June 21, 2018
Yazidi Girl Freed In Hammam Al-Alil
Federal Court of Iraq says manual recount, appointment of judges to oversee final election process, are constitutional, but not annulment of KRG “special” vote. [..]
Shammar tribe stages revenge killings against brothers of two accused Daesh killers. [..]
11 Daesh officials, fighters arrested in Mosul. [..]
Army, IFP break up Daesh move across Iraq border toward Hatra desert. [..]
Turkey prepares for high-stakes presidential, parliamentary elections Sunday. [..]
Turkey has set up 11 military positions in Iraqi Kurdistan to counter PKK. [..]
Turkey reportedly will move allied militiamen from northern Syria to Iraqi Kurdistan to attack PKK HQ in Qandil. [..]
Foreign Minister blasts Syria, Russia for attacks in Idlib Province. [..]
Top-level US military delegation visits Manbij. [..]
4 Coalition airstrikes in Al-Sha’afa, Albu Kamal kill 21 Daesh; may have wounded civilians. [..]
Daesh kills 14 Syrian soldiers south of Albu Kamal city. [..]
Anti-Assad militias in southern Syria respond to government shelling with rocket attacks. [..]
Daesh claims deadly attack on Syrian forces in Suwayda desert. [..]
Iran/Yemen: Iran moving naval ships, helicopters toward Yemen. [..]
Egypt: Egyptian Army operation kills 32 Daesh, captures 36 in Sinai. [..]
European Union: Most Daesh fighters from western Europe not returning home. [..]
Germany: Merkel nixes German reconstruction assistance to Syria, Iraq without prior political solutions. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
The Federal Court of Iraq deemed the decision of the Iraqi CoR to recount the electoral votes manually as correct and constitutional. However, the Court refused to acknowledge the CoR decision to nullify the results of the “special” vote in the Kurdistan Region. It approved the CoR decision to appoint judges to run the process in place of the Electoral Commission. The Court reasoned that manual recounts are constitutionally permissible but annulling votes is not. [TRT]
DaeshDaily comment. It is worth mentioning that under Iraq’s constitution, independent agencies report to the CoR, not to the executive branch. This was intended to protect their independence, which was nevertheless compromised for a time by Al-Maliki. It appears that some CoR members, for reasons good and bad, have taken advantage of this provision to challenge the vote count.
Muqtada Al-Sadr called on Thursday for all parties to show restraint and compliance with the judicial decisions on the electoral measures passed by the CoR. Al-Sadr also emphasized the need to set a time period for the manual recount, and warned of the danger that the current government will take advantage of a potential “constitutional vacuum.” [Sumaria]
Okaz, a Saudi daily newspaper, says that Hadi Al-Amiri, the head of the Al-Fath alliance, declined to join a meeting of the Shia parties to discuss the formation of the new government. Some observers believe that this meeting is aimed to undercut the national meeting of political forces called for by PM Al-Abadi. Sources also believe that Al-Amiri’s decision not to attend is aimed to avoid giving an impression of sectarianism, as he is currently in discussions with Sunni parties. [IKH]
2 Iraqi women fled to Syria after paying at least $1,500 to be smuggled in from Iraq, according to a security source quoted by Sputnik. The source, who declined to be named, said that the women are wives of Daesh leaders who were living in the Al-Mamoun neighborhood in west Mosul and moved to the village of Tal Wa’i (Shura subdistrict of Mosul). After this, they were able to employ Daesh-affiliated smugglers to bring them along the road towards Erbil and from there along minor dirt roads to Syria. [Sumaria]
BAGHDAD (No reports)
The Center for Security Information announced on Thursday that security personnel had found 45 IEDs in the area between Al-Salam intersection in Abu Ghraib and Falahat, just west of Falluja. [Ghad]
The Center for Security Information announced on Thursday that security personnel had found 42 IEDs in the area of Zangoura, west of Ramadi city. Several types of rockets and shells were also found in the area of Albu Dhiab, and 38 other IEDs were detonated in the Kilo 3 area near Ramadi. [Ghad]
A DaeshDaily source says Iraqi Army and Rapid Intervention units started a campaign to clear the Horan Valley area. The source says the forces arrested 14 wanted men and confiscated weapons and IEDs.
A DaeshDaily source says the Shammar tribe killed four young men in the Tilul Al-Baj area in western Shirqat. The source says the victims are brothers of Daesh terrorists who participated in killing more than 30 members of the tribe during the last few days.
DaeshDaily comment. This sounds like a tribal revenge killing of a type not unfamiliar in Iraq. A tribe retaliates for members killed by killing someone from the killer’s tribe, probably someone not involved in the crime. It is a horrifying but often effective deterrent. In this case, Daesh may be the other “tribe,” but those killed could also be members of an actual tribe. The larger problem here is the breakdown of government authority in a critical area.
The Diyala Police announced on Thursday that they had seized explosive materials on the banks of the Diyala River. The police command said in a statement that units from the Buhriz Police had found 5 grenades, mortar shells, an IED, and materials for constructing explosives by the Diyala River, 7 km (4 miles) south of Baquba. [Sumaria]
Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)
Daesh says it wounded several PMF fighters and damaged their vehicle in an ambush in the Nafut Khana area of Khanaqin, on Wednesday. [ICDNJun21]
Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)
Iraqi security personnel stopped an attempt by Daesh to erect fake checkpoints in eastern Diyala Province. Iraqi Police Captain Habib Al-Shammari told a press briefing that units from both the PMF and Iraqi security forces noted a procession of cars and uniformed armed men on the road between the Nafut Khana oil field in Khanaqin and the Mandali subdistrict in southeast Diyala. Al-Shammari said that after checking with both security and military forces, it became clear that the checkpoint was not affiliated with any security force but was a fake checkpoint set up by Daesh. The Daesh fighters manning the fake checkpoint fled after an exchange of fire. [Rudaw]
Daesh says it damaged an Iraqi Army Humvee with an IED in Mohammed Al-Faleh village, in the Al-Nida area, on Wednesday. [ICDNJun21]
The Federal Police said on Thursday that units from the 19th Brigade, 5th Division, arrested 2 persons on terrorism charges in the Laylan subdistrict of Kirkuk. Military Engineering units dismantled 10 IEDs around Tal Al-Ward. [Ghad]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
An “official security source” said on Thursday that security personnel had found the body of a young man previously kidnapped by Daesh from the village of Nafilah in Riyadh subdistrict. The young man was the son of the village mukhtar. His body was found about 3 km (2 miles) from the village. [Shafaaq]
A DaeshDaily source says local police captured 2 Daesh commanders hiding in a house in Al-Zab subdistrict. The source says the terrorists had given large amounts of protection money to Kata’eb Hezbollah earlier. The source says the KH came later and tried to take the terrorists from the police, but the police officer refused.
Daesh says it shot and killed an IFP “spy” in Al-Hora village, in Riyadh, on Wednesday. [ICDNJun21]
Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya, Tel Keif, etc.)
Ninewa Police said on Thursday that they had arrested Daesh’s former “governor” of Tel Keif, “Mujhim Abu Saif Al-Barari,” along with a companion of his. Relating the news, Colonel Saleh Yunis said that security personnel had also found 3 Daesh safehouses in the Wana subdistrict, close to the Mosul Dam. Various weapons, including Katyusha rockets, were seized from the inside of the safehouses. [BasNews]
Daesh says it destroyed a PMF vehicle with an IED in Kokjali, located by an entry point to East Mosul. [A3maq]
The Ministry of the Interior announced on Thursday that 7 Daesh members had been arrested in Mosul. Ministry spokesman General Sa’ad Ma’an said that the 2nd SWAT Regiment under the Ninewa Police command had made the arrests in various parts of the city, and that 1 of the detainees was a Daesh official formerly responsible for collecting weapons from the security services during the period of Daesh control of the city. [Sumaria]
Daesh says it wounded the mukhtar of Hay Al-Zanjili (Al-Zanjili neighborhood) in west Mosul with an IED. [ICDNJun21]
Ninewa Ops Command announced on Thursday that they had found a workshop for making IEDs in north Mosul, in the area of Hawi Al-Kanisa, where the Tigris turns west. [Ghad]
A DaeshDaily source says local police units captured 3 Daesh members in Hay Al-Intisar in east Mosul. The police also captured the owner of the house, who had been hiding the terrorists.
A DaeshDaily source says Ninewa Police units captured Faisal Al-Khatouni, the Daesh hisbah official of Baaj, who was hiding in a house in Hay Al-Wihda in east Mosul.
Daesh says it shot and killed a PMF “spy” in Hay Al-Samah in east Mosul, on Wednesday. [A3maq]
Mosul subdistrict/ Hammam Al-Alil/Shura
A DaeshDaily source says National Security Service units found a kidnapped Yazidi girl with a family in the Hammam Al-Alil camp for displaced people. The source says the family, which is from Tal Afar originally and connected to Daesh, had returned from the Al-Hawl camp in Hasaka a month ago and tried to extort money, $300,000, from the family of the child. The source says the NSS returned the child to her family.
On Thursday, Iraqi security personnel killed 9 armed fighters and arrested 4 others who were attempting to enter Iraq from the Syrian Desert. SWAT Major Sadiq Al-Mufriji said in a press statement that 30 armed fighters in 6 4WD-type vehicles attempted to cross the Syria-Iraq border, headed toward the Hatra desert further east, at dawn on Thursday. He said that they fought with Army troops and the Federal Police, and that the remaining 17 fighters fled to the Syrian side of the border. [Rudaw]
Daesh says it shot and killed a Military Intelligence Service member in the Hatra area. [A3maq]
A security source said that unidentified gunmen had assassinated Colonel Safa’, the acting director of the Babel Passports Department, as he was heading home from his office. The assassination took place in Hilla. [Dijlah]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
The Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey says that the presidential election votes will be counted first in next Sunday’s elections, followed by the parliamentary election votes. Mobile phones, cameras, and similar equipment will be banned in polling stations, which will be open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. [Arabi21]
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has published an analysis by Ferhat Gurini, a writer for a Danish publication that suggests that several changes in election rules could allow Erdogan’s ruling AKP party to subvert Turkey’s election process to gain an unfair but decisive advantage. These include relocation of ballot boxes to put them closer to pro-AKP voters and farther from Kurdish voters, as well as loosened local ballot control procedures that could subject election returns to manipulation by election personnel loyal to the AKP. One key to the outcome of the parliamentary election is that the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) needs to clear the 10% threshold in order to win any seats in parliament. By reducing the number of Kurdish voters and/or recorded votes, the AKP could keep the pro-Kurdish party out of the parliament and gain a strong majority for itself.
The article anticipates a runoff in the separate presidential election between Erdogan and his main challenger, Muharram Ince of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). It also cites polls on the presidential election showing that, in that eventuality, Erdogan’s lead is only about .5 of a percent, which puts further emphasis on the integrity of the election. [CarnegieEndowment]
Iraqi Kurdistan campaign
Turkish PM Binali Yıldırım says Turkish troops have cleared over 400 km2 in Iraqi Kurdistan from the PKK. He also told a local TV station that Turkish forces have established 11 military positions in the area. As he says airstrikes alone can’t eliminate terrorism, he says there are no problems with Iran regarding these operations. [Anadolu]
Turkey reportedly aims to involve the so–called “Free Syrian Army” in its operations in the Qandil Mountains, and has assigned a large budget to pay $800 for each fighter, Kurdish sources say. In Afrin, Turkey spent $6 million on salaries and $5 million on various expenses. The aim, according to an anti-government source, is to gather 5,500 “mercenaries” to take part in the proposed attack. [Hawar]
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, warned that Turkey will cancel all decisions reached in the Astana, Kazakhstan meeting, should Russia and Iran continue their attacks in Idlib. The Turkish Army has 12 observation points in that area related to the so-called de-escalation zone. [Hawar]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry says that the foreign military presence in Syria is not helping to reach a political settlement. She also says that defeated factions are still hoping to recover their lost positions, which makes their participation in any political talks of limited value. She called for continued diplomatic efforts to settle the Syrian problem on basis of UN Resolution 2254 and the Conference of National Dialogue in Sochi. [Qasioun]
A local source says that 2 mines exploded in Afrin, in the Mahmudiya neighborhood in Jinderes subdistrict and the cultural center used by Turkish troops as a headquarters. [Hawar]
A senior US delegation visited the city of Manbij on Thursday, including the commander of US Forces in the Middle East, General Joseph Votel; Under Secretary of Defense John Rood, Commander of US Forces in Iraq and Syria, Paul Funk; and Commander of US Special Forces in Syria and Iraq, Jimmy Gerard. The General Command for the Manbij Military Council said in a statement that the delegation toured the markets of Manbij and listened to people’s opinions and concerns regarding their future and the US-Turkish settlement. An “informed source” in the city said that the visit was aimed at reassuring the Manbij Council and the Kurdish component of the SDF. [BasNews]
Hawar quoted an SDF fighter as saying that the SDF had captured the village Al-Dhiba’i, near Al-Dashisha, from Daesh as of Thursday. The SDF lines are now reported to be between 2 km and 6 km from the Syria-Iraq border. [Hawar]
Raqqa city & district
Daesh says it destroyed 2 SDF vehicles with IEDs south of the Turkman village area, killing or wounding the fighters inside. [ICDNJun21]
Central and West
SOHR reported an armed attack, most likely by Daesh, on a Tahrir Al-Sham checkpoint south of Idlib. It also reported a car bomb explosion in the city of Maarat Al-Numan in southern Idlib, with no casualties. Recently, Idlib witnessed several assassinations targeting mostly Tahrir Al-Sham personnel. [SyriaHR]
Eight civilians were reported killed and 35 wounded by 2 consecutive explosions in the city of Idlib. The blasts came from an IED and a car bomb near the Al-Tawhid mosque and the Carlton Hotel, respectively. [Qasioun]
Government forces claimed control of large desert areas east of Homs, extending to the Iraqi border, after forcing Daesh out. The state-run official news agency SANA says that the Army killed a group of Daesh gunmen in Sukhnah, and that the army holds additional 850 square kilometers following recent gains against Daesh east of Palmyra. [EnabBaladi]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Deir Ez-Zor District
Daesh says it damaged 2 Syrian Army tanks east of the Third Station with hand grenades on Wednesday. [ICDNJun21]
Albu Kamal District
Kata’eb Hezbollah said that the stage was set for responding to the Sunday night airstrike in Syria, which it said killed several of its members. Its spokesman, Jaafar Al-Husseini, was speaking at a press conference during a memorial ceremony in Baghdad for the “martyrs” who died in the strike. Al-Husseini said that the perpetrator of the strike had not yet been proven, but that it couldn’t be anyone other than the Americans or the Israelis. Al-Husseini said that if the perpetrator is proven, there would be an “appropriate response.” [Rudaw]
DaeshDaily comment. And what would this brave spokesman have KH do if his “appropriate response” actually did have to confront Israel or the US?
Local sources told Bas News on Thursday that US-led Coalition forces targeted the town of Al-Sha’afa, with 4 airstrikes that killed 21 Daesh fighters and wounded several others, as well as wounding civilians. The sources said that the first airstrike targeted a Daesh gathering, killing 11 Daesh fighters and wounding 4 civilians. The second targeted a house, killing 4 others, some of them believed to be civilians. The third airstrike targeted a Daesh vehicle, killing 4 armed fighters and destroying the vehicle. The fourth targeted another Daesh vehicle near the Al-Sha’afa orchard, killing 2 fighters and destroying the car. [BasNews]
A DaeshDaily source says Daesh killed 14 Syrian soldiers and captured ground in an attack south of Albu Kamal city. The source says the government sent military reinforcements to the area after the attack.
Anti-government opposition militiamen used multiple rocket launchers to attack government units in Daraa and Suwayda, in response to the regime’s shelling of opposition positions in the two provinces. The opposition group says it inflicted losses on the government forces. [Qasioun]
Daesh says it killed a Syrian Army officer and 20 other soldiers in an ambush near Tal Ghanem on Wednesday. [A3maq] Daesh says it captured a Syrian soldier in the Tal Ghanem area, near Al-Safa. [A3maq]
Daesh says it destroyed a Syrian Army tank and a machine gun-mounted vehicle in an ambush in the Al-Safa area, in the Suwayda desert. [A3maq]
Daesh says it destroyed a government tank with a rocket near Tal Asfar, in the Suwayda desert. [A3maq]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
The Iranian news agency Tasnim says that Iran sent a destroyer and a helicopter carrier from its 54th fleet to the Gulf of Aden, following recent developments at the port of Hodeida in Yemen. [Anadolu]
The Egyptian Army says in a statement that it killed 32 “extremist” gunmen and arrested 36 more in its operations targeting terrorist groups in the north and central Sinai. 15 IEDs were defused, while several storage units for vehicles and weapons were destroyed. [IKH]
The Libyan National Army says that it regained control of the ports of Ras Lanuf and Sadar, in the “oil crescent” area, after attacks that started Thursday morning.
The fighting to capture the rest of Derna is still ongoing. [Hawar]
DaeshDaily comment. Derna was captured long ago. No one has explained why it needs to be captured again.
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
The EU Police Agency (Europol) said that the Europeans who have traveled to Syria and Iraq in order to join Daesh have not returned to Europe in substantial numbers since Daesh’s downturn. Manuel Navarrete, head of Europol’s Counter-Terrorism Center, said that Western counter-terrorism officials remain concerned with tracking insurgents returning from conflict areas, but those insurgents have not returned in large numbers. Rather, Navarrete said the main threat they posed was inspiring low-tech attacks such as those carried out with knives or cars, noting that the police had more difficulty stopping those attacks than attacks by ex-combatants.
Europol said that over 5,000 Europeans overall, mostly from Britain, France, Germany, and Belgium, had traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with Daesh. Of these, about 1,000 had been killed and 1,500 had returned. A large number of returnees have been arrested, with others fleeing or in hiding in Malaysia, the Philippines, Libya, or Turkey. [Sumaria]
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that her country would not participate in a reconstruction process in Syria or Iraq without a political solution to their respective political crises. Responding to a question in a meeting with students at the German University of Jordan, she said that German efforts were presently focused only on humanitarian aid to refugees and IDPs. [Sputnik]
Daesh says it shot and killed a policeman in the Hazar Kanji area, in Quetta. [A3maq]