January 30, 2019
Albu Kamal (DD Jan 30)
Coats says Daesh is still a major security threat. [..]
Iraqi ministry says Daesh has been stealing internet connectivity in Diyala. [..]
Daesh Daily source details major Daesh pocket in Badoush area. [..]
Army in Tal Afar kills 3 Daesh terrorists who tried to kill village mukhtar. [..]
SDF Co-Chair visits Washington, denounces Erdogan’s “safe zone” plan. [..]
. . . and Trump says he won’t let Turkey attack the Kurds. [..]
UAE, Arab League rep oppose Turkey’s “safe zone” proposal for Syria. [..]
US opposition nixed planned move of Iraqi PMFs into Syria. [..]
Coalition conducted 645 airstrikes in past two weeks. [..]
DaeshDaily source says Hasaka merchants deliver food to Daesh outposts. [..]
Fleeing French Daesh members caught with the cash in Albu Kamal. [..]
Afghanistan: Trump praises progress in negotiations with Taliban. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
Dan Coats, US Director of National Intelligence, testifying to a Senate committee, says that Daesh still has thousands of fighters and is a major security threat to the Middle East. He says that Daesh will make use of the deceasing pressure imposed on them and will try to return to their previous actions. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. Coats’ testimony in Congress Tuesday, alongside that of CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray sparked a remarkable tweet from President Trump Wednesday, who publicly disagreed with their assessments, which were much more negative than his on a range of subjects.
The Coalition’s biweekly strike report said that between January 13 and 26, it conducted 9 airstrikes in Iraq. [InherentResolve]
Joint Operations Command responded to “rumors” on social media regarding an increased Coalition presence in Iraq. The statement said that there was no such increase in the number of Coalition units in Iraq, including for training, logistical support, or consultation. [IraqNews]
Baghdad Post published photos that it said were of US Marines entering the Baiji camp in Salahuddin. [HathaAlYoum]
DaeshDaily comment. There have been media reports about the Coalition increasing its presence in Salahuddin. Our sources say that pro-Iran militias withdrew to bases in Ninewa when Coalition units increased in the Baiji area.
An MP from Anbar Province, Faleh Al-‘Aissawi, defended the Coalition’s presence in Iraq, saying that the decision to keep or dismiss foreign forces was up to the Commander-in-Chief, and that Iraq had an actual need for Coalition forces, as proven by the Coalition’s help in driving out Daesh. [BaghdadPost]
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, said that Russia considered the US military presence in Iraq as legitimate because it is based on the approval of the Iraqi government. He also said that Russia is ready to help Iraq militarily. He made the remarks in a press conference with the visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim, at which he also said that cooperation in combating terrorism is ongoing. [Sumaria]
See also below under Syria – Foreign policy – Middle East
The Spanish Embassy to Iraq expressed its sincere apologies for lifting the wrong Iraqi flag on the plane of the visiting King of Spain, saying that the mistake will be corrected for his departure. The flag raised was the old Republican flag with three stars that was adopted in the 60s. [Sumaria]
An MP in the Anbar Provincial Council, Farhan Al-Dulaimi, said on Wednesday that he rejected PMF groups opening a “religious reporting unit” in Haditha, as was reported on Tuesday. Al-Dulaimi gave a statement in which he rejected the rise of sectarianism. Another MP from the Anbar PC said that the Anbar PC would review the issue at its next meeting. [BasNews]
A DaeshDaily source said 2 Oil Facilities Protection policemen were killed and a pickup vehicle destroyed on January 24 in a Daesh attack near Allas oilfield.
The Iraqi Ministry of Communications said on Wednesday that it had stopped a process by which Daesh stole Internet connectivity from optical cables in Diyala. It estimated the value of this theft at $11 million per month. The Ministry added that it would “take all legal measures” against such theft. [Rudaw]
Northern Diyala (Khalis north)
A DaeshDaily source said a man was killed and a woman wounded on Tuesday when Daesh targeted Udhaim city with 4 mortar shells.
The MoI says it arrested a Daesh group distributing money to the families of Daesh members in Kirkuk. The group of 3 men and 1 woman were arrested after they were tracked down in Bajwan village in Dibis. [Sumaria] [Buratha] [PUKMedia]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab)
A DaeshDaily source said PMF units starting from Al-Tarqiya village, in Al-Zab subdistrict, established military positions in the Himrin Mountains area. The source said that the military operation started on January 25, and that there was no resistance from Daesh.
A DaeshDaily source said 1 PMF fighter was killed and 2 others wounded when their vehicle was destroyed by an IED on the road between Al-Sadouniya village and Riyadh subdistrict. The source said the PMFs arrested the mukhtar of the village after the explosion.
The Ninewa Provincial Council announced the start of the reconstruction of the most damaged areas in Ninewa. The effort will be led by companies affiliated with the Ministry of Housing and Reconstruction, and will serve all religious and ethnic groups, as well as services and industries. [BasNews]
An MP from Ninewa, Ahmed Al-Jubouri, tweeted on Wednesday that the Governor of Ninewa, Nawfal Al-Akoub, had involved Daesh agents in responding to corruption allegations against himself. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. If this seems less than clear, be aware that it’s not that clear to us either.
Sumaria reported that a “Gulf newspaper” wrote on Wednesday that residents around the outskirts of Mosul describe it as a “prison.” Sources say that it is insecure, and that militia groups are in control. Civilians cannot move freely. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. This is essentially an attack on Shia PMFs.
On Wednesday, Ninewa Police Command arrested 15 wanted men in various locations in Mosul. 4 were wanted for terrorism and 6 for theft, and the others were wanted for forgery and dealing in illegal drugs. [PressIraq]
A DaeshDaily source says that Daesh terrorists are active in the Badoush area and are using security clearances obtained from corrupt security officials to move freely. The source said the terrorists plant IEDs, kill government forces’ sources, and assassinate tribal PMF fighters. Many of the terrorists are hiding in the Badoush Hills area, and they depend on collaborators in the Badoush area, which is considered the most “infected” area in Ninewa, followed by Shura. The source says Daesh has hundreds of supporters, including women, many of whom were in IDP camps but returned to their houses in a political deal. The source says these supporters even “inform” security forces about supposedly suspicious people who are actually innocent people who oppose Daesh, and have them arrested.
There were four more Badoush-area stories to underscore the above report:
A DaeshDaily source said that 2 Iraqi Army 20th Division soldiers were killed on Saturday when their military pickup was destroyed by an IED on the road between Badoush and Sahaji village. The source said the army arrested 3 suspects after the attack.
A DaeshDaily source said that a merchant was severely wounded on Friday when a roadside IED destroyed his vehicle near Khudairat village, near Badoush.
A DaeshDaily source said a civilian was killed and his son severely wounded when a group of Daesh terrorists in a pickup vehicle shot the victims near Sabouniya village, in the Badoush area. The source said the man was cooperating with security units and had informed about Daesh sleeper cells in the area.
Daesh said it killed two Iraqi Army Intelligence “spies” with light weapons on Tuesday near Al-Mulawtha village, near Badoush. [ICDNJan30]
Daesh said it blew up the house of a tribal PMF fighter on Sunday in Mushairifa village, near Tal Abta. [ICDNJan29]
A DaeshDaily source said Iraqi Army 20th Division units killed 3 Daesh terrorists on Friday in Batisha village, near Kasik. The source said the terrorists had attacked the house of the mukhtar and severely wounded his son before the Army units arrived.
The PMF thwarted a suicide car bomb attack in Babel on Wednesday. [Ghad]
Babel Police Command announced that the 4th Babel emergency brigade arrested a terrorist and a murderer on Wednesday. [Ghad]
A security source in Babel says that security personnel carried out a controlled detonation of a car bomb they captured earlier in the Jurf Al-Sakhar area. [Sumaria]
The office of the PM of the Kurdistan Region said that 2 Yazidi women and a child had been freed from Daesh captivity in Syria. [Rudaw]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
Elham Ahmed, the co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (the political wing of the SDF) renewed her rejection of the “safe zone” promoted by Turkey. Speaking from Washington, DC, she says the areas in question will turn into Turkish territories governed by terrorist groups. She says she would suggest international monitors in the border areas nominated by the UN. [Qasioun]
Also see related story below under Foreign policy – United States
President Trump told Elham Ahmed, on her visit to Washington, that he “love[s] the Kurds.” CNN reported that Trump comforted Ahmed on the issue of US withdrawal from Syria, and promised he would not allow Turkey to attack them. [EnabBaladi] [CNN]
Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on Wednesday in an interview with Al-Hurra that the UAE “stands for the protection of the Kurds in Syria from the consequences of the American withdrawal.” Gargash said the UAE rejected the idea of Turkey establishing a “safe zone” in northern Syria. [ElDorar]
The Emirati National wrote that a “senior Gulf official,” speaking in Washington, DC, said that Syria wouldn’t be re-admitted into the Arab League any time soon, because consensus among the member states would be required for its re-entry, which the official did not think would happen by the time of the Arab League’s summit in Tunis in March. Referring to the proposed “safe zone” inside Syria, the official said that the Arab League would be against a non-Arab power such as Turkey establishing such a presence inside an Arab country. The official also said that “you can’t expect Erdogan to protect the Kurds.” [National]
Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim says Iraq strongly supports the return of Syria to the Arab League, speaking in a press conference with Sergey Lavrov, his Russian counterpart. Al-Hakim also said that the Iraqi Army was carrying out “limited operations” inside Syria, in coordination with the Syrian government. [Qasioun]
However, Al-Mada wrote on Sunday that the Iraqi government had cancelled a planned operation in which Iraqi PMF units would enter Syrian territory. A military source claimed that the Iraqi government cancelled the operation at the request of the US, and that the US did not want PMF units originating from outside Anbar to participate, requesting that only tribal PMF units carry out such an operation. [Mada]
Bloomberg wrote on Wednesday that Daesh will emerge again after losing its territories in Iraq and Syria. It says that despite losing all its territories in Iraq and almost all in Syria, Al-Baghdadi and his top lieutenants staying alive would keep its “backbone” intact. [Sumaria]
The Coalition’s biweekly strike report said that between January 13 and 26, it conducted 645 airstrikes in Syria. During the same period, it said that it detected 533 strikes from “other actors” that “crossed the Euphrates River Valley.” [InherentResolve]
DaeshDaily comment. 645 airstrikes in two weeks equals 46 per day!. This tells you one major reason why Daesh is losing, along with the effectiveness of the SDF.
The SOHR reported continued clashes between Kurdish and government units and Islamist militias in Kafr Khasher and Maraanaz in Azaz District. It also noted that the Syrian Army bombarded the area, causing casualties among militia groups and civilians alike. [SyriaHR]
An IED targeted an SDF military vehicle in Manbij, wounding its driver. [Qasioun]
A DaeshDaily source says Daesh depends on local merchants in the Hasaka area to deliver foodstuffs and other supplies to terrorists hiding in the desert in eastern Syria and western Iraq.
Daesh said on Wednesday it killed two SDF members and damaged their vehicle with an IED in Faydat Al-Shamiya village, west of Hasaka. [ICDNJan30-Telegram]
Raqqa city & district
The SOHR says that unidentified armed men assassinated an SDF fighter using a silenced gun near the National Hospital on Nour Street in Raqqa. This incident came following the explosion of a bomb in the same area on Tuesday. [SyriaHR]
West Raqqa (Tabaqa, etc.)
Daesh said on Wednesday it killed or wounded three SDF “security members” and damaged an SUV with an IED on Palestine Street, in Tabaqa city. [A3maq]
Central and West
SOHR reported the continued security deterioration in Idlib, reflected in the attempted assassination of a Civil Defense employee on the road between Kafr Naseh, in Azaz, and Kafr Karmin, on the western border of the Aleppo District. This follows Tuesday’s explosion near the HQ of the Syrian Salvation Government. [SyriaHR]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Daesh said on Wednesday it killed or wounded seven SDF members in an ambush in Al-Hawayej village, in Dhiban subdistrict. [A3maq]
Albu Kamal District
Local sources say a Daesh commander was killed in Coalition airstrikes on Daesh targets in Albu Kamal. The name of the Daesh leader was reported to be Mohammed Mahmoud Al-Abadi. [Qasioun]
A DaeshDaily source said that on Tuesday, SDF units captured 3 Daesh French terrorists near Albu Badran village. The source said the terrorists had paid thousands of dollars to a local smuggler to take them to the Turkish border. They were also carrying large amounts of cash.
A DaeshDaily source said that 79 families returned to their houses in Albu Kamal city on Wednesday, after government forces finished their security checks.
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
Iranian president Hasan Rouhani says his country is facing the strongest economic pressure in 40 years. He says the blame is on the US, not on the Iranian government. [Hawar]
Daesh said it killed an Al-Qaeda member with an IED on Tuesday near the Dhi Kalib Al-Asfal area, in Qifa. [ICDNJan30]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
The US Army’s long-awaited “lessons learned” document about the Iraq War said that Iran was the only beneficiary from the US occupation of Iraq. The 1,300–page report covered the US effort in Iraq from 2003 onward, as well as the armed resistance against US presence. It says that 1 lesson learned is that the US should not send large land forces to occupy any country in the future. The report says the US never had a strategy to confront Sunni and Shia armed resistance, unlike Syria and Iran, which had clear visions and actions. It also concluded that other coalition countries also did not send enough forces to enable a strong grip on Iraq. [Anadolu] [ArmyTimes]
DaeshDaily comment. Assuming the report has been accurately characterized, these conclusions would be considered debatable by others.
The State Department says the US will be hosting a meeting on February 6 in Washington, DC, for representatives of states belonging to the Coalition to defeat Daesh. [Hawar]
Google recently launched a campaign to monitor girls who may get involved with Daesh. [Sumaria]
The German Ministry of the Interior says that 3 Iraqi refugees were arrested in Schleswig-Holstein on charges of planning an attack with an explosive. The channel Al-Arabia Al-Hadith quoted the German Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer, as saying that the 3 made bombs and tested them. [Sumaria]
At least 1 person was killed and 6 wounded in a shooting incident on the French island of Corsica on Wednesday. The French daily Le Figaro described the shooter as a “sniper.” [Sumaria]
The Republic of Somaliland, which declared its independence from Somalia in 1991, is aiming to gain international recognition by hosting British and Russian naval bases. The UK Secretary of Defense Gavin Williamson visited Somaliland last week to discuss such a presence. [Anadolu]
President Trump praised the ongoing negotiations with the Taliban on Twitter, writing, “Negotiations are proceeding well in Afghanistan after 18 years of fighting. Fighting continues but the people of Afghanistan want peace in this never ending war.” [Khaama]
Qatar pledged to host further talks in support of Afghan reconciliation, following the conclusion of the talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha. [Khaama]
Daesh said it “foiled” an “American and Afghan” forces campaign on Tuesday in the Adel Khekl area, in Achin district in Nangarhar, killing or wounding soldiers. [A3maq]
Daesh said on Wednesday it shot and killed an Afghan intelligence member in District 5, in Kabul. [A3maq]
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