An Update On ISIS Activities

January 10, 2019

January 10, 2019

 

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IED Explosion Near Sinjar (DD Jan 10)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Iraqi leaders worried US Syria withdrawal may mean Iraq troop cuts too. [..]

President Salih says Iraq wants best possible relations with all Arab countries. [..]

Washington Post article warns that​​ resentment against​​ Shia militias controlling Sunni areas may enable a Daesh resurgence. [..]

Saudi Arabia proposes major agricultural investment in southern and western Iraq.​​ [..]

Al-Hurra TV journalist murdered in east Baghdad. [..]

Daesh claims to kill 10 Border Guard police on Saudi border. [..]

 

Turkey

Foreign Minister says Turkey’s move into NE Syria does not depend on prior US withdrawal. [..]

 

Syria

Mixed messages from Washington on Syria withdrawal causing concern.​​ [..]

Germany warns Turkey against any attack on NE Syria. France reasserts support for SDF.​​ [..]

UN says 7,000 have fled Hajin, 2,000 remain trapped. [..]

The Telegraph adds up the Deir Ez-Zor casualties since December: 600 SDF killed, 1,000 Daesh. [..]

Kurdish militia kills 5 Turkish & allied soldiers in Afrin, Azaz. [..]

5 British soldiers reported killed in Al-Sha’afa (unofficial). [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Sudan: ​​ Russian mercenaries helping to quell anti-government demonstrations. [..]

Afghanistan:​​ Taliban commander, 20 fighters killed​​ by​​ northern Afghanistan airstrike. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Foreign policy

In a speech at the American University of Cairo,​​ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the reluctance of the US to intervene enabled Daesh to arrive in Iraq. He said that the US had been absent in the Middle East since 2009, and that​​ President Trump helped to return the US to the area. Pompeo said that despite the planned withdrawal from Syria, the US would “not retreat until the terror fight is over.” He also cast Iran as the nemesis of the region, saying that “the nations of the Middle East will never enjoy security, achieve economic stability, or advance the dreams of their people if Iran’s revolutionary regime persists on its current course.”​​ [Sumaria] [Baghdadia] [WSJ]

 

Former US diplomats and officials criticized Pompeo’s speech as overly partisan for spending too much time criticizing the Obama administration’s policies, rather than laying out the current administration’s plans. [AlMonitor]

 

Pompeo also confirmed​​ in his Cairo speech​​ that there are ongoing​​ bilateral communications between Iraq and Israel. Pompeo asked,​​ rhetorically,​​ who could have expected that Israel would establish relations with Saudi Arabia and Iraq. [Rudaw]

 

See also stories below under Egypt

 

The​​ Wall Street Journal​​ says that Iraqi officials requested from Pompeo to keep US forces in Iraq. This came during​​ his​​ meetings held in Bagdad and Erbil on Wednesday. [Sumaria] [WSJ] The​​ Washington​​ Post​​ reported on Thursday that Iraqi leaders are worried that the Syria withdrawal might​​ also​​ mean a withdrawal of some of the 5,200 US troops currently stationed in Iraq. [WashPost]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The withdrawal of US troops from Syria will weaken Iraq’s security too.​​ 

 

Pompeo also stressed the importance of Iraqi independence in the fields of energy and self-sufficiency, two months before the end of the grace period given to Iraq to end its dependence on Iranian gas and energy. Sources say that Iraqi officials requested of Pompeo to once more extend the grace period. [BasNews]

 

President Barham Salih called on the Prince of Qatar,​​ Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani,​​ to build bilateral relations that can improve overall Arab and regional relations. The Iraqi President in arrived Qatar on Wednesday evening, and discussed regional developments and the coordination of​​ policy​​ positions with the Prince. Salih says Iraq is aiming to have the best possible relations with all Arab countries, without exception. [Anadolu]

 

Israeli media reported that the Israeli Minister of Finance would remove Iraq from a list of “enemy states” based on 3 Iraqi delegations’ visits to Tel Aviv. [Rudaw]

 

A video circulated among social media activists showed an Iraqi consul in Tehran promoting an Iranian medical center. The activists demanded that the Foreign Ministry take a firm stand against this diplomat,​​ for allegedly​​ harming the reputation of Iraq. [BasNews]

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry announced that it had summoned the head of the Iraqi Consulate in Mashhad, Iran, based on a video on social media showing the consulate promoting a “beauty center.” [Sumaria]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The​​ Washington Post​​ reported that Daesh may be rekindled by the increased political and military influence of Shia in Sunni areas of Iraq. It wrote that the Shia PMF militias now have “unprecedented military and political power in Iraq” and are effectively governing Sunni areas, stoking resentment by the Sunnis. The​​ Washington Post​​ wrote that Al-Qa’im was a “striking example of militia dominance,” saying that Kataeb Hezbollah now ran the area, controlled who entered and exited, and had set up its own “improvised border crossing.” [Shafaaq] [WashPost]

 

Daesh announced that it is starting a project that it calls the “Electronic Caliphate Shield” that would largely target the Shia. [BaghdadToday]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that there are still​​ thousands​​ of arrest warrants for Daesh and AQI members who have not been captured yet. The source said some of the warrants go back to 2007.

 

Reconstruction

Saudi Arabia proposed to invest in 10,000 hectares​​ (about 25,000 acres)​​ in Iraq, mostly in Anbar, to turn vacant land into farms, cattle ranches, and poultry breeding fields. The targeted area reaches all the way to the Muthanna provincial border in southern Iraq. The project is under discussion in a Joint Coordinating Council formed during the term of former Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi.​​ [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Much of the extensive land along the Saudi border is sparsely populated desert land.​​ Most of the people in these provinces live well away from this area.

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Prime​​ Minister​​ Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi said on Thursday that he was interested in stabilizing security in Kirkuk, where the PUK raised the KRG flag above its headquarters 2 days earlier. [Anadolu]

 

BAGHDAD

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)​​ 

Daesh said on Thursday it killed two Iraqi Army members with machine guns in an attack in the Al-Azri area, in Tarmiya. [ICDNJan10]

 

East​​ (Sadr City, New Baghdad, etc.)

Unidentified gunmen killed Samir Ali, a journalist working for the US-sponsored​​ Al-Hurra​​ TV channel. His body was found​​ on Al-Qanat​​ Street in east Baghdad with bullets in his head. Samir Ali is the first Iraqi journalists killed in 2019. [BasNews]

 

ANBAR

Falluja

The Directorate for Intelligence and Security announced on Thursday that its field units found a stockpile of IEDs in Saqlawiya. [Dijlah]

 

Rutba

Daesh said it killed at least 10 Border Guard policemen, destroyed 2 military vehicles, and set a border center on fire on Wednesday in an attack near the Saudi border. [ICDNJan10]​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Tikrit

On Thursday, the Salahuddin Emergency Brigade found a Daesh depot of explosives and 7 missiles in​​ Albu Ajeel​​ village. [Mawazin]

 

Samarra

The​​ District Manager (Mayor)​​ of Samarra District, Mahmoud Khalaf, called on the government to intervene to discover the fate of 850 detainees who have been missing since 2014. Khalaf says they disappeared in the aftermath of military operations against Daesh in Samarra in 2014. [BasNews]

 

DIYALA

Sadiq Al-Husseini, head of the Security Committee in the Diyala Provincial Council, said that security services in Diyala were planning a “war” against Daesh sleeper cells in Diyala, and said that 2019 would be the year that these cells were finally eliminated.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

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

On Thursday, a security source reported that Daesh attacked a factory in Khanaqin and​​ burned it.​​ [BaghdadToday]

 

Another security source also said on Thursday that Daesh failed​​ in an effort​​ to infiltrate​​ the​​ Lake Himrin​​ area​​ west of​​ Khanaqin. [BaghdadToday]

 

KIRKUK

Former​​ minister and CoR​​ MP Jassim Mohammed Ja’afar, a Turkmen,​​ claimed to have information indicating that “dozens” of Daesh terrorists had entered Kirkuk to carry out terrorist operations and destabilize the province.​​ [Etejah]

 

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

On Thursday, the Ministry of Interior announced that Hawija police arrested a Daesh leader who had been the head of Daesh agricultural projects in Kirkuk. [Mawazin]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that IFP units found Daesh documents in a tunnel near Al-Zab. The source said the documents contain names of Daesh terrorists and their monthly salaries.

 

NINEWA

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that Daesh kidnapped 2 PMF soldiers on the road between Tal Afar and Mosul.

 

Sinjar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that 3 people from the same family were severely wounded when a Daesh leftover roadside IED exploded on their vehicle near Hardan village, 19 miles east of Sinjar city. The source said the IED had been marked by EOD units, but the vehicle driver didn’t see the warning sign.

DaeshDaily comment.​​ So it’s the driver’s fault that the military units did not deal with the IED on site or post a suitably conspicuous notice?

 

The media office of the PMF said that PMF units in Ninewa had found and removed 3 IEDs during a clearance operation in Qayrawan on Thursday. [Ghad]​​ [PressIraq]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, expressed the readiness of the Kurdistan Region to coordinate and cooperate with the federal forces to confront any attempt of Daesh to return to Iraq. His statements came in a meeting with John Lorimer, Senior Defense Advisor to the Middle East for the UK, who was representing UK Prime Minister Theresa May. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Military & security developments

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, says the anticipated Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria is not dependent on the US withdrawal. He told the TV station​​ NTV​​ that he is not expecting the US to withdraw all weapons provided to by the US to Kurdish groups.​​ [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This statement that they are not depending on a US withdrawal may be technically true. What Turkey is really waiting for is the assurance that the US will not impede the attack on its Kurdish allies. This might come from a statement that reverses Bolton’s public position but is more likely to follow the actual withdrawal of US troops, leaving the Kurds to face NATO’s largest army (after the US) on their own.

 

Also see reports under Syria, National News below

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Foreign policy

United States

The​​ Wall Street Journal​​ wrote on Thursday that the US was moving ahead with plans to withdraw all US troops from Syria, notwithstanding the possibility of a US-Turkey split. While John Bolton said earlier this week that the US wouldn’t leave without a promise from Turkey that it wouldn’t attack the US’ Syrian Kurdish partner forces (i.e., the SDF),​​ Pentagon officials said that they hadn’t received any new instructions and were proceeding with withdrawal plans. [WSJ]

 

On Tuesday,​​ Foreign Affairs​​ published an article saying that the US departure from Syria would result in a tripartite conflict, the reemergence of Daesh, and an extension of Iran’s power. The article forecast that the conflict would occur​​ among​​ Turkey, the SDF, and the Assad regime, and that Iran would very likely use routes across Syria to​​ expand​​ its missile depot in western Syria. [ElDorar] [FA]

 

Germany

Germany warned Turkey against any attack on northeast Syria, saying any military solution in any part of Syria will not be acceptable. [Hawar]

 

France

French Foreign Minister​​ Jean-Yves Le Drian says France will only withdraw from Syria when a political settlement is reached. He says that France’s support to the SDF will continue.​​ [Hawar]

 

United Nations

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, says 7,000 civilians have fled their homes in Hajin, mostly women and children. He says 2,000 more are still trapped in the city. He adds that the arrival of humanitarian support to the area is highly restricted.​​ [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It’s not clear why they are trapped if Daesh has been defeated in Hajin, though actually getting out on the roads could be perilous for some. However, we suspect that a victory dependent on such much Coalition air and artillery strikes could have caused great damage to the city and made living conditions dangerous.

 

See also story below under Albu Kamal

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

On Thursday,​​ Shafaaq​​ reported that the​​ SDF​​ captured a 16-year-old American fighting with Daesh. ​​ [Shafaaq]

 

Northwest

Afrin/Azaz

The Kurdish militia​​ Afrin​​ Liberation​​ Forces says​​ that​​ it killed 5 Turkish soldiers and its allied militia​​ fighters​​ in an​​ operation​​ in Azaz and Afrin. [Hawar]

 

Manbij

Military Police arrested a 5-member SDF cell in Awn Al-Dadat village near Manbij. [Qasioun]​​ 

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

Daesh said on Thursday it beheaded an SDF member in Tal Hormuz village,​​ near Tal Tamr,​​ west of Hasaka city. [ICDNJan10]​​ 

 

Raqqa

West Raqqa​​ (Tabaqa, etc.)

The SOHR says that an IED targeted an SDF vehicle in Tabaqa. A series of explosions were also reported in Raqqa, mainly aimed at SDF targets, leaving several killed and wounded. [SyriaHR]

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib/Aleppo

Abu Mohammed Al-Golani, head of Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) signed an agreement with​​ the​​ commanders of​​ the pro-Turkey​​ National​​ Front​​ opposition militias​​ in Idlib to end all military operations. The agreement also states that all areas west of Aleppo, Hama, and Idlib will be run by Tahrir Al-Sham. [Qasioun]

 

Hama

The SOHR reported that Tahrir Al-Sham fired 20 rockets at Syrian Army positions near Lataminah, north of Hama city. A drone also destroyed an opposition vehicle in the city. Tahrir Al-Sham is now in full control of the “ceasefire areas” provided by the Russian-Turkish sponsored truce. [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

The British paper​​ Telegraph​​ reported that since December 2018, in Deir Ez-Zor, Daesh killed about 600 SDF fighters and the SDF killed about 1,000 Daesh fighters. [Qasioun]

 

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

Daesh said it killed or wounded three SDF members and damaged their vehicle with an IED on Wednesday in Jazrat Al-Milaj, in Al-Kasrah subdistrict. [A3maq]​​ 

 

Daesh said it killed an SDF member and wounded another in an attack on a security barrier on Wednesday in Al-Sabha village, in​​ Al-Busayrah subdistrict. [ICDNJan10]​​ 

Daesh said it killed an SDF “intelligence” member, wounded another, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED on Wednesday in Barsham village in​​ Al-Busayrah. [ICDNJan10]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

The Syrian pro-government paper​​ Al-Watan​​ quoted a local source as saying 5 UK soldiers were killed by a Daesh rocket in Deir Ez-Zor. The soldiers were reportedly killed in Al-Sha’afa, and their bodies were taken to Shaddadi Hospital in southern Hasaka. [Qasioun]

 

SOHR reported​​ that​​ 600 civilians​​ fled​​ the​​ remaining Daesh-held​​ areas​​ in​​ eastern​​ Deir Ez-Zor, mostly women and children,​​ and were transferred to locations​​ near​​ Al-Omar oilfield by SDF forces. This​​ brings the​​ total escapees from Daesh-held​​ areas since December to 14,500. [SyriaHR]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that Coalition planes killed the Daesh “Minister of Health” Moufaq Askar (aka Abu Abdul Qader Al-Tibbi) and other terrorists in an airstrike near Al-Susah.

 

Forat​​ says that bodies of Daesh fighters killed by the SDF were found in​​ the​​ Hawama and Shakhtiya neighborhoods in Hajin. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh said on Thursday it targeted SDF “gatherings” in Al-Sha’afa town with 50 mortar shells. [ICDNJan10]

Daesh published on Thursday photos of targeting the SDF in Al-Sha’afa town with mortars. [ICDNJan10]

Daesh said on Thursday it targeted SDF gatherings in Al-Sha’afa with 60 RPG rockets. [ICDNJan10]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Daesh uses the term “gatherings”​​ to justify​​ its arbitrary shellings.

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded seven SDF members in an attack on Wednesday in Al-Sha’afa town. [ICDNJan10]

DaeshDaily comment:​​ Notice​​ in all four of the stories just above​​ that Daesh is shooting​​ into​​ Al-Sha’afa. Until a few days ago, it controlled A-Sha’afa.​​ So its “victorious” reports are intended to divert attention from the fact that it has lost Al-Sha’afa. As we often say, Daesh is always​​ victorious,​​ even when it’s not.

 

South​​ 

Suwayda

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that Daesh set​​ on fire​​ 14 houses belonging to Druze in Tal Al-Dhahab village, near Al-Safa Hills.

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

Bijan Zangeneh, the Iranian Minister of Oil, says that the US sanctions against Iran are​​ illegitimate. This statement came in​​ a​​ press conference with Thamir Al-Ghadhban, the Iraqi Oil Minister. He says Iran is not ready to discuss the volume or destination of its oil exports. Al-Ghadhban says Iraq did not reach an agreement with Iran to develop joint oil fields, expecting a rise in oil prices following​​ their​​ recent decline. [Hawar]

 

North Africa

Egypt

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry that the US will continue fighting Daesh, despite its withdrawal from Syria. He says that while in Egypt, he discussed the status of human rights there, as well as the situations in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and the Palestinian issue. [Anadolu]

 

Libya

On Thursday, Libyan news sources reported that the body of a founding Daesh leader, Abu Al-Mughira Al-Qahtani, was found in Libya, along with about 50 others, in a mass grave. [Madar]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

AFRICA

Somalia

Daesh said on Thursday it shot and killed a Somali policeman at Bakaara intersection, in Mogadishu. [A3maq]

 

Nigeria

Boko Haram killed a senior Army officer and an Army soldier during the Nigerian Army’s ongoing Operation Lafiya Dole. 5 other soldiers sustained injuries. However, the Nigerian Army’s spokesman​​ said that the Army was making significant inroads against Boko Haram and had killed “several” Boko Haram terrorists in the operation. [VanguardNGR]

 

Daesh published on Thursday photos of its terrorists (i.e., Boko Haram) in Baga town. [ICDNJan10]

Military sources had previously said on Dec 27 that the base in Baga, as well as another military base in “Mile 3,” 5 km​​ (3 miles)​​ from Baga, had been overrun by Boko Haram fighters. The source said,​​ “The troops were overpowered and forced to withdraw … the terrorists carted away gun​​ trucks, ammunition and multiple rocket launchers from the base.” Troops from the two bases withdrew to another naval base at Fish Dam on the shores of Lake Chad, the military source said.​​ [DailyNation]​​ [DefensePost]

 

Sudan

The​​ British​​ Times​​ reported on Wednesday that sources in the Sudanese capitol reported that Russian-speaking mercenaries from Wagner Company were helping to put down anti-government demonstrations. [ElDorar] [Times]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

The Office of the National Security Council said that Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib arrived in Beijing to hold talks with Chinese officials regarding bilateral security cooperation and the Afghan peace process. [Khaama]

 

The Afghan Military in the North said that Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Basir, along with 20 of his fighters, had been killed in an airstrike in Balkh Province, northern Afghanistan. [Khaama]

 

The Afghan Military in the East said that​​ 3 members of Daesh’s Khurasan affiliate (ISIS-K) had been killed in drone airstrikes in Khogyani district, Nangarhar Province, eastern Afghanistan. [Khaama]

 

Daesh said on Thursday it blew up an Afghan Army oil tanker with a sticky IED on the road to the Jalalabad Military Airport. [A3maq]

 

 

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