An Update On ISIS Activities

December 18, 2018

December 18, 2018

 

A group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera

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Daesh Members Captured Near Hajin (DD Dec 17)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Three minister nominees approved; others still unsettled. [..]

New Yorker article slams rushed trial process for Daesh defendants.​​ [..]

46 Daesh families ordered to leave Tal Afar city. [..]

Daesh commander implicated in Yazidi massacre killed by Yazidi PMFs in Sinjar. [..]

Coalition airstrike kills 2 Daesh leaders, 6 others in Hatra. [..]

Multiple reports show Daesh fighters fleeing back into Iraq. [..]

 

Turkey

Turks, US maneuver in advance of threatened Turkish invasion of NE Syria.​​ [..]

 

Syria

Jeffery says US will not contribute to Syrian reconstruction while Assad is in power.​​ [..]

Daesh fights on east of Hajin as leaders start move toward Iraq. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Nigeria: ​​ Nigerian military in tiff with Amnesty International over allegations. [..]

Afghanistan:​​ Taliban leaders meet US officials in Abu Dhabi. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

New​​ government

The CoR approved the nominations of Qusay Al-Suhail, Abdul Amir Al-Hamdani, and Nouri Al-Karbouli as Ministers of Higher Education, Culture, and Planning, respectively. The CoR did not approve​​ Saba Al-Ta’i as Minister of Education or Hana Amanuel as Minister of​​ Displacement and Migration.​​ The​​ Islah​​ (Reform)​​ bloc then broke the quorum by withdrawing from the hall to avoid​​ holding a​​ vote​​ on​​ the​​ remaining ministries. [Rudaw]

 

Reconstruction

The Guardian​​ says the opening of the Green Zone is a source of worry for Iraqi politician. It says the​​ Green​​ Zone has been a symbol of US influence and​​ of​​ political disconnect since 2003. It added that the partial opening of the Green Zone did not affect the traffic jam in Baghdad. ​​ [Baghdadia] [Guardian]

 

The US Embassy issued the second warning of its kind to its citizens on the occasion of re-opening the Green Zone. The embassy stressed that Americans should keep a low profile, keep others informed of their location, and exercise caution while passing through the zone. [PUKMedia]

 

The​​ World Health Organization (WHO)​​ announced that the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation had donated 1 million Euros to support physical and mental rehabilitation for people affected by conflict in Ninewa Province. UNAMI said that this contribution would help ensure that war victims suffering from mental and physical disabilities received high-quality services. [PUKMedia]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

On Tuesday, the Iraqi Supreme Court heard a case filed by the​​ former​​ Governor of Kirkuk Najmaldin Karim, Provincial Council​​ Chairman​​ Rebwar Al-Talabani, and 5 members of the Council against former Iraqi Prime​​ Minister​​ Haider Al-Abadi, regarding the events of October 16, 2017. The lawsuit alleged that Al-Abadi’s use of Iraqi Armed Forces and PMF groups to carry out a military operation in Kirkuk was unconstitutional with respect to Article 140. The Court found that the case was outside of​​ its​​ jurisdiction, as​​ it did​​ not have the power to compel Al-Abadi to perform or not perform a specific act with respect to his constitutional obligations. [Rudaw]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

In its December 24-31 issue, the​​ New Yorker​​ carried an in-depth article on the current state of Iraq’s anti-Daesh campaign. The article noted that trials leading to a guilty verdict lasted between 3 and 8 minutes, including trials of defendants who alleged that their confessions had been forced under torture by the security services. It alleged that security personnel and PMF units who beat, tortured, or killed suspects faced no meaningful investigations​​ or consequences.​​ 

The article also​​ said​​ that Mosul’s​​ Old​​ City was still in ruins, and had received little reconstruction aid; the reporter wrote, “Reconstruction in the Old City will cost billions of dollars ….​​ Aside from the exorbitant cost, I had the impression that the Iraqi government has been content to leave it in ruins, as a kind of punishment.”​​ [NewYorker]

 

The Karkh Criminal Court sentenced 1 Daesh fighter to death and another to life imprisonment. [PUKMedia]​​ [Sumaria]

 

Foreign policy

Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim met on Tuesday with US Envoy to the Coalition Brett McGurk and US Ambassador to Baghdad Douglas Silliman. Al-Hakim said that Daesh could not be allowed to return to Iraq. [Sumaria]

 

The Arab League denounced the Turkish “aggression” against Sinjar inside Iraqi territory, which killed several Syrian workers. It considered the Turkish actions to be a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. ​​ Mahmoud Afifi, spokesman for the Arab League, says Turkey has ignored similar denouncements in the past, which shows its disrespect to its relationship with the Arab world. [Hawar]

 

Also see below, under Turkey – Foreign policy

 

BAGHDAD

Center​​ (Rusafa, Karkh, etc.)

IFP Command said on Tuesday that engineering units had cleared an IED planted near the Ibn Al-Nafis hospital in downtown Baghdad. [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR

No reports

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

The Security Media Center says that​​ EOD​​ units​​ in​​ the 31st​​ PMF​​ Brigade defused and removed 800 IEDs and shells in Siniya. This comes in preparation​​ for​​ IDPs to​​ return to​​ their home areas. [Baghdadia]

 

Samarra

The PMF media office said on Tuesday that the 313th​​ PMF Brigade carried out a search operation in 3 villages in western Samarra. [Ghad]

 

DIYALA

No reports

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Daesh said it killed three IFP members and damaged their vehicle with an IED near Nader Awa village, in Dibis, on Sunday. [ICDNDec18]​​ 

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad,​​ Taza,​​ etc.)

The Security Media Center said on Tuesday that IFP units had found and disarmed 52 IEDs and 26 detonators found​​ on farmland in the village of Albu Mohammed, Daquq subdistrict. [Sumaria]

 

NINEWA

Mosul​​ city

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that the MoI issued an amnesty for dozens of police officers from Ninewa. The source said some of these officers had pledged allegiance to Daesh and had given information to Daesh that led to the murders of many police and security members. The source​​ said​​ some local politicians intervened and included these Daesh officers in the amnesty. ​​ 

 

The Security Media Center says that terrorists shot and killed 3 civilians on the Mosul-Sahaji road, just west of Mosul city. [Sumaria]​​ [BasNews]

 

Daesh said it killed two Iraqi Army “intelligence members” and a PMF member when it raided two houses in Al-Abar, west Mosul, on Monday. Daesh published photos of the murders. [ICDNDec18]

 

Mosul District

South (Qayara)

A police source in Ninewa says that security personnel stopped a Daesh attack in Mahane village in Qayara, killing 4 attackers. Security personnel also found the body of a policeman, who had been shot in the chest and whose body had signs of torture. [BasNews]

 

The Directorate of Military Intelligence says that its units in the 20th​​ Army Division arrested a terrorist hiding among IDPs in the Jada’a camp, Qayara subdistrict, on Tuesday. [Ghad]​​ [Sumaria]

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that PMF units told 46 families of Daesh members to leave Tal Afar within 24 hours.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that PMF units attacked a group of Daesh terrorists near Abu Mariya village, killing a terrorist and forcing the rest to flee.​​ 

 

Sinjar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Yazidi PMFs ambushed and killed a Daesh commander near the Syrian border. The source said the terrorist had fled from Syria. The source said the terrorist participated in the massacres against Yazidi people in Sinjar, and killed more than 30 civilians who were trying to escape from the district during the liberation battles. The source said that several terrorists who accompanied the commander fled back to the Hasaka area.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Yazidi PMFs started a campaign to clear Sinjar city from IEDs,​​ preparing for the return of displaced people. The source said the units found 59 IEDs and 40 mortar shells, in addition to heavy machine gun ammunition, hidden in​​ 1​​ of the houses.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Yazidi YPG fighters captured then killed a Daesh member in the Khana Sor area; the Daesh member had just returned from the Al-Hawl refugee camp in Hasaka.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that the road between Sinjar and Tal Afar was cut off after the collapse of the bridge between the​​ two​​ districts​​ caused by​​ the floods.

 

Southern Ninewa

Hatra

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that Coalition planes killed 8 Daesh terrorists, including Amer Marhoun, aka Abu Ha’el Al-Suri, and Abu Omar Al-Libi, in an airstrike on a tunnel in Hatra district. The source said that Marhoun was a senior commander, originally from Mayadin in Syria, and had held several senior positions with Daesh including military commander of Raqqa.​​ 

 

Baaj

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that 40 Daesh terrorists, including commanders, who have fled the fighting in eastern Deir Ez-Zor, arrived in the Baaj desert area. The source said that 1 of the terrorists is Abu Qa’ed Al-Hiti, a senior military commander from Anbar, who had escaped from Abu Ghraib prison in 2010.​​ 

​​ 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that PMF units captured a Daesh terrorist, originally from Anbar, near the Syrian border in Baaj. The source said the terrorist had fled the Deir Ez-Zor battles. The source said a PMF member from Mosul shot and killed the man after he was captured. The PMFs arrested their​​ fighter after the shooting.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Daesh appointed a new military commander for the west Ninewa area. The source said Daesh is planning more attacks on​​ mukhtars​​ and tribal PMF members.

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Basra

The UN issued a document recognizing the right of dark-skinned Iraqis to have representation in the CoR. Ghanim Al-Basri, a member of the Association of Dark-Skinned Persons in Iraq, says this document will preserve the rights of dark-skinned people in the country. The document confirmed the presence of racism and lack of equality against the dark-skinned persons in Iraq, including lack of political representation and employment. They are estimated at 200,000 in Iraq, most of whom are concentrated in Basra, but the actual figure might be larger. [Sumaria]

 

A security source said that unidentified gunmen “stormed” the South Refineries Company in Basra on Tuesday. The source, who asked not to be identified, said that the intrusion was aimed at winning a contracting bid of 3 billion dinars, without specifying further. A member of the Basra Provincial Council denied that the incident had taken place. [Rudaw]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

The Turkish Ministry of Defense said on Monday that it had killed 7 PKK members in an airstrike in the Gare-Hakurk area.​​ [SotIraq]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Military & security developments

A senior Kurdish Syrian source said on Tuesday that the US was seeking to deploy both Arab and Kurdish forces on the border with Turkey rather than​​ just​​ the YPG. [BasNews]

 

James Jeffery, the US Special Representative to Syria, confirmed the deployment of thousands of Kurdish fighters near the Turkish borders. This deployment was made​​ through​​ coordination​​ between​​ the US and SDF. Jeffery says this is a compromise to ease the tension with Turkey, given​​ concern over​​ the possibility that​​ the​​ SDF would stop its operations against Daesh in case of a Turkish invasion. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Deploying fighters could be effective as deterrence, but it doesn’t sound much like “easing tensions.”

 

The Turkish daily​​ Yeni Safak​​ says that the Turkish Army is on “full alert” on the Syrian borders and is closely observing the situation. It says that the Turkish Army is awaiting orders to hit PYD observation posts on the border. It also says the US handed over its observation posts to the PYD. It says that PYD units are using advanced, US-supplied, radar and observation equipment. [Qasioun]

 

Yeni Safak​​ also wrote that the commander of the Turkish operation east of the Euphrates would be General Ismail Metin Temel, who previously led the “Olive Branch” operation. The newspaper said that 24,000 fighters from both the Turkish Army and the pro-Turkish “Syrian Free Army” were expected to participate in the operation. [ElDorar]

 

On Monday, the Syrian pro-government newspaper​​ Al-Watan​​ published an interview with​​ Omar Osi, head of the National Initiative of the Syrian Kurds, in which Osi said that he considered the​​ situation “dangerous.” He added that he believed the US had secretly approved the operation, and that in so doing, America had “sold the Kurds to Turkey.” [Watan]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ If the US did not​​ approve, it should make a public statement to that effect before this becomes an embarrassment.

 

David L. Philips, a previous senior adviser to the US State Department, says that Congress should prevent Turkey from attacking civilians in northeast Syria. He called for the establishment of a no-fly zone in the area. [Hawar]

 

Foreign policy

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a speech to the Turkish Parliament that Turkey could not allow Sinjar to become a haven for terrorists, like the Qandil Mountains had become, he said. He said that Turkey respected the territorial integrity of its neighbors, including Iraq and Syria, but that these operations would continue until all such “dens of terrorists” were cleared.​​ [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

United Nations

The Foreign Ministers of Iran, Russia, and Turkey met in Geneva on Tuesday to discuss the constitutional committee for Syria. Iranian Foreign Minister​​ Mohammad Javad Zarif​​ expressed hope that the meeting will finish with positive results. The 3 ministers are meeting the UN Envoy at a banquet before the official meeting, which is​​ intended​​ to reach a solution for the issue. [Anadolu]

 

Iran

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards withdrew​​ their​​ units from eastern Deir Ez-Zor towards Homs. Military sources say dozens of vehicles of pro-Iranian militias were seen moving on the Deir Ez-Zor-Palmyra road. The sources say the reason for the withdrawal is unknown. [ElDorar]

 

Foreign policy

United States

James Jeffery, the US Special​​ Representative​​ to Syria, says President​​ Al-Assad is not a target​​ of​​ the US, but it will not contribute to reconstruction as long as​​ he​​ stays in power. He says​​ Al-Assad should agree to a settlement,​​ given the presence of over 100,000 armed men opposing his rule in the country. He estimated​​ the cost of reconstruction in​​ Syria $300 to​​ $400​​ billion. [Rudaw]

 

Europe

The French Foreign Ministry says it is not realistic to see Bashar Al-Assad as President following the Syrian reconciliation. This came in a statement from the Ministry. [Sumaria]

 

Middle East

Bashar Jaafari, the Syrian Ambassador to the UN, warned Saudi Arabia against taking measures against Syria, following the presentation of a Saudi proposal to the UN General Assembly regarding human rights in Syria. He says Saudi Arabia is not legally ethically, qualified to present such a proposal. [ElDorar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Representatives of​​ neither​​ the Syrian government nor Saudi Arabia have a great leg to stand on when discussing human rights issues.

 

Lebanon​​ Foreign​​ Minister Gebran​​ Bassil says his country does not approve​​ of the​​ settlement of refugees​​ in​​ its territories. This came in a letter addressed by the​​ Minister to the UN​​ Secretary-General,​​ the Head of the​​ General​​ Assembly, and the UNHCR. He says this large number of Syrian refugees forms a huge economic, social, security, and demographic burden on Lebanon.​​ [Anadolu]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

Iran

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards withdrew their units from eastern Deir Ez-Zor towards Homs. Military sources say dozens of vehicles of pro-Iranian militias were seen moving on the Deir Ez-Zor-Palmyra road. The sources say the reason for the withdrawal is unknown. [ElDorar]

 

Northwest

Afrin.​​ Kurdish media reported that a “powerful” explosion took place in front of a building used as a headquarters by the “Turkish occupation army” in Afrin city. [Hawar]

 

Manbij /Ayn Al-Arab

Anadolu​​ said that it had received footage showing “PKK” members digging trenches and tunnels around Ayn Al-Arab, in preparation for the anticipated Turkish military operation. [Anadolu]

 

Kurdish media reported fighting between the “Turkish occupation army” and fighters from the Ahfad Al-Rasul (Descendants of the Prophet) militia in Sukkariya village, west of Manbij. [Hawar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Ahfad Al-Rasul has supposedly been defunct for years, so it is unclear who was fighting who.

 

Northeast​​ 

Raqqa

Raqqa city​​ & district

Local sources said that 3 Syrian Air Force intelligence units and an​​ Iranian​​ soldier were wounded by a land mine near Maadan, east​​ of​​ Raqqa, on Monday. [ElDorar]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that 3 SDF members were killed and 4 civilians wounded when a Daesh vehicle bomb exploded in a market in Al-Shuhail.

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that 2 SDF members were killed and 3 others wounded when a roadside IED exploded on their vehicle in Al-Shuhail. The source said that after the explosion, a group of terrorists attacked the vehicle with hand grenades.​​ 

 

Mayadin​​ District

Local activists say unidentified armed men attacked an SDF checkpoint in Al-Jardhi village, killing 1 and wounding 7. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded seven SDF members after targeting their SUV with an IED in the Dernaj area, on Monday. [ICDNDec18]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that Daesh terrorists were still fighting on the eastern outskirts of Hajin city, while many commanders fled toward Al-Sha’afa and Al-Susah.​​ 

 

The SOHR says that fighting is continuing between Daesh and SDF units east of Hajin, and Coalition planes were seen in the skies. On Monday, the SDF encircled 11 Daesh fighters in Hajin before a Coalition airstrike killed all of them. [SyriaHR]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that SDF units captured 18 Daesh terrorists who were trying to flee Hajin city with civilians. The source said that many of the captured were from Iraq and other Arab countries. One of them is Abu Talha Al-Anbari, the Daesh security official of Hajin, who was responsible for murdering dozens of civilians in Hajin. The source sent us photos of some of the captured. ​​ 

 

The SDF thwarted a Daesh attack north of Al-Sha’afa, near Hajin. The SDF says it killed dozens of fighters in the attack, and that Daesh used armored vehicles. [Hawar]

 

The SOHR reported intense Daesh shelling​​ in Albu Kamal, held by the Syrian Amy and its Iranian allies. It says mutual shelling​​ has​​ been​​ underway since Monday, and that Daesh fighters are trying to flee eastern Deir Ez-Zor to the western desert using rubber boats. ​​ [SyriaHR]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that 4 civilians, including a woman and child, were killed in Syrian Army artillery shelling on Al-Susah. The source said the shelling was arbitrary and didn’t target Daesh positions.​​ 

 

Daesh said on Tuesday it targeted SDF “gatherings” in Hajin city with 35 mortar shells. [ICDNDec18]

 

South​​ 

No reports

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

A US Congressional report​​ says that Iran is trying to revive the “old Persian empire,” driven by its feeling of superiority. It says it is supporting 5 entities in the Middle East to achieve this goal. These entities are the Syrian government, Lebanese Hezbollah,​​ the​​ Houthis in Yemen, and Shia​​ militias​​ in Iraq and Bahrain. The Iranian support includes arms and funds as well, the report​​ claims. [Baghdadia]

 

Saudi Arabia/Yemen

The Saudi-owned​​ Asharq Al-Awsat​​ wrote on Tuesday that the “legitimate” (i.e. Hadi-led) Yemeni government criticized a briefing by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Yamani claimed that Griffiths had deliberately not mentioned the Houthi rejection of economic initiatives to pay the salaries of civil servants and reopen the Sana’a airport to flights via Aden. [Aawsat]

 

UAE

Arabi21​​ says that the UAE demanded that the UK hand over Emirati political opposition members living in the UK, in exchange for releasing​​ Matthew Hedges, who was sentenced to life in the UAE. As the UK rejected the UAE’s demand, they freed Hedges unconditionally. British officials reportedly told the UAE that British laws do not allow extraditing persons who have obtained political asylum, and that such​​ a​​ procedure is a very complicated process, and not a matter of​​ taking​​ a government position.​​ [Arabi21]

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh said on Tuesday it damaged an Egyptian Army bulldozer with an IED in the Bal’a area, east of Rafah. [ICDNDec18]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

AFRICA

Somalia

Daesh issued on a Monday a short video of the battles with Al-Shabab in the Bur Meirale area. [A3maq]

Daesh had​​ previously​​ said that​​ a group of Al-Qaeda in Somalia members was​​ gathering near Bur​​​​ Meirale,​​ Puntland, southwest of Qandala city, on Saturday to attack Daesh positions, when a group of Daesh​​ fighters attacked them,​​ killing 14, wounding others, and capturing weapons and ammunition. [ICDNDec16]

 

Daesh said on Tuesday it shot and killed a Somali Ministry of Finance employee in Bakaara market, in Mogadishu city. [ICDNDec18]

​​ 

Nigeria

The Nigerian military called​​ for​​ expelling​​ Amnesty International from the country, saying that Amnesty was “damaging the morale of troops fighting Boko Haram.” On Twitter, the army said that Amnesty was siding with Boko Haram. This follows Amnesty’s report on Monday, in which the organization said that the Nigerian authorities failed to​​ investigate ethnic fighting, that this had led to an escalation in conflict between farmers and herders, and that at least 3,641 people had been killed in such fighting over the last 3 years. On Friday, the Nigerian​​ Army also accused UNICEF of training Boko Haram “spies” and briefly suspended UNICEF operations before reversing the decision. [DW]

 

Boko Haram terrorists killed 1 soldier and injured another in an attack on a military base in Nigeria’s northeast Borno​​ State, military sources said Tuesday. Terrorists in 4 trucks fitted with anti-aircraft guns stormed the base in Mairari village, close to the garrison town of Monguno, on Monday briefly seizing it. The base was recaptured after reinforcements arrived from Monguno, 10 kilometers (6 miles) away. [Vanguard]​​ 

Daesh said it killed three Nigerian Army members, captured one, wounded others, damaged a tank, and captured ammunition in an attack on a military position in “Bonari” village, near Monguno town in southeast Nigeria, on Monday. [ICDNDec18] [A3maq]

 

Daesh said it captured a Nigerian Army member, set 3 vehicles on fire, and captured ammunitions in an attack on an army military positions in “Cross” town (spelling unclear), near Lake Chad, on Monday. [ICDNDec18]

 

On Monday, a Boko Haram faction loyal to long-time leader Abubakar Shekau released pictures of an attack on a village near the Borno​​ State capital Maiduguri, according to SITE intelligence, which monitors jihadist activities. The village was burned down, sending residents fleeing into the city. The military said Monday that troops repelled the attack, in which a soldier and 4 insurgents were killed. [Vanguard]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Taliban political leaders met with US officials in Abu Dhabi on Monday. The Taliban issued a statement saying that talks​​ had concerned the “withdrawal of occupation forces from Afghanistan.”​​ Pakistani PM Imran Khan said that Pakistan had facilitated this​​ round of talks.​​ [Khaama]​​ [Khaama]

 

The Afghan police rescued an Afghan-German woman who had been abducted in Kabul 2 years ago. [Khaama]

 

US and Afghan​​ military units killed “at least 9” Daesh Khurusan (ISIS-K) members in separate operations in Kunar and Nangarhar Provinces, eastern Afghanistan. [Khaama]

 

Daesh said on Tuesday it shot and killed an Afghan intelligence​​ officer​​ in District 16, in Kabul. [A3maq]

 

 

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