An Update On ISIS Activities

February 12, 2019

February 12, 2019

 

A herd of cattle standing on top of a sandy beach

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Civilians Leave Al-Baghouz (Ittihad Feb 12)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Secretary Shanahan meets Abd Ul-Madhi in Baghdad. [..]

Daesh forgery ring arrested in Falluja city. [..]

Six Daesh brothers sentenced to death for multiple murders in Mosul. [..]

 

Syria

France is considering withdrawing from northern Syria. [..]

Another mukhtar​​ reportedly​​ dies in Raqqa. [..]

Civilian human shields escape last Daesh-held territory in Albu Kamal.​​ [..]

Israeli airstrike in Quneitra killed two Iranian Revolutionary Guards. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Afghanistan: ​​​​ 

Taliban announces 14-member delegation to negotiate with US. [..]

NATO Secretary-General, Khalilzad agree that negotiations are about peace, not withdrawal.​​ [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Corruption

Ahmed Al-Rube’i, a security expert, says the closure of “fake​​ PMF offices​​ (as reported yesterday)​​ is​​ the​​ right step. He says that​​ the​​ implementation​​ measures started in Baghdad are expected to reach​​ Ninawa, Anbar, and Salahuddin. State security and PMF security​​ personnel​​ are closing​​ fake​​ PMF offices that​​ allegedly​​ used​​ the​​ name​​ of the PMF​​ for extortion purposes. [Rudaw]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

PMF leader Jabar Al-Ma’muri said on Tuesday in an interview that Daesh had adopted a new​​ method​​ of management for its sleeper cells, saying that Daesh was moving away from sending orders via mobile phones or​​ via​​ direct meetings, which could expose their leaders. He said that Daesh​​ is moving toward​​ sending orders via WhatsApp and keeping sleeper cells more isolated from their “emirs” in an attempt to prevent the identities of the “emirs” from being​​ discovered. [Buratha]​​ 

 

Prime Minister​​ Adel​​ Abd Ul-Mahdi announced that “pre-emptive” operations were underway to keep Daesh​​ fighters in Syria​​ from​​ moving​​ into Iraq.​​ He​​ also​​ said in his weekly press conference that Iraq would not allow “terrorism” to relocate to areas between Kirkuk and Salahuddin Provinces.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Foreign policy

Patrick​​ Shanahan, the acting US Secretary of Defense, arrived in Baghdad to meet Iraqi officials and US military commanders in the country.​​ [Sumaria]

PM Abd Ul-Mahdi met with Patrick Shanahan on Tuesday, according to a statement by the PM’s media office. The statement quoted the PM as saying that Iraqi-US relations should contribute to the fight against terrorism. The PM stressed that their relations should abide by the basic terms​​ under which US forces are in Iraq; i.e., fighting terrorism and training Iraqi forces, and not using Iraqi territory for any other purposes. [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Abd Ul-Mahdi is trying to shield himself from any accusations that he’s letting the US use Iraq as a platform to attack Iran. This defensive posture is the predictable consequence of Trump’s offhand comment about using military bases in Iraq to “watch” Iran.

 

Strategist Hisham Al-Hashemi says that proposing a law to expel foreign forces from Iraq is rather difficult, as the Kurdish and Sunni positions are unknown, while the Shia are divided into 3 positions: the first calls for the exit of all foreign forces, the second wants to decrease the​​ number of​​ US​​ troops, and the third is seeking to expel all US forces. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment. ​​​​ The common denominator, however, is that these anti-US stances are largely in service to Iran.​​ It is also true that this kind of​​ petty​​ ​​ politics is easier for politicians in Shia southern Iraq whose provinces were not seriously threatened by Daesh.​​ Politicians elsewhere, including Sunni Arab and Kurdish areas, will not be supporting this narrative.

 

BAGHDAD

Southeast​​ (Mada’in, etc.)

A police source said that a civilian was shot and killed by attackers using silenced guns in Mada’in. [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR

Falluja

The Directorate of Military Intelligence confirmed on Tuesday that a fraud ring composed of 8 people had been arrested in the Resala neighborhood of Falluja. The statement said that the group was forging documents for Daesh. [Ghad]​​ 

A local police source in Anbar​​ had​​ said on Monday that a fraud ring in Falluja city had been arrested. [BasNews]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Southern Salahuddin​​ (Balad)

Samarra Ops Command said on Tuesday that a “pre-emptive” security operation in the​​ Rawashed, Al-Athiya, and Juweizat areas​​ in​​ Balad, had found 2 Daesh safehouses, 4 IEDs, and 26 60mm mortar shells. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

DIYALA

Northern Diyala (Khanaqin)

The PMF media office says in a statement that PMF units thwarted a Daesh attack on a PMF HQ in Khanaqin. 1 Daesh attacker was killed. [Sumaria]

 

Daesh said it targeted the Shia village of Maadan in Sadiya, Khanaqin District, with 5 mortar shells on Monday. [ICDNFeb12-Telegram]​​ 

 

On Tuesday, Daesh published photos of setting the house of two Asayish members on fire in the Mikhas area​​ north of​​ Khanaqin city. Daesh had said it conducted the attack on Sunday. [ICDNFeb12]

 

KIRKUK

Hawija​​ 

Daesh said it killed two IFP policemen and damaged 2 Humvees with 2 IEDs on Sunday near Marata village, northeast of Hawija. [ICDNFeb12-Telegram]

 

Southwest (Taza)

Daesh published on Tuesday photos of capturing and then murdering two men near Bashir village​​ in Taza. Daesh claimed the victims were a tribal PMF soldier and a “spy.” [ICDNFeb12-Telegram]

 

NINEWA

Mosul​​ city

The Ninewa Criminal Court sentenced 6 Daesh members, all brothers, to death on charges of killing civilians and security personnel in Mosul. [Sumaria] [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

On Tuesday, Civil Defense teams recovered 10 bodies from underneath rubble in the​​ Al-Farouq area of old Mosul. Hundreds of bodies are estimated to still be buried under rubble throughout the city. [BasNews]​​ 

 

The Ministry of the Interior said on Tuesday that 3 Daesh members had been arrested in the Al-Rifa’i area, northwest Mosul.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Mosul District

West (Muhalabiya)

2 men in a vehicle shot and killed 2 Army soldiers at a checkpoint in Muhalabiya,​​ southwest of Mosul, a military source says. [BasNews]

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

Daesh said it killed a Shi’i​​ with an IED on Sunday in Tarmi village, northwest of Tal Afar city. [ICDNFeb12-Telegram]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS ​​​​ 

No reports

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Military & security developments

Turkey’s​​ Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday that 56 PKK fighters had been “neutralized” in Turkey and “northern Iraq” (i.e., Iraqi Kurdistan) over the last 3 weeks. The MoD spokeswoman also said that Turkey’s​​ Operation Olive Branch in Syria had killed 4,608 “terrorists.” [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Turkey regards all YPG​​ troops​​ as “terrorists.” The Turkish military also has a habit of reporting that anyone it kills was a “terrorist,” and rarely reports civilian casualties.

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Foreign policy

United States

A source in the Anbar provincial government, Iraq, said on Tuesday that US troops had entered Syria from Iraq and proceeded to the Al-Tanaf base.​​ 

A “large” US convoy of around 30 vehicles was also reported to have traveled on Monday night from Tabaqa toward the center of Al-Raqqa Governorate, said to have contained several different types of armored vehicles and Hummers. [Qasioun]

 

France

French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie Bermann says France is discussing the possible withdrawal of its forces from northern Syria. She adds that France was surprised when the US decided to withdraw its forces, adding that the​​ two​​ countries are in constant contact. [EnabBaladi]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

Alexander​​ Bekmirzaev,​​ 45,​​ an Irish national​​ from Belarus accused of joining Daesh,​​ who was​​ arrested in Syria,​​ says he reached​​ Daesh​​ by​​ mistake.​​ He says​​ that “a series of mistakes” led him from Dublin to Daesh in​​ eastern​​ Syria, where he​​ spent 5 years with the group. [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Apparently he was slow to recognize his mistakes.​​ 

 

Northwest

Manbij /Al-Bab/Jarabulus

A car bomb exploded in the town of Al-Ra’i, in Al-Bab, targeting the border post there. “Several” casualties were reported. [Hawar]

 

Northeast​​ 

Raqqa

Raqqa city​​ & district

Daesh said on Tuesday that its terrorists killed the mukhtar of Al-Hadiqa Al-Baidha neighborhood, in Raqqa city, with a silenced gun after breaking into his house. [ICDNFeb12-Telegram]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Another​​ alleged​​ Daesh attack in Raqqa, another dead mukhtar, and no indication that the Coalition or SDF are responding to this situation.

 

Eastern Raqqa​​ 

Daesh said on Tuesday it killed or wounded three SDF fighters and damaged their vehicle with an IED in Judaidat Khabur village, in Al-Karama subdistrict. [ICDNFeb12-Telegram]​​ 

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib/Aleppo

SOHR reported clashes between Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and Daesh in Al-Dana​​ in​​ northern Idlib, saying that a child was killed in the fighting, and that there were casualties among both parties. The SOHR also reported an explosion in Ariha, south of Idlib city, and the assassination of a pro-Turkey militia fighter in western Aleppo. [SyriaHR]

El Dorar reported that​​ Tahrir Al-Sham carried out night raids in Al-Dana,​​ a town in Harem subdistrict,​​ and arrested 7 Daesh fighters after an hour-long gunfight. Media sources say 1 child, a bystander, was killed in the clashes. [ElDorar]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal​​ District

Al-Baghouz Foqani

An SDF source says that the SDF is encircling Daesh in the last 2 km2​​ still under its control [in Al-Baghouz Foqani]. The source says that only Daesh fighters and their families are in that area. [Hawar]

 

Forat​​ says that “hundreds” of civilians managed to flee Daesh-held areas in Al-Baghouz on Monday towards SDF-held areas. [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ CBS News made a similar report Tuesday. The escape of most of the remaining civilians in Al-Baghouz Foqani undercuts Daesh’s human shields strategy and allows the SDF and Coalition to attack more aggressively. ​​ 

 

The​​ SOHR reported continued fighting​​ around​​ the​​ remaining areas held by Daesh in​​ Deir Ez-Zor. It also says Coalition planes are scanning the skies of the area, and​​ carrying out​​ sporadic attacks.​​ 

The SOHR​​ also​​ says​​ that the​​ remaining Daesh fighters are holding 40 tons of gold and​​ tens​​ of millions of US​​ dollars,​​ and that​​ Daesh is trying to smuggle these assets​​ to Turkey through its wide circle of relations​​ in​​ Turkey. [SyriaHR]

 

A Coalition statement on Tuesday said that it had carried out an airstrike against a Daesh “command and control” facility in Al-Baghouz Foqani (Upper Baghouz) on Monday. It said that the facility was formerly a mosque, and that by using the mosque for military purposes, Daesh had​​ caused​​ the facility​​ to​​ lose its protected status. [InherentResolve]

 

The SDF says that it thwarted a Daesh vehicle bomb​​ attack​​ on its positions in Al-Baghouz. [Hawar]

 

The SOHR reported that 12 SDF fighters and 19 Daesh fighters were killed in action in recent fighting between the SDF and Daesh, raising the number of casualties to 1,298 for Daesh and 670 for the SDF since September 10, 2018. [SyriaHR]

 

Local sources said that Daesh had executed 25 of its​​ own​​ members in Al-Baghouz. The sources said that it was a mass execution​​ carried out because of​​ the members’ refusal to fight against the SDF. [DeirEzZor24]

 

The SDF is reportedly holding negotiations with Daesh in Al-Baghouz regarding their surrender and freeing SDF prisoners of war. The SDF is said to have offered the Daesh fighters the option to move to Idlib to join the remaining Daesh fighters there, but some of them want to go to Iraq instead. [ElDorar]

Anadolu​​ reported a similar story on Monday.​​ [Anadolu]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Tuesday that the Daesh leader, Al-Baghdadi, might have been killed by a Coalition airstrike near Al-Baghouz.​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This of course assumes that he was in the area to begin with, and was somehow decided to stay in the area despite the imminence of its capture; and of course it assumes he was alive and able to get there in the first place.​​ 

 

Daesh “victorious” stories

Daesh said it killed or wounded “many” SDF fighters and damaged a bulldozer and a minesweeper on Monday when one of its Uzbek suicide terrorists attacked an SDF “gathering” in Al-Baghouz town with a vehicle bomb. Daesh published a photo of the terrorist. [ICDNFeb12-Telegram]

 

Daesh said on Tuesday it destroyed an SDF bulldozer with a rocket in Al-Baghouz. [ICDNFeb12-Telegram]

 

A3maq​​ also issued a video of targeting two SDF “gatherings” in Al-Baghouz with two rockets on Monday. [A3maq]

 

Daesh’s​​ A3maq​​ issued on Tuesday a video of battles between its terrorists and the SDF in Al-Baghouz on Monday. [A3maq]

 

South​​ 

Quneitra

2 Iranian Revolutionary Guards were killed and others wounded in an Israeli air strike targeting an Iranian base in Quneitra on Monday. [Qasioun]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia says that the “Dawah and Tabligh” movement is a terrorist group, and is as dangerous as the Muslim Brotherhood. The Advisor for Islamic Affairs to the Saudi government, Mohammed Al-Fifi, says their loyalty is given to their emirs, rather to the state. He accused Qatar of funding the movement, saying that they try to interfere in the politics of the countries they are operating in. [Arabi21]

 

Yemen

Daesh published on Tuesday a photo of one of its Yemeni terrorists, claiming he was killed in Al-Baidha. [ICDNFeb12-Telegram]

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh said on Tuesday its snipers killed an Egyptian soldier between the Al-Mahadiya and Abu Farih security barriers, south of Rafah. [ICDNFeb12-Telegram]

 

Tunisia

Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Tunisian officials of being reluctant to help the​​ children of Daesh members who are held abroad return to their country. Most of those children were born to Daesh fighters, and many of them are being held with their mothers. HRW says that around 200 children and 100 women of Tunisian nationality have been held without charge for up to 2 years as Daesh family members, mostly in Syria and Libya, with a few in Iraq. [Anadolu] [HRW]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

EUROPE

Italy

Italian media reported that Italian photographer Gabriele Micalizzi was injured on Monday while covering​​ the battles between the SDF and Daesh in Deir Ez-Zor. Micalizzi was reportedly hit by RPG shrapnel and was sent to a hospital on a US base. He is being transferred to a hospital in Baghdad. [Qasioun]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

The Taliban announced a new delegation of 14 negotiators on Tuesday, led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, for peace talks with the US. [Khaama]

 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the peace process in Afghanistan was “not about negotiating a leave deal,​​ but​​ about​​ negotiating a peace deal.” He said that he and US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad agreed on this point. [Khaama]

 

Military sources said that Afghan Special Forces killed 10 Taliban fighters in a raid in Badghis Province, northwestern Afghanistan, and that airstrikes killed a Taliban “Red Unit” fighter and 12 other fighters in Tarin Kot, Uruzgan Province, central Afghanistan.​​ [Khaama]

 

Daesh said on Tuesday it killed a pro-government militia “spy” with an IED in the Nazyan area, in Nangarhar​​ Province, eastern Afghanistan. [ICDNFeb12-Telegram]

 

Indonesia

Indonesian police say that Indonesian citizen Mohammed Saif Al-Din, nicknamed “the Daesh executioner,” was killed by a tank shell in eastern Deir Ez-Zor in late January. [Sumaria]

 

 

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