October 18, 2018
Rapid Intervention Units Capture a Daesh Commander in Falluja (DD, Oct 18)
Macron promises Abd Ul-Madhi to help with Iraq reconstruction. [..]
2,665 bodies found to date in Ninewa mass graves, including 851 children. [..]
US awaits Saudi explanation of what happened in Khashoggi case. [..]
UN sounds alarm about potential civilian casualties in Albu Kamal fighting. [..]
Putin says 700 civilian hostages being held by Daesh in Albu Kamal. [..]
SDF, Dulaim tribe come into conflict in Deir Ez-Zor. [..]
French magazine insists Baghdadi is directing Daesh forces in Hajin. [..]
Russian report says Coalition accidentally killed 6 SDF soldiers. [..]
SOHR anticipates prisoner exchange between SDF, Daesh. [..]
Ceasefire/surrender agreement with Daesh fails in Suwayda. [..]
Germany: Germany commits $90 million for Iraq reconstruction, IDPs. [..]
Afghanistan: Gunman infiltrates Governor’s compound in Kandahar; kills 3 Afghan officials, wounds 3 Americans. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
Prime Minister-designate Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi received a letter from Emmanuel Macron, the French President, wherein Macron expressed his willingness for them to work together to reconstruct Iraq. [Sumaria]
Colonel Sean Ryan, spokesman for the Coalition, told the US-funded Radio Sawa on Thursday that Daesh still has “safe havens” in some parts of Iraq. He said that Daesh’s presence in Anbar and Kirkuk Provinces was notable, and that he estimated there to be 1,500 to 2,000 Daesh fighters in the Euphrates Valley area. [Hurra]
On Wednesday, the Office of Foreign Assets Control in the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the Afaq Dubai Exchange Company, on suspicion of connections to Daesh. The company operates in Iraq only and has no offices in the UAE, despite its name. The Department says the company provided financial and technological support to Daesh, and is a part of a complex network that includes other companies and individuals. [BasNews]
Northeast (Adhamiya, etc.)
Baghdad Ops Command says it arrested a terrorism suspect in Rashidiya, Adhamiya subdistrict. Another 5 people were arrested in various areas of Baghdad on murder and drug trafficking charges. [Ghad]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that Rapid Intervention units captured a Daesh leader who was hiding on a farm in Falluja. The source said the terrorist, a senior recruitment officer, had just returned from Turkey with a fake ID to reactivate Daesh groups. The source sent us photos of the captured terrorist.
The Imam Ali Brigades, a PMF group, said on Thursday that it had arrested a Daesh official in Falluja city. The group said that the official had been responsible for assassinations in what Daesh refers to as the “State of Jazeera.” [Sumaria]
The Directorate of Military intelligence says one of its units, operating under the Army’s 14th Division, arrested a man wanted on terrorism charges in Qarma. [Ghad]
The Ministry of Defense reported that Anbar Ops Command helped 45 displaced families return to their home areas. 192 individuals, comprising 35 families, from the Kilo 18 camp returned to their homes in Humaira, and 10 displaced families returned from the Kilo 18 camp to their homes in Hit District. [MoD Website]
Jazeera Ops Command announced a “major” military operation to secure the perimeter of the Okaz oilfields. The 7th Army Division, tribal PMF units, and Army helicopters are taking part in the operation, which includes securing the oilfields and inspecting the surrounding desert areas. [BasNews]
A DaeshDaily source said on Wednesday that four Shia pilgrims, including a child, were killed and 10 others wounded when a group of Daesh terrorists shot at a bus near Tilul Al-Baj in western Shirqat.
A DaeshDaily source that a local police officer and the director and another employee of the water purification unit in Al-Aitha village were killed when an IED destroyed the officer’s pickup vehicle. The source said the officer was transporting the employees to their work.
Daesh had said on Wednesday it killed an Iraqi Army officer and another soldier and destroyed their Humvee with an IED in Al-Aitha village. [A3maq]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that a Kata’eb Hezbollah commander and his driver were killed when an IED exploded, targeting their SUV, on the road between Baiji and Tikrit.
Daesh said on Thursday it killed or wounded policemen, including an officer, and destroyed their vehicle in the Thermal (power) Station area north of Baiji. [ICDNOct18]
General Imad Al-Zuhairi, Samarra Ops Commander, says that his units thwarted an operation by a sleeper cell, which was planning to attack pilgrims participating in the Arba’in commemoration of Imam Hussein’s death, in Qala, at the entrance to Samarra. The arrest of the cell was made in the Jubairiya Al-Oula neighborhood in Samarra city. [Baghdadia]
Daesh said it killed or wounded IFP members and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in the Albu Khado area, near Samarra, on Tuesday. [ICDNOct18]
Eastern Salahuddin (Al-Daur, Tooz)
Daesh said it shot and killed three Iraqi soldiers in their military position in Abboud village, in Amerli. [ICDNOct18]
The Center for Security Information said on Thursday that units under Diyala Ops Command found and destroyed 11 Daesh shelters and safehouses in Diyala Province. Most of the shelters contained military outfits, munitions, and rations. [Ghad]
DaeshDaily comment. As we reported, a security source said on Wednesday that these shelters were found and destroyed by PMF units.
Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)
Daesh said it damaged an Iraqi Army bulldozer with an IED in the Al-Nida area, on Wednesday. [ICDNOct18]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that two Iraqi Army soldiers were killed and four others, including a captain, wounded in a Daesh attack near Al-Zarqa village, in Riyadh subdistrict.
Daesh said it killed or wounded tribal PMFs and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in the Al-Fatha area, in Riyadh subdistrict. [ICDNOct18]
General Raed Shaker Jawdat, Commander of the IFP, says that ordnance disposal teams from the 5th IFP Division destroyed 2 IEDs in Hawija, while units from the 20th Brigade arrested 3 terrorism suspects and captured 9 AK-type rifles. [Baghdadia]
The Federal Police said on Thursday that they had arrested a man wanted on terrorism charges in Abbasi subdistrict. [Sumaria]
Daesh said it killed a 1st lieutenant with light weapons near Al-Hilwat village, in the Al-Zab area, on Wednesday. [ICDNOct18]
The Iraqi Human Rights Commission says that 2,665 bodies have been recovered from mass graves so far in Ninewa Province. 1,871 are still unidentified. The total included 851 bodies of children. [IraqPress] [Hurra]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that an IFP staff sergeant was killed and two other IFP members were killed in a Daesh ambush south of Makhmur city. The source said that the terrorists, who were on motorcycles, fled to the Qarachogh Mountains after the attack.
Daesh said on Thursday it killed or wounded five IFP personnel and set their vehicle on fire in an ambush on a main road southwest of Makhmur. [A3maq]
The Ministry of the Interior says that Ninewa intelligence and counter-terrorism teams arrested 3 persons in various parts of Mosul who were planning terrorist attacks against civilians in the city. IEDs and fake IDs belonging to members of the group were also seized. [Baghdadia]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that local police units captured a Daesh official in east Mosul. The source said the terrorist was responsible for arresting and killing many civilians in the city. The source sent us photos of the captured man.
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that one policeman was killed and four others severely wounded when a group of Daesh terrorists attacked the Antiquities Police station in Hatra.
A security source in Babel said on Thursday that a “sticky” bomb placed under the car of an intelligence officer and exploded in central Hilla, causing damage but no casualties. [Sumaria]
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REPORTS FROM TURKEY
President Trump said on Thursday that it “certainly look[ed]” as though Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, and threatened “very severe” consequences if the Saudis were found to have murdered him. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Saudis should be given “a few more days” to investigate before blame is assigned. This follows Pompeo’s trip to Riyadh and Ankara to discuss the case. [AP] [NYT]
A Turkish source claimed that on Wednesday, Mike Pompeo had heard the audiotape allegedly recording Jamal Khashoggi’s torture and execution, and had been given a copy of a transcript of the recording. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert denied that Pompeo had heard any such recording. [ABCNews]
The New York Times wrote on Thursday that Saudi authorities were allegedly considering blaming intelligence official General Ahmed Al-Assiri for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi as a way to deflect blame from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). According to sources “familiar with the Saudi plans,” the Saudis would announce that Al-Assiri received verbal authorization from MBS to capture Khashoggi but not to kill him, and Al-Assiri would then be blamed for the operation going bad. [NYT]
DaeshDaily comment. If this plan is really under consideration, its effectiveness at deflecting blame away from MBS seems somewhat compromised by the publication of this story.
See also a related story below under Neighboring Countries – Saudi Arabia
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
A UN report says that thousands of Syrian displaced people in eastern Deir Ez-Zor are subject to grave danger due to the ongoing battles between Daesh and the SDF in Hajin, Al-Sha’afa, Al-Susah, and Al-Baghouz. It also says that around 1,000 civilians are threatened with death in Hajin, whereas over 7,000 others have left the area. [Qasioun]
Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Thursday that terrorist groups in Syria “east of the Euphrates” had taken several American and European citizens hostage. Putin said that “Kurdish groups” (i.e. the SDF) had failed to complete their counter-terrorism work, because the terrorists (i.e. Daesh) were still present in the region. He said that “130 families, about 700 people,” were being held hostage. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. Putin is apparently referring to the hostages kidnapped from the Al-Bahra IDP camp who are reportedly being held in Hajin. Daesh also has taken civilians from Suwayda prisoner. Other coverage has not indicated that American or European citizens are among the hostages.
Also see story below under Albu Kamal
A source in the Al-Quds Corps of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards told the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida that Russia has stopped supplying pro-Iranian groups in Syria with weapons. The source says that Russia informed Iran that it now has to pay in cash for any weapons. [ElDorar]
The YPG says that it killed 6 pro-Turkey militia fighters in 2 attacks in the Shirawa subdistrict in Afrin. [Hawar]
West Raqqa (Tabaqa, etc.)
Daesh said it killed an SDF member with a silenced gun near Al-Qarin intersection, west of Tabaqa, on Wednesday. [ICDNOct18]]
Central and West
The SOHR reported the killing of a commander of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Guardians of Religion (aka Hurras Al-Din) by an IED that targeted his car in the town of Ma’asaran in Idlib. Abu Usama Khan Al-Subul was reportedly a commander in Tahrir Al-Sham and a founder of Al-Qaeda in Syria before joining the Guardians of Religion. This brings the total number of persons assassinated in Idlib since April 2018 to 360, including 71 civilians. [SyriaHR]
Tahrir Al-Sham claimed it arrested several Daesh operatives in Al-Kana’is village, eastern rural Idlib, and captured a large stock of explosives and munitions. [Qasioun]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Deir Ez-Zor District
Tribal mediation is underway to contain the conflict between the SDF and the Dulaim tribe following the killing and wounding of 10 tribesmen by SDF units on the Khabur River in northern Deir Ez-Zor. Major tribes, including the Shammar, are mediating. [ZamanAlWasl]
Daesh said it shot and severely wounded an SDF intelligence officer in Dhaman village, in Al-Busayrah subdistrict, on Wednesday. [ICDNOct18]
Daesh said it killed three SDF members and damaged two vehicles with 2 IEDs in Al-Hajna village, in Busayrah, on Wednesday. [A3maq]
Daesh said it killed two SDF members and damaged their vehicle with an IED in Al-Shuhail town in Busayrah, on Wednesday. [A3maq]
Daesh said on Thursday it shot and killed an SDF leader in Jadid Baqara, 13 miles southeast of Deir Ez-Zor city. [A3maq] In another version it says it killed a mukhtar in Jadid Baqara. Adding to the confusion, it claimed on Thursday to have killed an SDF-appointed mukhtar in nearby Jadid Aqaidat in Deir Ez-Zor District. [ICDNOct18]
Albu Kamal District
The French magazine Le Point claimed in a report that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is alive and is leading Daesh battles from Hajin. The paper says that Daesh has 3,000 fighters in the area, most of them escaped from Raqqa. It says that Al-Baghdadi is moving “in camouflage” among the civilians in the area. [Sumaria]
On Friday, the SDF reported that within the past 24 hours it killed 15 Daesh fighters in an assault between Al-Baghouz, Hajin, and Al-Bahra. The assault also included 11 Coalition airstrikes, in which 5 Daesh military positions were damaged, but 2 SDF fighters were killed, and 7 injured. [Hawar] [SDF]
RT TV quoted a Russian military source as saying a Coalition airstrike killed six SDF fighters by mistake and wounded 15 others. According to RT TV, the SDF units were attacking Daesh in Hajin with Coalition air support, but poor coordination resulted in the accident. [Qasioun]
Daesh kidnapped 120 Arab families from the Al-Bahra IDP camp in Deir Ez-Zor on October 13, and has taken them to Hajin. RT TV says Daesh is holding over 700 prisoners, including some Westerners. [Qasioun]
Also see above under National News – United Nations
As battles between SDF and Daesh continue in eastern Deir Ez-Zor, Daesh executed 3 civilians on charges of spying for the SDF and the Coalition, the SOHR reported. [SyriaHR]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that Daesh killed 8 government forces soldiers, including an Iraqi militia commander, and captured 2 SUVs and weapons in an attack near Albu Kamal city. The source said Daesh members had sneaked in from the Al-Susah area.
The SDF council says it is ready to carry out a prisoner exchange with Daesh to release civilians from Suwayda who are held by Daesh. The SOHR says the exchange is expected to take place within 48 hours. According to Nuri Mahmoud, SDF spokesman, the SDF currently holds around 900 Daesh fighters from various nationalities as prisoners. [BasNews]
The Syrian Army reportedly resumed its shelling and advanced towards Daesh positions in Tilul Al-Safa following the collapse of the surrender agreement for Daesh in the area. The agreement was reached on Tuesday, and included a ceasefire and surrender of Daesh fighters, but Daesh failed to commit and tried to attack the Syrian Army’s positions in the area. [SyriaNow]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
On Thursday, a Lebanese military judge indicted a Syrian for the crime of belonging to the “Al-Nusra Front” (i.e. HTS) and attempting to recruit new members. He indicted 2 more Syrians for belonging to “terrorist groups.” The first was going to fight in Syria himself, and the second was involved in terrorist acts according to Lebanese law. The judge referred all 3 to the Permanent Military Court (commonly referred to as the Military Tribunal). [Qasioun]
Mike Pompeo’s visit to Saudi Arabia coincided with the Saudis paying the US $100 million to “support stability” in the northern parts of Syria that have been liberated from Daesh. The New York Times reported that the funds deposit coinciding with Pompeo’s visit came as a surprise to many observers. Brett McGurk, the US Envoy to the Coalition, said that the amount was in accordance with an MOU signed by Saudi Arabia last August. [BasNews]
See also related stories above under Turkey – Political developments
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
The German government is donating $100 million US to support stabilization in Iraq and Syria, including $10 million to Deir Ez-Zor and Raqqa. $90 million will be given to the Iraqi government to implement programs related to the return of IDPs and reconstruction. [ZamanAlWasl]
A gunman dressed as an Afghan military guard opened fire during a high-level security meeting in the compound of the Governor of Kandahar Province, wounding at least three US citizens and killing three provincial officials, including Abdul Raziq, the region’s police chief. General Scott Miller, US commander in Afghanistan, was attending the meeting. NATO confirmed that General Miller was not harmed in the incident. US Colonel David Butler, who also attended the meeting, said he believed Abdul Raziq was the target of the attack, not Miller. [Rudaw] [AP] [USAToday] [WaPo]
Daesh said it wounded two guards of an election center in Khiwa district with an IED, on Wednesday. [A3maq]