An Update On ISIS Activities

February 5, 2019

February 5, 2019

 

A rocky mountain

Description automatically generated

Qarachogh​​ Mountains (DD Feb 4)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Pentagon report warns that Daesh is regrouping in Iraq.​​ [..]

Gen. Votel tells Senators that military mission in Iraq has not changed. [..]

 

Syria

US, Turkey reported working on details of NE Syria “safe zone.” [..]

US military estimate:​​ Daesh has 15,000 fighters left in Syria. [..]

SDF, Coalition fend off Daesh counter-attack near Al-Baghouz. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Yemen: ​​ Yemen NGO ​​ report finds humanitarian situation in Hodeida area dire. [..]

Nigeria: ​​ Boko Haram attacks kill 6 more people in NE Nigeria. [..]

Afghanistan:

Taliban peace-deal demands amount to an Islamic state.​​ [..]

Major kidnapping ring arrested in Kabul. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh campaign

NBC​​ reported that the Pentagon released a report Monday saying that Daesh is “regrouping” in Iraq faster than in Syria. A draft report released last week said that without sustained military involvement, it would take Daesh​​ only​​ 6 to 12 months to regain territory. [Baghdadia] [NBC]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This report won’t surprise Daesh Daily readers, who encounter reports of Daesh-caused casualties every day. Despite the declarations of victory by leaders in Iraq and the US, which serve an understandable political purpose, Daesh has never stopped fighting in Iraq and has never stopped killing people. Historically, wars have ended because one or both sides stopped fighting. No war has ever been won by speeches or press conferences.

 

On Tuesday a judge​​ connected to​​ counter-terrorism​​ cases​​ said that a large Daesh cell made up of 16 members was destroyed. The cell’s​​ assigned responsibility​​ was to restructure the “south state” of Daesh and attack areas in Baghdad, and it had already executed “many” attacks. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

A source with the Joint Operations Command said on Tuesday that Ninewa Ops Command thwarted an attempt by Daesh members to infiltrate the border into Iraq from Syria, and killed dozens of them.​​ Meanwhile,​​ Anbar Ops Command shot many Daesh​​ fighters,​​ further​​ inside Syria,​​ who seemed to be attempting to​​ enter​​ Iraq. [Ghad]​​ 

 

The National Security Council held its weekly meeting, in which it discussed assessing the movements of Daesh in Anbar Province, producing a working paper on the command-and-control structure in Kirkuk, and producing a unified paper on security reports from Ninewa and Diyala. [IraqPress]​​ [Sumaria]

 

Foreign policy

General Joseph Votel, the Commander for US CENTCOM, said that the US military’s mission in Iraq was still to defeat Daesh, and that it had not shifted to “watch[ing] Iran,” as​​ President​​ Trump put it in a​​ CBS​​ interview on Sunday. Votel said, “I think the government of Iraq understands the relationship, the view that we have on Iran and understands our concerns with Iran and the variety of destabilizing activities that they carry out around the region….​​ But having said that, our military mission on the ground remains … focused​​ on the defeat of ISIS and now preventing a resurgence of that particular organization.”​​ Votel was speaking to a Senate panel.​​ [ABC]​​ [NYT]

 

Also see related story under Syria.

 

BAGHDAD

Center​​ (Rusafa, Karkh, etc.)

The Ministry of the Interior said on Tuesday that​​ a gang of 6 people accused of illegally trading in antiquities was arrested in central Baghdad. [Sumaria]

 

East​​ (Sadr City, New Baghdad, etc.)

A security source on Tuesday said that a man killed his son with a pistol in the​​ Nahrawan area, east of Sadr City, and was subsequently arrested. [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR

Falluja

On Tuesday, the Directorate of Military intelligence announced that intelligence units arrested a Daesh cell​​ with​​ 5 members in the Jazeera Khaldiya area. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Al-Qa’im

Daesh published on Tuesday photos of murdering a PMF member near Al-Qa’im. [ICDNFeb5]

Daesh had previously said that it killed two PMF soldiers and wounded another on Sunday near Al-Qa’im city. [ICDNFeb4-Telegram]​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Tuesday that PMF units found the body of a civilian who had been kidnapped by Daesh 2 days earlier near the Makhoul Mountains area.​​ 

 

Baiji

Daesh said it killed or wounded PMF soldiers and destroyed their vehicle with an IED on Sunday in the Al-Mazraa village in Baiji. [A3maq] [ICDNFeb5-Telegram]

 

Tikrit

The Security Media Center said that Salahuddin Ops Command found a​​ terrorist​​ hideout in​​ Mtaibija, near the Diyala border,​​ that had food and kitchen equipment. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Samarra

Daesh said it killed an Iraqi Army “spy” with an IED on Monday near the Jalam Samarra area. [A3maq]

 

Southern Salahuddin​​ (Balad)

Iraqi security sources said on Sunday that an Iranian​​ religious​​ pilgrim was killed and 8 others wounded when armed men shot at their bus near Balad. [Kurdistan24]​​ 

Daesh’s version​​ said it killed nine Shia pilgrims and wounded six others on Sunday in an ambush between Dhuluiya and Balad. [A3maq]

 

Daesh said it shot and wounded a PMF soldier on Sunday in the Mazari’ area, in Yathrib. [A3maq-Telegram]

 

DIYALA

Central Diyala (Abu Saida)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that a group of Daesh terrorists shot and killed a 9-year-old boy near his house in Mukhaisa village, south of Abu Saida, on Monday evening.​​ 

 

KIRKUK

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that IFP and PMF units killed 2 Daesh terrorists, including a Saudi, and captured another on Saturday in a military operation near Al-Sadouniya village, Riyadh subdistrict.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that 2 IFP policemen were killed and 2 others severely wounded when their SUV was destroyed by an IED on the road between Tarqiya village,​​ in​​ Al-Zab subdistrict, and the Himrin Mountains.​​ 

 ​​​​ 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that 1 PMF soldier was killed and 2 others wounded when an IED exploded on them on the main road near Al-Bakr village, in Al-Zab subdistrict. The source said the PMFs defused 3 more IEDs on the same road.​​ 

 

NINEWA

Makhmur

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says there are many Daesh terrorists hiding in the Qarachogh​​ Mountains area. The source said Daesh deploys snipers on the tops of the mountains,​​ making it difficult for Iraqi forces to advance. Coalition planes and IFP artillery are targeting Daesh hideouts on​​ a​​ regular basis. The terrorists depend on a network of supporters from nearby areas to get food and other supplies.  ​​​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that a tribal PMF soldier was killed on Sunday when PMF units stopped a Daesh attack on Qaraj village.​​ 

 

Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that PMF units captured a Daesh terrorist in the Hawi Nimrud area. The source said the terrorist was meeting with a smuggler, secretly recruited by the PMFs, to deliver food items to Daesh terrorists hiding in the area.

 

Mosul District

South (Hammam Al-Alil/Shura/Qayara)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that 2 PMFs went missing on Tuesday while in their pickup vehicle near Al-Umraniyah​​ village​​ [spelling approx.), southeast of Mosul.​​ 

 

Western Ninewa

Tal Afar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says there are 150-200 Daesh terrorists hiding in the Abu Mariya hills. The source says that the vast majority of the terrorists are locals who had fled during the liberation battles in 2017. The terrorists conduct attacks on nearby areas on​​ a​​ regular basis.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that on Sunday, a group of Daesh terrorists in PMF uniforms kidnapped a civilian at a fake checkpoint on the road between​​ the​​ Abu Mariya and Tal Ramh villages.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that on Monday, PMF units found the body of a civilian who had been kidnapped by Daesh a week earlier at a fake checkpoint near Abu Mariya village. ​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that a woman was severely wounded on Monday when a Daesh mortar shell hit her house in Abu Mariya.​​ 

​​ 

Daesh said it wounded Iraqi soldiers and damaged their SUV with an IED on Monday near the southern checkpoint in Ayadhiya, several miles northwest of Tal Afar. [A3maq] [ICDNFeb5-Telegram]​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Baaj

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that 2 PMF soldiers were killed on Tuesday in a Daesh attack west of Baaj. The source said the terrorists​​ attacked on​​ motorcycles.

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Karbala

The Ministry of the Interior said on Tuesday that it had formed a team to arrest the killers of Alaa Mashzoub, the novelist shot outside his home on Saturday. MoI spokesman Sa’ad Ma’an said no arrests had been​​ made​​ yet. [Sumaria]

 

The Iraqi Human Rights Commission in Basra said on Monday that a detainee who was being held by the “Falcons” intelligence cell​​ hanged​​ and killed himself while detained. [Sumaria]

 

Wasit

A security source in Wasit said on Tuesday that 2 people had been killed​​ in the​​ Numaniya​​ District, north of Kut, in a “tribal dispute.”

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

No reports

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Foreign policy

President​​ Erdogan said on Tuesday that if the “terrorists” were not removed from Manbij in the next few weeks, “Ankara’s patience will end.” Erdogan was speaking to the Turkish parliamentary bloc of his AK Party. He said that the “safe zone” in Syria should be under the control of Turkey, and added that Turkey respected the territorial integrity of Syria and supported the preparation of a new Syrian Constitution and the holding of free elections. [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Translation: Erdogan wants to be given full control in northern Syria so he can do whatever he wants to the Kurds within the “safe zone,” which does not sound that safe if you’re Kurdish. ​​ However, he is still anti-Assad, thus the support for a new constitution and free elections. This puts him at odds with the Russians and Iranians not to mention Assad, whose​​ collective​​ priority is to keep Assad in power. Erdogan’s policy in Syria thus seems to have isolated Turkey. He is talking a big game, but on key issues he is at odds with either the US or with the Russian/Iran/Syria alliance.​​ 

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Political developments

The Saudi​​ Asharq Al-Awsat​​ wrote on Monday that the US and Turkey were finalizing the plan for the “safe zone” in northeast Syria, which would be from 28 to 32 km deep,​​ from​​ Jarabulus​​ to​​ Faysh Khabur, near the 3-way border between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Turkey reportedly demanded that the “safe zone” be free of military bases and heavy weapons, and that about 7,000 YPG fighters leave the area.​​ 

In this context, Ahmad Jarba, the President of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, proposed to the US, Turkey, and Iraqi KDP leader Masoud Barzani that between 8,000 and 12,000 Arab “elite forces” and Peshmerga fighters, including Syrian Kurds, would deploy to the “safe zone,” and that it would possibly receive air support from the US Al-Tanaf base.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Foreign policy

Middle East

The Carnegie Endowment’s journal​​ Sada​​ published an article on Tuesday that said that resuming agricultural trade between Syria and its neighbors would increase food security across the region. [Sada]

 

Refugees and IDPs

The​​ Wall Street Journal​​ wrote on Monday about the difficulties facing survivors of the civil war who were left without their “family book,” a document used as a record of births, marriages, and deaths. The​​ WSJ​​ quoted a Beirut research firm as saying that the war would lead to “a lasting cohort of second-class citizens” whose access to employment and public services would be limited, due to lost “family books” or events such as births or marriages having occurred in areas outside of Syrian government control. [WSJ]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

General Joseph Votel, the Commander of US CENTCOM, told a senate hearing that after the US withdraws its troops from Syria, Daesh could reemerge. He also told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Daesh still controlled about 20 square miles of territory in Syria. He said that there were only 15,000 Daesh fighters in Syria. [NYT] [Sumaria]​​ 

 

On Monday, the Iraqi PMF​​ Central Ops Directorate denied reports that PMF groups were carrying out any military operations inside Syria, saying that the decision to carry out military operations rested with the Commander-in-Chief. The Directorate said that any media reports regarding PMF groups pursuing Daesh inside Syrian territory were “confused” about the role of the PMF on the border. However, it did say that PMF groups were participating in artillery shelling of Daesh sites​​ in coordination with​​ the​​ Joint Ops Command. [Sumaria]

​​ 

On Tuesday, Britain’s Minister for Security, Ben Wallace, said that John Cantlie,​​ the​​ freelance photographer abducted by Daesh in Syria over 6 years ago, is “thought to be alive.” [NYT]

 

On Tuesday, the SOHR​​ reported that 5 Syrian Army members and 4 other individuals were killed in various incidents throughout Syria. [SOHR]

 

Northwest

Afrin

Tensions have developed recently in Jinderes, in southwest Afrin,​​ between fighters from Nour Al-Din Al-Zenki and fighters from Ahrar Al-Sharqiya. [SOHR]

 

Manbij /Al-Bab/Jarabulus/Ayn Al-Arab

Daesh said on Tuesday that it killed or wounded SDF fighters and damaged their vehicle with an IED on the road between Manbij and Jarabulus. [ICDNFeb5-Telegram]

 

An explosion near Al-Bab resulted in casualties, and its cause is still unknown. The past few days have witnessed a series of bombings that killed and wounded others. [SOHR]

 

“Local sources” said that the US sent 150 cargo trucks with armored vehicles, drills, and generators to the SDF. The trucks reportedly crossed over from Iraq on Monday evening, and arrived on Tuesday at warehouses in Khirbat Al-‘Ashiq and Sarrin, Ayn Al-Arab District, where the cargo was unloaded. [Qasioun]​​ 

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

In Hasaka, a​​ man​​ was killed as he attempted to plant an IED. [SOHR]

 

Raqqa

Raqqa city​​ & district

Sources said that in Raqqa, a young man was killed due to a dispute between​​ two​​ tribes over currency exchange. [SOHR]

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib

In Aleppo Governorate, a young Civil Defense volunteer was shot dead by an unknown person.​​ In Idlib, unidentified armed people assassinated a leader of the​​ pro-Turkey​​ National​​ Front for​​ Liberation. [SOHR]

 

Homs

The Iranian state-owned channel​​ Al-Alam​​ said that on Saturday, about 100 Lebanese fighters from the Al-Ja’afar tribe, which is based in the Beqaa​​ Valley, attacked the Syrian border village of Al-Farouqiya​​ in​​ western​​ Homs. The channel said that the attack targeted a Lebanese family from the Al-Ja’afar tribe living in the village, and stemmed from previous feuds. The attack prompted the villagers to fight back, forcing the attackers to withdraw. [Qasioun]​​ 

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal​​ District

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Tuesday that several SDF fighters were killed or wounded in a Daesh counterattack near Al-Baghouz. The source said Coalition planes launched heavy airstrikes on Daesh terrorists to prevent them from advancing to​​ previously​​ liberated areas.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that on Tuesday, Coalition planes targeted several Daesh positions in the Al-Baghouz area.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that 4 civilians, including a woman, were killed and many others wounded on Tuesday, when Daesh shelled Al-Susah indiscriminately. The source said Daesh terrorists are using the people of Safana village as human shields while shelling nearby areas.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that 6 Daesh foreign terrorists, including an Uzbek commander, surrendered to SDF units near Safana village.

 

South​​ 

Daraa

A local news network reported that unidentified gunmen attacked a Syrian Army security checkpoint with an IED near Nimr​​ in​​ Daraa Governorate, on Tuesday morning. [Qasioun]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Yemen

The Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies issued its 2018 annual report, in which it wrote that Yemen was no longer “on the brink” of catastrophe but now far beyond the brink. It said that while the UN had plans to raise $4 billion for humanitarian aid, aid organizations were reaching their capacity limits, and the crisis could not be addressed by aid money alone, as it was fundamentally political in nature. It said that any final peace agreement would “almost certainly” require US, UK, and other international pressure on Saudi Arabia. It also said that even if peace were achieved, Yemen would “remain under constant threat from outside factors in the absence of regional de-escalation.” [SanaaCenter]

 

Daesh published a photo of one of its terrorists on Tuesday, claiming he was killed in the Bayda’​​ area. [ICDNFeb5]

 

North Africa

Egypt

Egyptian media sources said on Tuesday that 4 policemen were wounded when terrorists in a machine-gun-mounted SUV attacked a police barrier on the road​​ to​​ Luxor, in the​​ massive rural​​ New Valley​​ Governorate​​ in​​ southwest Egypt. [Mwatin]

Daesh said on Tuesday that a group of its terrorists attacked a police barrier​​ on the road​​ to​​ Luxor, in the New Valley​​ Governorate. [A3maq-Telegram]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

UNITED STATES

1 person was killed by a bomb explosion near a shopping center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.​​ Authorities said they believed the man killed was the person responsible for planting the bomb. The Albuquerque Police Chief said that there was no known connection with any terrorist act.​​ [Sumaria]​​ [USNews]

 

EUROPE

Russia

OPEC officials said that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf oil producers were backing a formal partnership between some OPEC members and Russia, which could potentially set a floor on global oil prices.​​ OPEC members and Russia are scheduled to debate the proposal on February 18 in a Vienna meeting. [WSJ]

 

AFRICA

Nigeria

Residents of northeastern Nigeria said on Tuesday that Boko Haram fighters had killed 6 people in separate attacks. On Monday, they stormed Shuwa​​ and Kirchina villages,​​ in the​​ Madagali area​​ of​​ northern Adamawa State, near the border with Borno State, killing 1 person in Shuwa and 2 in Kirchina. In a separate attack earlier Monday, 3 goat herders were shot and killed near the village of Tubba, 8 km​​ (5 miles)​​ from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. [VanguardNGR]

 

Niger

The US turned over a communications and operations center, said to​​ cost​​ $16.5 million, to the Niger Army to help the country fight Boko Haram. [VanguardNGR]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

The former chief of the political office of the Taliban in Qatar, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, outlined the Taliban’s demands for peace as part of the intra-Afghan dialogue held in Moscow. Stanikzai said that the Taliban wants to establish an Islamic system in Afghanistan but not to monopolize power;​​ that various Taliban leaders must be removed from blacklists so they could take part in peace negotiations;​​ and that the current Afghan Constitution is illegitimate, being based on western systems, and should be reworked into a system which is “acceptable to Afghans,” which he​​ said should be drafted and ratified by religious​​ scholars. He also requested that “propaganda” against the Taliban end, saying that the Taliban had never, contrary to this “propaganda,”​​ detonated bridges, poisoned schoolgirls, or targeted civilians with roadside IEDs. [Khaama]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Reading these demands helps to explain why coming to an agreement with the Taliban is not to be assumed.

 

The Afghan Ministry of Defense said that a “large-scale” Taliban attack on security posts near Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, had been fought off. The MoD said that the fighting had left at least 22 Taliban fighters dead and 18 wounded, and caused an unspecified number of casualties among Afghan security personnel. [Khaama]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ They know how many Taliban got killed but can’t provide a total for their own​​ soldiers?​​ That suggests the total is higher than they want to admit.

 

The National Directorate of Security said that a “kidnap kingpin” and 7 of his men had been arrested in Kabul city. The Directorate said that the group had been involved in kidnappings, murders, armed robberies, and extortions.​​ [Khaama]

 

Daesh said on Tuesday it killed a pro-government militiaman, wounded two others, and damaged their SUV with a sticky IED in the Ghani Khel area, in Nangarhar. [A3maq]

 

Daesh said on Tuesday it shot and killed a policeman and stole his weapons in Jalalabad. [A3maq] [ICDNFeb5-Telegram]​​ 

 

Daesh published on Tuesday a photo of one of its terrorists claiming he was killed in the Afghanistan-Pakistan​​ region. [ICDNFeb5]

 

 

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