January 9, 2019
Daesh Members Captured by the SDF Near Albu Kamal (Jan 6)
Terrorism expert warns of re-emerging Daesh insurgency in Iraq. [..]
Abu Ul-Madhi demands that Kurds stop flying the KRG flag in Kirkuk. [..]
Pompeo drops in on Baghdad, Erbil; pledges US partnership, reconstruction support. [..]
Daesh kills 12 IFP, PMF soldiers in 6 Hawija/Daquq attacks. [..]
Mass grave south of Mosul holds 38 Daesh victims—all women. [..]
Erdogan so angry with Bolton over Kurdish issue he won’t talk to him. [..]
Bolton tells Turks US is NOT planning to leave Al-Tanaf base. [..]
Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister optimistic about deal with Kurds. [..]
British journal says Saudi, UAE, Egyptian, Israeli rapprochement with Assad is directed at Turkey. [..]
SDF and Coalition planes, artillery continue assault on Daesh near Iraq border. [..]
Iraqi airstrike kills Daesh commanders in the Albu Kamal area. [..]
Iran: Iran acknowledges July arrest of US Navy veteran. [..]
Iran in talks with Taliban. Khalilzad conferring with other countries in region. [..]
Taliban murders journalist in western Afghanistan. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
A study by Michael Knights, published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, said that Daesh was re-embracing insurgent tactics in northern Iraq, and noted that Kirkuk saw more attacks in 2018 than any other province. Knights wrote that Daesh could still make a comeback in Diyala, southern Ninewa, and Kirkuk. He also noted that Daesh’s current areas of operations in Iraq were poor rural areas, and expected that Daesh would place more emphasis on extortion or “taxing” rural trade to make money. [BaghdadToday] [CTC]
DaeshDaily comment: This is a right-on explanation by a well-established expert on Kirkuk and on Iraq generally. All policy prescriptions based on the false premise that Daesh has been defeated, Trump’s Syria withdrawal decision being a recent example, are dangerous.
Sumaria said that an unnamed Gulf paper reported that armed tribal groups were committing arbitrary arrests and violating personal freedoms, including the way citizens dress. Such groups were also alleged to be interfering in reconstruction efforts and government appointments. Such actions were reported in Mosul, Qayara, Baaj, Rabi’a, Shirqat, Tikrit, Hit, Haditha, Al-Qa’im, and Ramadi. [Sumaria]
Prime Minister Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi says that raising the Kurdish flag in Kirkuk is a constitutional violation, as Kirkuk is a disputed area and not identified by the constitution as being within the Kurdistan Region. His office says he made several telephone calls with concerned politicians regarding the issue. [BasNews]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced stop in Iraq on Wednesday as part of his Middle East tour, intended to reassure US partners regarding Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. Pompeo visited Baghdad and Erbil, meeting with PM Abd Ul-Mahdi and President Barham Salih. [GMA] [WSJ] [WaPo]
In his meeting with President Barham Salih, Pompeo says that the US is ready to contribute in the reconstruction of Iraq, and is keen to have special relations with Iraq in all fields. He called Iraq a strategic partner of the US. [Anadolu] [WSJ] [WaPo]
Also see story below under Kurdistan
Abd Ul-Mahdi met with John Lorimer, UK Senior Defense Advisor for the Middle East. Abd Ul-Mahdi said that Iraq needs to develop the capabilities of its armed forces, while Lorimer says his country is ready to meet the Iraqi armed forces’ needs. Bilateral relations, especially in the fields of defense and counter–terrorism, were also discussed. [Sumaria]
The Jordanian Ministry of Finance demanded that Iraq pay what it claimed was $1 billion in debt, while the Iraqi CoR Finance Committee demanded that Jordan release frozen Iraqi assets. Media sources say there are many outstanding financial files between the two countries. [Sumaria]
Baghdad Ops Command said on Wednesday that 4 wanted persons, including 1 wanted on terrorism charges, had been arrested in different areas of Baghdad. [Ghad]
General Yahya Rasul, spokesman of the Security Media Center, announced on Wednesday that Iraqi military units captured 4 terrorists in Albu Farraj and Albu Dhiab in Ramadi, and Al-Ankur in Hit. Units under Anbar Ops Command defused 27 IEDs in the Humaira area south of Ramadi, 62 in Albu Khalid in southern Falluja, and 42 in Al-Jaffa in Anah. It found 12 82 mm shells in the Albu Salih area in Hit. East Anbar Ops Command destroyed 8 IEDs in Albu Taiha, 13 IEDs in Shiha, and 1 IED in Hayakel. [Dijlah]
A DaeshDaily source said on Monday that Daesh kidnapped 3 tribal PMF members near the Makhoul Mountains.
A DaeshDaily source said that 3 PMF soldiers were killed on Sunday when their vehicle was destroyed by an IED on the road between Baiji and Haditha.
A DaeshDaily source said that on Monday, Daesh murdered 3 tribal PMF soldiers it had captured near Siniya 2 days earlier. The source said that Daesh had demanded that the PMF release a captured Daesh commander in exchange for releasing the fighters, but the PMF Commander for the area refused the deal.
Daesh had previously published photos on Tuesday of murdering the three tribal PMF fighters after capturing them. [ICDNJan8]
Daesh executed 3 kidnapped people from the Shammar tribe and released 5 people. Pro-Daesh accounts on social media on Wednesday shared pictures of the executions. The content indicated that the 8 individuals had been kidnapped from the Siniya area. [Shafaaq]
Daesh said it killed a tribal PMF soldier with machine guns on Tuesday north of Baiji city. [ICDNJan9]
Daesh said it killed or wounded fifteen Iraqi forces members, including two officers, on Tuesday when it set off a parked car bomb near the northern entrance of Tikrit city. [A3maq]
The Security Media Center had previously said on Tuesday that the Al-Aqwas checkpoint in Tikrit detected a car bomb trying to enter the city, which forced the attacker to detonate it prematurely, killing 2 persons and wounding 6 others. Earlier news reports said there were 3 killed and 10 wounded. [Sumaria] [Sumaria]
Northern Diyala (Khanaqin)
Daesh said on Wednesday it damaged an IFP vehicle with an IED in the Qulay area, Khanaqin. [ICDNJan9]
The Security Media Center said on Wednesday that detachments under the General Directorate of Intelligence and Security arrested a Daesh terrorist group in Kirkuk Province, after conducting a search across various parts of the province. [Ghad] [Buratha] [Dijlah]
A DaeshDaily source said that 3 civilians were wounded on Tuesday when an IED damaged their vehicle near the checkpoint at Hawija’s southern entrance. The source said that the men were traders delivering foodstuffs to IFP units. The source said the IFP arrested 4 tribal PMF members from the checkpoint after accusing them of helping Daesh plant the IED.
A DaeshDaily source said that Daesh terrorists on motorcycles blew up 4 electricity towers on Monday near Barima village, east of Hawija city.
Daesh said it killed two tribal PMF soldiers and wounded another on Monday when it set of an IED on their patrol near Kubaiba village, in the Hawija area. [ICDNJan9]
A DaeshDaily source said that 2 men were killed on Friday when Daesh shot at their civilian vehicle near Al-Sada village, in Abbasi subdistrict. The source said the men were Daesh members who became informants for the PMFs after the liberation of Hawija.
Daesh said it damaged on Monday an IFP vehicle with an IED near Al-Mistah village, in Abbasi subdistrict in western Hawija. [A3maq]
Daesh said it targeted the Shia village of Maadan, in the Saadiya area, Hawija, on Monday with 7 82mm mortar shells. [ICDNJan9]
A DaeshDaily source said that a tribal PMF member was killed and two others wounded when a roadside IED exploded on their vehicle near Ranji village, in Al-Zab subdistrict. The source said EOD units defused 3 more IEDs in the same area.
A DaeshDaily source said that three PMF members were killed on Saturday in a Daesh ambush near Al-Tarqiya village.
A DaeshDaily source said that PMFs ambushed and killed 8 Daesh terrorists, including foreigners, on Tuesday near Al-Tarqiya village.
A DaeshDaily source said that 3 IFP soldiers were killed on Sunday when Daesh attacked their military position near Al-Sadouniya village. The source said 2 Daesh terrorists were also killed in the attack. The source said the terrorists set a military position on fire and stole a pickup vehicle and a heavy machine gun.
A DaeshDaily source said that Daesh kidnapped 2 tribal PMF members on Monday at a fake checkpoint between Riyadh and Rashad. The source said the terrorists demanded 120 million Iraqi dinars as a ransom.
Southwest (Daquq, Rashad)
A DaeshDaily source said that an IFP soldier was killed and 2 others wounded on Friday when their vehicle was destroyed by a roadside IED near Rashad.
The same source said that 2 more IFP soldiers were killed and a captain wounded on Sunday when an IED exploded on them south of Rashad.
Security forces in Mosul found a mass grave containing 38 bodies, all women, in Shura subdistrict. The women were killed by Daesh during their control of the area. [BasNews]
Daesh said on Wednesday it killed or wounded tribal PMF soldiers and destroyed their vehicle with an IED near Hajco intersection, in the Baaj area. [ICDNJan9]
Abu Turab Al-Timimi, a commander in the PMF, says that armed men fired at his house in Basra. He says that the attackers were in 2 armored Land Cruisers without license plates. [Sumaria]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Masoud Barzani in Erbil, coming from Baghdad. Political and regional developments were discussed. He later met Nechirvan Barzani, the Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister. [Anadolu]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to meet US National Security Advisor John Bolton in protest of his statements demanding that Turkey agree not to attack the US’ Syrian Kurdish allies, and even criticized him on national television. [NYT]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
John Bolton also told Turkish officials that the US is not contemplating withdrawing from Al-Tanaf base in southeast Syria. [ElDorar]
DaeshDaily comment. Previous reporting, though not Bolton himself, had indicated the opposite. Everything considered, Bolton’s diplomatic mission to Ankara did not get a diplomatic response, but this should not surprise anyone familiar with Erdogan’s bullying tactics. Bolton’s offense is that he stood up to him.
Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad says his government “activated” contacts with the Kurds in Syria, saying he is optimistic about a possible agreement and a means to confront potential Turkish aggression toward Syria. [Hawar]
Several tribal sheikhs and academic figures from Syria’s opposition Salvation Government held meetings in Maarat Al-Numan in southern Idlib to reach a ceasefire and stop ongoing battles. An initial 15-day truce was proposed. [Qasioun]
The British publication Middle East Eye reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia, Israel, the UAE, and Egypt “hatched a plan” to rehabilitate Al-Assad and undermine Turkey. The publication said that the plot was developed last month in secret attended by intelligence officials including Yossi Cohen, the head of Mossad. The officials all agreed that Turkey, not Iran, was the main adversary in the region. [ElDorar] [MEE]
On Wednesday, Hawar reported that at noon Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) targeted Nour Al-Din Al-Zenki positions in Deir Ballout, Diwan Fuqani, Diwan Tahtani, Qila, and Jalma villages near Jinderes in Afrin, injuring civilians. [Hawar]
DaeshDaily comment. The spread of the HTS Idlib campaign into Turkey-held Afrin has gone without much notice, but is a direct attack on Turkey’s occupation there, enforced mainly by Turkey-allied militias. The HTS has in a way made itself an ally, at least temporarily, of the YPG.
Raqqa city & district
Daesh said it set on fire a vehicle that belonged to an SDF “spy” on Tuesday in Al-Firdous neighborhood in Raqqa city. [A3maq]
Daesh said it set an SDF vehicle on fire Tuesday in Al-Haws village, in Al-Karama subdistrict. [A3maq]
Central and West
On Wednesday, El-Dorar reported that military observers said the Fifth Assault Corps militias, affiliated with the Russian military base Khmeimim, brought “massive” reinforcements to Mushairifa village in southeast Idlib. Observers reported that the reinforcements included 250 troops, 15 vehicles with 57 mm guns, 30 pickup trucks carrying various machine guns and anti-aircraft guns, 10 vehicles carrying 37 mm guns, and several vehicles carrying fuel tanks. They noted that the reinforcements arrived as Russian forces evacuated their positions in Hama. [ElDorar]
Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) regained control over the strategic Seretel Hill west of Aleppo, after losing it for several hours to the Turkey-backed National Front militias. [ElDorar]
Syrian opposition sources say a bomb exploded inside a civilian car in Idlib, killing 1 person and wounding another. [Qasioun]
The Syrian Army says it thwarted an attempt by an unnamed opposition group that tried to approach the Army’s positions, coming from Lataminah town, north of Hama city. The Army said it used artillery to thwart the infiltration. [SyriaNow]
The SOHR says a Daesh land mine killed 1 and wounded 5 in Al-Sa’an, northeast of Hama. [SyriaHR]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Deir Ez-Zor District
Daesh said it wounded SDF members and destroyed their armored vehicle with an IED on Monday in Teeb Al-Fal village, in Al-Busayrah subdistrict. [ICNDJan9]
Daesh said it killed or wounded five SDF members after attacking their vehicle with machine guns on Tuesday in Al-Shuhail. [ICDNJan9]
Daesh said it killed or wounded three SDF soldiers in an ambush on Tuesday on the road between Al-Omar oilfield and Attal village in Deir Ez-Zor District. [ICDNJan9]
Albu Kamal District
The SOHR reported continued fighting in Al-Susah and Upper Al-Baghouz between Daesh and the SDF, with sporadic attacks by Coalition planes on Daesh positions. 15 missiles were also fired at Daesh positions from the Al-Omar oilfield base. [SyriaHR]
A DaeshDaily source said on Wednesday that an Iraqi airstrike on the Albu Kamal area killed 10 Daesh commanders and many other terrorists.
Kurdish media sources say that the SDF captured large quantities of weapons from Daesh in Al-Sha’afa. [Hawar]
The SOHR says that most escapees from Daesh-held areas in eastern Deir Ez-Zor are carrying large amounts of money, mainly in US dollars. It says that amounts from $100,000 to $500,000 were carried by them, while some Iraqi escapees were carrying $300,000. [SyriaHR]
DaeshDaily comment. Aside from the probability that this story is exaggerated, it raises the question of whether some of these “escapees” are Daesh members trying to get out of town with Daesh money.
The SDF says it arrested 8 foreign Daesh fighters in Deir Ez-Zor, who it says were planning to attack civilians. The arrestees were from the US, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Germany. Hawar published photos of the terrorists. [Hawar] [BasNews]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
Representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Bahram Qasimi, stated on his Telegram account that Iran had detained a US Navy veteran, Michael White. He was arrested in July 2018 when he visited his fiancée. Iran says that the US knew of the arrest and denies any abusive treatment of White. [Rudaw] [BBC]
Saudi Arabia says its security personnel engaged a terrorist group in Jash city in Qatif, eastern Saudi Arabia, killing 6 of them. 7 armed men were holed up in a house, which was then surrounded by security personnel. 5 security personnel were wounded in the encounter. [Anadolu]
Daesh issued on Wednesday a photo of one of its terrorists, who it says was killed in Yemen. [ICDNJan9]
Daesh said on Wednesday it killed or wounded Egyptian Army soldiers and damaged their M113 armored vehicle with an IED between the Al-Ubaidat and Al-Mashwi security barriers, southwest of Sheikh Zuweid. [ICDNJan9]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
Medical sources in Sudan announced that 2 demonstrators in Omdurman had died due to gunshot wounds. Amnesty International reported that 37 people have been “shot dead” by government forces within the first 5 days of the protest. [Anadolu] [Aljazeera] [Amnesty]
Iran says it started talks with the Taliban last week about Afghanistan. Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister, says that the Taliban has a role to play in Afghanistan’s future, but not necessarily the dominant role. He also praised the positive role of Pakistan in the area. [Anadolu]
US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, embarked on a new trip to India, China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to discuss an “intra-Afghan political settlement,” according to a statement from the State Department. The visits will last from January 8 to 21. [Khaama]
DaeshDaily comment. How unusual it is that US and Iranian diplomats are working on the same side.
Various Afghan and international coalition operations throughout Afghanistan killed at least 30 members of the Taliban and Daesh’s Khurasan affiliate (ISIS-K) over the last 24 hours. [Khaama]
A journalist, Javid Noori, was reportedly singled out for murder by the Taliban in Farah Province, western Afghanistan. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the killing. [Khaama]
Daesh said it killed one Afghan Army member, wounded two others, and destroyed their SUV with an IED on Tuesday in the Khewa area, in Nangarhar. [ICDNJan9]
The Australian police say that 9 embassies in Australia received suspicious parcels. This is being investigated by the police. The UK, Swiss, German, and Indian embassies are among the nine who received such parcels. [Sumaria]
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