November 29, 2017
TODAY’S MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS
British Prime Minister Theresa May makes surprise visit to Baghdad. [..]
Masoum meets with top KRG leaders in diplomatic offensive. [..]
Daesh mass grave discovered in Hit. [..]
Daesh cells drawing police attention in Diyala. [..]
Multiple reports say US troops moving into Kirkuk military station. [..]
DaeshDaily source says Kata’eb Hezbollah freed senior Daesh official for money. [..]
Syria delegation at Geneva rejects extending conference past Dec. 1. [..]
Daesh Daily source says Albu Kamal shelling, bombing has killed over 100 people. [..]
Syrian forces bomb, shell opposition-held neighborhoods near Damascus. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
British PM Theresa May made a secret visit to Iraq on Wednesday. She is the first British official to visit Iraq since 2008. [Arabi21] Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi held an official reception and welcomed the UK Prime Minister, and he emphasized that the bilateral relationship between Iraq and the UK is seeing “clear developments.” [Sumaria] May commended the Iraqi forces and said the UK will continue to support Iraq’s rehabilitation and train Iraqi forces. She added that the UK has allocated an amount to support the Iraqi forces and the efforts to return IDPs to their homes. [Sumaria] She encouraged the Iraqi government to negotiate outstanding disputes with the KRG within the framework of a united federal Iraq and in accordance with the constitution. She added that the UK will continue to support Iraq across various sectors. [BasNews]
Wednesday, according to a statement by President Fuad Masoum’s office, Masoum met with KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Deputy PM Qubad Talabani to look into ongoing efforts to resolve outstanding deputes between the federal government and the KRG, as well as other issues at the Kurdish and national levels. During the meeting, Masoum expressed his confidence that Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region will resolve their differences soon through a comprehensive and constructive dialogue, which will ensure the best interests of the Iraqi people and reinforce stability, unity, and the application of the constitution across all sectors. Barzani and Talabani said they value Masoum’s efforts to bridge the gap between Baghdad and Erbil. They added that the KRG is ready to begin a serious and constructive dialogue with the federal government to overcome the current crisis. [IraqPress] [Anadolu]
Wednesday, a CoR Security and Defense Committee member, Abdulaziz Hassan, criticized Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi in a letter to be sent to Al-Abadi on Saturday for leaving out the Peshmerga forces while commending “the Iraqi forces, the PMF, IFP, tribal PMF, and other forces” during his joint press conference with the UK Prime Minister. [Rudaw]
A Dawa Party statement says the US presence in Iraq is causing instability and calls on US forces to leave Iraq. The statement called on the Iraqi government to denounce a US commander’s statements crediting the US forces for the victory over Daesh in Iraq, explaining that the statements reinforce Iraqi fears caused by making constant hints regarding a new generation of terrorists. Dawa’s statement noted that “Iraqi stability does not serve the US and its allies” and “the US is working for the instability of Iraq for purposes of maintaining a permanent presence in what resembles a permanent occupation.” The statement added that “suspicious” US policies have harmed Iraqi interests, most recently listing some PMF factions as terrorists. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. This ill-motivated statement may have less to do with the US than with the upcoming Iraq election. The Prime Minister is a member of Dawa, and we’re sure he did not authorize this statement. There are many Dawa members loyal to Nouri Al-Maliki and to others, whereas Al-Abadi became Prime Minister without a bloc of his own after Al-Maliki was forced out. We read the statement as an effort to undermine Al-Abadi on behalf of one or more rivals within Dawa and the wider Rule of Law coalition. However, his intra-coalition opposition will have to come up with more than bombastic anti-American statements. A just-completed survey shows Al-Abadi is popular in Iraq, and he seems to be setting up for a re-election campaign, whereas the same survey shows the CoR members are unpopular.
Security-related incidents reported
Southwest (Rasheed, etc.)
Wednesday, a security source reported that security units found an ammunition depot during a security operation in a farm in the Suwaib area in southwest Baghdad. The depot contained 3 IEDs, 7 mortar shells, a locally made rocket, and 3 dynamite blocks. The source added that the operation was carried out based on intelligence data and with cooperation from citizens. [Mawazin]
West (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)
Wednesday, a security source in Baghdad reported that security units arrested a terrorist at a checkpoint in Abu Ghraib. [Ghad]
Wednesday, the PMF’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams continued the clearing operations of the Jazeera desert for the 4th consecutive day since the announcement that government troops now control 50% of the Anbar, Salahuddin, and Ninewa deserts. The PMF’s EOD, according to the PMF’s statement, has so far defused hundreds of IEDs and mines in the Jazeera desert liberation ops. [Etejah]
Wednesday, a security source in the Anbar Ops Command announced the discovery of a mass grave in Al-Jam’iya neighborhood in Hit center. The mass grave contained the bodies of 46 police and Albu Nimr tribal members killed by Daesh. The source said that based on initial findings, some victims were shot, and others were beheaded by Daesh members in early 2014. [BasNews]
Wednesday, a military source in Anbar reported that a number of Daesh members were killed in a Coalition airstrike on Wadi Horan in southwest Anbar. The airstrike also destroyed their weapons. [Sumaria]
A DaeshDaily source says Daesh killed an Iraqi soldier and a PMF commander after sneaking near a checkpoint in the Mtaibija area.
Eastern Salahuddin (Al-Daur, Tooz)
Wednesday, PMF official spokesman Ali Al-Husseini said that strange activity by a group of unknown assailants was detected in the mountain range between the Tuz Khurmatu and Qadir Karam areas. Al-Husseini added that the PMF clashed with the group from a distance. [Sumaria]
A Turkmen Front official in Tuz Khurmatu, Haitham Uglu, confirmed that clashes took place between PMFs and an unknown group in the Jambur area in southeast Daquq (Kirkuk). Uglu added that the PMF clashed with another group called “Al-Rayat Al-Baydaa” (the White Flags), which is stationed behind the mountains. [Ghad]
DaeshDaily comment. We have reported about this group, which called itself Sunni Protection Forces. It is a group of Daesh members under a new name.
Spokesman for the US Department of State, Heather Nauert, said Washington is following news on the alleged PMF violations against Kurds in Tuz Khurmatu and other disputed regions. [BasNews]
Wednesday, the Diyala Police announced the arrest of 24 wanted suspects in various parts of the province, including 2 on charges of terrorism. It added that an IED was found during a search operation in Muqdadiya’s villages and farms. [Baghdadia] [Baghdadia]
Muqdadiya/Abu Saida/Central Diyala
Wednesday, Dijla Ops Commander Mizhar Al-Azzawi announced that 200 internally displaced families began the return journey to their homes in liberated villages in north Muqdadiya, in coordination with the Dijla Ops Command and local governments. He added that more groups of IDPs will return to their homes in the coming weeks following security background checks and necessary approvals. [Buratha]
Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)
Wednesday, Mayor of Al-Khalis, Ali Al-Khadran, said he has confirmed data from trusted sources indicating the growing activity of Daesh cells in various parts of Diyala, notably the Shirween farms in Mansouriya, Hinbis in Muqdadiya, and the Al-Waqf basin. He added that Daesh’s growing activity in several areas at once raises many questions, and he called on security officials to take the necessary precautions. [Ghad]
Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)
Wednesday, Representative Ra’ad Almas warned that Daesh members infiltrated into a town bordering Iran, clarifying that Daesh is trying to “change its traditional strongholds in Diyala.” Almas added that he has confirmed information about the presence of Daesh sleeper cells in different parts of Mandali, especially remote areas, “as evidenced by the repeated Daesh infiltrations in the past months which reinforced its cells.” [Sumaria]
Wednesday, Kirkuk representative to the CoR, Mohammed Othman, told the press that “American forces have entered Kirkuk and settled in the K1 military base in northwest of the province.” He clarified that “these forces will provide support to the security forces in Kirkuk and the constitution and the law, as Kirkuk city has Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, and Christians.” [Buratha]
A high-level Kurdish official said the arrival of American troops in Kirkuk will not change the reality of the city, where Iraqi forces including PMFs resumed control in October, whereas the KDP claims that the US arrival at the K1 base is part of a strategy to reduce the violations against the Kurds in the city. [BasNews]
The Ministry of the Peshmerga denied having knowledge about the American forces move to Kirkuk. Kirkuk Council member Ahmed Al-Askari said the “American forces continue arriving at the K1 base as of last night.” Al-Askari said he does not know the number, duties, or weapons in their possession. [BasNews]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
Wednesday, Hawija District Council member Ahmed Khurshid, said that although Hawija was liberated two months ago, most of the Hawija IDP families are still in Kirkuk due to lack of services and Daesh IEDs and land mines left in Hawija. He also added that a large percentage of their houses are destroyed. [ROJ]
Daesh says it killed two PMF fighters and wounded two others in clashes near Gharib village, west of Hawija. [A3maq]
A DaeshDaily source says the Kata’eb Hezbollah PMF militia released Imad Aziz Hassan, aka Abu Dajana, a senior Daesh oil official in Mosul, after he paid a large amount of money.
Wednesday, a security source reported that Civil Defense teams found the bodies of 12 civilians in Old Mosul who were killed during the Mosul liberation battles against Daesh last July. Additional searches are underway. [Baghdadia]
Wednesday, head of the Ninewa Provincial Council, Bashar Al-Kiki, confirmed that the rebuilding process of Mosul has not officially begun, noting that 80% of the west side of the city is destroyed. He added that IDPs cannot return because some areas have not yet been cleared of explosives and war remnants. He added that Old Mosul is also rigged. [Rudaw]
Wednesday, a security source reported that an IED was defused at the entrance of the Majmou’a Al-Thaqafiya (the Intellectual Group) Street in north Mosul, one of the city’s vital streets. The source added that this particular IED was not a war remnant; it was placed there recently, and investigations are underway. [Baghdadia]
Wednesday, the Turkish Army reported killing over 80 PKK terrorists in an airstrike in northern Iraqi Kurdistan on Monday, which also destroyed a large weapons depot and two vehicles. [AIN]
Wednesday, Minister of the Peshmerga Karim Sinjar met with Bradley Becker, commander of Iraq security cooperation at the US Central Command. Becker said that the United States will continue to arm the Peshmerga forces, and the US Congress has decided to grant the Ministry of the Peshmerga $364 million in financial aid in 2018. [Rudaw]
Wednesday, KDP Advisor Aref Rushdi said the current phase requires reinforcing the relationship between Kurdish forces in order to activate the KRG’s role and “stand in the face of Baghdad’s pressures.” He added that it is possible to make changes in some of the KRG’s ministries. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. A little straight talk would help on both sides. The Peshmerga have a sometimes brave history as party militias for the KDP and PUK, as well as some history of party politicians using elements of their peshmerga as party thugs. There was an agreement a few years ago on a consolidated ministry, and appointment of a Gorran minister seemed to add some non-political credibility. Then came Masoud Barzani’s coup against Gorran; the ministry was in effect left divided between party militias again; and the “Ministry of Peshmerga” became a KDP front.
The real need is for the KRG to restore the unified Ministry of Peshmerga with a minister not subservient to party interests. The Pentagon would be wise to stop playing along with KDP games and make meaningful reunification a condition for continued financial support to the Peshmerga.
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
CNN Turk reported that the Syrian YPG (PYD) forces sprayed a Turkish border post with gunfire late on Tuesday, wounding one soldier. The report added that Turkey responded with artillery fire, adding that the gunfire came from Afrin District, northwest of Syria. [Dorar]
DaeshDaily comment. This pro-Turkey account asks us to believe that the YPG gunfire was unprovoked.
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura proposed extending the Geneva 8 negotiations until December 15th, but the Syrian government rejected the proposal and held on to the original end date of December 1st. [ZamanAlWasl]
Tuesday, the anti-government High Negotiations Committee expressed its readiness for direct negotiations with the Syrian government’s delegation in the current round of the Geneva talks. “It (the Syrian government) no longer has the pretext that the opposition is fragmented. We are one. We are ready to negotiate directly with the other side,” said Yahya Aridi, head of the High Negotiations Committee. [Dorar]
In a speech in Washington on Tuesday (which Daesh Daily attended), Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Geneva’s UN-brokered talks on Syria were “the only possible basis for the reconstruction of the country and the implementation of a political solution that leaves no role for Assad’s regime or his family in the Syrian government.” [ZamanAlWasl]
Wednesday, Turkey rejected the Pentagon’s continued support to the SDF, linked to the PYD, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization. “We cannot accept this situation because every weapon and any ammunition is a threat to Turkey via the PKK. . . . Any support given to the PYD in Syria or any other region means prolonging the life of the PKK” said Turkish spokesman Ibrahim Kalin. [Anadolu]
Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa)
A DaeshDaily source says nine civilians were killed after walking into a land mine field in the Abu Khashab area.
North Raqqa (Ain Eissa, etc.)
A Daesh member’s wife told the story of how her family ended up joining Daesh in Syria. She claimed that her husband had never had extremist views, but started sympathizing with Daesh after spending long hours on social media. Shortly after arriving in Syria in 2013, her husband was employed by Daesh as a teacher for a monthly salary of $200. After learning about “the truth of Daesh” and at the request of extended family, the family decided to leave Daesh. She narrates the story of how she sold her jewelry to be able to afford the $5,000 cost of smuggling her family to liberated areas. Her husband was detained by the SDF and she and the children are currently in the Ain Eissa camp. [Sumaria]
Wednesday evening, according to Dorar, Tahrir Al-Sham regained several positions that the Syrian forces had moved in on earlier in the day in rural southern Aleppo. [Dorar]
According to a SANA correspondent, the Syrian forces captured two villages from Tahrir Al-Sham in southwestern Aleppo. [SyriaNow]
Anadolu reports Turkey sent military reinforcements to Kilis State on the border adjacent to Afrin. [Anadolu]
Wednesday, director of the SDF Media Center Mustafa Bali said if the Turkish army launched a military attack on Afrin, the SDF would mobilize its soldiers in all the SDF-controlled areas in Syria, from Hasaka to Aleppo. “We will form a broad popular front to confront Turkey’s occupation of Syrian territory.” [Arabi21]
Central and West (Homs, Hama, etc.)
Wednesday, Tahrir Al-Sham said it recaptured the two villages of Abu Ajwa and Anbaz in northeast Hama, following violent clashes with Daesh, in which over 15 Daesh members were killed. Meanwhile, Tahrir Al-Sham thwarted a Daesh attack on the Muwailah village in the same region. [Dorar] [SyriaHR]
A DaeshDaily source says Tahrir Al-Sham ambushed Daesh in Muwailah village, east of Hama, killing a senior commander and capturing 6 other terrorists.
According to “special sources,” Hawar News reports that 1,000 Daesh members have recently moved from Deir Ez-Zor to rural northeastern Hama, without any clashes, under a secret agreement with the Syrian government. [Hawar]
DaeshDaily comment. Another inflammatory Hawar story based on unidentified sources. This is not journalism.
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Daesh publishes photos of targeting a Syrian Army machine gun-mounted vehicle with a rocket near the Al-Ward oilfield. [ICDNNov29]
Daesh issues a propaganda video about its battles in Deir Ez-Zor. [ICDNNov29]
A DaeshDaily source says more than 100 people were killed in several areas in the Albu Kamal countryside by shelling and bombing during the last 4 days.
Daesh says it destroyed a Syrian Army bulldozer with a rocket “on the outskirts of” Albu Kamal. Daesh issues a video of the attack. [A3maq]
Daesh says it damaged 3 Syrian Army bulldozers with rockets near the T2 Station. [A3maq]
Daesh says it destroyed a Syrian Army 23mm cannon and damaged a tank with 2 rockets west of Albu Kamal. [A3maq]
Wednesday, SOHR reported that clashes resumed between the Syrian forces and the Islamic opposition group of Ahrar Al-Sham in the vicinity of the Vehicle Department in eastern Ghouta, near Harasta city. The clashes were accompanied by mutual shelling. Meanwhile, the Syrian forces targeted locations in Harasta city with 10 rockets and artillery shells. [SyriaHR]
Wednesday, SANA reported that the Syrian forces recaptured the eastern range of the Tal Baradiya in Rif Damashq from Tahrir Al-Sham, according to a military source. [SyriaNow]
Wednesday, SOHR reported that four civilians, including two children, were killed, and at least 14 others were wounded in 6 airstrikes by warplanes on the Al-Rahman Corps-held Hamouriya city in Rif Damashq. [SyriaHR]
Wednesday, SOHR reported that the Syrian forces shelled the outskirts of a Jaish Al-Islam-held neighborhood in Douma city in Rif Damashq, just outside of Damascus. [SyriaHR]
Wednesday, Enab Baladi reported that a Jordanian surveillance plane flew for more than six hours on Tuesday evening over Daraa, whose two parts are controlled by the Syrian government and the opposition. [EnabBaladi]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
Two people were killed and another was injured when a car bomb detonated near the finance department in the busy Khor Maksar district in Aden early on Wednesday morning.
An Aden police spokesman, Abdurrahman Al-Nakeeb, said that the investigation was ongoing but confirmed that a 2008 Toyota Corolla had detonated. It is not clear, however, if the explosives had been on a timer or triggered remotely. [TheNational]
Daesh says it parked a car bomb near the Ministry of Finance building in the Khor Maksar area in Aden, then detonated it at night, destroying the building and killing several guards. [ICDNNov29]
Wednesday, the Jordanian State Security Court issued a 10-year prison sentence against a 52-year old Jordanian citizen who, in 2016, had planned to target an air force base in northeast Jordan which the Coalition uses to target Daesh. The court noted that he had been in contact with Daesh in Raqqa. Daesh asked him to execute a military attack against military intelligence personnel in Jordan. He was also tasked with watching another air force base in Al-Azraq for a military attack. [Youm7]
At a televised ceremony on Wednesday marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi ordered the army and police to use “all brute force” necessary to restore security and stability in Sinai within three months. [Anadolu]
DaeshDaily comment. The tough talk sounds good but the Egyptian military, which has intimidated the rest of the country, has conspicuously failed to solve the North Sinai problem despite what should be a vast manpower advantage.
Tuesday evening, Tunisian Ministry of National Defense announced that military units killed a terrorist in the highlands of Kasserine Province, Tunisia. [Tunisien]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
Daesh says it shot and killed a Somali soldier in Afgooye city, in south Somalia. Daesh issues a video of the attack. [A3maq]
Jowzjan Wilaya spokesman Mohammed Ridha Ghafouri reported that clashes took place after Daesh members attacked a police station in the Batu village in Darzab, causing the death of two people, including one soldier. [TRT]
Videos of the Day
PMFs capture 3 Daesh terrorists during the Al-Qa’im battles. [MoD]
Iraqi forces found a large ammunition and explosives storehouse in Qarma, in Falluja District. [MoD]
A newspaper close to the Syrian government issues a video of a large Daesh convoy allegedly fleeing the Albu Kamal area toward SDF controlled areas. [Watan]
Shaitat Tribe members with the Deir Ez-Zor Military Council capture Daesh terrorists. [YouTube]
Daesh issues a propaganda video about its battles in Iraq and Syria. The video shows new and old battles from different areas. It also shows destruction of a helicopter on the ground with a rocket and several foreign terrorists. [ICDNNov29]