March 5, 2019
IED Explosion in Shura (DD March 5)
Unilateral expansion of PMF powers raises issues in Baghdad. [..]
Embattled Ninewa Governor attributes migration back to Kurdistan to reconstruction delays. [..]
KRG’s Yazidi Affairs office issues staggering numbers on displaced Yazidis. [..]
Russia’s Lavrov announces comprehensive agreement with Saudis about Syria. [..]
SDF now holding over 2,000 Daesh fighters. [..]
Mass grave found near Al-Rukban refugee camp on Jordan border. [..]
Mass exit of Daesh fighters & family members continues from Al-Baghouz. [..]
Great Britain: Police find IEDs at three major London transportation hubs. [..]
Pakistan: Pakistan launches crackdown on banned militant groups. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
The recent activities of the PMF organization are raising concerns among Iraqis, especially after formation of a PMF marine force in Basra. A recent PMF crackdown on cocaine dealers and other drugs is raising questions about the powers of the PMF and its assumption of duties that are supposed to be carried out by the MoI and the police. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. There is a big and continuing story here. The Al-Abadi policy was to move toward unity of command and eliminate the PMF tendencies to act as a separate military entity. Since the last election, there is no apparent progress toward this and considerable regression. Nobody seems anxious to talk about it, but stories like this one keep showing up. Who is really in charge of the PMF organization. Apparently it’s not the Prime Minister.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) expressed concern about the possibility of torture for Daesh prisoners transferred from Syria to Iraq. It wrote that the SDF handed over 280 Daesh prisoners to Iraq last week, mostly Iraqis, but also including 13 French nationals. HRW also called on all countries to repatriate their Daesh nationals and try them in their home countries. [Sumaria] [Baghdadia] [HRW]
The US Treasury Department said on Tuesday that it added the Iraqi Al-Nujaba’ Movement (Harakat Hezbollah Al-Nujaba) to its list of terrorist organizations. Congress classified Al-Nujaba’ as a terrorist organization last November in a draft bill. The bill called for banning it and individuals associated with it for a period not extending beyond 90 days. This is part of the US attempt to block Iranian military activities in the Middle East. The law was submitted to the US Senate for a decision. A research report published by Congress said that Al-Nujaba’ receives training and financial support from the Iran Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, and that the Lebanese Hezbollah also trains and advises Al-Nujaba’. [Rudaw]
The Chairman of the Security Committee of the Anbar Provincial Council, Na’im Al-Ka’oud, said on Tuesday that Daesh was trying to disguise its movements in the western Anbar desert by pretending to be nomadic shepherds. Al-Ka’oud said Daesh members are using shepherds’ clothing and imitating their movements, and called on security services to check all locations where nomads and shepherds were located to ensure their safety. [BasNews]
Hadi Rzayej, the Anbar Police Chief, announced that police arrested 2 terrorism suspects in Al-Hassi, south of Falluja. [Sumaria]
Anah (including Rawa)
A DaeshDaily source said on Tuesday that tribal PMF fighters killed 3 Daesh terrorists hiding in a tunnel in the desert near Rawa, with hand grenades. The source says the PMFs found satellite mobile phones in the tunnel. The source sent us photos of the terrorists.
A security source in Anbar said that 4 women were arrested in Al-Qa’im on charges of Daesh affiliation. The source said that the women were smuggled by armed men from Syria to Iraq. [BasNews]
The IFP said on Tuesday that units from their 5th Division had found 4 IEDs and a sheet containing C4 during a search operation in the Albu Mohammed Hills in Daquq. [Baghdadia]
Nawfal Al-‘Akoub, the Ninewa Governor, said there was a “reverse immigration” from Ninewa to the Kurdistan Region, due to delays in reconstruction and the lack of services. He said the province needs $42 billion for reconstruction. He also demanded the arrest of the former governor Atheel Al-Nujaifi for his role in the city’s fall to Daesh in 2014. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. Al-‘Akoub’s demand for Atheel Al-Nujaifi’s arrest comes a day after Atheel’s brother, Osama Al-Nujaifi, found “serious” financial violations in Mosul under Al-‘Akoub, and asked the PM to suspend him from his post as Ninewa Governor.
A DaeshDaily source said on Tuesday that a worker was killed and another severely wounded when an IED exploded on a vehicle carrying daily laborers near Shura. The source says local police units arrested several young men accused of planting the IED.
A DaeshDaily source said on Tuesday that PMF units killed 2 Daesh foreign terrorists of Iraqi origin, after capturing them in the Tal Safouk area on the Syria border.
The KRG Directorate for Yazidi Affairs, under the KRG Ministry of Endowments, said that out of about 550,000 Yazidis in Iraq prior to the rise of Daesh, about 360,000 had been displaced from their homes. 1,293 were killed in the first few days of the Daesh attack. 6,417 were kidnapped including 3,548 women. 68 religious shrines were destroyed by Daesh. 71 mass graves have been found and documented by the Directorate for Yazidi Affairs so far. About 100,000 Yazidis are estimated to have emigrated abroad. The Directorate noted that these figures had been seen and approved by the UN. [Anadolu] [Baghdadia]
A Kurdish political source said that the 2 main Kurdish parties, the KDP and the PUK, agreed to nominate Rizgar Ali, a leading figure in the PUK, for the post of Governor of Kirkuk. The PUK will still nominate the Speaker of Parliament for the KRG. [Sumaria]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, says that Russia and Saudi Arabia have reached an understanding regarding Syria. He said that the understanding was comprehensive, concerning all related political issues, without going into details. Sputnik said that Lavrov also met with Syrian opposition figure Nasser Al-Hariri while he was in Saudi Arabia. [ElDorar]
A Syrian source said that Bashar Al-Assad’s recent visit to Iran had borne positive results. The main result was an Iranian commitment to keep supplying Syria with oil derivatives via Iraq. The land route through Iraq is the safest route for such materials to reach Syria. [Sumaria]
An Iraqi source said on Tuesday that 6 of the “most prominent” Daesh leaders still in Al-Baghouz had broken their allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. The source said that these 6 leaders included an Iraqi and a Libyan, and that they had called for continued fighting against the SDF. [Buratha]
The Wall Street Journal wrote that the SDF was holding more that 2,000 suspected Daesh fighters, according to US defense officials, which it said was “at least double previous estimates.” US officials said that the SDF had been estimated to hold about 800 foreign Daesh fighters from over 50 countries as of last fall, and that number had increased by “hundreds” over the past 2 weeks. Additionally, they said there was another group of at least 1,000 suspected Daesh fighters from Iraq and Syria who were being held by the SDF, an estimate not previously disclosed. [WSJ]
The spokeswoman for the German Interior Ministry said on Tuesday that it had arrived at a final decision regarding its Daesh-affiliated citizens in Syria. Reuters said that Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), agreed on 3 conditions to withdraw citizenship from German citizens who had fought in the ranks of Daesh: they must have a second citizenship, be adults, and fight alongside Daesh after the new rules are in effect. [ElDorar] [Reuters]
Mark Taylor, a Daesh member from New Zealand known as the “Kiwi Jihadi,” has been captured in Syria. Taylor was previously known for an incident in which he made a Daesh location public by making a geotagged post on Twitter. He claimed that he had not been a fighter, but had only worked for Daesh as a “guard” on the border between Daesh and Syrian government-held territory. Taylor said he regretted not having been able to afford a Yazidi sex slave, and that he married 2 Syrian women instead, but that neither marriage worked out. He said he expected to be able to return to New Zealand, but that he knew that might mean spending “a couple of years” in jail. [AP]
DaeshDaily comment. So, every foreign terrorist was given a “civilian” job with Daesh? Is that how Daesh worked? Releasing these terrorists after 2 or 3 years in prison is an insult to every drop of innocent blood that was shed in Iraq and Syria.
The wife of French Daesh fighter Jean-Michel Clain told Agence France Press (AFP) on Tuesday that her husband had been killed last month by a mortar in Al-Baghouz, after a drone strike previously killed Fabien Clain, her brother-in-law. Fabien Clain had claimed responsibility for the November 2015 Paris attacks. [AFP]
A US judge rejected a request by Hoda Muthana’s lawyer for her case to be “fast-tracked.” Muthana’s lawyer claimed that she was suffering as long as she remained in the Al-Hawl refugee and IDP camp; the US Justice Department said that there was no evidence that she was in “imminent danger.” Hoda Muthana, the “Daesh bride” who was born in the US, is currently the subject of a legal issue over whether she is a US citizen. [Sumaria]
An IED explosion on Tuesday evening in Afrin injured 3 members of the pro-Turkey Sultan Murad militia, according to initial reports. [Hawar]
A local network said that a motorcycle bomb explosion in Al-Bab wounded 8 civilians on Tuesday. [ElDorar]
Kurdish sources for what seems to be the same story said that Kurdish “resistance fighters” carried out a motorcycle bomb attack in Al-Bab that left 5 pro-Turkey militia fighters killed and 9 wounded. [Hawar]
Raqqa city & district
The SOHR says that the SDF arrested a Daesh suicide attacker who was putting on an explosives belt. The attacker was trying to target a burial procession in Raqqa. [SyriaHR]
Central and West
Al-Arabiya reported that Turkish military positions were on “high alert” after the Syrian Army shelled a Turkish observation point in Idlib, at which Turkish troops are stationed. [AlMashhadAlAraby]
A local network reported that a Daesh cell attacked a Tahrir Al-Sham security force near the Shuaib Mosque in western Idlib city. 1 attacker was killed, while another was chased before detonating himself. [ElDorar]
The SOHR reported that a land mine explosion in Deir Hafer, east of Aleppo, killed 5 people. [SyriaHR]
A Daesh land mine killed 5 civilians and wounded 1, all from the same family, while the family was searching for mushrooms in Khanasir, southeast of Aleppo. [EnabBaladi]
The pro-government newspaper Al-Watan reported on Tuesday that the Syrian Air Force had targeted Daesh movements in the desert outside of Sukhnah. [Reuters]
The Russian MoD says a mass grave with over 300 bodies was found near the Al-Rukban camp on the Syria-Jordan border. It described the situation in the camp itself as “miserable.” [SyriaNow]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Albu Kamal District
Hundreds more people left Al-Baghouz on Monday, including Daesh fighters. An SDF media official said that over 1,000 people left on Monday through a “safe passage,” including “a number of” Daesh fighters. Over 20 trucks carrying people were seen leaving the Daesh-held territory. [AP]
A source within the SDF told Bas News that about 2,000 Daesh members surrendered on Tuesday evening in Al-Baghouz, after a safe corridor was opened up for them on the north side of the city. The source said that the former fighters would transfer to an SDF-controlled site on 10 buses. About 200 of them are foreign. [BasNews]
The SOHR said that over 2,200 persons left Al-Baghouz on Tuesday, including 260 Daesh fighters. The SOHR said that the fighting and shelling of the area, as well as Coalition flights over the area, are ongoing. The SOHR said that this brings the total number of people to have left the area in March to 16,550, including 1,970 Daesh fighters. [SyriaHR]
DaeshDaily comment. It is worth remembering that Al-Baghouz is a small town. Not many of those leaving are local residents; most were probably were forced out of their homes elsewhere by the fighting and accompanied Daesh in its retreats. This is another way of saying that they are largely Daesh families.
The SOHR reported that 3 people were injured in Khirbet Ghazaleh, in eastern Daraa on the Damascus-Amman main road, by a land mine explosion caused by grazing livestock. [SyriaHR]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
Tunisian security services said their units had arrested a “dangerous” terrorist, Osama Al-Tayeb, in the city of Sousse on Tuesday. [Tunisien]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
Counter-terror police are investigating 3 packages containing explosives found at Heathrow Airport, London City Airport and Waterloo station.
the Metropolitan Police said the “small improvised explosive devices” were found in A4 postal bags.
The force’s Counter Terrorism Command is treating it as a “linked series” and “keeping an open mind” about motives. Irish police are assisting the Met as the Heathrow and Waterloo packages had Republic of Ireland stamps. Heathrow’s Compass Centre was evacuated after a package was reported to police at about 09:55 GMT. The device caught fire when staff opened the bag. A second explosive was found in the post room at Waterloo station with the same “Love & Wedding” stamps.
Scotland Yard said: “The packages – all A4-sized white postal bags containing yellow Jiffy bags – have been assessed by specialist officers to be small improvised explosive devices.
“These devices, at this early stage of the investigation, appear capable of igniting an initially small fire when opened.”
A Heathrow spokeswoman said the airport would support the police investigation into the “criminal act”.
Ireland’s postal service identified the stamps as its “Love & Wedding” design for greeting cards, wedding invitations and thank-you cards.
The Compass Centre, which is an office for Heathrow staff rather than part of the passenger terminals, remains closed. [BBC]
US National Security Advisor John Bolton said that there was “no blind trust” in the Taliban among the Trump administration as negotiations go forward. Bolton added that it would be important to keep a counter-terrorism presence in Afghanistan, and said that consideration was a “very important point” in the negotiations. Bolton was speaking to CNN. [Khaama]
Pakistan said on Tuesday that it had launched a crackdown on banned militant groups, and that it had arrested 44 members of banned groups. These included members of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the group that claimed responsibility for a February 14 attack that killed at least 40 people. [Ghad]
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