An Update On ISIS Activities

February 1, 2019

February 1, 2019

 

A close up of a hillside

Description automatically generated

IED Explosion on Makhoul Mountains (DD Feb 1)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

19,000,000 Iraqis use social media, most via mobile phones. [..]​​ 

Daesh members’ families​​ in Al-Qa’im​​ agree to disown them as a condition for being allowed to return home. [..]

 

Syria

Syrian artillery​​ is​​ shelling towns in northern Hama, near Idlib. [..]

700 US soldiers​​ are​​ in Albu Kamal to search for Daesh leaders. [..]

36,470 have fled Daesh-held areas in Deir Ez-Zor since December. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

United States: ​​ 

US Senate resolution opposes​​ Trump’s announced​​ withdrawal from Syria & Afghanistan.​​ [..]

US withdraws from 1987 nuclear arms treaty it says Russia has been violating.​​ [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

New​​ government

The Atlantic Council​​ says that Iraq’s government has missed​​ Prime Minister​​ Adel Abd Ul-Madhi’s​​ 100-day deadline for​​ to implement​​ reforms, which he announced when he took office in October. It​​ says​​ that while there have been some improvements in Iraq’s government in the past 100 days,​​ there has not been​​ not enough time for the significant breakthroughs Iraq needs,​​ considering its stormy history with sanctions, mismanagement, and conflict.​​ [AtlanticCouncil]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It does not help that the CoR has not even ​​ been able to agree on whether to support some Minister nominees.

 

Economy

CBNC​​ reported on Wednesday that experts say Iraq’s massive 2019 budget is 45% larger than​​ the​​ previous year,​​ reflecting outside contributions,​​ but still fails to meet the country’s reconstruction needs. [CBNC]

 

The Digital Media Center says that social media users in Iraq amount to 19 million people, i.e. 48% of the population. It says 18 million of those are users of social media through their mobile phones. [Sumaria]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

Bloomberg​​ wrote that Daesh was preparing to reappear after losing territories in Syria and Iraq, saying that the group will turn to guerilla tactics like bombings, sniping, and assassination. It says that Daesh carried out 1271 attacks and 148 assassinations in Iraq in the first 10 months of 2018. It estimated the number of remaining​​ Daesh fighters to be between a few thousand​​ and​​ 30 thousand,​​ writing that the organization​​ has kept​​ hold of​​ large amounts​​ of money,​​ despite losing hundreds of thousands of​​ dollars,​​ and it​​ is​​ now turning to legitimate businesses​​ for​​ money​​ laundering. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

BAGHDAD

Baghdad Ops Command announced that the 24th​​ Army​​ Brigade arrested a man wanted on terrorism charges in Abu Ghraib, while the 15th​​ and 7th​​ IFP Brigades arrested 7 people for human trafficking in the Abu Nuwas area​​ in​​ central Baghdad. [Buratha]​​ 

 

East​​ (Sadr City, New Baghdad, etc.)

A police source says a civilian was shot and killed by unidentified armed men in​​ Al-Rasheed,​​ east Baghdad. [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR

On Thursday, the National Axis bloc​​ in the CoR, which includes Sunni leaders, issued a statement opposing a plan by​​ PMF groups​​ to​​ open a “religious reporting” unit in Anbar Province. [SotAlIraq]

 

Haditha

Daesh published on Friday photos of murdering two tribal PMF fighters near Haditha. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]​​ Daesh​​ had​​ said on Tuesday it killed two tribal PMFs​​ from​​ the​​ Jaghaifa tribe and captured another near Haditha city. [A3maq]​​ 

 

Al-Qa’im

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that security units gave permission to 450 displaced families to return​​ to​​ their houses in Al-Qa’im, including Daesh families. The source said the Daesh families had signed court documents announcing​​ that​​ they “disowned” the Daesh members in their families.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that units of Kata’eb Al-Imam Ali, a Shia PMF, moved from the Trebil​​ border crossing with Jordan to Al-Qa’im, across the border from Albu Kamal.​​ 

 

Rutba

Qasim Musleh, Anbar Ops Commander for the PMF, said on Friday that artillery units under his command were shelling Daesh targets in Syria.​​ He said there should be high coordination between the PMF and security forces to prevent any danger of the fighting spilling over into Iraq.​​ [Sumaria]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source reported that on Friday a woman and her 3 children were killed and her husband severely wounded when an IED exploded on their vehicle in the Makhoul Mountains.​​ 

A security source in Salahuddin reporting on the same incident said only that an IED exploded on a family on a picnic in the Makhoul Mountains and several family members were wounded. [Buratha]​​ 

 

Baiji

A roadside IED blew up a bus carrying state employees near Baiji, killing 1 and wounding 5. While the responsible party is unknown, all indications point to Daesh according to a security source. [BasNews]​​ 

 

Samarra

Daesh said it killed an Iraqi government “spy,” blew up his house, set one of his vehicles on fire, and stole another vehicle on Wednesday in the Hadidi​​ village​​ area in Jazeera Samarra. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]​​ 

 

DIYALA

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin,​​ Khalis​​ north)

Daesh said its snipers killed a PMF fighter and wounded another on Thursday​​ at​​ a military position on the Imam Wais​​ Road, in Sadiya. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]

 

KIRKUK

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ ​​ etc.)

The Inspector-General’s office of the MoI says a Daesh commander was arrested in the Wahda neighborhood of Hawija city.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Daesh said it blew up the house of the mukhtar of Al-Zira’a village, in Riyadh subdistrict, on Wednesday. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded IFP policemen and damaged their Humvee with an IED on Thursday near Al-Aghbar village, in Riyadh subdistrict. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]​​ 

 

NINEWA

Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that local police units arrested a Daesh commander who was trying to go to Mosul from Erbil,​​ at a checkpoint near Hamdaniya. The source said the terrorist used to be the “execution official” of Daesh’s “Dijla province” in western and southern Ninewa. The source said the commander, who was carrying a fake ID, has​​ already​​ been sentenced to death in absentia.​​ 

 

Mosul​​ city

The MoI says it arrested a Daesh “air defense” and mortar squad officer in the 17 Tammuz (17th​​ of July) neighborhood of northwest Mosul. [Sumaria]

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Sinjar

A statement by the PMF media office said that on Friday, units in the 29th​​ PMF Brigade had found an abandoned Daesh prison, a “storehouse” of drugs, and a workshop for manufacturing IEDs in Qayrawan subdistrict​​ in southern Sinjar. [Forat]​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

A Syrian opposition delegation headed by Dr. Naser Al-Hariri, who previously represented the opposition at the Geneva peace talks, arrived in Kurdistan to discuss recent developments in Syria. The delegation is scheduled to meet with Masoud Barzani and other Kurdish officials, as well as with the anti-PYD Kurdish National Council, which is backed by Turkey and​​ some​​ KRG​​ leaders. [BasNews]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Military & security developments

The Turkish Army announced on Friday evening that it had “neutralized” 7 terrorists and destroyed 38 positions and weapons depots from PKK areas within the past week, both inside and outside Turkey. ​​ [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

United Nations

The UN demanded that the SDF open safe routes for refugees fleeing eastern Deir Ez-Zor following battles against Daesh in the area. It demanded that the SDF​​ establish​​ a supply point to serve refugees on the road to the Al-Hawl IDP camp in Hasaka. [EnabBaladi]

 

Political developments

Elham Ahmed, the co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (the political wing of the SDF), noted during her trip to Washington, DC, that the SDF still held Daesh prisoners from Europe and America that their​​ nations had refused to take back. Ahmed said that the estimated 800 Daesh fighters held by the SDF included 10 American citizens that the US had so far not requested to repatriate. [Bloomberg]

 

Russia

The Carnegie Endowment’s journal​​ Sada​​ wrote that Russia had 2 main strategic objectives for participating in the Syrian reconstruction process: reconnecting Al-Assad’s government to global financial markets, and benefitting from the flow of foreign capital into Syria as the main international actor in Syrian reconstruction. The article said that having failed to get guarantees of reconstruction assistance from the US and the EU, Russia was more willing to consider Saudi Arabia and China as investment partners. [Sada]

 

The Syrian Minister of Industry said that the Ministry had signed an MOU with the​​ Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade to allow Russian companies to​​ set up manufacturing​​ and industrial projects​​ in Syria. [EnabBaladi]

 

Foreign policy

United States

NBC​​ wrote that President Trump might still amend his plans regarding Syria. It says the US might keep its forces in Al-Tanaf base, and that forces in this base would be the last to leave Syria, according to the Russian​​ RT TV. Israel and some US officials believe that the US presence in Al-Tanaf is essential to cut off Iranian supply lines to Hezbollah in Lebanon. [ElDorar] [NBC]

 

Germany

The SDF arrested​​ German​​ jihadi​​ Martin Lemke in a refugee screening area near Al-Baghouz after he fled the Daesh-controlled area. His third wife Leonora, also a German national, says he fled alongside her and his second wife, and that they came to surrender. Both wives claimed that Lemke is an electronics technician and that he had a health condition that did not allow him to fight. They said they want to return to Germany.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Northwest

Afrin

Tahrir Al-Sham​​ says that it will​​ reopen​​ the​​ Al-Ghazawiya​​ crossing between western Aleppo and Afrin, which it had closed days earlier.​​ It said that the crossing would be open from 8 AM to 5 PM only, and that the Deir Ballout crossing would remain closed until further notice.​​ [EnabBaladi]

 

Manbij /Al-Bab

The media office of the Manbij Military Council said that a mine had exploded in a roundabout in Manbij city on Friday, causing damage but no casualties.​​ [Rudaw]​​ [Hawar]

 

Daesh said on Friday it wounded several SDF fighters and damaged their SUV with an IED on the road between Manbij and Al-Bab. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

An IED exploded in Qamishli, wounding 1 man and 2 women near the eastern police station on Bashir Mosque Street. [Qasioun]

On Thursday, Kurdish media sources​​ had​​ previously said that a mine explosion​​ on Bashir​​ Mosque​​ Street ​​ wounded 2 women. [Hawar]

 

Daesh said on Friday it killed two court employees and damaged their vehicle with an IED in​​ the​​ Al-Arbawiya neighborhood in Hasaka city. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]

 

Raqqa

East Raqqa

Daesh said it wounded two SDF fighters and damaged their vehicle with an IED on Thursday in the Al-Karama area. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]

 

Central and West​​ 

Aleppo

Kurdish media said that the cease-fire violations in the “demilitarized zone” announced by Russia and Turkey in September 2018 are continuing. Syrian Army artillery shelled the towns of Lataminah, Husraya, Kafr Nabudah, and Kafr Zita, all in northern Hama, as well as towns in eastern Idlib. The news also reported clashes between the Syrian Army and pro-Turkey militias​​ around the Al-Mallah area,​​ in​​ northern Aleppo District​​ near​​ Azaz. The Syrian government says it was responding to terrorists’ attempts to cross into government-controlled areas. [Hawar]​​ 

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

Daesh said it shot and wounded an SDF fighter on Thursday in an ambush between the Hariji and Namliya villages, in Al-Suwar subdistrict. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]

Daesh said on Friday it killed two SDF fighters and damaged their vehicle with an IED near Hariji village. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

The SOHR says that Coalition planes are still flying over Daesh positions, without carrying out airstrikes. It wrote that this has been accompanied by decline in the​​ fighting,​​ amid reported​​ discussions between the SDF and Daesh regarding the surrender of Daesh’s leaders, [SyriaHR]

 

The SOHR says the 700 US soldiers who arrived in Syria recently are Special Forces searching for Daesh commanders.​​ It says some of these soldiers are already on the front lines with photos of wanted Daesh fighters, including Al-Baghdadi. The SOHR says that top Daesh commanders are afraid to leave their fortified areas lest they be arrested. [SyriaHR]

 

A “well-informed” Kurdish source said on Friday that the remaining Daesh fighters trapped in Deir Ez-Zor offered to surrender to the SDF and the Coalition on the terms that they be given safe passage to the Turkish border. The SDF and Coalition refused this offer. The source also said that the recently-arrived US Marines in Syria were there to arrest Daesh leaders, particularly Al-Baghdadi. [BasNews]​​ 

 

The SOHR reported more 70 persons fleeing Daesh-held areas east of the Euphrates, some of whom were Daesh families and members. It said that 36,470 people total have fled Daesh-held areas since the beginning of December 2018. [SyriaHR]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that the SDF handed over 3 Yazidi women it freed in Al-Susah to Yazidi PMFs near Sinjar.​​ 

 

The SOHR says that the SDF transferred 150 people, mostly Russian and Uzbek women and children, to SDF-held areas​​ on trucks. An Algerian girl mentioned her trip from Algeria to Syria via Turkey. [SyriaHR]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that​​ 1​​ civilian was killed and another wounded when a Daesh leftover IED exploded near a bakery in Al-Kashma.​​ 

 

South​​ 

No reports

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Yemen

Daesh said on Friday it targeted a Houthi position in the Za’aj area, in Qifa, with one mortar shell. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]

 

Daesh published on Friday a photo of one of its terrorists,​​ reported​​ killed in Al-Baidha. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]

 

North Africa

Egypt

Egyptian security sources said that 9 terrorists were killed and 2 arrested on Friday by the Egyptian Army in the Beni Mazar area of Minya Governate, on the west bank of the Nile.​​ [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

UNITED STATES

The US Senate voted to pass an amendment​​ to the pending US policy bill on the Middle East​​ that opposes​​ US withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan. Although the​​ amendment​​ is not binding, it shows the difference in views between Senate Republicans and President Trump.​​ Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said before the vote,​​ “ISIS and al-Qaeda have yet to be defeated, and American national security interests require continued commitment to our mission there.”​​ The​​ bill as a whole​​ is anticipated to face Democratic opposition for including penalties against companies participating in boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. [Qasioun]​​ [WaPo]

 

The Trump administration announced Friday that it would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, a landmark Cold-War-era nuclear arms control treaty. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Russia had been in violation of the treaty since 2014. [WaPo]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This is somewhat off our Middle East and terrorism focus, but certainly relevant to the ongoing US dialogue with Russia. A return to the nuclear arms race would complicate all other US-Russia issues.

 

AFRICA

Somalia

Daesh said it killed a Somali soldier, wounded another, and destroyed parts of a military office with an IED on Thursday in Beledweyne city, in the Hiiraan region, central Somalia. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]

 

Nigeria

On Friday, Boko Haram abducted an unspecified number of passengers on the​​ road​​ connecting​​ Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State​​ in​​ northeastern Nigeria, with the southern parts of Borno.​​ [VanguardNGR]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

President Trump said late on Thursday that he would bring US troops home from Afghanistan if a peace deal were​​ reached with the Taliban. Commenting on the ongoing peace talks to reporters, Trump said, “… [The Taliban are] talking about settling, talking about making an agreement, and we bring our people back home if that happens. We’ll see what happens.” [Khaama] [WaPo]

 

Acting Afghan Minister of Defense Asadullah Khalid and NATO Commander General Scott Miller visited Kandahar Province, southern Afghanistan, on Thursday to assess operations there. [Khaama]

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

On Thursday, Daesh published the 167th​​ issue of its​​ Naba’​​ magazine, including the usual infographic about its attacks during the last week in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Somalia, west Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Philippines. It claimed it conducted 69 attacks, killing or wounded more than 363 people and destroying 14 vehicles. In this issue, Daesh also claimed it killed several security officers and set several vehicles on fire last Friday​​ in southern Russia​​ near Sernofodskoye​​ village​​ [spelling approx.], in Stavropol Krai. [ICDNFeb1-Telegram]​​ 

 

*****

 

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