March 4, 2019
Al-Baghouz (DMC News Mar 4)
Anbar PC flags growing threat from Daesh fighters hiding in the northern desert. [..]
Airstrikes take a toll on Daesh fighters in the Hit desert. [..]
Hamdaniya’s Water directorate restores service to 22 villages, after 4 years. [..]
Ninewa commission recommends suspending Governor Al-Akoub over corruption. [..]
PMFs stop Daesh attack on Hatra. [..]
Turks arrest 24 suspected Daesh foreign nationals in northern Turkey. [..]
Arab countries back off from restoring ties to Syria after US objects. [..]
SDF frees 307 Daesh prisoners from Raqqa jails. [..]
Lone Daesh suicide gunman attacks SDF HQ in eastern Raqqa, kills several. [..]
Tahrir Al-Sham executes 10 Daesh in Idlib, in retaliation for restaurant bombing. [..]
Syrian Army loses at least 21 men in jihadi attack in northern Hama. [..]
6 in Syrian forces killed by Tahrir Al-Sham attack in northern Latakia. [..]
Daesh diehards trying to hold out in Al-Baghouz as more surrender. [..]
Fierce Daesh resistance slows final SDF advance in Al-Baghouz. [..]
Afghanistan: Airstrikes kills 350 Taliban in one week. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
Dozens of university graduates and certificate holders demonstrated in front of the Prime Minister’s Office demanding appointments in government departments. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. This may seem an odd and minor incident, but it is a sign of a much bigger problem. As is well understood, Iraq ‘s economy is government-dominated, especially by the oil business, and the private sector is underdeveloped. Understandably, new college and high school graduates have been oriented toward government employment, where most of the jobs are.
Unfortunately, the rest of the story is a corruption story. Politicians have continued to support hiring of new graduates in order to buy political support; this was turned into a fine art by the two major political parties in the KRG. Young Iraqis have acquired a sense of entitlement about receiving a government “salary,” and the motive is not public service. The government has hired far more people than it needs, leaving many of them with little work to do. All of this has created a bloated, inefficient bureaucracy staffed by too many poorly motivated people, which undermines governance and aids corruption.
Unfortunately, Iraq’s financial condition is now such that it can no longer provide everyone a “salary,” though all the PMF jobs relieved some of the pressure. That small group of demonstrators represents the leading edge of a financial and political crisis.
The Chairman of the Sahwa Council, Sheikh Wisam Al-Hardan, said on Monday that the withdrawal of US troops from Anbar Province would result in reviving Daesh control over the province. He noted that the majority of Anbar citizens who have been exposed to Daesh activities prefer that US troops remain. Al-Hardan said that Anbar natives consider US forces as peacekeepers and protectors from threats, including armed Iraqi groups. Al-Hardan said that Anbar is “under political pressure” from “many states, including the US, Iran, Russia, and Saudi Arabia” all of whom want Anbar for themselves alone. He says that this causes conflict, and the province must protect its people from the threats. [BasNews]
Joint Operations Command announced on Monday that the activities of the International Coalition on the ground and the air were limited and conditional. The statement said that the Coalition did not execute any operations in Anbar. It also said that every operation was performed by Iraqi forces, some with air support from the Coalition. It said that relations with the Coalition continue in every field, including training, advising, logistics, and movements on the ground and air. [Sumaria]
The Karkh Criminal Court sentenced 2 Daesh convicts to death on charges of participating in an attack targeting pilgrims to a religious shrine in Balad, Salahuddin. [Sumaria]
Center (Rusafa, Karkh, etc.)
The Iraqi Bar Association turned into a brawl during a meeting of its general assembly to discuss the budget. Some lawyers protested that their candidacy for the Bar Association’s internal elections had been canceled under the 2003 de-Baathification law. This took place on the eve of the Bar Association elections. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. This is a reminder that many professional associations in Iraq are not independent organizations but are still linked to the government. The arrangement is an anachronistic control mechanism but has not been overcome.
North (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)
Daesh said on Saturday it killed Iraqi soldiers when it destroyed their SUV with an IED near the Ibn Sina military facility in the Meshahda area, in Tarmiya. [ICDNMar2-Telegram]
Daesh said on Sunday it killed two Iraqi soldiers and wounded two others when it set off an IED targeting their patrol near the entrance to Tarmiya. [ICDNMar3-Telegram]
The Anbar Provincial Council said on Sunday that there were “hundreds” of Daesh members in the area between the Syrian desert and Ninewa and Salahuddin. PC member Farhan Mohammed Al-Dulaimi said that Daesh continues to keep sleeper cells near the border with Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Jordan. He added that the central government needs to clear the “difficult” areas linking Anbar with Ninewa and Salahuddin, and that the presence of Daesh members in those areas had become a “major threat” to civilians. [Buratha]
DaeshDaily comment. From Anbar north to Ninewa is a long distance, across a large desert, starting from the Falluja and Al-Qa’im districts and all the places in between. “Clearing” has become almost a political objective but has only a time-limited military definition. The same areas have been “cleared” over and over. Iraq needs to control the desert, which means it needs to move its troops and its governance further into the desert. This requires a long-term strategy with wide geographic scope, not just another politically satisfying “clearing” operation.
The Security Media Center announced the start of a “wide-scale” military campaign in Anbar. The 1st Army Division will be spearheading the campaign, starting from Al-Suqur, southwest of Falluja city, and extending all the way to Al-Dhab’a village near Rutba city. [Sumaria]
The Security Committee of the Anbar Provincial Council refused in advance to host members of Daesh families returning from Syria to Iraq within the Province. This followed reports that Baghdad intended to place them in camps in “remote areas.” However, the Chairman of the Committee, Na’im Al-Ka’oud, said that there had been no request for the province to receive families of Daesh members, and there were no efforts underway to house them in the desert. [NRT]
Qatri Al-Samarmad, commander of the tribal PMF in Anbar, said Coalition planes killed 8 Daesh fighters in Al-Hajiya, south of Kubaisa in Hit. A Daesh shelter and a weapons depot were also destroyed in the strike. [BasNews]
In another version of the same story, on Monday, the Security Media Center said that Joint Ops Command and the International Coalition targeted a terrorist group in the Kubaisa desert. It said a strike succeeded in destroying the group. It also said that units from the 29th Infantry Brigade, from the 7th Infantry Division, immediately went out to Kubaisa Desert and discovered that 8 Daesh terrorists had been killed, and that a vehicle had been destroyed. It also found an explosives belt, explosive materials, and food provisions. [Sumaria]
The MoD said that Coalition and Iraqi planes attacked Daesh targets in the desert of Anbar, mainly in the Kubaisa and Wadi Horan (Horan Valley) areas. The attack caused a large number of casualties among Daesh fighters. [Rudaw]
A DaeshDaily source said on Monday that Coalition planes killed 3 Daesh terrorists and destroyed their vehicle in an airstrike near the Horan Valley area, west of Haditha. The source said the Coalition killed 3 more terrorists in an airstrike on a tunnel in the same area. The source said that Haditha tribal PMF fighters, who arrived at the area after the airstrikes, confirmed that 1 of the killed terrorists was Abu Junaid Al-Ubeidi, a senior Daesh military commander. The source sent us photos of the results of the airstrikes.
The Directorate of Military Intelligence said on Monday that detachments from its 7th Brigade arrested a child soldier recruitment official for Daesh in Hit. [Sumaria]
An Iraqi military source said that security measures on the Iraq-Syria border have been tightened, as fighting continues on the other side of the border. Iraqi troops are watching the battles closely from Al-Qa’im and Rummana. [BasNews]
A DaeshDaily source said on Monday that planes dropped leaflets on the desert near Rutba, warning shepherds to leave the area, saying it would be considered a military zone.
A DaeshDaily source said on Saturday that 2 AAH fighters were killed in a Daesh attack on their positions near the Makhoul Mountains. The source said Daesh terrorists stole weapons and military uniforms from these positions after the remaining AAH fighters fled.
The MoD said that airstrikes in the Jazeera Thirthar (desert) area of Samarra had killed 10 terrorists, including 2 suicide bombers, and destroyed their safehouses. [MoD Website]
Southern Salahuddin (Balad, Dujail)
Daesh said it killed the Badr Organization “education wing” commander on Thursday in an ambush in the Al-Sajla area, in Dujail District.
Daesh said it killed two IFP policemen with machine guns on Sunday in Farahatiya, Ishaqi subdistrict. [ICDNMar4-Telegram]
Daesh said it wounded a tribal PMF fighter with machine guns on Sunday in the Yathrib area. [ICDNMar4-Telegram]
Central Diyala (Muqdadiya)
Daesh said that it targeted Shi’i people in the Al-Askari neighborhood of Muqdadiya city with a Katyusha rocket on Saturday. [ICDNMar3-Telegram]
A security source said on Saturday that 4 Daesh members had been killed during a PMF operation in Al-Hajal village, Riyadh subdistrict. [Sumaria]
A DaeshDaily source said on Monday that 2 IFP policemen, including a captain, were killed when their pickup vehicle was destroyed by an IED on the road between Hawija and Al-Sada village.
A security source said that 20 “Austrian” bombs, a 70 kg bomb, and 7 “homemade” rockets were found in Mahmudiya village in eastern Hawija, ready for operation. They were all defused. [Sumaria]
A DaeshDaily source said on Saturday that 4 IFP policemen, including an officer, were killed when an IED exploded on their military vehicle near Rashad.
Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya)
A DaeshDaily source said on Saturday that the Hamdaniya Directorate of Water renovated water networks servicing 22 villages in the Hamdaniya area, for the first time in 4 years.
A DaeshDaily source said on Monday that PMF units captured a Daesh commander at a checkpoint on the road between Mosul and Erbil in Hamdaniya. The source said the terrorist was a former captain in Saddam’s Special Guard. He was carrying fake IDs and trying to flee from Erbil to Turkey.
Osama Al-Nujaifi, head of the fact–finding committee in Mosul, recommended that the Prime Minister suspend the powers of Ninewa Governor Nawfal Al-‘Akoub and ban him from traveling. Al-Nujaifi said that “serious” financial violations were found in Mosul under Al-‘Akoub, in addition to the waste of public funds through activities that were “not organized on a systematic or legal basis.” [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. Readers may recall that in early February, Al-‘Akoub was accused of being behind the assault on a civic activist after the activist documented the Daesh connections of some of Al-‘Akoub’s associates.
A DaeshDaily source said on Saturday that a group of armed men, in civilian clothes, shot at the houses of several Daesh members in the Al-Thawrah and Al-Mansour neighborhoods in west Mosul. The source said no casualties occurred.
Daesh published photos on Saturday of killing civilian men in their house in Al-Thaya village, Qayara. Daesh claimed the victims were “tribal PMF intelligence” members. [ICDNMar2-Telegram]
A DaeshDaily source said on Saturday that PMFs and tribal PMF units stopped a Daesh attack on Hatra. The terrorists were trying to infiltrate the city from the south. The source said 4 PMF fighters were wounded in the attack.
A DaeshDaily source said on Saturday that Coalition planes killed Falah Dhiab Al-Risha, a senior Daesh commander, in an airstrike on a tunnel near Al-Sakhri village, south of Hatra.
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
Military & security developments
Turkish security sources said that Turkish counter-terrorism personnel had arrested 24 foreign nationals suspected of belonging to Daesh—in Ilk Adam and Tekkekoy, in Samsun Province, northern Turkey. [Sumaria]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
Sputnik reported that on Monday, the European Union broadened sanctions against the Al-Assad regime and its leaders, to include 7 new ministers of the regime. They are Major General Mohammad Khaled Al-Rahmoun, the Interior Minister; Mohammad Rami Radwan Martini, the Tourism Minister; Education Minister Imad Mowaffak Al-Azab; Higher Education Minister Bassam Bashir Ibrahim; Public Works and Housing Minister Suhail Mohammad Abd Al-Latif; Communications and Technology Minister Iyad Mohammad Al-Khatib; and Industry Minister Mohammad Maen Zein-Al-Abidin Jazba. They were all appointed in November of last year. [ElDorar] [Arabiya]
The Washington Post said on Monday that Arab countries had backed off from normalization of relations with the Syrian government due to US pressure. President Trump expressed his anger at the UAE, following its resumption of diplomatic relations with Syria. [ElDorar] [WaPo]
The SOHR reported that the SDF had freed 24 Daesh prisoners in Raqqa, bringing the total number of Daesh fighters freed from imprisonment to 307 in the previous 24 hours. On Saturday, 283 Daesh prisoners were released from SDF prisons based on tribal mediation. Daesh prisoners were released in Raqqa, Hasaka, and Ain Eissa, among other places east of the Euphrates. [SyriaHR]
An American citizen, Bashirul Shikder, said that he feared his children were trapped in Al-Baghouz. Shikder’s wife left with their children to join Daesh. Although his wife was killed in an airstrike, his children are believed to be alive and in Al-Baghouz. [NYT]
Yago Riedijk, the Dutch husband of Shamima Begum, the Daesh wife from the UK, said that he and his wife should be able to live in the Netherlands. However, Riedijk is on a terrorist watch list in the Netherlands. He admitted to joining Daesh, but claimed to have since “rejected” it. [NYT]
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi
An Iraqi paper reported on Monday that Daesh set fire to 4 houses, one of which housed Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Baghdad Today quoted the source saying, “One of the houses in the center of Al-Baghouz was probably a hideout for Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, before he left the area several weeks ago. And it contains an archive of ‘great’ Daesh secrets.” Another source said on Saturday that Daesh had been confiscating the passports of its foreign fighters, especially the Europeans, in Al-Baghouz. The source said Daesh had dispersed large sums of US currency to its leadership, just prior to their leaving the area.
Meanwhile, the SDF announced that it had advanced one more kilometer on the last bastion of Daesh forces. [ElDorar]
The Sunday Times wrote that Daesh fighters are disappointed because Al-Baghdadi had disappeared in the desert instead of fighting alongside them in Al-Baghouz. The newspaper wrote that this was expressed by Daesh fighters who surrendered to the “YPG/PKK” (i.e., SDF) in Al-Baghouz. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. More Al-Baghdadi reports from people who have not actually seen him. What else is new?
Also see related stories below under Albu Kamal – Surrender.
Daesh said it killed an SDF EOD expert with a silenced gun on Sunday as he was working in the Markada area, south of Shaddadi. [ICDNMar4-Telegram]
Raqqa city & district
Daesh said it killed an SDF “spy” Monday midday when it targeted his vehicle with a hand grenade in Al-Sakura village, northwest of Raqqa city. [ICDNMar4-Telegram]
East Raqqa. (Al-Karama)
Several tribal leaders and SDF fighters were killed and wounded in an attack by a Daesh gunman on an SDF headquarters in Judaidat Khabur village, Al-Karama subdistrict. [BasNews]
Daesh’s version said that it killed seven tribe leaders and five SDF members Saturday morning when one of its terrorists attacked an SDF military headquarters in Judaidat Khabur village. Daesh said the terrorist was killed after fighting with supporting units that arrived in the area. Daesh threatened more attacks against tribal leaders and mukhtars. [ICDNMar2-Telegram]
Daesh said it killed two guards of the SDF office in Al-Haws village, in the Al-Karama area, with silenced guns on Saturday evening. [ICDNMar3-Telegram]
Daesh published on Monday photos of the victims. [ICDNMar4-Telegram]
West Raqqa (Tabaqa, etc.)
Daesh said it wounded two SDF members and damaged their SUV with an IED Monday midday in Tabaqa city. [ICDNMar4-Telegram]
North Raqqa (Ayn Eissa, Tal Abyad, etc.)
Daesh said on Saturday it killed or wounded four SDF members and damaged their SUV with an IED near Nus Tal village, east of Suluk. [ICDNMar2-Telegram]
Central and West
Media affiliated with Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) said on Sunday that HTS killed 10 Daesh members execution style on Saturday in front of the “Fusion” restaurant in Idlib. This followed and was in response to a suicide bombing at the restaurant on Friday, which killed 3 civilians. [Storyful]
The website Syria Net wrote that HTS was conducting a “wide-scale” arrest campaign in Idlib. Local sources said that the campaign was targeting “immigrants” (i.e., non-Syrian jihadis) and lone-wolf attackers who were not affiliated with larger jihadi organizations. 1 source said that the arrest campaign had targeted an independent group of Tunisian fighters, some of whom had defected to the “Hurras Al-Din” (Guardians of Religion) jihadi group for protection. [SawtBeirut]
The SOHR said that on Sunday morning, fighters from the Ansar Al-Tawhid militia group, who are loyal to the “Hurras Al-Din” (Guardians of Religion) Salafist jihadi group, attacked a Syrian Army position in Al-Mussanah, in rural northern Hama near southeast Idlib. It said that the attack killed 27 Syrian Army soldiers and pro-government militia fighters. The Syrian state-run media agency SANA confirmed that the attack had occurred. [ElFagr]
The SOHR said later that the attack had killed 21 Syrian Army troops and 5 of the Ansar Al-Tawhid attackers. The Syrian Army later claimed to have killed 32 of the attackers, and conceded only that “several” of its soldiers had been killed. A Syrian military source said that the group’s supply lines in Lataminah and Al-Zakah had been targeted by the Syrian Air Force in retaliation. [Ahram]
Another version reported the SOHR as saying that 33 Syrian Army troops and pro-government militia fighters had been killed in the attack. [AlKhaleej]
A senior Syrian military source told the Russian Sputnik that the Syrian Army soldiers stationed in the northern and northwestern Hama countryside had been put on a state of “maximum” alert, which it wrote was a sign of imminent military action against “Al-Qaeda” (i.e., HTS). The source said that the Army could not remain on the defensive against HTS indefinitely, and claimed that negotiations were ongoing with the Russians to discuss a response to HTS violating the “de-escalation zone” by carrying out attacks, including Sunday’s. [Sputnik]
Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) said that an Iranian officer and 4 Syrian soldiers were killed in an HTS attack on Syrian Army positions in northern Latakia. 2 Tahrir Al-Sham fighters were also killed. [EnabBaladi]
The SOHR said that at least 6 Syrian Army soldiers and allied fighters combined had been killed in the attack. [ElFagr]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Deir Ez-Zor District
Daesh said it killed five SDF fighters and stole their weapons Friday evening in an attack on a military position in Hawijat Al-Busayrah. Daesh said its fighters set the position on fire. [ICDNMar2-Telegram]
Daesh said on Saturday it killed thirteen SDF fighters and destroyed two vehicles when it set off a parked motorcycle bomb on an SDF convoy in Al-Busayrah town. [ICDNMar2-Telegram]
Daesh said on Saturday it shot and killed an SDF “spy” in Dernaj village. [ICDNMar2-Telegram]
Daesh said it killed two SDF members and wounded two others on Thursday when it attacked their vehicle in Al-Tayyana village. [ICDNMar2-Telegram]
Daesh said on Monday it killed an SDF member with a silenced gun in the Suwaidan area. [ICDNMar4-Telegram]
Daesh said on Monday it killed a Syrian government “operative” with machine guns in Abu Hardoub village, in Dhiban subdistrict. [ICDNMar4-Telegram]
Albu Kamal District
The AP wrote on Sunday that Daesh fighters were “desperately” fighting to hold on to their territory in Al-Baghouz, prompting a “fierce” Coalition bombing and Coalition or SDF mortar shelling. The SDF resumed their offensive against Daesh on Friday night after a pause to allow civilians to evacuate. An SDF commander said that Daesh was still employing tactics of making attacks intended to let them lay mines without trying to capture territory, then retreating. SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said that Coalition airstrikes had destroyed “several” Daesh car bombs during the previous 2 days of fighting. [AP] [AlKhaleej]
Reuters wrote on Sunday that Daesh was deploying car bombs and suicide attackers in a “last-ditch effort” against the SDF. The SDF had said earlier that it expected a “decisive battle” on Sunday, but Coalition spokesman Sean Ryan said the pace of the SDF advance had slowed. Ryan said that Daesh still held civilians and had planted IEDs throughout their underground tunnels. [Reuters] [Ghad]
The SOHR said that fighting in the farms of Al-Baghouz between Daesh and SDF is ongoing. The SOHR learned that 6 Daesh fighters of foreign nationalities surrendered to the SDF, amid slow progress due to the density of land mines. [SyriaHR]
The Guardian wrote that the Coalition destroyed a large Daesh ammunition depot in Al-Baghouz, causing a large explosion. It also said that the US implemented a 10-day truce to allow civilians to leave Al-Baghouz, which is encircled. The SDF is facing difficulties in advancing during the daytime, due to explosives belts and fierce resistance. [Sumaria] [Guardian]
The SOHR said on Monday that about 150 Daesh fighters had surrendered to the SDF, and that about 400 people had left the area in the last 2 days, since the start of the SDF offensive. [Sumaria]
Kurdish media says that over 200 Daesh fighters surrendered to the SDF after the opening of a safe route for them to exit Al-Baghouz. [Hawar]
Ghad published a video showing bedraggled and defeated Daesh fighters leaving Al-Baghouz. [Ghad]
An SDF source said on Monday that there was information indicating that more people in Al-Baghouz wanted to surrender, although the source said it was unclear if these people were civilians or Daesh fighters. [AlKhaleej]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
A Rotterdam court sentenced a woman of Kuwaiti origin to 30 months’ imprisonment for joining Daesh and planning a terrorist attack. [Sumaria]
Finnish police are chasing a former PMF member who stabbed 2 people, including his ex-wife, and injured his 3 children in Helsinki. The police said that the perpetrator is 34-year-old Haider Abd Al-Jabbar Al-Hamdawi. [BasNews]
Daesh said it wounded three policemen with an IED on Friday near the police station in the eastern part of Beledweyne city. [ICDNMar2-Telegram]
Daesh said on Monday it killed a Somali Army 1st lieutenant and stole his weapon in the Howlwadaag area of Beledweyne city. [ICDNMar4-Telegram]
On Saturday, at least 7 people were killed and 8 injured in an attack on the village of Sabon Sara, in the Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State, central-northwest Nigeria. Reports said the village was attacked by “unknown gunmen” or “hoodlums” who attempted to kidnap a landowner in the village. [VanguardNGR] [VanguardNGR]
Daesh said it killed ten Nigerian soldiers, wounded others, destroyed an SUV, and stole another SUV and weapons and ammunition on Thursday in attack with heavy and mid-sized weapons on a military position near Maiduguri. [ICDNMar2-Telegram]
The Afghan MoD said on Sunday that airstrikes carried out over the previous week, in total, had killed at least 350 Taliban fighters. [Khaama]
An Afghan security official says 10 security troops were killed, 7 wounded, and 7 Taliban fighters arrested in a Taliban attack on security checkpoints in Imam Sahib District, Kunduz Province, northern Afghanistan. [Anadolu]
The Afghan Military said on Monday that at least 6 Taliban fighters, including the 2 commanders Mawlavi Jalal and Mullah Jindullah, had been killed in fighting with security personnel in Faryab Province, northern Afghanistan. [Khaama]
The Afghan National Police said on Sunday that they had repulsed a Taliban attack on a checkpoint in Farah Province, western Afghanistan, killing “several” Taliban fighters in the process. [Khaama]
The Afghan MoI said that security personnel had shot and killed a terrorist who was trying to assassinate police officers in Herat Province, western Afghanistan. [Khaama]
On Sunday, Daesh published a photo of one of its terrorists, saying he was killed in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. [ICDNMar3-Telegram]
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