investigate civilian deaths in Mosul is a blatant abdication of responsibility,” and she demanded that an investigation be opened into the violations documented by independent organizations during the Mosul battles. [Xendan] [AmnestyInternational]

 

Thursday, a security source reported that the IFP carried out a campaign against sleeper cells in Mosul and arrested 4 terrorists. [Baghdadia] 

 

East Mosul

Ninewa Ops commander Najm Al-Jubouri announced the arrest of 6 suspects wanted for membership in Daesh, in the Sumer neighborhood in southeast Mosul. [PressIraq]

 

Thursday, Captain Amer Shaker of the Ninewa Police reported that high security measures and a curfew were imposed in 3 Mosul neighborhoods after 2 policemen were killed and Daesh members infiltrated in southeast Mosul. [BasNews] 

 

West Mosul

Thursday, a security source reported that a unit from the Ninewa Police discovered 3 mass graves containing 20 bodies in the Ihlila village in Badoush in far northwest Mosul. [PressIraq]

 

Security sources reported that 8 IEDs were defused inside the Mosul Airport. [PressIraq]

 

Southern Ninewa

Hatra

A DaeshDaily source says a Kata’eb Hezbollah commander was ambushed and killed by Daesh south of Hatra. 

 

Western Ninewa

Baaj

Daesh says it attacked PMF units south of Tal Safouk along the border, killing eight fighters, wounding others, and destroying 3 military positions. [ICDNDec20] 

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Thursday, Babel Police Command spokesman Adel Al-Husseini announced that in a pre-emptive operation in Jurf Al-Sakhar, an explosives depot was found on farmland in Al-Fadhiliya. It contained 10 (81mm) mortar shells, 2 (120) mortar shells, and 1 rocket, among other ammunition. An IED was also defused. [Baghdadia] 

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

Thursday, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani reiterated the KRG’s commitment to resolve the outstanding disputes with Baghdad in accordance with the Iraqi constitution, and based on his last visit to Germany. In a press conference in Erbil, Barzani praised the role of Germany and its continuous support to the KRG. He noted that he has received a letter from President Fuad Masoum about commencing talks with Baghdad. [Mawsleya]

 

Regarding the protests in Kurdistan, Barzani said everybody has the right to protest, “but when they turn chaotic, we must put a limit to them.” He also said the KRG respects the decisions by certain parties who decided to withdraw from the KRG, but emphasized that the Kurdistan Region is in need of the people’s unity as well as the political parties’ unity. [Mawsleya]

In a press conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Barzani accused “hidden hands” of attempting to cause chaos in the protests in the Kurdistan Region, while warning that Kurdistan is facing a “new threat.” [Sumaria]

Barzani reiterated that the KRG must hold elections in order to exit the current situation. He also noted that he found no justification for the Gorran and the Islamic group’s decision to withdraw from the KRG. In response to a reporter’s question, Barzani said that the KRG’s revenues from oil and border crossings have decreased after the recent events, adding that the KRG is willing to jointly administer the border crossings and airports with Baghdad. [Sumaria]

 

Thursday, CoR KDP representative Biston Adel noted that protesters in the Kurdistan Region need to keep their protests against the KRG peaceful and calm in order not to give the Iraqi central government the “the constitutional right to intervene in the Kurdistan Region under the pretext of protecting its citizens from violence during the protests.” [ROJ]

 

ERBIL/DAHUK

Wednesday, the Kurdistan Region Security Council published photos purportedly showing Iraqi forces mobilizing in southwest Erbil. [SotIraq]

DaeshDaily comment. More likely is that Iraqi forces in the area are in the Makhmur District of Ninewa, south of Erbil Province. Makhmur is predominantly Kurdish and on official maps looks like part of Erbil Province, but is below the “Green Line” and is officially under Ninewa administration, though the Kurds have tended to dominate it. (Somewhat similarly, a large area to the west and north of the Green Line is shown on maps as part of non-Kurdish Iraq but is administered as part of the KRG.) 

 

Thursday, deputy chairman of the KRG parliament’s Security Committee in the KRG Parliament, Nadhim Hirki, denied that new Turkish forces entered the KRG through the Ibrahim Al-Khalil border crossing. He added that a Turkish Army base has existed in the Kurdistan Region for years, and sometimes they use the Ibrahim Al-Khalil border crossing for logistical arrangements and transporting personnel. [Sumaria]

 

SULEIMANIYA/HALABJA

Thursday, a KDP spokesman in Suleimaniya and Halabja said the KDP will respond to any armed demonstration in front of their party headquarters. According to sources, the KDP “brought a large force” to protect its headquarters in Suleimaniya and Halabja. [ROJ]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY 

 

Thursday, “sources close to the PKK” reported that the Turkish Army sent dozens of tanks and armored vehicles to the Syrian border across from the Al-Malikiyah area in Hasaka, in the far northeast corner of Syria. [Rudaw]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Thursday, Dorar News reported that a new round of Astana talks on the Syrian crisis has commenced. “All the participating delegations have come to Astana,” Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Anwar Jainakov said. He added that the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura will attend the meeting on Friday. [Dorar]

 

Thursday, the Syrian Revolution Military Forces delegation stated that the delegation met with a technical team from the United Nations during the opening of the 8th round of the Astana talks. The statement added that the delegation and UN team discussed the release of prisoners held by the Syrian government, which is the purpose of their participation in the conference, in addition to achieving a ceasefire, especially in de-escalation zones; lifting the siege on all besieged cities and towns; and delivering humanitarian aid to those in need. [Dorar]

 

Thursday, following a meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the de-escalation zone in Idlib has complications, confirming that there are Tahrir Al-Sham militants still there. He added that Moscow hopes the next round of Syria discussions in Geneva will be “more fruitful,” according to Sputnik. [Dorar]

Lavrov said that he briefed de Mistura about the preparations for the Sochi talks concerning Syria. He said as the political process through the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, as a contribution to the Geneva talks, moves forward, I am confident that we will strictly honor our commitments reflected in UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on restoring the Syrian state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. [SyriaNow]

DaeshDaily comment. Translation: Keeping Assad in power and putting all parts of Syria under his control.

 

The Syrian delegation to Astana, headed by Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari, met with Iranian delegation, headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Ansari. The two sides discussed coordination and consultation between them. [SyriaNow]

 

Syrian opposition sources reported, based on the Italian AKI news agency, that there are 30 foreign military bases in Syria. According to AKI, Russia has 9 military bases in Syria; the US has 8 in addition to one more under construction; Iran has 5. Hezbollah 4, and Turkey 3. [ZamanAlWasl]

 

Thursday, Russian foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the situation in Syria is still tense, and the Russian troops are in full combat readiness to face any developments on the ground. [Dorar]

 

Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa) 

Hasaka

See story under Turkey above.

 

Northwest

Aleppo/Idlib

Thursday, Qasioun reported that a number of Syrian government soldiers were killed in battles with Tahrir Al-Sham in rural southern Idlib, according to Tahrir Al-Sham. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, Qasioun reported that Tahrir Al-Sham units targeted Syrian government forces and militias in the villages of Tal Khanzir and Um Traikiya in rural southern Idlib. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, SOHR reported that violent clashes are still ongoing between the Syrian forces and Tahrir Al-Sham due to the Syrian forces continuous violent attacks on the latter’s positions in Al-Masherfa village and Tal Maqta in rural southeastern Idlib. [SyriaHR]

 

Afrin/Azaz

A DaeshDaily source says more Daesh Iraqi fighters are trying to sneak to Idlib through Mare’ to join Tahrir Al-Sham (Nusra.) The source says the deal between Daesh members and Nusra was facilitated by a Nusra Iraqi leader called Khaled Shawi. 

 

Central and West (Homs, Hama, etc.)

Hama

Thursday, Iba’a reported that the Tahrir Al-Sham militants restored control over the Umm Al-Qibab hill in eastern Hama from Daesh, which resulted in deaths and casualties. Field sources reported that Tahrir Al-Sham foiled an attempt by Syrian government forces and Iranian militias to advance in Al-Masherfa village in rural Idlib, which led to the deaths of 5 militants and an officer in the Syrian forces. [Dorar] A military source in Tahrir Al-Sham reported that over 10 Daesh members were killed or wounded, and that Tahrir Al-Sham seized the bodies of 2 Army officers. [ZamanAlWasl]

 

Thursday, SOHR reported that clashes are still ongoing between Tahrir Al-Sham and Daesh in different locations in rural northeastern Hama, after Daesh launched a new attack on the region, capturing Rasm Al-Hamam village, with reports of causalities on both sides. [SyriaHR]

 

A DaeshDaily source says Tahrir Al-Sham regained control of Tal Al-Naqib village, east of Hama, after heavy battles with Daesh. The source says Daesh had captured the village briefly and executed 13 Tahrir Al-Sham members. 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin

Wednesday, Hawar News reported that the SDF foiled a Syrian forces attack with heavy machine guns on its positions in Shuhail village. [Hawar]

 

Wednesday, Hawar News reported that the SDF foiled a Daesh attack on its positions in the vicinity of Jaras Sharqi and Abu Hamam (in Albu Kamal), killing 20 Daesh members. [Hawar]

 

A DaeshDaily source says several Syrian soldiers were killed or wounded when a Daesh vehicle bomb targeted a checkpoint near Mayadin. 

 

Daesh publishes photos of an attack on Hawi Abu Hamam village. [ICDNDec21] 

 

Albu Kamal

Daesh publishes photos of the results of Russian and Syrian bombing on Hajin city. [ICDNDec21]

 

South 

Damascus/Rif Damashq 

Thursday, the SOHR reported clashes broke out between Failaq Al-Rahman (Al-Rahman Corps) and the Syrian forces in different locations within the Jobar neighborhood in Damascus, accompanied by Syrian government shelling on some parts of the neighborhood. [SyriaHR]

 

Thursday, the SOHR reported that clashes broke out between Syrian units and Islamic opposition groups in different locations east of Hader town in rural northern Quneitra, accompanied by mutual shelling. [SyriaHR]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

North Africa

Egypt

A3maq published a video about “Wilayat Sinai” targeting the helicopter of Minister of Interior Majdi Abdulghaffar and Minister of Defense Sidqi Subhi at the Arish airport two days ago with a projectile. [Arabi21] [A3maq] 

 

Monday, according to UAE based newspaper The National, Canadian Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan said “ISIS still has a presence in Sinai, and the responsibility to deal with this threat is in the hands of the Egyptian government.” He added that Canadian troops are monitoring the “movement of different groups regularly, so even if we focus on Iraq, we do have troops in Sinai and they are part of the peace mission with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO).” [RT] [TheNational]

 

Libya/Tunisia

Thursday, the Libyan Special Forces (Al-Saiqa) confirmed the deaths of 2 of its members and the wounding of 3 others during clashes with terrorist groups in the Sidi Al-Kharabish neighborhood in Benghazi. [Libya24]

Wednesday, the Tunisian MoD announced the arrests of a suspected terrorist on December 10, a 44-year old takfiri in Bizerte, a 23-year old woman on charges of membership in Daesh, and a 31-year old man who received money from his terrorist brother in Syria and distributed the amount among terrorist families in Aryanah. [Tunisien]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

Germany

Wednesday, the German Police arrested a 29-year old man on charges of belonging to Daesh. The man was planning to ram a truck into an ice-skating rink in Karlsruhe. The police added that he had travelled to Iraq in 2015 in order to join Daesh. [Baghdadia] 

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Local officials said three people were killed and six others were wounded in an explosion in Herat province on Thursday evening.

Herat Police spokesman Abdul Ahad Wali said that the blast took place in Jebraeel area in Herat City at around 5:30 pm. 

The explosives were hidden in a three-wheel motorbike and were detonated in a crowded place in front of a shop, Afghanistan’s Tolo News Agency reported. [AIN] 

Daesh says it killed or wounded 25 Shia by detonating a parked motorcycle in Herat. [A3maq] 

 

Daesh says it shot and killed an Afghan government employee in Ghani Khel city on Wednesday. [ICDNDec21]

Daesh says its snipers killed two Afghan soldiers in Bira Khel, in Nangarhar, on Tuesday. [A3maq]