October 16, 2018
A Yazidi Mass Grave near Tal Afar (Source DD Oct 15)
US pledges $178 million to help Iraq’s religious minorities. [..]
Kurdish, Turkmen, leaders in Kirkuk offer diametrically opposing views on first anniversary of resumed GOI control. [..]
Mass grave with 16 Yazidi victims found near Tal Afar-Sinjar border. [..]
Basra Police arrest 25 for setting fire to Iranian consulate. [..]
SDF, Coalition fighting off Daesh counter-attacks in Albu Kamal. [..]
Syrian Army-Daesh battles enter 12th week in Suwayda area. [..]
Iran: US puts sanctions on Basij organization of Revolutionary Guards. [..]
Qatar: Report says Qatar hacked e-mails of Syrian opposition members in US. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
The US Embassy in Iraq said on Tuesday that the US would donate $178 million to help religious minorities in Iraq. [Sumaria]
However, the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq, Cardinal Louis Sako, said on Tuesday that previously promised US aid had failed to arrive. He contrasted the US with Hungary, saying that Hungary had provided $5 million in direct aid to repair and rebuild damaged and destroyed Christian homes, schools, and churches. Cardinal Sako was speaking at a Vatican briefing while Mark Green, administrator for USAID, was also at the Vatican. [AP]
DaeshDaily comment. The target area is Ninewa, and the broader USAID-coordinated effort is already under way there, though some of the effort is in the information-gathering phase. One major purpose of the US, Hungarian, Catholic Church and other organizations is to facilitate the return to Ninewa of religious minorities driven out by Daesh. The number who have returned has been disappointing. The destruction and damage to homes, schools, and churches during Daesh rule is one of the major barriers to return. While much of the focus has been on Christian communities, there are even more Yazidis affected by the situation.
Two perspectives on the same anniversary:
Shakhwan Abdullah, a leader in the KDP, called on Tuesday for the Iraqi judiciary to hold outgoing Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi responsible for what Kurds consider “genocide” and the use of “excessive force” in Kirkuk last year. He also called for international troops to provide security for the province, and threatened a “mass uprising” if these demands were not met. This comes on the 1st anniversary of the military operations in which the Iraqi federal government retook control of Kirkuk and other disputed areas. [Sumaria]
By contrast, the deputy head of the Turkmen Front, Hassan Turan, says the “law enforcement operation” that took place in Kirkuk last year was a historic achievement. He praised all who contributed to the action, saying that Kirkuk will always remain a precious part of Iraq. [Sumaria]
Nechirvan Barzani, the PM of the Kurdistan Region, met on Monday with a high-level US delegation, including Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman, and Consul General to Erbil Steve Fagin. The US delegation reportedly expressed their support for the Kurdistan Region and called for further dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad. [SotIraq]
DaeshDaily comment. What did they really talk about?
A total of about 450 Turkish children who are relatives of Daesh fighters are allegedly detained in Iraq. “Media outlets” said these children were being kept either in orphanages or Rusafa Prison, in Baghdad. Iraqi authorities returned 17 children to Turkey last week after their family members were killed. [Baghdadia]
Nawal Al-Araji, a member of the Baghdad Provincial Council, said on Tuesday that some political parties are still funding Daesh through money laundering operations. She demanded more control and monitoring of the “currency auction” conducted by the Central Bank of Iraq, by both the CoR and the Office of Financial Supervision. Saad Al-Mutalibi, a fellow Council member, said that pro-Daesh networks are operating in Baghdad and are supporting Daesh sleeper cells. [Sumaria]
Southeast (Mada’in, etc.)
A security source said that a civilian had been killed by unidentified gunmen in Mada’in on Tuesday. [Sumaria]
A security source said that an IED explosion in Al-Qa’im on Tuesday had killed an Iraqi Army colonel and wounded two other officers. [BasNews]
A DaeshDaily source said on Monday that 4 Saraya Ashura fighters were killed and another captured in a Daesh attack on a military position near the Makhoul Mountains.
Daesh said it killed or wounded five PMF members and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in Al-Dhuban neighborhood, west Baiji, on Sunday. [A3maq]
Daesh said it killed an Oil Facilities Protection member and wounded another in an attack on the Allas Oilfield, on Monday. [A3maq]
The IFP said on Tuesday that 2 terrorism suspects were arrested in Huwaish, Samarra District, while 2 others were killed in a search operation in the Jazeera Samarra area. [Ghad]
Hadi Al-Amiri, in his role as leader of the Badr Organization, said on Tuesday that the Daesh military official for Diyala, “Abu Dhuha,” had been killed by Badr Organization members in Diyala. [Sumaria]
Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)
In what could be another version of the same story, Daesh says it set off an IED near the house of a PUK leader in Yusuf Bek village, on Monday, causing damage. [ICDnOct16]
Daesh said on Tuesday it killed or wounded six PMF members and damaged their vehicle with an IED near Himrin Lake, in northeast Diyala. [A3maq]
The acting Chairman of the Kirkuk Provincial Council, Rebwar Al-Talabani, says that the PMF is holding 4 officials of the KDP and the Turkmen People’s Party as prisoners in Kirkuk, without considering their immunity or positions. He said that “oppressive forces” are arresting people and torturing them for raising Kurdish flags or for having supported the KRG independence referendum, “as was the case under the Baath Party.” [Rudaw]
Daesh said it killed two Oil Facilities Protection personnel and destroyed their vehicle Monday with an IED near Kathahiya village in the Multaqa subdistrict. [ICDNoct16]
Daesh said it killed or wounded IFP members and damaged their vehicle with an IED near Alas village, in the Dibis area, on Monday. [ICDNOct16]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
Daesh said it blew up the houses of 3 tribal PMF members in Rabidha Al-Asriya village, eastern Hawija, on Monday. [ICDNOct16]
Southwest (Daquq, Taza, etc.)
Daesh said it killed a PMF member, wounded others, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in Zanqar village, in Daquq, on Monday. [A3maq]
A DaeshDaily source said on Monday that local police units captured 4 Daesh terrorists in Al-Intisar and Al-Wihda neighborhoods, southeast Mosul. The source said one of the captured was a Daesh security official in west Mosul before the liberation, while the others had been operating in the Qayara and Nimrud (Hamdaniya) areas.
DaeshDaily comment. Many Daesh terrorists remained in their provinces and simply changed their residence. It is unlikely for people from east Mosul to identify a Daesh terrorists from the west side of the city or from other areas like Qayara. However, we see that security units are doing a good job capturing many of these terrorists. The bad news, according to our sources, is that some of them are being released because of corruption, nepotism, or political pressure.
A DaeshDaily source also said on Monday that the bodies of 16 Daesh Yazidi victims, including women and children, were found in a mass grave near Qasr Al-Mihrab village, near the Tal-Afar-Sinjar border. The source said a person who had witnessed the massacre in August 2014 led security units to the area. The witness said the murders were ordered by the Daesh wali of Tal Afar at that time, Salah Al-Qarbash, an Iraqi Turkmen. 5 of the victims have been identified so far: 2 women and 3 men from Sinjar. The source sent us photos of the mass grave.
Another source said the bodies of “about 15” Yazidis were found in a mass grave in the village of Mihrab on Monday. A source said that the Yazidis were victims of Daesh and were killed during the period of Daesh control of the area. Some of the remains were taken to Sinjar for reburial in accordance with the Yazidi religion. [SotIraq]
A DaeshDaily source said on Tuesday that a Baaj local council member and a Shammar tribal leader were killed and their driver severely wounded when armed men in PMF military uniforms shot at their vehicle west of Baaj. The source said that people from the area accused Yazidi PMFs of the attack.
The Basra police announced in a press conference on Tuesday that it had arrested 25 individuals last month for setting fire to the Iranian consulate, saying that they are part of the “Third Trend” movement. Basra police stated it was still seeking 2 leaders of the movement who are wanted by the law. The “Third Trend” was founded in 2014 by young activists seeking to decrease the influence of religious leaders in politics. [Anadolu]
A governmental investigation committee says that “infiltrators” belonging to various parties were behind the violence that has taken the lives of dozens of protestors and security personnel in Basra since the start of September. The committee’s report did not name the parties responsible. The committee also criticized what it characterized as a “slow” and “weak” reaction from the military and security services, including both Basra Ops Command and the local police. [Anadolu]
On Tuesday, the Turkish Chief of Staff announced that Turkish airstrikes destroyed “numerous” military positions, weapons depots, and shelters of the PKK in Zab in northern Erbil, and in Metina and the Avasin-Basyan area in Dahuk. [Anadolu]
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REPORTS FROM TURKEY
Turkish officials provided a list of 15 Saudis who Turkey alleges participated in the disappearance and alleged killing of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate on Oct. 2. On Tuesday, Turkey released the list as a way to demonstrate Saudi involvement in the killing. According to the Turkish account and flight information, the 15 men arrived in Istanbul on Oct. 2 — most of them early in the morning — and then departed in the hours after Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Turkish officials provided passport scans for seven members of what they called a hit squad, including Khalid Aedh Alotaibi, who had made trips to the United States that coincided with visits by top members of the Saudi royal family, including King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Alotaibi is one of 11 Saudis included on the list who have ties to the Saudi security services, according to their posts on social media, emails, local media reports and other material reviewed by The Washington Post. [WashingtonPost]
Three sources familiar with the case told CNN that the Saudi mission to interrogate and possibly abduct journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul was organized by a high-ranking officer with the General Intelligence Presidency, Saudi Arabia’s main intelligence service.
One of those sources described the officer as close to the inner circle of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It is unclear whether the crown prince authorized an interrogation or abduction. Several officials CNN spoke with said the apparent killing could not have happened without the direct knowledge of the 33-year-old crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
A Turkish official told CNN on Tuesday that Khashoggi’s body was cut into pieces after he was killed two weeks ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The claim, which was first made to the New York Times earlier in the investigation into Khashoggi’s fate, comes after Turkish officials searched the consulate for nine hours on Monday night. The Turkish official would not comment on the disposal method for the body.
On Tuesday, President Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the crown prince informed them that an investigation into the matter had begun and answers would be forthcoming shortly. [CNN]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
An opposition news service reported intense battles between the Syrian Army and the Turkey-affiliated “Free Syrian Army” near Mare’ in Azaz. [ElDorar]
On Tuesday, the Interior Ministry announced that the EOD team under the Internal Security Forces in Raqqa was able to dismantle an IED in Al-Sinaa as well as 4 mines in the Raqqa District. [Hawar]
Central and West
Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) claimed on Monday to have eliminated a Daesh cell near Idlib, killing and capturing several of its members, following an attack on its HQ. Tahrir Al-Sham says it continues its campaign against Daesh terrorists and against those who call for reconciliation with the government. [Qasioun] [ElDorar]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Deir Ez-Zor District
On Tuesday, a Daesh “security” leader was killed in a Coalition airstrike in Deir Ez-Zor city. He worked in “real estate,” confiscating the property of IDPs from Daesh-controlled areas. [Qasioun]
Albu Kamal District
The SOHR reported that Daesh is resuming its counter-attacks on the SDF in Al-Susah, Al-Sha’afa and Hajin, taking advantage of sandstorms and bad weather conditions. The SDF is reportedly trying to contain the attacks, backed by air and land Coalition support. [SyriaHR]
According to a report from the SDF published by Hawar on Tuesday, the SDF killed 9 Daesh members in total within the past 24 hours. The report stated that the SDF had killed terrorists and seized a 120mm mortar and other weapons in Al-Baghouz. In the village of Al-Susah, the SDF killed more Daesh fighters and destroyed a Daesh motorcycle and other vehicles. 2 Coalition airstrikes destroyed 3 Daesh locations. [Hawar]
A source stated that on Monday that the Imam Ali Brigades, an Iraqi Shia militia reportedly led by the Iran Revolutionary Guards, drove the pro-government National Defense Forces (NDF) out of their headquarters in Albu Kamal, due to complaints about their behavior within the city. The source stated that the NDF had been looting houses, shooting indiscriminately, and forcing shopkeepers to give them discounts. [ElDorar]
Daesh said on Monday that it targeted SDF positions near Al-Baghouz with 88 mortars and 9 SPG9 rockets. [ICDNOct15]
Daesh published on Tuesday photos of targeting SDF positions near Al-Baghouz with SPG9 rockets. [ICDNOct16]
Daesh published on Tuesday photos of targeting Coalition planes with heavy machine guns in the Al-Susah area. [ICDNOct16]
The SOHR says that the fighting between the Syrian Army and affiliated militias against Daesh in Suwayda has entered its 12th week. The battles are taking place about 50 km (30 miles) from the Coalition’s Al-Tanaf base. [SyriaHR]
Sources said that there were high casualties for the Syrian Army and affiliated militias in battles in Tilul Al-Safa (Al-Safa Hills) against Daesh. [ElDorar]
Daesh said it stopped a Syrian Army attack in the Al-Safa Hills area on Monday, wounding 3 soldiers. [A3maq]
Daesh said on Tuesday it killed or wounded 10 Syrian soldiers “while they were trying to advance toward the Al-Safa area.” [A3maq]
Daesh said on Tuesday it killed 11 Syrian soldiers and wounded 3 others in clashes near the Al-Safa Hills area. [A3maq]
In different versions, Daesh said on Tuesday it stopped a Syrian Army attack on the Al-Safa Hills area, killing 16 soldiers, wounding 20 others, and forcing the rest to retreat. It said it followed with a counterattack on the Syrian Army, killing or wounding 10 soldiers and capturing several military positions in addition to weapons and ammunition. [ICDNOct16]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
The US Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on Iran on Tuesday, including sanctioning the Basij (an auxiliary force to the IRGC), as well as 5 investment groups and 3 banks allegedly supporting it. US officials said that the Basij was implicated in Iranian internal violence and human rights abuses. [BasNews]
Iranian TV says a terrorist group kidnapped 14 Iranian soldiers in Mirjawa, in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, southeastern Iran. A local Sunni insurgent group, Jaish Al-Adl (“Army of Justice”), claimed responsibility. [ZamanAlWasl]
On Monday, the Daily Beast published an article that discussed Qatar’s attempts to infiltrate the Syrian opposition in the US. The article noted that Qatari hackers attempted to break into the emails of prominent Syrian activists in exile in the US. Qatar targeted at least 1,200 individuals, most of whom were outspoken critics of Qatar. The Syrian activists, however, were ostensibly its friends. The article suggests that Qatar may have wanted to spy on their conversations with other governments. [ElDorar] [DailyBeast]
Egyptian President Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi decided to extend the state of emergency in the country for another 3 months. The country has been in a state of emergency for the past 1.5 years. [Anadolu]
The 128th Infantry Division of the Libyan National Army arrested Jema’a Masoud Al-Hassan Al-Qarqa’i, a Daesh emir who was active in Nawfaliya, east of Sirte and west of Bin Jawad. The Division’s media office said that Al-Qarqa’i had participated in most of the attacks in the Nawfaliya area. [Libya24]
The security services in Ajdabiya announced that the city was on a “state of alert” and deployed patrols to “prevent [security] violations.” [Libya24]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
A Syrian refugee tried to set off a bomb and held a woman hostage in the main Cologne train station on Monday, and was subsequently shot by police. Witnesses claimed that he was acting on behalf of Daesh. On Tuesday, Cologne police said that they had searched the man’s apartment and found no signs of extremism or ties with Daesh. [AP]
The security chief of Samangan Province, central Afghanistan, was killed in a Taliban attack on Monday night. An unknown number of police and soldiers were also killed. [Khaama]
A drone strike killed “at least 9” Daesh fighters in Nangarhar Province, eastern Afghanistan, on Tuesday. [Khaama]