An Update On ISIS Activities

January 31, 2019

January 31, 2019

 

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Explosives Vest Found Near Siniya (DD Jan 31)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Oil smuggling and its protectors become an issue in the CoR. [..]

Senior Daesh commander broadcasts speech from self-exile in Turkey. [..]

Daesh kills another mukhtar, in northern Baghdad [..]

. . . and​​ also​​ kills the mukhtar of Nuaimiya near Falluja. [..]

Ninewa Governor facing corruption allegations. [..]

Former VP accuses Shia religious endowment in Ninewa of stealing property​​ deeds. [..]

 

Turkey

Foreign Minister accuses Coalition countries of supporting Tahrir Al-Sham in Idlib. [..]

 

Syria

US court finds Syria liable for 2012 death of journalist Marie Colvin. [..]

Lebanon’s incoming PM​​ says financial support of its​​ Syrian refugees​​ likely to end. [..]

WHO blows the whistle on overcrowding at Al-Hawl IDP camp, after 29 kids die.​​ [..]

Latest count: Daesh has now executed 6,209 people. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

US/Europe: ​​​​ Trump threatens European allies with “serious consequences” for violation of Iran sanctions.​​ [..]​​ 

Afghanistan: ​​​​ Khalilzad cautious on progress in Taliban negotiations; Ghani wants Taliban to talk with government. [..]

Venezuela: ​​ European Parliament recognizes Juan Guaido’ as President of Venezuela.​​ [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Corruption

Iraqi political figures accused militias and​​ mafias” controlled by political groups​​ of smuggling Iraqi oil.​​ Oil smuggling is​​ the​​ main corruption​​ issue​​ facing the Iraqi government. The smuggled oil mainly​​ goes​​ to Iran and Turkey, and is estimated to​​ cause​​ over $1​​ billion in losses​​ per year.​​ CoR MP​​ Ali Al-Budiari says all committees​​ that have been​​ formed to investigate the issue​​ so far have been​​ subject to political pressure, and that their members were chosen on a political rather than professional basis. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Oil smuggling is the main corruption issue because of the vast amount of money it costs the government.​​ It is also an old issue, which goes on and on despite the enormous cost to Iraq.​​ The people making the money are being protected by somebody

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

The KDP’s bloc in the CoR accused former Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi of statements harmful to the positive environment in Kirkuk and the disputed areas. The party says the there is a positive environment between Baghdad and the KRG that Al-Abadi is trying to disturb. [BasNews]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

In a bizarre turn of events, Rafi’ Mishin Al-Jumaili, a senior Daesh commander and the son of the sheikh of the Jumaila tribe, appeared in a self-published video making a speech advising (Sunni) Iraqis not to fight the Coalition forces, because these forces will rid Iraq of Iranian-backed militias. The Saddam-style self-described “historic” speech advised Iraqis (especially in Anbar, Salahuddin, Kirkuk, Diyala, and Ninewa) to stay home and not to fight American forces “who came to liberate you” from Iran and its militias, and to correct “the mistake the US committed in 2003.” He also promised that “our issue” has “Arab, Islamic, and international” support. [Facebook]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Jumaili was one of the tribal leaders who fought the Coalition​​ after​​ 2003. Later on, he joined the Sahwa. In 2014, he cowardly murdered Iraqi soldiers in Falluja after promising them safety in his house during the protests. He claimed then that the Daesh invasion of Falluja, Mosul, and other Iraqi cities in 2014 was part of a “revolution,” and that he was one of​​ its​​ leaders. Later on, he publicly​​ acknowledged​​ that he was fighting under the Daesh flag, and was​​ seen​​ with the German terrorist Denis Mamadou Gerhard Cuspert (aka Abu Talha Al-Almani) and other Daesh commanders in Mosul when Daesh was in charge of the city. He was reportedly captured​​ as​​ he was trying to flee Falluja with displaced families in June 2016. While several sources denied he was captured, others said he was captured but released in a political deal. Trusted sources reported that he fled to Turkey and​​ has​​ stayed there since 2016.​​ 

Jumaili is not​​ the​​ usual opportunist who changes sides with the winds. He is an actual Daesh commander with a lot of blood on his hands. This​​ speech​​ suggests​​ that the second stage of Daesh might begin soon. ​​​​ Notice the focus on raising Sunni grievances.​​ ​​ It would be interesting to see what the Turkish government thinks about this​​ speech, but it is an embarrassment​​ that Al-Jumaili is hiding out in Turkey​​ at a time when Turkey pretends to be fighting Daesh.  ​​​​ 

 

Al-Jumaili’s pronouncements did not go down well in some places.​​ On Thursday, the Iraqi High Judicial Council said the Karkh Counterterrorism Court​​ has​​ started legal​​ proceedings​​ against Rafi’ Mishin Al-Jumaili for “the crime of incitement against the constitutional government.” [HJC]

 

The Coalition issued its monthly civilian casualty report. It said that during December 2018, it carried over 184 open reports of civilian casualties, received 10 new reports, and assessed 12 reports, out of which 5 were determined to be “credible.” Out of the 5 “credible” reports, 2 took place in Iraq and were assessed as having killed 21 civilians total. Both took place in Mosul in June 2017. [InherentResolve]

These totals raised the Coalition’s estimate of total number of civilians that it had accidentally killed between August 2014 and the end of 2018 to 1,190 people in both Iraq and Syria. [InherentResolve]​​ [Hawar]

 

The​​ Wall Street Journal​​ wrote that Iraq had been building up the forces on the border with Syria over the last few weeks, in anticipation of Daesh fighters from Syria fleeing across the border. [WSJ]

 

A military source told​​ Ghad​​ that according to a Daesh leader who had recently been captured and interrogated, Daesh is currently working on reviving itself. [Ghad]​​ 

 

BAGHDAD

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)​​ 

Daesh said it killed an Iraqi Army member and two Oil Facilities Protection policemen with a silenced gun on Tuesday in the Baghdadi area, in Tarmiya. [ICDNJan31]

 

Daesh said it killed a mukhtar in his house on Wednesday in the Nasr Establishment area, in Meshahda. Daesh accused the victim of being a National Security Service “spy.” [ICDNJan31]

 

West​​ (Mansour, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

Baghdad Ops Command announced that the 24th​​ Infantry Brigade had found 2 IEDs in west Baghdad.​​ [Etejah]​​ 

 

ANBAR

Falluja

A security source says that unidentified armed men shot and killed the mukhtar of Nuaimiya, just south of Falluja city, late Wednesday night. [Sumaria]

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that the mukhtar of Nuaimiya was shot and killed in his house by a group of Daesh terrorists in military vehicles and uniforms.​​ 

 

The Security Media Center says personnel under Anbar Ops Command arrested 2 terrorism suspects near the expressway,​​ safely detonated 3 IEDs in Zawiya, in Haditha,​​ and destroyed 112 other IEDs in the Albu Daalj area. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Ramadi

Military Intelligence units and units from the 4th​​ Division of the 39th​​ Brigade found a hidden IED depot in Ramadi with 30 IEDs and 10 detonators. Engineering teams ensured that it was all destroyed. [MoD Website]​​ 

 

Hit

Daesh said it killed a tribal PMF EOD expert and wounded another with an IED on Wednesday near Baghdadi city. [A3maq]​​ 

 

Rutba

An Iraqi Army source says that PMF groups withdrew from the Okaz gas field and handed it over to the Army and Sunni tribal PMF groups. He says a delegation from the Coalition also visited the field recently. The field contains 5.6 trillion cubic meters of gas. [Anadolu]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that 2 PMF soldiers were killed and another wounded in a roadside IED explosion between​​ the​​ Baiji Refinery and Baiji city.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that a policeman was killed in​​ a​​ clash with Daesh in the Siniya area. The source said that police units had raided a Daesh tunnel in the area and confiscated weapons, explosives vests, and food supplies before being attacked by a group of Daesh terrorists. The source said a Daesh terrorist was also killed in the clashes. The source sent us photos of the confiscated items.​​ 

 

Samarra

Daesh said it killed four IFP members and damaged their SUV on Tuesday in an ambush in the Abbasiya area, northeast of Samarra. [A3maq]

 

Daesh said it blew up the house of the mukhtar of Albu Nimr village, in Jazeera Samarra, on Wednesday. [ICDNJan31-Telegram]​​ 

 

DIYALA

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin)

Several Daesh fighters attacked​​ the Bawa Mahmoud checkpoint in Khanaqin, staffed​​ jointly by​​ Asayish​​ and​​ Diyala police,​​ on Thursday evening. A police source said that the Daesh attackers were driven off without casualties. [Rudaw]

 

A security source said that Daesh attacked the Peshmerga near Khanaqin on Wednesday evening. [PUKMedia]​​ 

Daesh said it shot and wounded a Peshmerga fighter on Wednesday when it targeted a military position in the Bablawi​​ village​​ area in Khanaqin with light weapons. [ICDNJan31]​​ 

 

Daesh said its snipers severely wounded an Iraqi Army​​ soldier​​ on Wednesday on the road between Jalawla and Qara Tapa. [A3maq]

 

KIRKUK

On Thursday, the Security Media Center said that IFP forces arrested 2 people on terrorism charges, and destroyed 2 tunnels and 2 Daesh hideouts in Kirkuk Province. [Sumaria]

 

Dibis

Daesh said it killed or wounded IFP members and damaged their Humvee on Tuesday near the Dibis Dam area. [ICDNJan31]

 

Daesh said it shot and killed an IFP​​ officer​​ on Tuesday at the entrance of Dibis city. [A3maq]

 

NINEWA

Mosul​​ city

An MP for Ninewa, Ahmed Al-Jubouri, tweeted on Thursday​​ to​​ the Prime Minister, Speaker of the CoR, and​​ CoR​​ committee chairmen​​ that the Governor of Ninewa, Nawfal Al-Akoub, should not be allowed to travel while his​​ legal​​ case is pending. [Buratha] [AlAraby] [BaghdadPost] [BaghdadPost]

DaeshDaily comments.​​ Whatever the merits of the case against the Governor, the MP’s concern is well founded in history. Politicians fleeing the country to avoid court judgments for corruption are practically a tradition in Iraq.

 

Former Vice President​​ Osama Al-Nujaifi, speaking as the head of the fact-finding mission in Ninewa, demanded that the Shia​​ waqf​​ (religious​​ endowment) there​​ stop​​ what he described as​​ measures​​ that could only lead to​​ the​​ eruption of sectarian feuds.​​ He accused the Shia​​ waqf​​ of trying to take over hundreds of title deeds belonging to the Sunni​​ waqf, and of pressuring real estate officials in Mosul to achieve that.​​ He said that while​​ everybody​​ was​​ trying​​ to​​ solve​​ national issues,​​ some establishments”​​ were​​ moving​​ in the other direction. [Rudaw]

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Sinjar

The PMF media office said that the 26th​​ Brigade of the PMF visited the leaders of the Qayrawan subdistrict to learn about the conditions of the people and their demands. [PressIraq]​​ 

 

Sada​​ network said that on Thursday morning, the 29th​​ PMF Brigade seized an explosives​​ belt and explosive materials in Qayrawan subdistrict. [PressIraq] [Buratha]​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL/DAHUK

The Ministry of Defense said on Thursday that Turkish aircraft attacked PKK positions in Zab, northern Erbil, and in Metina, northern Dahuk. [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Foreign policy

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu accused the Coalition of “supporting terrorists” in Idlib in an attempt to stop the Turkish-Russian “de-escalation” agreement​​ on Idlib. He claimed that some Coalition countries were providing financial support to Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), seeking to both damage the Idlib agreement and prevent the formation of a Constitutional Commission in Syria. [ElNashra]

 

Also see below under Syria – National News

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Political developments

The Turkish newspaper​​ Yeni Safak​​ quoted “well-informed” Syrian opposition sources as saying that​​ after the establishment of the “safe zone” in northeastern Syria, around 15,000 members of Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) would join the pro-Turkey “National Army.” The newspaper wrote that based on recent discussions between Syrian opposition leaders and Turkey, the Turkish plan would be for the Syrian Salvation Government, currently based in Idlib, to be dissolved and for a new interim government to take its place, which would​​ govern​​ around 20,000 square km of Aleppo and Idlib Provinces and be controlled by the pro-Turkey Free Syrian Army​​ (FSA). Under this plan, the “National Army,​​ which is part of the pro-Turkey​​ FSA​​ would grow from around 35,000 fighters to around 80,000​​ by absorbing HTS and the National Front for Liberation, another pro-Turkey militia. [AdDiyar]

 

Following the​​ Yeni Safak​​ story, HTS issued a press release denying that Turkey had any control over the group or that it was preparing for a Turkish plan to restructure the group. [Aman]

 

On Tuesday, HTS closed all crossings between the area of Idlib that it controls and the SDF-held areas​​ to the north and east. HTS-linked​​ Telegram accounts described the closures as being for “security reasons.” Local sources​​ told the Qatari​​ Al-Araby Al-Jadeed​​ that HTS had closed the Al-GhazawiyaDeir Semaan​​ Road in the eastern Aleppo countryside as well as the Deir BalloutAtma road. The sources said that HTS was afraid that “Kurdish units” (i.e. the SDF and/or the YPG/YPJ) would allow the passage of captured Daesh fighters from Deir Ez-Zor to northwest Syria in order to disrupt the security situation there.​​ They also​​ said that transit from Idlib to Afrin was still possible, but not in the opposite direction.​​ [AlAraby]

 

Foreign policy

United States

A US​​ federal​​ court found the Syrian​​ government liable in the 2012 death of journalist Marie Colvin, ordering a $302.5 million judgement. Colvin was killed when the Syrian Army shelled a media center in Homs. [AFP]

 

Russia

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswomen Maria Zakharova called on the US to withdraw from the Al-Tanaf base and hand it over to the Syrian government. She said that the Syrian government is able to take care of its citizens. [ElDorar]

 

Europe

France says it is considering taking custody of French-national Daesh members who are held by the SDF in eastern and northern Syria. [Hawar]

 

Middle East

Lebanese PM-designate Saad Hariri said that the next Lebanese government would be forced to make hard decisions regarding the budget, which would mean no funding for Syrian refugees. Hariri said that the quickest solution regarding Syrian refugees would be to assure​​ that political and living conditions were appropriate for them to return to their country. Lebanon hosts between 1 and 1.5 million Syrian refugees. [Anadolu]

 

Lebanese official media sources say that the Lebanese Army arrested Mahmoud Ward, a Palestinian national who is a leader of Jund Al-Sham (a sometime Al-Qaeda affiliate), inside Syria, and took him back to Lebanon. [EnabBaladi]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Coalition issued its monthly civilian casualty report, determining that​​ 5​​ open casualty reports were​​ “credible.” Out of the 5 “credible” reports,​​ 3​​ took place in​​ Syria,​​ and were assessed as having killed​​ 30​​ civilians total, as well as injuring 14 others.​​ The 3 reports in Syria took place in Tabaqa, Qadiran, and Dernaj,​​ between​​ April and November​​ 2017. [InherentResolve]​​ 

 

An Irishman accused of joining Daesh said that while living in Daesh’s last stronghold, he was afraid that he would starve to death. He was​​ arrested​​ by the SDF while fleeing the area still under Daesh control. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Northwest

No reports

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

The WHO says that 29 children died in​​ the​​ Al-Hawl​​ IDP​​ camp in Hasaka​​ over the past 8 weeks, most​​ due to​​ hypothermia.​​ The WHO noted that the camp​​ has gone from​​ hosting​​ 10,000 refugees​​ to over 32,000 in the past 2 months, and called the situation in the camp “critical.​​ [Qasioun]​​ [WHO]

 

See also the SOHR’s estimate of​​ displaced persons​​ from Albu Kamal, below.

 

Local sources say unidentified men killed 2 Asayish (Kurdish security)​​ personnel​​ south of Hasaka on Wednesday.​​ Forat​​ wrote that the assailants were most likely Daesh members dressed as YPG fighters. [Qasioun]

 

Kurdish media sources say a mine explosion​​ on Bashir​​ Mosque​​ Street in Qamishli wounded 2 women. [Hawar]

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib

On Thursday, Daesh denied that it had been responsible for Tuesday’s suicide bombing at the Syrian Salvation Government building in Idlib. The SOHR said that the bombing killed 1 person and injured 3. [Reuters]

Daesh’s​​ A3maq​​ said that the explosion that targeted Tahrir Al-Sham’s “Salvation Government” building in Idlib had nothing to do with Daesh.​​ [A3maq-Telegram]​​ ​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This is one of the rare occasions were Daesh denies responsibility.​​ Ironically, this gives their denial credibility. Of course, Tahrir Al-Sham does have other enemies.​​ 

 

Homs

The SOHR says that Daesh is still a​​ major​​ force in Syria, despite having less than 4 square km of area under its control. It wrote that there are still thousands of Daesh fighters in the Deir Ez-Zor desert north of Sukhnah in eastern Homs, where Syria and Russia are preparing for an operation. [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin​​ District

Daesh said on Thursday it killed two SDF fighters in an attack on a security barrier in Al-Hawayej village, in Dhiban subdistrict. [ICDNJan31-Telegram]​​ 

Daesh said on Thursday it killed or wounded seven SDF members and damaged their truck with an IED in Al-Tayyana village, in Dhiban subdistrict. [ICDNJan31-Telegram]​​ 

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

The SOHR says that 36,000 people from various nationalities have fled Daesh-held areas east of the Euphrates. 6,000 Iraqi families escaped these areas. 3,370 Daesh fighters, mostly of Iraqi nationality, were arrested while fleeing the area among civilian refugees. [SyriaHR]

 

The SDF freed 150 civilians, including 3 Yazidi women from Sinjar, in its recent operations, media sources say. [Hawar]

A source within the SDF said that as of Wednesday evening, SDF forces had freed “hundreds of civilians, including female Yazidis,” within the prior 24 hours. They fled to areas controlled by the SDF. [BasNews]​​ 

 

The SOHR says that Daesh​​ murdered​​ at least 14 people between December 29, 2018 and January 30, 2019, despite its collapse and decrease of its areas of control. It executed 7 Syrian civilians and 7 others from Tahrir Al-Sham, the SDF, and other combatant groups. This brings the total number of persons executed by Daesh within the 55 months of its rule to 6,209. [SyriaHR]

 

South​​ 

No report

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Yemen

UN Secretary-General António Guterres appointed General Michael Anker Lollesgaard of Denmark as head of the United Nations Mission in Support of​​ the​​ Hodeida Agreement (UNMHA) on Thursday, succeeding General Patrick Cammaert of the Netherlands.​​ The Secretary-General’s spokesman​​ Stéphane Dujarric thanked Cammaert for his service and noted that Cammaert had only been contracted for 1 month in the position. [Anadolu] [UN]

 

North Africa

Libya

Security personnel arrested a Daesh leader, “Khalifa Al-Barq,” in Sirte on Wednesday. “Al-Barq” was said to have been one of the leaders of Ansar Al-Sharia in Libya and a participant in its fighting against the Libyan Armed Forces. [AfriGate]

 

The foundation for demining and removing war detritus said on Thursday that it had removed an unexploded mortar shell from the Busnaib neighborhood of Benghazi. [AfriGate]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

UNITED STATES/EUROPE

President Trump threatened European countries with “serious consequences” if they dealt with Iran in violation of US sanctions. The US Embassy in Germany said on Thursday that it was seeking more details on a proposed European method to facilitate trade with Iran without using USD, but did not expect that to change Washington’s strategy of “maximum economic pressure.” [BasNews]

 

AFRICA

Nigeria

Daesh said on Thursday its Boko Haram affiliate​​ killed fifteen Nigerian soldiers, captured two, and wounded others in an attack on another​​ military post in Borno State. [ICDNJan31-Telegram]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said on Thursday that the Afghan peace process had made progress on 2 levels: combating terrorism and the withdrawal of US troops from the country. However, he warned on Twitter that “The path to peace doesn’t often run in a straight line,” saying that negotiations would have to continue on those and other issues. [Anadolu] [Twitter]

 

President Ashraf Ghani said on Wednesday that the Afghan government had “the key” for peace and reconciliation. He also said that the government sought negotiations with the Taliban without preconditions, but that the reconciliation process itself would have conditions. [Khaama]

 

The provincial government office for Nangarhar, eastern Afghanistan, said on Wednesday that 19 Taliban fighters and 1 fighter from Daesh’s Khorasan affiliate (ISIS-K) had renounced violence and handed over light arms and heavy weapons. [Khaama]

 

SOUTH AMERICA

Venezuela

On Thursday, the European Parliament recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate President of Venezuela, calling on the EU countries to back him and saying that Guaido is going to demonstrate his plan to rescue the country socially and economically. [Rudaw]

 

 

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