An Update On ISIS Activities

February 6, 2019

February 6, 2019

 

A close up of a dry grass field

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Military Operations in the Hawi Kan’ous area (DD Feb 6)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Report explains why​​ Abd Ul-Madhi’s​​ government has remained weak.​​ [..]

Red Cross counts Iraq’s IDPs: Still 1.8 million.​​ [..]

Pompeo tells Coalition foreign ministers Daesh is still a threat in Iraq and Syria. [..]

Report says Daesh is targeting police in return to guerrilla warfare. [..]

At least 20 Daesh fighters arrested in eastern Anbar. [..]

 

Syria

Iran is designing a highway through Iraq to Syria. [..]

Trump tells Coalition foreign ministers Daesh will remain a threat in Syria, Afghanistan. [..]

IDP flow from Albu Kamal slows sharply; hungry Daesh families now surrendering in large numbers.​​ [..]

 

Other​​ countries

United States: ​​ Pompeo hints Trump may​​ propose a Middle East “NATO-type alliance” to confront Iran. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

New​​ government

On Tuesday,​​ Foreign Policy​​ published an overview of the political dynamics arresting the effectiveness of the new Iraqi government. It wrote that​​ as someone who had been made Prime Minister as a compromise candidate,​​ PM Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi​​ needed to keep the support of both Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Islah (Reform) bloc and Hadi Al-Amiri’s Bina’ (Construction) bloc. This is a source of the government’s weakness.​​ It also noted that 4 ministerial positions were still open, which it attributed to Abd Ul-Mahdi’s failure to​​ break from the traditional apportionment system, by which parties see themselves as entitled to nominate their candidates for ministries.​​ [FP]

 

Reconstruction

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that there​​ are still about 1.8 million IDPs in Iraq, over a year after victory was declared over Daesh. ICRC President Peter Maurer said that Iraqi society had to work toward reconciliation in order for displaced Iraqis to be able to go back to their homes, in addition to providing​​ adequate housing and basic services in their home areas. [Baghdadia]​​ [Sumaria]​​ [ReliefWeb]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

A Kurdish source said on Wednesday that an agreement had been reached between Erbil and Baghdad​​ that​​ provides​​ for the return of the Peshmerga to the “disputed” regions. The sources said that this agreement was conditional on the Peshmerga being based in the cities only, and the formation of an Ops Room at​​ the K-1 military base in Kirkuk.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

However, the Turkmen Front and the Ministry of Peshmerga both said on Wednesday that there was no such agreement. The leader of the Turkmen Front, Arshad Al-Salihi, said on Twitter that the Baghdad government had no prior agreement to bring the Peshmerga back to Kirkuk without securing Turkmen and Arab approval for the move. The Ministry of Peshmerga in the KRG said that there was no formal agreement with Baghdad to return the Peshmerga to Kirkuk, and that its last meeting with the Iraqi Ministry of Defense had consisted only of forming exploratory committees to evaluate the security situation in Makhmur, Diyala, the Ninewa Plain, and the “outskirts” of Kirkuk, and judge whether there was a need to re-deploy the Peshmerga in these locations. [IraqPress]

The​​ Joint Operations Command also issued a statement denying that PM Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi had approved the return of the Peshmerga to the “disputed” areas. The statement said that there had been a meeting​​ in Erbil​​ between leaders of the Ministry of the Interior and a Peshmerga delegation​​ to​​ discuss the establishment of joint communications centers for security coordination. [Sumaria]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Coalition partners on Wednesday that Daesh was still present and active in Iraq. He was speaking at the State Department at a meeting of Foreign Ministers representing countries who​​ are part of the Coalition. He said progress had been made but Daesh remained a “serious threat” in Syria and Iraq.​​ [Baghdadia]

 

See also related stories under​​ Turkey and​​ Syria.

 

Sumaria​​ reported that a Gulf newspaper had written on Wednesday that Daesh was calling for attacks on security personnel in Iraq, saying it was refocusing on guerilla warfare. The Gulf paper also quoted a military expert as saying that the orchards and mountainous areas in Diyala, Salahuddin, and Kirkuk were still the most notable “strongholds” for Daesh in Iraq.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

BAGHDAD

Northwest​​ (Kadhimiya, etc.)

A security source said on Wednesday that 2 people had been arrested​​ in Hurriya neighborhood, Kadhimiya, for impersonating Iraqi Army​​ officers. [Sumaria]

 

West​​ (Mansour, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

A​​ woman was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman in the Al-Adel neighborhood of Mansour. [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR

Falluja/Ramadi

A security source said on Wednesday that 3 separate groups of Daesh fighters had been arrested in Anbar, including 20 terrorists total in Falluja,​​ including​​ Qarma, and​​ in​​ Ramadi. The source said that the arrestees had admitted to committing crimes against civilians over a time period from 2007 to 2015. The source also claimed that these groups had been receiving orders from Daesh leaders in Syria.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

It is unclear whether the following two stories overlap with the report above.

Anbar Ops Command said on Wednesday that units under its command had arrested 2 persons wanted on terrorism charges in Ramadi and found a tunnel used by Daesh.​​ They also found 64 IEDs that had been left behind by Daesh in the Albu Daalj area, Falluja District, and 145 60 mm mortar rounds in the Kilo 7 area. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

The Directorate of Military Intelligence said that military intelligence detachments from the 10th​​ Brigade had arrested a Daesh cell consisting of 6 members in Ramadi.​​ [PUKMedia]​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that Coalition planes killed several Daesh terrorists on Wednesday in airstrikes on the Hawi Kan’ous area. The source said the terrorists were using anti-aircraft machine​​ guns against the planes. ​​ Joint Salahuddin and Ninewa Ops Commands units broke into the Hawi Kan’ous area on Wednesday. The source said that Mahmoud Al-Jammas, a war correspondent for​​ Beladi TV, was severely wounded by a Daesh sniper in the Hawi Kan’ous area. 4 security​​ personnel​​ including an officer were killed​​ in the fighting.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that Coalition planes killed 4 Daesh terrorists, including an Iraqi and a Syrian commander, in airstrikes on the Makhoul Mountains area.​​ 

 

Baiji

A security source said on Wednesday that 3 brothers from a village in Baiji had been kidnapped by Daesh in the Makhoul Mountains. [Sumaria]

 

The Security Media Center said on Wednesday that units under Salahuddin Ops Command​​ had conducted a search operation in Siniya, in coordination with Coalition aircraft, which bombed a Daesh camp and tunnel, killing 8 terrorists. Another 3 were killed by the Salahuddin Police.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Tikrit

Daesh said on Wednesday it killed or wounded tribal PMF soldiers, including a commander, with an IED near Al-Hassan village, in the Mtaibija area near the Diyala border. [ICDNFeb6-Telegram]

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded PMF soldiers and destroyed their vehicle with an IED on Monday in the Albu Ajeel area​​ near Tikrit city. [ICDNFeb6-Telegram]

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Diyala Police Chief Faisal Kazim Al-Abadi said on Wednesday that 1 terrorist had been killed and 2 others arrested in a search and raid operation in the Buhriz area, and that small arms and ammunition in the terrorists’ possession had been seized.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

KIRKUK

The “Falcons” intelligence cell said on Wednesday that in coordination with Coalition troops, it had killed the Daesh “training officer” for Kirkuk, “emir”​​ Ibrahim Khalil Hamid, aka Al-Makani Abu Al-Zubayr,​​ as well as 6 of his companions.​​ [Sumaria]​​ [PressIraq]​​ [Buratha]

 

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

Daesh said it targeted on Tuesday tribal PMF positions in Awwad Al-Muhawesh village, west of Riyadh, with 6 mortar shells. [ICDNFeb6-Telegram]

 

NINEWA

Mosul​​ city

Captain Ma’an Mohammed of the Ninewa Police said on Wednesday that 5 female Daesh members had been arrested in the Ras Al-Khor neighborhood of​​ Old Mosul.​​ [BasNews]​​ 

 

Mosul District

West (Hamidat)

Ninewa Police Command said​​ it​​ had carried out an operation resulting in the arrest of 6 Daesh members in​​ Al-Mulawtha, near Badoush.​​ [Forat]​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa

No reports

 

Southern Ninewa

Hatra

The PMF media office said that on Tuesday, PMF units found anti-armor charges, explosives​​ belts, and detonators for explosives during a search operation in Hatra.​​ [PressIraq]

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Basra

The​​ Falcons​​ intelligence cell arrested a “gang” of 3 persons accused of being implicated in murder and armed robbery. [Sumaria]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

SULEIMANIYA

The Suleimaniya EOD organization said on Wednesday that its team had destroyed 60 mortar launchers found in​​ the Nalparez​​ subdistrict​​ of​​ Penjwin District,​​ located on the Iran border,​​ in a controlled detonation.​​ [PUKMedia]​​ 

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Foreign policy

Speaking at the Coalition meeting at the US State Department, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called for “preventing terrorists from exploiting the power vacuum in Syria” to threaten its neighbors or undermine Syrian territorial integrity.​​ [Qasioun]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Political developments

The General Command for the Army and Armed Forces of the Syrian government issued a resolution that those 38 years old and older would be exempt from the military draft. [EnabBaladi]

 

An oil company affiliated with the Syrian government​​ is​​ preparing​​ to install a pipeline to transfer oil from YPG-controlled areas to areas under Syrian government control in Deir Ez-Zor. This comes under the framework of an agreement reached last year between the 2 sides to swap oil extracted​​ from​​ the oilfields for refined diesel fuel. [Qasioun]

 

United Nations

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said in a report released on Wednesday that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) should include on its agenda at least 191 chemical attacks in Syria. The OPCW is expected to use its new mandate in February 2019 to identify the perpetrators of chemical attacksan​​ expansion of its previous mandate, which was limited to confirming whether or not chemical weapons had been used,​​ without identifying the perpetrator.​​ The SNHR said that 191 chemical attacks it had documented had not yet been investigated by the OPCW. [Qasioun] [SNHR]

 

Russia

The Israeli newspaper​​ Haaretz​​ wrote on Tuesday that 3 of​​ the​​ 4 Russian S-300 system surface-to-air missile launchers​​ delivered to Syria​​ are now​​ installed. [EnabBaladi]​​ [Qasioun]

 

The Russian Ministry of Education and Culture announced on Wednesday that it would open up an educational center for teaching Russian in Syria between 2019 and 2025. [EnabBaladi]

 

Iran

On Wednesday the Iranian​​ Fars​​ news agency said the Iranian Minister of Roads revealed that Iran is developing a highway that​​ will cross​​ Iraq​​ to​​ connect Iran and Syria. It​​ will be​​ about​​ 141 km (87 miles)​​ long and will cost $450 million US. [EnabBaladi]​​ 

 

Foreign policy

Middle East

Israeli Prime​​ Minister​​ Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Putin will meet on February 21,​​ for the first time since a Russian plane was shot down near Latakia. Netanyahu met with senior Russian officials in Jerusalem last week. Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the purpose of the meeting on the 21st​​ is to discuss Israeli efforts to prevent Iranian influence in Syria. [EnabBaladi]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The Israel-Iran conflict complicates Russian diplomacy. The Russians want to be friendly with both countries. It​​ is in Syria to help Assad, not to help Iran’s agenda. Iran’s ulterior motives and Israel’s determination to prevent Iranian attacks on Israel from Syria are a big distraction from the mission.

 

On Wednesday, Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority supports the return of Syria to the Arab League. [EnabBaladi]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

President Trump spoke briefly at Wednesday’s meeting of Coalition partners at the US State Department, saying that the US would fight Daesh “for many years to come” despite troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan. Trump said that he expected the US and its partner forces would soon take​​ the last Daesh-held territory in Syria, but that even after that, Daesh fighters were expected to go underground and continue to pose a threat. [NYT]

 

Speaking at the State Department meeting of Coalition partners, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed that the US withdrawal from Syria was “not the end of America’s fight” against terrorism. Pompeo said, “The drawdown will be well coordinated, and our policy priorities in Syria have remained unchanged.” Pompeo added, “We ask that our Coalition partners seriously and rapidly consider requests that will enable our efforts to continue… Those requests are likely to come very soon.” He did not elaborate on what the substance of those requests would be. [TaskAndPurpose] [NYT]

 

Northwest

No reports

 

Northeast​​ 

No reports

 

Central and West​​ 

Hama

On Wednesday, a young man was killed by unknown gunmen in Hama Governate. [EnabBaladi]

 

Homs

On Wednesday,​​ the media spokesman​​ for​​ the​​ Al-Rukban​​ refugee and IDP camp told​​ Enab Baladi​​ that UN humanitarian aid buses arrived on Tuesday night​​ at​​ “Area 55​​ of​​ the Al-Tanaf area, near Al-Rukban​​ camp. The camp has been under siege for the past year. The Syrian​​ government​​ agreed to allow 100 humanitarian aid trucks into​​ Al-Rukban under Russian surveillance. [EnabBaladi]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal​​ District

The​​ New York Times​​ wrote that​​ the remaining Daesh fighters were “now trapped in an area about the size of Central Park.” It quoted​​ Kurdish officials as saying that most people fleeing the Daesh-held area who reached the SDF to surrender were family members of the Daesh fighters, with “only a small number of locals originally from the area” coming at this point. Surrendering families of Daesh fighters said they were out of food and were boiling weeds​​ or eating animal feed​​ to survive. The​​ NYT​​ wrote that the SDF’s advance had stalled just outside of Al-Baghouz as the Coalition forces are negotiating surrender terms with Daesh. It quoted an SDF spokesman as saying that a request for safe passage was denied, but wrote that American officials said safe passage to Idlib was still a possibility.​​ [NYT]

 

Qasioun​​ wrote that “hundreds” of civilians,​​ including​​ families of Daesh members, were still fleeing the Al-Baghouz​​ area. It wrote that on Wednesday, about 100 people, who it said were mostly Iraqi women and children, were transferred from Al-Baghouz Foqani (Upper Baghouz) to the Al-Hawl IDP camp in Hasaka.​​ [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The obscure village of Al-Baghouz Foqani is having its moment of fame. It was identified in on-site CBS News coverage Wednesday as the last two square miles held by Daesh.

 

Daesh said on Wednesday it shot down an “Iraqi forces’” recon drone in Al-Baghouz village. [A3maq-Telegram]

In another version, Daesh said the drone belonged to PMFs. [ICDNFeb6-Telegram]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ In either version, it is another “victorious” report intended to distract attention from the fact that Daesh has already lost Al-Baghouz.

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

On Wednesday, the SOHR said that unknown people in Qudsaya, in Rif Damashq, destroyed an image of Bashar Al-Assad and wrote the slogan “The people want the regime to fall. Go out. Freedom forever” on the walls of the city. [SOHR]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Yemen

Daesh said it foiled an Al-Qaeda “sneak attempt” on Monday in the Za’aj area, in Qifa. It said it targeted Al-Qaeda fighters with light and medium weapons, forcing them to flee. It said several of them were wounded when an IED exploded on them while fleeing. [ICDNFeb6-Telegram]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

UNITED STATES

Following President Trump’s State of the Union address, in which he said that the US was “being treated very unfairly by NATO,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave an interview with​​ Fox Business​​ on Wednesday morning in which he said that the White House supported creating a new “NATO-type alliance” to counter Iran in the Middle East.​​ Pompeo said that he expected that a “big number of countries” would announce their intention to join such an alliance in the near future.​​ [Newsweek] [Sputnik] [State]

 

AFRICA

Nigeria

Daesh said it killed two Nigerian soldiers, stole weapons and ammunition, and set a military position on fire Tuesday in an attack on Kanari town, in Borno. [ICDNFeb6-Telegram]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

In his State of the Union address, President Trump described the peace talks with the Taliban as “constructive.” [Khaama]

 

Afghanistan​​ President Ashraf Ghani and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a phone call discussing the peace efforts in Afghanistan. A State Department spokesperson said that Pompeo emphasized the importance of the role of the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the importance of intra-Afghan dialogue. [Khaama]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ What Ghani would really like is to be included in the negotiations, which so far have worked around the government.​​ 

 

Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, an​​ Afghan political leader, said that the intra-Afghan dialogue in Moscow had produced some points of agreement, including the withdrawal of foreign forces and the need to amend​​ the constitution of Afghanistan. However, he said disagreements existed regarding what these amendments would be and how they would be reached. [Khaama]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ In other words, there was actually no substantive agreement.

 

The deputy chief of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar,​​ Mawlavai Hanafi, claimed that the US had agreed to withdraw half its forces from Afghanistan by April 2019. However, a spokesman for​​ the US Forces in Afghanistan, Colonel David Butler, said this was false and that there were no orders to withdraw. [Khaama]

 

Daesh said on Wednesday it shot and killed a police officer in District 8, in Kabul city. [ICDNFeb6-Telegram]

 

 

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