An Update On ISIS Activities

April 27, 2018

 

Hammam Al-Alil Camp

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

US Embassy decries attacks on women candidates. [..]

Daesh kills 2 in north Baghdad for “promoting the elections.” [..]

Key Haqlaniya-Haditha bridge destroyed by floods. [..]

Diyala protest targets alleged Daesh-linked election candidates. [..]

Two bridges reopened in west Mosul. [..]

Major Daesh terrorist, 12 others arrested south of Mosul. [..]

 

Turkey

Major Daesh terrorist arrested in Izmir. [..]

 

Syria

Turkey announces plan with US to replace YPG in Manbij with new forces. [..]

Europol action weakens capabilities of Daesh propaganda network. [..]

French soldiers reportedly arriving in northern Syria. [..]

Coalition conducts 21 airstrikes in 1 week in Albu Kamal, southern Shaddadi. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

The US Embassy in Baghdad on Friday repeated that attacks and disfigurements against women in the current election campaign were “disappointing and deserved condemnation,” calling for an end to all such [rights] violations and an investigation. ​​ The official US Embassy spokesman said in a press release, “The US Embassy in Baghdad is concerned about recent reports of harassment and​​ defamation against candidates running for parliamentary elections … Attacks and campaigns of mutilation against women during the current election campaign are disappointing and deserve condemnation.” ​​ The Embassy added that these campaigns threaten the integrity of the electoral process, and that all candidates and electoral blocs should respect the concepts in the electoral charter that they signed earlier this year. [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It’s good to denounce the incidents, but would be better if the perpetrators could be identified, so that voters could use their actions against them.​​ 

 

An Arab leader in Kirkuk province, Abdul Rahman Manshid Al-‘Assi, called on Friday for the head of the “Victory” electoral coalition, PM Haider Al-Abadi, to withdraw his candidates from the race in Kirkuk to ensure that the Arab vote is unified rather than dispersed [among multiple lists]. ​​ Al-‘Assi said in a statement that “our demand is not a rejection of the ‘Victory’ coalition, but rather support of the electoral [unity] of a key group in this important district; the Arabs of Kirkuk are waiting for Al-Abadi to be supportive of the Arab alliance, which depends on this unity.” [Sumaria]

 

Former COR Speaker, Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani, wrote that “the most important stage will be after the end of the election, that is, the stage of forming a government.” ​​ In an article published on Friday, Al-Mashhadani wrote that those who imagine that the most important stage [of Iraqi governance] is the election are mistaken, adding that the post-election stage would still have to address many remaining issues in Iraq, including IDPs, reconstruction, terrorism, and corruption. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

Reconstruction

Friday, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) held a conference in Amman to support the economy, reconstruction and health in​​ post-Daesh Iraq. ​​ The conference coordinators said that the donor countries have granted Iraq over $ 150 million for the implementation of several reconstruction projects in Ninewa, Anbar, Salahuddin and Suleimaniya, adding that those projects will be implemented under the supervision of UN-affiliated civil society organizations. [AlTaghier]

 

Al-Araby quoted an official in the Iraqi Ministry of Planning as saying that the Ministry conducted a​​ detailed​​ field survey of the damages caused by the war against Daesh in​​ different​​ provinces. ​​ He added that “If the current financial crisis and corruption continue at high levels, the government will only be able to allocate up to $3​​ billion a year for reconstruction, which means that we need nearly 25 years to return Iraq to what it was before June 2014.” [AlAraby]

 

Anti-Daesh Campaign

Friday, security expert Fadhil Abu Raghif said that Iraq, as a member of the joint intelligence-sharing coalition between Russia, Iran and Syria, has conducted several military operations in Syria, destroying the terrorists’ camps there. “As part of the RSII Coalition, the Iraqi Military Intelligence Service has conducted several military operations against many Daesh camps in Syria, including camps in Hajin and Albu Kamal. It also killed 300 Daesh fighters in the ‘Ansar Al-Khilapha’ camps in Syria.” [KnoozMedia]

 

The Coalition says it conducted 5 airstrikes on Daesh positions in Iraq between April 20 and April 26, in or near Mosul (1), Tal Afar (1), Kirkuk (1), Hawija (1), and Tooz (1). [InherentResolve]​​ 

 

Corruption

Friday, an Iraqi government source​​ speculated​​ that “under the Iraqi General Amnesty Law, the case of Ziad Al-Qattan, in which he is accused of financial and administrative corruption, can be settled if he returns the money he had illegally​​ obtained during​​ his​​ term of​​ public office.”The charges against​​ Al-Qattan​​ could produce a prison term of​​ up to 640 years. On​​ April 15th, Al-Qattan was arrested in Jordan and extradited to Baghdad. [Shafaaq]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

Northwest​​ (Kadhimiya, etc.)

Baghdad Operations​​ Command said on Friday that 2 people had been arrested, including 1 foreign national, on charges of carrying counterfeit currency in Kadhimiya. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)

Daesh issues a video of killing two people who were “promoting the elections” in Tarmiya. [ICDNApr27]

Daesh said on Wednesday it killed two National Security Service “spies” in the Al-Azri area in Tarmiya. Daesh said on Thursday that it “clashed” with a tribal leader who was promoting the elections in the Al-Azri area, in Tarmiya. [ICDNApr26]

 

Daesh said on Thursday that it wounded a PMF fighter after targeting his house with light weapons in the Al-Khan area, near Meshahda. [ICDNApr26]

 

South​​ (Dora, Yusufiyah, Mahmudiya, etc.)

Baghdad Ops Command announced on Friday that its forces had found IEDs left behind by Daesh. ​​ In a statement to the press, Baghdad Ops Command said that they had found 12 IEDs​​ near​​ Karaghoul, south of Baghdad, which were​​ handled​​ without incident. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Total Baghdad incidents reported:  ​​​​ 4(Includes only incidents reported)

Total IED incidents reported:  ​​​​ 1

 

ANBAR

Falluja

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says a US organization defused 14 IEDs planted inside the Falluja Iron Bridge. ​​ 

 

Hit/Haditha

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says the Haqlaniya Bridge was destroyed by floods resulted from heavy rains, cutting off Haqlaniya from Haditha. The source says the bridge was built by people from the area after Daesh blew up the main bridge in 2015.

 

Anah​​ (including Rawa)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says the government opened an office in Rawa to pay compensations to citizens who were affected by military operations.​​ 

 

The spokesman for the Center for Security Information, Brigadier General Yahya Rasul, said in a statement that a force under Anbar Ops Command had arrested 3​​ Daesh​​ terrorists in the​​ Al-Saqra​​ area, who had previously been involved in bombing operations against military personnel. ​​ Rasul​​ said that another group of security personnel detonated 6 IEDs left behind by Daesh in the Al-Jaffa​​ area, and found 3 homemade rockets, an anti-armor explosive, and an RPG during a search west of Ayn Al-Tamur.​​ [Ghad]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Samarra

11 IEDs were found and 2 terrorists killed in Samarra. ​​ The spokesman for the Center for Security Information, Brigadier General Yahya Rasul, said in a statement that a force under Samarra Ops Command conducted a search operation around Al-Layn and found 11 IEDs, 7​​ shaped explosives, and 4 glycerin-based explosives,​​ which​​ were detonated in a controlled explosion. ​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says four PMF fighters were killed when a sticky IED exploded under their vehicle east of Samarra.​​ 

 

Southern Salahuddin​​ (Balad,​​ Dujail)

The Center for Security Information announced on Friday that a “terrorist” had been killed and other Daesh fighters wounded in southern​​ Salahuddin province. ​​ In a press release, the Center said that units from the Directorate of Military Intelligence and Samarra Ops Command, in cooperation with the 6th​​ Federal Police and the PMF, had thwarted an infiltration attempt in the Yathrib region. [Sumaria]​​ [SngIq]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Samarra Operations Command units killed 2 Daesh terrorists who sneaked into the Tal Al-Dhahab area, in Yathrib subdistrict.​​ 

On Friday, PMF units killed a suicide bomber in southern​​ Balad​​ District. ​​​​ According to a PMF media statement, the 43rd​​ Brigade (PMF) killed the suicide bomber in Tal Al-Dhahab.​​ [Mawazin]​​ 

The Center for Security Information said that​​ the​​ Samarra Ops Command had killed 2 terrorists and wounded 2 others in​​ the incident. ​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Eastern Salahuddin (Al-Daur,​​ Tooz)

In a statement released on Friday, the Rapid Reaction Force announced it foiled a Daesh attempt to blow up one of its positions north of Tooz District between Kirkuk and Salahuddin, using a booby-trapped car tire. According to the statement, the Rapid Reaction Force in Tuz Khurmatu dismantled the tire.​​ [SngIq]

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Families of “victims of terrorism” demonstrated outside of the Diyala​​ Provincial​​ Council building in Baquba on Friday to protest candidates with alleged terrorist affiliations. ​​ An official for the demonstration, Dia’ Selem, said, “Dozens of families of victims of terrorism in Diyala took part in a peaceful demonstration​​ . . .​​ to reject the candidacy of those whose hands are stained with the blood of innocent people.” ​​​​ [Sumaria]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says a group of Daesh terrorists briefly captured the building of the North Oil Company, west of Dibis, after Oil Protection Police withdrew without a fight. The terrorists fled after IFP units arrived in the area.​​ 

 

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

Daesh says it destroyed 2 IFP bulldozers and damaged an SUV in clashes near Barima village, east of Hawija, on Wednesday. [ICDNApr26]

 

Daesh said it killed four PMF fighters by detonating a booby-trapped house in Lazzaqa village, east of Riyadh, on Wednesday. [ICDNApr26]

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad,​​ Taza,​​ etc.)

Daesh said it blew up an electricity tower that “belongs to PMFs” near Kathahiya village in Daquq District, on Tuesday. [ICDNApr26]

 

NINEWA

Mosul

7 Daesh fighters were killed in an Iraqi Army operation​​ in northwest Mosul. ​​ Lieutenant Colonel Haitham Ahmed, an officer in the 15th​​ Division of the Iraqi Army, said in a press statement that the 7 Daesh fighters were killed during an operation to clear the hills of the Badoush area. ​​ He said that the operation was carried out with air support from Iraqi Army Aviation​​ helicopters, adding that the Army has carried out several operations in those hills, which are fortified by the remaining Daesh fighters there. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

Salem Hashem, the Director of Roads and Bridges for Ninewa,​​ announced on Friday that they were re-opening two bridges​​ in west Mosul​​ that​​ had been destroyed during the period of Daesh control of the city. ​​ He​​ said in a press statement​​ that​​ “Engineering and technical cohorts completed the reconstruction of the bridges​​ . . .​​ which were opened for traffic.” ​​ He added that dozens more bridges destroyed during Daesh control of Mosul would be rebuilt in the coming months. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

Southern Ninewa

Mosul subdistrict/ Hammam Al-Alil/Shura

The Center for Security Information announced on Friday that they had arrested a “terrorist” in Mosul who they said led riots during the “sit-ins.” ​​ Brigadier General Yahya Rasul, the spokesman for the Center, said that units of the Military Intelligence Directorate in the 20th​​ Division had arrested the terrorist in Hammam Al-Alil. ​​ Rasul said, “The terrorist played a negative role in fueling sectarianism and incitement against security forces, and supported Daesh during the so-called ‘sit-in,’ and was among the first of those announcing their support for Daesh when they entered into Mosul, and was one of the heads of the riots and those calling for fighting the security forces during the liberation [of Mosul].” [Sumaria] [Ghad]​​ 

 

Ninewa Police Command said that they had arrested 12 Daesh fighters during an inspection.​​ Brigadier General Hamad Al-Jubouri said in a statement that Ninewa​​ Police had arrested the 12 wanted persons in the village of Rahmaniya​​ in Mosul Subdistrict. [Mawazin]​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa​​ (No reports)

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

The armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) announced on Friday that they had killed 3 Turkish special forces fighters in the Barzan district. ​​ The PKK said in a statement, “Armed forces targeted a Turkish Army special force in the Barzan border area … and killed 3 Turkish fighters.” ​​ They added that “these [PKK] units specialize in ambushes … our fighters had been tracking their movements for 2 days.” [Sumaria]

 

Friday, Hawar reported that the PKK in northern Erbil attacked 6 Turkish Army positions in Tal Lilkan in the Sidekan border region in northern Erbil, destroying 5 of them and killing 6 Turkish soldiers. [Hawar]

 

Friday, Anadolu reported that a Turkish soldier was killed, and another wounded in a PKK attack on Turkish Army personnel in Kani Rash in northern​​ Erbil. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Friday, according to security sources, Anadolu reported that the Turkish security forces in​​ Izmir arrested Daesh’s​​ emir​​ of Deir Ez-Zor as well as 3 other senior Daesh leaders​​ as they​​ tried​​ to flee Turkey. The sources added that Daesh’s emir of Deir Ez-Zor is a senior Daesh leader who was close to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and was involved in the killing of 700 civilians in Syria.​​ [Dorar]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Manbij

Friday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey is working with the U.S. to get the YPG to withdraw from Syria’s Manbij. Turkey and the U.S. have agreed to approve a roadmap on Syria to avoid potential confrontation between the two allies, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said after meeting with the new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels on the occasion of a NATO summit. “In our meeting we confirmed approval of a roadmap on which our joint working group has reached an initial agreement,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters. “We will implement the Manbij model in other parts of Syria, particularly east of the Euphrates. We’ll therefore be taking a step with the U.S. on an issue that causes tension in our bilateral ties. If the roadmap is implemented, the YPG will be withdrawn from Manbij and a transparent process will be carried out for the security and governance of the city. Otherwise we’ll have to intervene against the terrorists just like we did in Afrin,” he said. [Qasioun]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

In a statement released on Friday, Europol announced that law enforcement authorities of the European Union Member States, Canada and the USA have seized servers and data from Daesh propaganda outlets in a multi-country operation aimed at tracking down radicals and crimping the group’s ability to spread its violent message. With this takedown action, targeting major Daesh-branded media outlets like​​ A3maq, Al-Bayan Radio, Halumu and Nashir news, Daesh’s capability to broadcast and publicize terrorist material has been compromised. Rob Wainwright, Executive Director of Europol, commented said “with this ground-breaking operation we have punched a big​​ hole in the capability of Daesh to spread propaganda online and radicalize young people in Europe. I applaud the determined and innovative work by Europol and its partners to target a major part of the international terrorist threat prevalent in Europe today.” [EnabBaladi]

 

In a statement released on Friday, the International Coalition against Daesh operating in Syria and Iraq has admitted to killing 28 more civilians. The latest deaths bring the overall confirmed toll of civilians killed in the Coalition operations to at least 883. The coalition acknowledged the new deaths after a review of 49 reports of potential civilian casualties from air and artillery strikes. The US-led Coalition has conducted over 29 thousand strikes over the past four years in Iraq and Syria. [Qasioun]

 

Refugees

Friday, the German Foreign Ministry announced that it was “deeply angered” by Assad’s latest decree, under which Syrians will have only 30 days to document property ownership in the war-torn country after the release of any new urban rebuilding plan. In a statement to the​​ Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Foreign Ministry said it regarded Assad’s​​ decree​​ as a “specious” attempt to put Syrians’ property rights into question. “It was an apparent attempt to fundamentally modify local conditions to the benefit of the regime and its supporters and hinder the return of a huge number of Syrians,” the Ministry added. [Dorar]

 

Tahrir Al-Sham

Friday, Hawar said that Turkish authorities have held a number of meetings with Tahrir Al-Sham’s leaders in Turkey to reach an a agreement, under which Tahrir Al-Sham will be dissolved and​​ merged into the other Turkey-backed Syrian militias that Russia doesn’t consider as being terrorists. In order to achieve that end, Hawar added, Turkey has​​ invented​​ a fake war between Tahrir Al-Sham and the Syria Liberation Front. [Hawar]

 

Northwest

Manbij/Al-Bab/Jarabulus

A Syrian Kurdish source close to the SDF said on Friday that large numbers of French military reinforcements arrived during the past week in northern Syria. ​​ Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source told​​ Bas​​ News​​ that large numbers of French special forces had been arriving over the last week​​ in​​ Manbij and​​ Kobane, following the Turkish threat to enter Manbij. ​​ The source said that​​ some​​ of the [French] forces​​ are​​ now​​ spread across​​ areas​​ where pro-Turkey militias have been operating, including Jarabulus and Al-Bab. ​​ The source emphasized that the​​ Coalition is trying to establish local forces composed of Arabs, Kurds, and Christians to protect the eastern Euphrates border area from being threatened by Daesh. ​​ [BasNews]

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said an 18-year-old Daesh member committed suicide in the Dashisha area. The man was one of many young people forcibly recruited by Daesh. The source says Daesh fighters in the area are under huge pressures because of the continuous fighting. Daesh hasn’t paid salaries for the last 4 months. The source also says that while Daesh prohibits its fighters from smoking, its leaders are making money from smuggling cigarettes.​​ 

 

Central and West​​ 

Aleppo/Idlib

According to local Syrian sources, a car bomb exploded in the fuel market in the city of Jarabulus, with no casualties. ​​ The area has recently been hit by a number of terrorist attacks, including a motorcycle bombing in the city of Al-Bab, which did result in civilian casualties. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Homs

Friday, the anti-government “Syrian National Army” said that its 4th​​ Brigade’s snipers killed 3 members of the Syrian forces in Kissin village north of Homs.​​ [Qasioun]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal​​ District

The Coalition says it conducted 21 airstrikes on Daesh positions in between April 20 and April 26,​​ 13 near Albu Kamal and 8 near Shaddadi​​ in southern Hasaka. [InherentResolve]​​ 

 

Friday, Qasioun reported that a Coalition airstrike killed 5 Daesh members​​ who were​​ trying to infiltrate​​ the SDF-held positions in Al-Bahra village. Meanwhile, Daesh reportedly conducted a fierce attack against the Syrian forces’ positions near Maizila town east of Deir Ez-Zor.​​ [Qasioun]

 

SOHR reported that clashes resumed on Thursday evening between the SDF and Daesh in different locations on the outskirts of Hajin, accompanied by mutual shelling. Meanwhile, the SDF, backed by the Coalition, is reportedly preparing​​ to​​ launch a military operation against Daesh in rural southern Hasaka in the coming days.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh said on Thursday it targeted 2 Syrian Army military positions near Albu Kamal with 2 SPG9 rockets. [ICDNApr26]

Daesh said on Thursday its snipers killed a Syrian soldier near Albu Kamal. [ICDNApr26]

 

Daesh publishes photos of a group of its terrorists watching a Daesh propaganda video in Hajin. [ICDNApr27]

Daesh publishes 2 photos of rain in the Susah area. [ICDNApr27]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Friday,​​ Qasioun​​ reported that Russian warplanes conducted airstrikes on the Daesh-held positions in Al-Yarmouk Camp and​​ another​​ area south of Damascus. Meanwhile, Syrian helicopters dropped barrel bombs on the outskirts of Al-Tadhamun​​ in south Damascus​​ and​​ the​​ Al-Zain neighborhood​​ in Yelda, south of Damascus,​​ causing extensive destruction of infrastructure.​​ [Qasioun]

Daesh says it stopped a Syrian Army attack on Hay Al-Zain, south of Damascus, killing 8 soldiers. [ICDNApr27]

Daesh said on Thursday it killed 3 Syrian Army soldiers, including an officer, in clashes in Hay Al-Tadhamun and the Yarmouk Camp. [ICDNApr26]

 

Friday,​​ A3maq​​ reported that Daesh snipers killed 20 members of the Syrian forces​​ who were​​ trying to advance into Al-Qadam neighborhood south of Damascus. It also added that Daesh destroyed 3​​ BMP​​ vehicles and a Syrian forces’ ammunition depot in the same neighborhood.​​ [Dorar]

Daesh says the Syrian Army couldn’t advance south of Damascus after 9 days of battles. [ICDNApr27]​​ 

Daesh said on Thursday its snipers killed 2 Syrian soldiers in Hay Al-Qadam. [ICDNApr26]

 

Friday, SOHR reported that a partial agreement was reached between the Syrian anti-government militias operating in southern Rif Damashq and the Syrian government to let a batch of injured fighters leave the area and head to northern Syria. ​​ Those fighters were reportedly attacked by the Syrian forces’ helicopters three days ago.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

In its​​ Naba​​ magazine, Daesh issues infographic about its battles south of Damascus during the last week. It says it stopped 12 attacks, killed 155 soldiers, including officers, wounded “tens,” and destroyed or damaged 7 tanks and 4 bulldozers. [ICDNApr27]

Daesh issues a propaganda video about its battles south of Damascus. [ICDNApr27]

 

Daraa

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Daesh is training children, as young as a 6-year-old, on using weapons in Tasil town, west of Daraa. The source says the children are mostly orphans whose fathers were killed during military operations.​​ 

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Saudi Arabia/Yemen

Friday, a Yemeni source said that an Al-Qaeda leader, Nasser Hussein Albu Bakri, was killed in a US drone attack in Rafd Valley near Al-Said town in Shabwa in southeastern Yemen. [KnoozMedia]

 

Daesh publishes a photo of one of its Yemeni terrorists, claiming he was killed in Bayda. [ICDNApr26]

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh says it killed or wounded several Egyptian soldiers and destroyed an armored personal carrier and a bulldozer as Egyptian Army units were “trying to advance” west of Rafah and east of Arish. [ICDNApr27]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

UK

Two​​ people were injured on Friday after a car hit them near a mosque in Birmingham (UK), according to the BBC. ​​ The 2 victims are both in their 20s. ​​ The police were quoted as saying they had not ruled out “terrorism” as a motive. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

Italy

Italian police announced that they had arrested a 21-year-old asylum seeker from Gambia, saying that he was one of a number of extremists encouraging a terrorist attack in the Naples area. ​​ Al-Aji Turay became a suspect after posting a video on social media declaring his allegiance to the leader​​ of Daesh, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. ​​ Police said at a news conference that Turay told them that the video was a “joke” and that a colleague from Gambia had asked Turay to coordinate a terrorist attack. [Sumaria]

 

Spain

Spanish and Moroccan media have been reporting on a female Daesh member who is classified as the most dangerous woman in Daesh, and is still wanted by international intelligence. ​​ Fadwa Hassad Al-Muzadad, a Moroccan immigrant living in Spain, has become one of the most famous female terrorists in Daesh. ​​ According to media reports, the search for Hassad became public after her husband, who works in Spain, was charged last Monday with financing the travel of his wife and a Palestinian Daesh leader to Syria. ​​ After the early April arrest of a Moroccan terrorist in Turkey considered the “head recruiter” for Moroccans [to join Daesh], Spanish security reports revealed that Hassad traveled to Turkey in February 2016, disembarking from her plane in Turkey and not going on to Greece as booked. ​​ Her husband said after being arrested that he sent her more than 60,000 [Moroccan] dirhams, used to cover her expenses and those of her 25-year-old Palestinian boyfriend in Turkey. ​​ Investigations indicated that the husband was aware of the relationship between his wife and the Palestinian Daesh leader. ​​ After returning to Spain, Hassad made a multi-stop trip to Syria in 2017, traveling by way of France, Italy, and Greece to the Turkey-Syria border. ​​ Reportedly, Hassad did not travel to Syria to marry a Daesh fighter, but rather to participate in combat herself, which has made Spanish and Moroccan authorities concerned that she will return to Europe to plan terrorist attacks there. [Ghad]​​ 

 

Russia

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Friday that​​ it​​ had dismantled a Daesh sleeper cell that was planning to carry out an attack in Moscow. ​​ In a press statement, the FSB said​​ it​​ intercepted the activity of 4 Daesh members in the city of Novi Urengoy, who planned to carry out a series of terrorist operation in and around Moscow. ​​ The FSB added that the cell was corresponding with Syria​​ via the messaging app Telegram. ​​ The FSB also announced on Thursday that​​ it​​ had eliminated 12 “terrorists” and 14 “terrorist supporters” in a series of operations between April 21​​ and​​ April 24 in Dagestan, Tatarstan, Stavropol, Omsk, and Ulyanovsk provinces. ​​ Also,​​ 11 terrorists were eliminated in the city of Derbent, Dagestan, who were reportedly plotting to attack security forces. ​​ [Ghad]​​ [Rudaw]​​ [AlWafd]

 

AFRICA

Somalia

Daesh published on Thursday photos of shooting and killed two Somali Intelligence members in a market in Mogadishu. [ICDNApr26]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Daesh published on Thursday photos of one of its training camps in Afghanistan. [ICDNApr26]

 
Note to​​ Daesh Daily​​ readers​​ 
The Independent High Electoral Commission will hold an “introduction session” this Saturday from 5 to 7 pm in northern Virginia. IHEC is trying to reach out to Iraqis in the US, especially ethnic groups, to participate in the election. It informed us that it has simplified the procedures and doubled the number of US voting centers, from 9 to 18. We think it is important for all Iraqis to decide the future of their country. We urge our colleagues in media to help with these efforts.​​ 
The address of the event is 8609 Westwood Center Dr., Vienna, VA 22182.

 

April 26, 2018

 

Turkey

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Grand Ayatollah’s implied criticism of current politicians rattles political establishment. [..]

Al-Abadi takes campaign to Erbil; says Arabs and Kurds share same perspective as citizens. [..]

10 foreign Daesh defendants get death sentences. [..]

Major Daesh terrorist leader in Baghdad area arrested. [..]

Salahuddin decides to compensate citizens impacted by military operations. [..]

Arab newspaper accuses Yazidis of preventing Arab families from returning to Sinjar. [..]

 

Turkey

14 Cumhuriyet journalists convicted, sentenced to prison in Turkey. [..]

 

Syria

Mattis says US will accelerate fight against Daesh in Syria. [..]

Israel’s UN rep details Iran’s strong military position in Syria. [..]

Combined Islamic militias attacking Syrian forces in Hama, Homs. [..]

Coalition airstrike kills 12 Daesh in​​ Albu Kamal. [..]

Syrian forces gain slightly in major clashes south of Damascus. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced on Thursday that it had destroyed 6 million​​ old​​ electronic cards. ​​ Karim Al-Tamimi, a member of the Board of Commissioners and its​​ official spokesman, said in a statement that the more than 6 million short-term e-cards​​ were​​ destroyed after voters​​ holding them​​ received new e-cards with their pictures and biometric data on them. ​​ Al-Tamimi said that the decision​​ to destroy the old cards​​ was undertaken to reassure political parties and ensure transparency, and that the old cards were destroyed in the presence of political,​​ media, and​​ civil society organization​​ representatives. [BasNews]

 

A​​ British newspaper affiliated with​​ The Independent​​ published a report on the upcoming Iraqi elections, writing that the formation of a new government after the election was expected to be postponed due to a split in the Shia​​ votes. ​​ The report wrote, “Many Iraqis selected candidates [in the previous elections] because of their sectarian affiliation without any thought, but these days they have split [from sectarian affiliation] to stand against the government, which has failed to build the country’s infrastructure or create new jobs or end violence in Iraq.” ​​ The report, also published by Reuters, went on to note, “This split threatens to divide the Shia​​ votes, which would lead to a delay in forming a new government and allow Iran to intervene in Iraqi politics.” ​​ The report then referred to​​ Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Iraq’s top Shia​​ cleric, as calling on Shia​​ in​​ Iraq to vote for fresh faces.​​ 

The call to vote for new candidates comes from the phrase “The tested,​​ should not be re-tested,” which was used by a representative of the Grand Ayatollah​​ in​​ Najaf in Friday’s sermon. ​​ Since then, political, popular, and religious circles in Iraq have all been busy interpreting the phrase. The phrase raised the concern of [electoral] coalitions and Shia​​ figures even though they did not consider themselves targets of it. ​​ Representatives of the Grand Ayatollah sought to warn voters against voting for individuals or blocs whose work was associated with corruption or mismanagement​​ through the phrase. ​​ However, because they have not identified​​ any specific political figure or coalition, a debate raged last week over who exactly was being referred to. ​​ [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Sistani was the original inspiration for the United Iraqi Alliance that brought Shia parties together for the first election. However, he soon distanced himself from the people who got elected. His seemingly negative stance reported here is therefore no surprise, but it would be a mistake to read some political strategy into it.​​ 

 

Vice-President Nouri Al-Maliki and his Rule of Law​​ alliance​​ were said to be among the most concerned by the reference, given his previous two terms as PM of Iraq, which saw Iraq suffer corruption, mismanagement, and Daesh control over large swathes of its territory. ​​ In​​ his​​ interview with the Hezbollah-affiliated channel​​ Al-Mayadeen, Al-Maliki said that the phrase “The tester, not the tested” was not addressed to him or his coalition, but was rather a reference to a speech by Imam Ali. ​​ He added that the phrase, while not referring to the Rule of Law coalition, did refer to another person whose name Al-Maliki preferred not to say. ​​ [BasNews]

 

Iraqi PM Haider Al-Abadi, the leader of the “Victory” coalition, said on Thursday that relations between Kurds and Arabs are strong, arguing that there is no difference between Arab and Kurdish citizens. ​​ Al-Abadi said in a speech at the Sa’ad Abdullah Conference Hall in Erbil, “We have to work to break this political quota and build a new Iraq. . . . We cannot imagine Iraqi cities [belonging to] one sect, or one race, because all Iraqi cities are mixed [demographically] … We hope for more cooperation from the KRG.” ​​ [Rudaw]

 

The KRG Security Council leader Masrour​​ Barzani said on Thursday that the elections represent a challenge for the KDP, asking, “How can you defend those who opposed the referendum on our rights in Baghdad?” ​​ The speech was given at a ceremony in Erbil as part of the KDP election campaign. ​​ Barzani said, “We did not want to have war or hostility between the Kurdistan region and other parts of Iraq. . . .​​ There were parties that wanted to misinterpret our intentions and the objectives of our people, and instigated the aggression against Kurdistan.” ​​ He added, “At a time when the Peshmerga forces were defending the Kurdistan Region, other [parties] were recruiting people to join Daesh, and now they are asking citizens to vote for them.” [Rudaw]

Masrour Barzani also said on Thursday that documents existed proving that political parties in the​​ Kurdistan region​​ had provided support for Daesh. ​​ Barzani said in a speech addressing students and young people, “There are political parties in the Kurdistan Region that provided support for Daesh and encouraged people to join them. . . .documents exist confirming this.” ​​ He added that these parties are asking people to vote for them in the upcoming elections and asked citizens to “respond to these parties.” [Sumaria]

 

Thursday, the PMF spokesman in the North, Ali Al-Husseini, said that there are some attempts to keep the citizens of Kirkuk away from participating in the elections, indicating that the people of Kirkuk have become well aware of their enemy and are very ready to participate in the upcoming elections. “Some malicious media outlets are fueling the situation in Kirkuk by spreading false news about the deterioration of the security situation as well as other threats in order to keep citizens away from participating in the elections,” he said. [KnoozMedia]

 

Iraq-KRG​​ issues

Major General Ma’an Al-Sa’adi, the commander of anti-terrorism law enforcement in Kirkuk province, said on Thursday that the federal government had not reached a decision on the return of Peshmerga forces to the province. ​​ “The Coalition commander visited the province to explore the security situation, and I was received by the Governor of Kirkuk​​ . . .​​ and there were no meetings regarding this,” said Al-Sa’adi. [Sumaria]

 

Anti-Daesh​​ campaign

The Central Criminal Court in Baghdad sentenced 10 foreign Daesh fighters to death or​​ to​​ life imprisonment on Thursday. ​​ The spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, Judge Abd​​ Al-Sattar Birqdar, said in a statement that the Court had sentenced 5 fighters to death by hanging, 2 of whom​​ are Azerbaijani citizens and 3​​ come from Kyrgyzstan, for belonging to Daesh. ​​ Birqdar also said that 5 life sentences were given to people convicted on​​ terrorism charges,​​ including citizens of Russia (3)​​ Azerbaijan, and France. [Sumaria]

 

Thursday, Baghdad PC Security Committee​​ member​​ Saad Al-Matlabi, said that “the existence of unidentified mobile phone numbers that are not registered in the mobile phone companies is the biggest security breach in Iraq.” He pointed out that “sanctions were imposed on those companies due to the existence of those unregistered mobile phone numbers, but this phenomenon is still present, and phone companies must pay much​​ more​​ attention to this issue due to its serious implications.” [IkhNews]

 

Thursday, an Asa’eb Ahl Al-Haq leader, Mahmoud Al-Rubaie, said that the Iraqi government made a mistake when it did not fight Daesh in Syria in 2011, noting that the Iraqi Air force today is targeting​​ all terrorists inside the Syrian territory near Iraq’s border. “The Iraqi government has a weakness in planning. It should have taken an action against the presence of terrorism in Syria in 2011. It should have sent security forces and its aircraft to eliminate terrorism in Syria since it entered there. The Iraqi government then could have eliminated terrorism and prevented it from extending to Iraq,” he added. [KnoozMedia]

 

Reconstruction

The Australian Government announced that it was allocating $12 million Australian in financial support to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Iraq, to be disbursed over a 3-year period. ​​ The funds will support UNFPA in continuing to provide health services related to reproductive health and gender. ​​ UNAMI noted in a statement that as in all humanitarian crises, women and girls were disproportionately affected by violence, referring to the use of sexual violence and forced marriage in Iraq as weapons by Daesh. ​​ Women and girls in Daesh-controlled areas have also been denied access to basic reproductive health services. ​​ The Australian Ambassador to Iraq, Dr. Joanne Loundes, said, “Gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential parts of Australia’s foreign policy, economic diplomacy, and development work.” ​​ The UNFPA representative for Iraq, Ramanathan Balakrishnan, expressed the organization’s gratitude for Australian support. [BasNews]

 

BAGHDAD

The Center for Security Information announced on Thursday that a Daesh leader had been arrested who had carried out 7 terrorist operations in the Baghdad Belt areas between 2014 and 2016. ​​ The Center said that he was arrested by intelligence and counter-terrorism units, and that his previous​​ terrorist operations included targeting both security personnel and civilians with IEDs. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Security-related incidents reported

Southeast​​ (Mada’in, etc.)

Civilians were injured in an IED explosion in Al-Mada’in,​​ in southeast Baghdad​​ Governorate. ​​ A security source said on Thursday that the IED exploded near a livestock market in the Wardiya area, wounding civilians, after which security personnel cordoned off the area. ​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

ANBAR

Falluja

Anbar Ops Command announced on April 26th​​ that they had seized explosives equipment left behind by Daesh, along with narcotics. Military intelligence units under East Anbar Ops Command made the explosives seizure in Albu​​ Khanfar, a village in the Qarma​​ subdistrict. ​​ It included 99 IEDs, 2 artillery shells, and 2 20-liter barrels containing iron cylinders, which were detonated onsite. [Etejah]​​ 

 

Al-Qa’im

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says a 19-year-old college student was killed when a Daesh leftover IED exploded on him near Al-Qa’im.​​ 

 

Rutba

The 6th​​ Border Guards Brigade announced that it had seized 3 tires containing narcotics in the Syria-Jordan-Iraq border triangle region. The seizure was estimated at 138 kg of cannabis and 310,000 “love drug” pills [Ecstasy]. [Etejah]​​ 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Iraqi Border Guard units captured 3 vehicles carrying large quantities of drugs near the Jordan border. The source sent us photos.​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Salahuddin Governor Ahmed Abdullah Abd Al-Jubouri announced on Thursday that a request had been approved to spend 5 billion Iraq dinars on compensation packages​​ for​​ families​​ impacted​​ by military operations in the province. ​​ Al-Jubouri said in a press statement that the approved request also covered paying the salaries of local village leaders for February, March, and April 2018, and that he expected those salaries to be disbursed starting next Sunday. [Sumaria]

 

Baiji

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says a group of Daesh terrorists killed an IFP officer, a PMF commander, and three civilians and set their vehicle on fire at a fake checkpoint in the Al-Fatha area.​​ 

​​ 

Tikrit

A spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior announced the arrest of a Daesh leader for participation in the Camp Speicher massacre. ​​ The spokesman said in a statement that Ninewa​​ Police had arrested the​​ man​​ in Mkaishifa, south of Tikrit. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Samarra

Security personnel around the city of Samarra, Salahuddin province, found several IEDs on Thursday. ​​ The spokesman for the Center for Security Information, Brigadier General Yahya​​ Rasul, said in a statement that Samarra Ops Command had found 11 IEDs, 6 packed explosives, and 4 glycerin-based explosives during a search in Al-Layn. ​​ The explosives were subjected​​ to controlled detonation. [Ghad]​​ 

 

DIYALA

Thursday, a security source reported that security forces found 3 explosives​​ belts hidden in a house,​​ during a search operation​​ in​​ Al-Udhaim subdistrict in Diyala. [KnoozMedia]

 

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

PMF and Army forces found a Daesh safehouse during a raid on Thursday. ​​ A PMF statement said that a group of 24 PMF fighters together with Army​​ units, with support from Iraqi Army Air, conducted the raid in​​ near​​ Al-Zoor, northwest of Al-Khalis city.​​ [Etejah]​​ 

 

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

Diyala Ops Commander Lieutenant General Mizher Al-Azzawi announced on Thursday the seizure and destruction of Daesh safehouses. ​​ Al-Azzawi said that a joint security force was responsible for seizing the safehouses, located in orchards in the village of Bablan, in Muqdadiya. [Sumaria]

 

KIRKUK

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

Thursday, a security source said that security forces arrested a Daesh terrorist​​ as he tried​​ to​​ sneak​​ into Riyadh subdistrict in southern Kirkuk disguised as an Arab. [KnoozMedia]

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad,​​ Taza,​​ etc.)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says an Iraqi Army 1st​​ lieutenant was killed when a Daesh IED exploded on his civilian vehicle in Rashad.​​ 

 

NINEWA

Thursday,​​ a​​ member of the Ninewa PC Women’s Committee, Sakina Mohammed Ali, said that a 28 year old Christian woman was freed after her relatives​​ and supporting​​ businessmen paid a ransom to the Daesh members who kidnapped her. According to Sakina Mohammed,​​ the woman​​ was taken to Syria,​​ where she was sold five times to different​​ Daesh​​ members, before her family could​​ locate​​ her and take her back to Erbil. [Dijlah]

 

Mosul

The Interior Ministry announced on Thursday that a fugitive who had previously escaped from the Badoush prison was recaptured. ​​ The spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Major General Sa’ad​​ Ma’an, said that the 2nd​​ Emergency Regiment of the Ninewa Police arrested an escapee from​​ Badoush, who had been sentenced to 20 years in prison, in the​​ Al-Ma’ash​​ Market area in​​ west Mosul.​​ [Etejah]​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says the Mosul Police captured Mohammed Ihsan Al-Hashemi, a Daesh leader, in west Mosul. The source says the terrorist, who was using a fake ID, had been responsible for executing army and police members.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says the Ninewa Police captured a Daesh member who was hiding in a deserted house in Hay Al-Dhubat, in east Mosul.​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Qayara

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Iraqi Army 20th​​ division captured a Daesh cell in the Qayara area.

A statement by​​ Brigadier General Yahya Rasul, spokesman for the Center for Security Information,​​ confirmed that report, saying​​ that a terrorist cell had been arrested south of Mosul. ​​ “Intelligence divisions of the 20th​​ Brigade infiltrated and dismantled a terrorist cell, arresting its members, in Qayara, where they were plotting terrorist activities,” Rasul said. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says tribal men captured an African Daesh member near Ayn Zala village, in the Zummar subdistrict, and handed him over to the police. The source says the terrorist got lost while he was on his the way to leave to Syria. ​​ 

The Center for Security Information​​ confirmed​​ on Thursday that the Directorate of Police in Zummar had arrested​​ near Ayn Zala​​ a foreign Daesh fighter, 35 years old, who had no documents and spoke little Arabic.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Sinjar

The newspaper​​ Al-Arabi Al-Jadid​​ reported that armed Yazidis​​ prevented Arab tribes from returning to Sinjar. The Yazidis claim that the Arab tribes are still harboring Daesh fighters. ​​ The report said, “The armed forces of Lalish, located in Sinjar, are preventing Arab tribes from returning to the city​​ . . .​​ imposing impossible conditions on them,” adding that a year after the expulsion of Daesh, the province of​​ Ninewa​​ as​​ a whole was still unstable. [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The Yazidis are quite aware that they were betrayed by some of their Arab neighbors, thus leading to the arrival of Daesh and the deaths of a huge number of Yazidis and the slavery of many Yazidi women. They don’t want this experience repeated.​​ 

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Babel

Security personnel from Anbar Ops Command found an explosives​​ belt, 2 IEDs, 7 explosive batteries, 3 phones and 2 detonators in the Albu​​ Shalmu area. ​​ Additionally, Anbar Ops Command announced their discovery of 5 IEDs at the Al-Ghar Primary School, which were dismantled. ​​ The Directorate of Police in Babel province also announced the arrest of several persons wanted for various crimes. ​​ According to the Directorate, this was the result of search operations in Hilla, Musayyib, Mahawil, and the Jbala area, as well as the areas​​ of Hashemiya,​​ Hamza Al-Gharbi,​​ and Qasim​​ in south Babel. ​​ [IraqPress]​​ 

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

14 journalists from the Turkish newspaper​​ Cumhuriyet​​ were sentenced on charges of terrorism, while 3 others were released. ​​ Most of the prison sentences range from 2 ½ year to 7 ½ years, with​​ one sentence of 10 years, the defense lawyer Ozdin​​ Ozdemir told Reuters. ​​ Turkish authorities have accused journalists of supporting the opposition activist Fethullah​​ Gulen. Ozdemir said that the sentences were “illegal” and that the case against the journalists was political.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This verdict is disgraceful, as was the arrest of the journalists in the first place.​​ The Cumhuriyet personnel were among thousands detained illegally and their trial was one among many, but they were perhaps among the most prominent of the defendants. In the Sultan’s Turkey, independent journalism is now a crime.

 

Thursday, Anadolu quoted security sources as saying that Turkish security forces​​ neutralized​​ four PKK members in a security operation in Hakkâri Province, in Turkey’s southeast corner. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Thursday, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced that the U.S. will accelerate its fight against Daesh in Syria. “Right now we are not withdrawing,” Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “In the days ahead,” he added, “you’ll see a re-energized effort in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, where remnants of Daesh are holding out.” “We are continuing the fight, we are going to expand it and bring in more regional support, and this is probably the biggest shift we’re making right now,” he continued. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Danny Danon, presented to the members of the Security Council an intelligence picture allegedly taken in Syria for what he said​​ was Iran’s “central induction and recruitment center in Syria,” located between the capital Damascus and the Lebanese border. “We are presenting this image to the world so you can understand the depth of Iran’s involvement in Syria,” Danon told a meeting of the UN Security Council convened to discuss the Middle East peace process. “It is at this base, just over five miles from Damascus, where these dangerous extremists are trained and then assigned their missions of terror throughout Syria and the region,” he said. “There are over 80,000 extremists from all over the Middle East who are members of Shia militias in Syria under Iranian control,” Danon told the UN Security Council. Danon said that the group has “amassed over 100,000 rockets and missiles” for use against Israel. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, France’s top anti-terror prosecutor, Francois Molins, said that French security services had identified 416 French donors to Daesh and had also detected 320 fundraisers,​​ mainly based in Turkey and Libya,​​ who transferred the money to Daesh. “Work with the financial intelligence unit helped identify 416 people in France who have donated money to Daesh over the last two years,” he said. ​​ “Daesh uses​​ micro-financing techniques to collect a great number of small amounts of money,” he added. [EnabBaladi]

 

Northwest​​ (No reports)

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Daesh shot down a Russian recon drone near Dashisha. The source also says Daesh shot down 4 PMF drones in the same area on Wednesday.​​ 

 

Central and West​​ 

Aleppo/Idlib

Thursday, a local source​​ reported​​ that a motorcycle bomb went off in Al-Ghandoura village southwest of Jarabulus, without any reports of casualties. No one has yet claimed responsibility for that explosion. [Hawar]

 

Thursday, Qasioun said that Russia was alarmed by the ceasefire agreement reached between Tahrir Al-Sham and the combined Syria Liberation Front and Suqur Al-Sham in Idlib. In a statement on its unofficial accounts on Thursday, the Russian Khmeimim Airbase in Syria said that Moscow “will not allow a full integration of the illegal armed groups in the Syrian province of Idlib.” [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, Qasioun reported that​​ at least​​ 9 people, including several leaders,​​ sharia judges,​​ and Tahrir Al-Sham​​ members,​​ and​​ people from​​ other anti-government​​ militias,​​ were killed in a series of assassinations in Idlib. [Qasioun]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 3 Tahrir Al-Sham members were killed and another wounded when an IED exploded on their vehicle in Idlib city. The source says Tahrir Al-Sham accused Daesh of the attack.

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says armed men on motorcycles shot and killed a Tahrir Al-Sham Iraqi commander, east of Idlib.​​ 

 

Hama

Thursday, Dorar reported that the​​ Al-Qaeda affiliate, Hurras​​ Al-Din, as well as other militias launched a military operation against the Syrian forces in northern Hama. [Dorar]According to Qasioun,​​ Hurras Eddin, as well as other militias,​​ advanced into Al-Hamamiyat village in northern Hama, following violent clashes with the Syrian forces, causing​​ Syria​​ heavy military losses.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Homs

Meanwhile, Tahrir Al-Sham shelled the Syrian forces’ positions in Al-Ghasibiya, 10 km (6 miles) northeast of Homs. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, Qasioun reported that violent clashes resumed between Tahrir Al-Sham and other Islamic anti-government militias on one hand and the Syrian forces on the other,​​ after the government​​ attacked​​ Tahrir Al-Sham’s positions in Hamrat in rural northern Homs, accompanied by mutual shelling, with reports of casualties on both sides. The attack was reportedly foiled. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, SOHR reported that 6 members of Tahrir Al-Sham and the other Islamic anti-government militias were killed during the clashes that broke out on Wednesday between​​ their combined forces and Syrian forces in Salim and Hamrat in northern Homs. [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal​​ District

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Coalition planes targeted a Daesh gathering near Hajin Hospital, killing 12 terrorists including an Iraqi commander, and destroying 2 vehicles.​​ 

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Thursday, SOHR reported that fierce clashes are still ongoing between the Syrian forces and Daesh in different locations in Al-Qadam, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and Al-Tadhamun neighborhoods as well as Al-Yarmouk Camp, accompanied by mutual shelling and several attempts by the Syrian forces to infiltrate them. The Syrian forces have reportedly captured several points in southern Damascus. [SyriaHR]

 

Thursday, Syria Now reported that the Syrian forces advanced in​​ the​​ Al-Hajar Al-Aswad neighborhood from several directions and captured several tunnels and buildings in​​ the​​ Al-Ma’amel area, following violent clashes with Daesh terrorists, killing dozens of them and destroying their weapons and ammunition. [SyriaNow]

 

Thursday, SOHR reported that Daesh beheaded 2 members of the Syrian forces in Al-Qadam neighborhood, raising the total number of Syrian​​ soldiers​​ beheaded by Daesh this week south of Damascus to 5. [SyriaHR]

 

 

Note to​​ Daesh Daily​​ readers​​ 

The Independent High Electoral Commission will hold​​ an “introduction session” this Saturday from 5 to 7 pm​​ in northern Virginia. IHEC is trying to reach out to Iraqis in the US, especially ethnic groups, to participate in the election. It informed us that it has simplified the procedures and doubled the number of US voting centers,​​ from 9 to 18. We think it is important for all Iraqis to decide the future of their country. We urge our colleagues in media to help with these efforts.​​ 

The address of the event is 8609 Westwood Center Dr., Vienna, VA 22182.

 

April 25, 2018

 

Baghdad Demonstrations​​ 

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

IHEC encouraging Iraqis in US to vote; doubles number of US polling places. [..]

IHEC announces detailed procedures for IDP voting. [..]

Protesters close major road in Baghdad over living conditions. [..]

Anbar PC Chairman declares reconstruction budget inadequate. [..]

Kirkuk Arab leader demands accounting for citizens detained, properties destroyed by Kurds. [..]

7 Daesh fighters arrested in east Mosul; one had sold captive women. [..]

 

Syria

Guterres asks Security Council to refer Syria situation to International Criminal Court. [..]

Syria conference in Brussels raises $4.4 billion for humanitarian relief. [..]

Qatar pledges $100 million to Syrian humanitarian relief. [..]

US House of Representatives votes to bar reconstruction money for Assad-governed areas. [..]

Al-Jaafari criticizes use of chemical weapons by Syria; cites Halabja. [..]

Raqqa residents find Daesh mass grave at city stadium. [..]

50 Russian airstrikes don’t stop Daesh resistance south of Damascus. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

The leader of the “Victory” electoral list, PM Haider Al-Abadi, said on Wednesday that the victory over Daesh in Mosul was a sea change, asserting that Iraq will not be defeated again. ​​ Al-Abadi said​​ in a speech released by his media office, “We are now in liberated Mosul, the city of victory, the city of this great historical achievement, and the city where the Iraqi flag broke the banner of Daesh,” adding that Iraq’s flag would never fall again. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Al-Abadi also visited the Mosul​​ Dam on Wednesday, and stressed both its importance and​​ its​​ safety, according to his media office. ​​ Al-Abadi said that he was happy with the Iraqi groups working on the site and hoped to acquire more international expertise. ​​ He added that dam maintenance had been stopped while Daesh controlled the site, but it resumed​​ after​​ the retaking of Mosul. ​​ [Rudaw]​​ 

 

Reuters reported that former Iraqi PM Ayad Allawi questioned the use of a “satellite system” in administrating the Iraqi electoral process [apparently referring to the use of electronic voting machines]. He says it is managed by third parties rather than Iraqis. ​​ In a televised interview on Wednesday, Allawi said, “The adoption of the satellite system is questionable because it is known that these satellites are managed by foreign countries and cannot be controlled from Iraq, and the possibility of manipulation by outsiders is very large.” Allawi added, “The efforts of the Independent High Electoral Commission are not at the level required,” due to lack of transparency. ​​ He went on to criticize both Israel and Iran for interfering in other countries’ internal affairs. ​​ [BasNews]

 

Wednesday, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) spokesman, Karim Al-Tamimi, said that “people who sell voting cards or who enter the polling centers using fake Identity cards will be arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison.” [Sngiq]

 

Al-Tamimi​​ also​​ announced that IHEC has modified the voting procedures for IDPs to ensure their participation in the upcoming​​ election. He​​ outlined​​ four different​​ scenarios for​​ IDP​​ voting, which affects​​ Kirkuk, Ninewa, Salahuddin and Anbar:​​ 

1-IDPs​​ living​​ in the​​ Kurdistan Region​​ will​​ vote​​ in polling centers customized for IDPs, to be opened in​​ each of​​ the four provinces of the Kurdistan region. Everyone’s​​ votes​​ will be recorded in their home provinces, by​​ using their voting card, whether it’s a biometric or short-term card.​​ 

2-IDPs who are still in​​ IDP camps​​ will vote within their camps, whether the camps are located inside or outside the​​ voters’​​ original provinces. Their​​ voting will be conditional​​ on possession of official​​ voter​​ registration​​ papers.

3-IDPs​​ displaced in their own provinces but​​ are​​ not in camps​​ but​​ can’t​​ return to their​​ home​​ in their provinces due to military operations​​ or lack of livable conditions,​​ will vote​​ at​​ polling centers​​ to​​ be opened near their​​ home​​ areas,​​ using​​ either​​ biometric or short-term cards.​​ 

4- IDPs​​ living​​ outside home provinces​​ who​​ have​​ updated their registration data and received the biometric card​​ will​​ cast​​ votes​​ in the provinces where they​​ are living but​​ their votes will be​​ counted​​ in the provinces they fled from. The estimated number of this category is 290,000 voters. [AlGhadPress]

 

A video by Sumaria questioned whether audio recordings of Daesh and other terrorist threats against electoral safety were credible. ​​ Sumaria noted that the Daesh threats may inspire violence from “sleeper cells” even after the heavy losses suffered by Daesh in Iraq. ​​ However, most officials who spoke on the topic said that citizens should not fear these threats, and noted that there would be strict security provisions at polling places. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

The​​ official​​ head of the​​ Al-Sadiqoun​​ [AAH] political​​ alliance, Hassan Salem, said on Wednesday that the Council of Ministers and financial​​ administrators were stalling on providing full rights to PMF fighters, saying that they were giving administrative excuses that should have been discussed earlier. ​​ He noted that the CoR had already voted on the law to give PMF fighters the same rights as their peers working for the Ministries of Defense and the Interior. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Here is a follow-up on yesterday’s pre-election survey story, which drew a number of reader comments.

In writing up the news report on pre-election opinion polls in Iraq, we noted that the Kurdish results should not be combined as there is no combined Kurdish slate this year. In checking further, we determined that projected Kurdish results were differentiated in the original story. The projections within the Kurdistan region were as follows.

KDP​​       24 seats

Gorran, Kurdistan Islamic Group, and Barham

Salih’s Democracy and Justice coalition​​   18

PUK​​       15​​ 

 Kurdistan Islamic Union​​   ​​​​ 4

 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The key point is that the Gorran/KIG/Democracy & Justice​​ alliance​​ is anti-KDP for reasons clear to our readers, so while the PUK and KIU might eventually combine with KDP, the KDP is at a low level of popularity in the rest of Iraq, limiting its coalition value, while the​​ Gorran/KIG/Dr. Barham alliance is, we think, more likely to work with Al-Abadi. This could have some interesting ramifications​​ for the relative status of parties​​ back in the KRG.

 

For further pre-election information.​​ Daesh Daily​​ Co-Editor Thomas Renahan released a pre-election analysis on LinkedIn and Facebook last week. If you are interested in reading it, use this​​ link.

 

Reconstruction

The newspaper​​ Al-Arabi Al-Jadid​​ writes​​ that local governments in 7 provinces had confiscated 18,000 houses and properties belonging to families of Daesh fighters, indicating that this was done with the agreement of the federal government. ​​ An official in Baghdad was quoted as saying, “Between 16,000 and 18,000 properties, from houses to apartments to farms and shops, have been seized by local governments in 7 provinces with the approval of Baghdad, since it was from ‘Daesh families,’” indicating that the term [‘Daesh families’] as used in Iraq today could mean brothers, sisters, parents, wives or children of those accused of affiliation with Daesh, as well as their cousins in some cases. ​​ Article 111 of the Iraqi Constitution prohibits charging someone for a crime committed by a different person. [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We have to take this story with a grain of salt for several reasons. First, 18,000 properties is a large number.​​ Moreover, local governments don’t have the authority to change​​ property​​ titles. In fact, it is a rather difficult process. Of course there are some Daesh victims who would want to take over Daesh members’ houses, but​​ that would be​​ mostly a tribal and unofficial process.  ​​​​ 

 

Anti-Daesh​​ campaign

The Central Criminal Court sentenced to death a Daesh defendant convicted of killing and wounding dozens of civilians in a car bomb attack in northern Baghdad. [AlGhadPress]

 

The Central Criminal Court sentenced to death 4 Daesh terrorists for establishing a Daesh guesthouse in Baghdad aimed at receiving Daesh suicide bombers. ​​ [AlGhadPress]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Wednesday, the KDP announced that a meeting will be held between Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in Erbil. “The two sides will discuss the outstanding issues between Baghdad and Erbil and the upcoming elections,” said Abdul Salam Barwari, a KDP leader. [KnoozMedia]

 

Wednesday, a KDP member, Najiba Najib, acknowledged the failure of the referendum, which was held last September, saying that “it was a disappointment for the Kurds and will​​ affect their participation in the upcoming elections.” Najib added that “the Kurdish citizen has two main problems: the first is the Kurdish issue and the actualization of the recently failed independence dream, and the second is the living conditions that have​​ deteriorated after the referendum. That generated a clear anger in the Kurdish community.” [KnoozMedia]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

Center​​ (Rusafa, Karkh, etc.)

A police captain in Baghdad said on Wednesday that​​ six​​ protestors and​​ four​​ security personnel were wounded when a demonstration south of Baghdad was dispersed by force. ​​ Najib Al-Khader, the police captain, said in a statement that “hundreds of residents of Al-Wahda,” a neighborhood in the Karrada District, “demonstrated today in protest of poor public services in the area.” ​​ According to Al-Khader, the protestors closed the road leading to the southern provinces, leading to long traffic queues. ​​ Security forces then intervened to disperse the protestors by firing live rounds in the air and beating the protestors with batons. ​​ He said that the security intervention was ordered by Baghdad Ops Command. ​​ [Rudaw]​​ 

 

Security personnel arrested 4 people in Batawiyeen, downtown Baghdad, who were accused of terrorism, and another in the Dora neighborhood accused of theft. ​​ [Baghdadia]

 

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)

A suicide bomber wearing an explosives​​ belt was killed on Wednesday. The​​ Baghdad Ops Command said​​ in a statement that the 22nd​​ Brigade, in cooperation with tribal forces, had killed the suicide bomber in Khan,​​ in​​ the Tarmiya​​ District in​​ northern​​ Baghdad​​ governorate.[Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, a security source said that security forces arrested a wanted person on terrorism charges in Tarmiya District. [SkyPressIq]

 

Daesh says it targeted a watch tower in the Salman area with light weapons, destroying recon equipment. [ICDNApr25] ​​ 

 

West​​ (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

A security source who asked not to be named said on Wednesday that a civilian had been killed by unidentified gunmen. ​​ The source said that the incident occurred at the victim’s home in Radwaniya, west Baghdad. [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, the Baghdad Ops Command reported that it had found a cache of explosive materials, including a Grad missile, 2 IEDs, 5 grenades and 2 RPGs​​ in Bani Zaid in western Baghdad. It also arrested four terrorists and a thief during a search operation in central Baghdad. [SkyPressIq] [BaghdadNews]

 

Total Baghdad incidents reported:  ​​​​ 8(Includes only incidents reported)

Total IED incidents reported:  ​​​​ 1

 

ANBAR

Reconstruction

Anbar Provincial Council member Mahmoud Al-Dulaimi said on Wednesday that the budget allocated to Anbar province is insufficient for rebuilding. ​​ “Most of the service infrastructure in the cities of Anbar are destroyed, especially bridges, schools, and electrical and water-pumping stations, as well as houses, shops, and other private property,” Al-Dulaimi said. ​​ He added that Iraq’s financial crisis had led reconstruction projects to be delayed, including compensation and job provision projects. ​​ [BasNews]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Supreme Judicial Council announced on Wednesday that the Anbar Criminal Court had passed death sentences​​ on​​ 4 Daesh fighters, subject to appeal. ​​ The sentenced fighters are convicted of taking part in Daesh operations against the Iraqi Army and security forces in Fallujah and Ramadi. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ [Baghdadia]

 

Ghad​​ reported​​ that 4 people​​ were​​ sentenced to death​​ by the Central Criminal Court, having been​​ convicted of running a safehouse for Daesh fighters. ​​ (It is unclear if this is the same case as​​ the one cited​​ above.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Wednesday, an Anbar tribal PMF leader, Qatri Al-Obaidi, said that Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi ordered the Anbar​​ security​​ commanders to form four combat brigades for​​ Rapid​​ Response from the tribal PMFs in order to join the​​ military​​ in securing Anbar and hunting down Daesh cells. “Each brigade will consist of 600 tribal PMF members. They will be trained in special training camps under the supervision of Iraqi officers. They will also be provided with modern weapons and equipment as well as SUVs,” he added. ​​ [KnoozMedia]

 

Falluja

The Center for Security Information announced the seizure of military equipment,​​ including IEDs,​​ on Wednesday in Anbar. ​​ The Center spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasul, said in a statement that military intelligence units had seized equipment that was left behind by Daesh in the​​ subdistrict of Qarma,​​ ​​ in​​ Albu​​ Khanfar​​ village. ​​ The equipment captured included 99 IEDs and 2 artillery shells, as well as 20-liter barrels full of bombmaking materials. [Ghad]​​ 

 

Ramadi

Sumaria carried a story regarding bomb-sniffing dogs trained to find IEDs. ​​ One such dog, Vivi, is a German​​ shepherd working for Janus Global Operations, a US contractor. ​​ Vivi, 3 years old, was trained in Alabama in 2016 and now works in Ramadi in a bomb-removal program. ​​ The US State Department is funding bomb-removal programs such as this in Ramadi and Mosul. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Haditha

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Anbar Emergency Police arrested a doctor at the Haditha Hospital on terrorism charges. The source says the doctor is originally from Mosul and had worked with Daesh. The source also says the doctor’s parents were senior members with Daesh. ​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN​​ 

Samarra

Daesh says its snipers killed a PMF fighter in the Subaihat area, in Jazeera Samarra, on Tuesday.​​ 

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

A statement by Baghdad Ops Command said that their security forces had found explosives and arrested wanted persons. ​​ An inspection in Bani Zaid, south of Baquba,​​ found a cache of explosives including a​​ Grad rocket, 2 IEDS, and 5 anti-tank RPG7 launchers, left behind by Daesh fighters. ​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin,​​ Khalis​​ north)

The Center for Security Information on Wednesday announced a search operation in northern​​ Diyala province. ​​ Yahya Rasul, the Center spokesman, said in a statement that federal police forces in Kirkuk conducted a search around Qara Tapa​​ in Kifri District. ​​ The operation found 5 Daesh safehouses and 4 containers of metals, clothing, and military equipment, which were​​ destroyed. [Etejah]​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Wednesday, the PMF spokesman in Khanaqin, Abu Elaph Al-Zarkoushi, said that the PMFs shelled several Daesh positions with rockets in​​ the​​ Nafut Khana hills​​ in​​ Khanaqin District in northeastern Diyala.​​ [AlGhadPress]

 

Daesh says it targeted an IFP military position near the city of Jalawla in Khanaqin with light and mid-sized weapons on Tuesday night. [ICDNApr25] ​​ 

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

The leader of the Arab coalition in Kirkuk, Ghassan Mizher Al-Obeidi, demanded on Wednesday that the Iraqi government and the UN (UNAMI) open an investigation into Arabs detained in the Kurdistan Region, and demanded that those who destroyed 116 Arab villages be brought to court. ​​ Al-Obeidi said at a news conference that the cases of the detainees and those kidnapped by the Kurdish security organization Asayish date from 2004 to the “imposition of law” on October 16, 2017, and called on the UN and the Iraqi government to open a full investigation. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Daesh says it set on fire another vehicle that belongs to an oil company, near Kathahiya village in the Yaychi subdistrict, on Tuesday. [ICDNApr25] ​​ 

 

Daesh says it set on fire 2 vehicles that belong to an oil company near Qush Qaya village, in Dibis, on Tuesday. [ICDNApr25]​​ 

Daesh says it killed an Intelligence Service member and destroyed his vehicle with an IED near the same village. [ICDNApr25] ​​ 

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad,​​ Taza,​​ etc.)

Thursday, a security source said that “two vehicles carrying a number of Daesh members entered Al-Mansour village in Daquq District south of Kirkuk on Wednesday. They ran away, after security forces headed to the village.” [AlGhadPress]

 

PMF units and federal police launched an operation to hunt down Daesh groups in southwest Kirkuk on Wednesday. ​​ A PMF statement said that the search operation was taking place in villages and towns in the Rashad subdistrict in Daquq, and that it was a joint operation between the 16th​​ and 4th​​ Brigades (PMF) units and the federal police. [Etejah]​​ 

 

In a statement released on Tuesday, the PMF announced that a PMF member was killed, and 2 others, including an IFP member, wounded when an IED left behind by Daesh exploded during a joint security operation in Al-Rashad subdistrict. [Roj]

 

Daesh says it killed two IFP soldiers after targeting their patrol with light weapons near Rubaidha village, south of Daquq. [ICDNApr25] ​​ 

 

NINEWA

Mosul

The Center for Security Information announced on Wednesday that 7 Daesh fighters had been arrested in Mosul, saying that one of them previously sold captive women in the city. ​​ Center spokesman Yahya Rasul said in a statement that the 12th​​ Regiment of the Ninewa Emergency Police had arrested the 7 Daesh fighters, who were wanted under Article 4/1 (terrorism). ​​ “One of them sold captive women during the period of Daesh control of the city, and another was accused of executing police employees,” Rasul said. ​​ They were arrested in Al-Mithaq​​ in east​​ Mosul. [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, Iraq Media Press quoted the Commander of Iraqi Ground Forces, Lieutenant Gen. Riyadh Jalal, as saying that “at the orders of the Iraqi Army General Command, the Iraqi Army was directed to gradually withdraw from all its positions and barracks inside Mosul.” “It will be deployed outside the city,” he added. ​​ [ArabsToday]

 

Southern Ninewa

Mosul subdistrict

The Center for Security Information announced on Tuesday that 4 rockets and a bomb-making factory had been discovered. ​​ General Yahya Rasul said in a statement that security units under Ninewa Ops Command had found 4 Hellfire missiles and 8 anti-tank mines in the strategically located village of Adaya, 30 miles southwest of Mosul city, which were detonated onsite, as well as​​ 11 glycerin-based IEDs.  ​​​​ Another group found a bomb-making factory​​ nearby​​ containing 50 bags of C4, 2 artillery shells, 32 120mm mortar rounds, 15 anti-tank mines, 16​​ Austrian​​ artillery shells, and 10 barrels of ammonium nitrate.​​ [Etejah]​​ 

 

Qayara

Election.​​ A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says armed men in PMF uniforms shredded the posters and billboards of Kurdish CoR candidates in the Qayara area. The source also says the armed men threatened anyone who raises the KRG flag in the area.​​ 

 

WesternNinewa

Baaj

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that Ibrahim Al-Jazrawi, the Daesh “mufti” of its “Wilayat Al-Furat” was killed in battles with Kata’eb Hezbollah near the border village of Tal Safouk. The source says the terrorist was from France but​​ of​​ Saudi origins.​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

The​​ president of a​​ municipality​​ in​​ the Qandil border area of Erbil province said on Wednesday that Turkish planes had attacked the​​ Qandil​​ mountains of Qandil, panicking the local population. ​​ The municipality said in a statement, “The bombing targeted areas close to the villages of Balalan, Kali Badran, Bukristan, and Zarkli. . . .​​ The attack did not cause civilian casualties, [but] panicked the locals who were working their farms, forcing them to leave their work in order to save their lives.” [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The Qandil Mountains are the location for the PKK’s main base in northern Kurdistan, mainly because the location is considered almost impenetrable. However, the PKK facilities in this location are a logical target for the Turks, which of course creates risks for residents in this remote area.

 

SULEIMANIYA

Election.​​ Iraqi PM Haider Al-Abadi said on Wednesday that “the time of ruling the country by iron and fire, and​​ of (arbitrary)​​ distinctions​​ between citizens, has passed.” ​​ During a speech at the Grand Millennium Hotel in Suleimaniya, a day after his arrival in the city as part of his electoral campaign.​​ Al-Abadi said that “Iraq will rise only through unity between the Kurds and the Arabs.​​ [Rudaw]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY

 

Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that “whether we like it or not, Bashar Al-Assad is a reality, and one of the parties in the peace process in Syria. Everyone accepts this, but in the medium and long term and after all these pains, this cannot continue.” [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

United Nations

The​​ UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, called on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). ​​ This comes from the Secretary-General’s monthly report, which was under discussion by the Security​​ Council​​ in New York on Wednesday. ​​ Guterres was quoted as saying, “Those responsible for serious violations of international human rights law must be held accountable. ​​ This step is essential for achieving a lasting peace in Syria, and I repeat my call to refer the situation in the country to the ICC.”[BasNews]

 

The UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, warned on Wednesday that Daesh may take advantage of the current tense situation in Syria and become more active again. ​​ While attending the “Support for the Future of Syria and the Region” conference, de Mistura told a press conference, “We have done our best to review a political solution. . . .​​ the duty of the 3 sponsors [of the conference; Russia, Iran, and Turkey] is to de-escalate the situation,” adding that​​ it had not happened so far this year. [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, UN emergency aid coordinator Mark Lowcock said that at the international Syria conference in Brussels, a total of 4.4 billion dollars (3.6 billion euros) was pledged for humanitarian aid to Syrians, both in their own country and for relief in surrounding countries, saying that “it’s a good start even though we were expecting more.” He noted that some large donors, including the US, have not yet announced an amount. Lowcock praised the major contributions from Germany (1 billion Euros) and the United Kingdom (over half a billion). The Netherlands will make 120 million available in 2018. The UN needs 7.3 billion Euros this year for emergency relief, of which roughly a third is for Syria itself and the remainder for refugees in countries such as Lebanon and Jordan. For 2019 and beyond, 3.3 billion dollars has already been pledged. [Arabi21]

 

Qatar.​​ Wednesday, Qasioun reported that Qatar’s Government has pledged $ 100 million as assistance for the Syrian people. Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani,​​ announced a new pledge of $100 million in 2018 by the State of Qatar in continuation of its commitment to alleviate the Syrian humanitarian disaster. “As part of the Qatar’s pledge to support the oppressed people of Syria, Doha continues to commit itself to alleviating the impact of the Syrian humanitarian disaster. I am pleased to announce a new pledge of US $ 100 million for 2018, and this commitment is not known and is not a good thing to preserve, it is a duty,” he said. ​​ He added that as part of Qatar’s strategy of building peace and stability through education, “50 percent of the grant will be allocated for the education of the Syrian students inside and outside Syria.” [Qasioun]

 

United States

Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill, ruling out any US reconstruction support to the Syrian government-controlled areas in Syria. “It would be unconscionable for US Government funds to be used for stabilization or reconstruction in areas under control of the illegitimate Assad regime and its proxies. We are not going to support the building of infrastructure that will benefit Hezbollah, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, or foreign militias recruited and paid by the Iranian regime,” the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s statement said. [Dorar]

 

Chemical weapons

Iraq.​​ Wednesday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said that his country is against the use of chemical weapons in Syria, stressing the need to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people. “We are not with the usage of chemical weapons. We are a country affected by the chemical weapons in the year 1988 and gave 5,000 martyrs of our Kurdish sons in Halabja,” said Jaafari. “In​​ Syria, the bloodshed is continuous. The Syrian people are paying the price on more than one level. We have to put an end to this situation,” he added. [Anadolu]

 

Switzerland.​​ According to public Swiss Radio and Television RTS, a Swiss firm exported 5 metric tons of isopropanol, a chemical substance which can be used to produce the deadly sarin gas, to Syria in 2014 without any opposition from the Swiss authorities. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said that the client was “a private Syrian pharmaceutical firm” and there was “no indication that it had links to the Syrian regime at the time, nor today.” [Anadolu]

 

Arab troops in Syria

Qatar.​​ Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s adviser, Hussein Sheikholeslam, said that Qatar will make a mistake if it sends its troops to Syria,​​ as such a deployment would worsen the situation in Syria. “We categorically oppose the deployment of any troops to Syria, because their goal will be the same as that of the US servicemen in Syria — to complicate the crisis,” he said. [Dorar]

 

Egypt.​​ Wednesday, Egyptian diplomatic sources said that “Egypt expressed its readiness to participate in an Arab alliance to maintain security in the liberated areas in northeastern Syria on the condition that its troops will not be involved in the ongoing battles with the warring groups.” [Dorar]

 

Saudi Arabia, Iraq.​​ In an interview with Al-Mayadeen TV channel,​​ Nouri​​ Al-Maliki, the former Iraq Prime Minister,​​ said that the U.S. ​​ is trying in vain to replace its troops in Syria with Saudi troops,​​ but this is unlikely to happen since the Saudis are stuck in the Yemeni crisis and can never send troops to Syria.​​ 

 ​​ ​​​​ Referring to the beginning of Syria crisis, the former Iraqi Prime Minister said “his stance at that time on the Syria crisis angered many Arab countries which had counted on the downfall of the Damascus government.” He added that he declared to them at that time that he was “ready to send the Iraqi Army to Syria in order to prevent Damascus from falling into the hands of terrorists.”​​ 

 ​​ ​​​​ Addressing Saudi Arabia and Qatar, he said that “the deployment of any Arab forces in Syria will be met by the resistance of Syrian combatants.” On​​ the​​ Baghdad-Riyadh relationship, the Iraqi Vice President said “Saudi Arabia has not changed its attitude towards Iraq and has failed in its attempts to topple the governments of Syria and Lebanon.” He added that “Saudi Arabia is under an illusion that by establishing consulates in the Iraqi cities of Najaf and Basra and holding meetings with Iraqi sheikhs and officials, it can infiltrate Iraq.” [SyriaNow]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Aside from his comments on possible Arab troop deployments to Syria, Al-Maliki’s statements reflect an election strategy. He is appealing to Shia voters​​ in Iraq​​ by attacking Sunni Saudi Arabia and reaffirming his own sectarian foreign policy​​ and solidarity with the Syrian regime,​​ while putting distance between himself and Al-Abadi on the latter’s efforts to create a less sectarian foreign policy, in part by improving relations with Saudi Arabia. This would seem to be a bet​​ by Al-Maliki​​ that​​ Shia​​ voters will continue to respond​​ positively​​ to sectarian political messages. It also demonstrates, however, why Al-Maliki has no support among Sunni Iraqis, a situation that is unlike to change between now and May 12, and why his divisive sectarian leadership is out of step with the times.​​ 

 

Northwest​​ (No reports)

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

Wednesday, Hawar reported that a 13 year old child, Maher Ahmed, was seriously wounded in a Daesh land mine explosion in Jeren village,​​ ithe​​ Kazwan Mount​​ area west of​​ Hasaka​​ city. [Hawar]

 

Raqqa

Raqqa city& district

Raqqa residents found a mass grave containing the remains of a large number of civilians, inside the Al-Rashid​​ Stadium in the center of the city, now under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). ​​ Workers with the Raqqa Civil Council discovered the bodies buried in the field of the Al-Rashid​​ Stadium a week ago, and have since worked to retrieve them one at a time. [Rudaw]

 

Central and West​​ 

Aleppo/Idlib

Wednesday, Tahrir Al-Sham announced that it released 2 Hezbollah members in exchange for releasing 3 of its members​​ –at the​​ Al-Eis/Al-Hader crossing point in southern Aleppo under the auspices of the Red Crescent Society. [Dorar]

 

Tuesday,​​ Zaman Al-Wasl​​ reported that a ceasefire agreement was reached​​ between​​ Tahrir Al-Sham and the​​ combined​​ Syria Liberation Front and Suqur Al-Sham in Idlib. Under that agreement, the ongoing fighting and arrests between the two sides will be over, the IDPs will be allowed to return to their homes,​​ and the detainees will be released. [ZamanAlwasl]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Al-Qaeda appointed Abu Omar Al-Asiri as the military commander of its Haras Al-Din (guards of religion) group in Syria. Haras Al-Din is an alliance of several pro-Al-Qaeda groups.​​ The source says the former commander, Abu Humam Al-Suri, died from wounds he sustained from a Coalition airstrike near Idlib.

 

Homs

Wednesday, SOHR reported that clashes broke out between the Syrian forces and Islamic anti-government militias in different locations in the vicinity of Al-Kin farms near Al-Rastan city in northern Homs. The clashes were accompanied by mutual shelling. [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin​​ District

Wednesday, SOHR reported that fierce clashes broke out between Daesh and the SDF in different locations in the vicinity of Al-Omar Oilfield, after Daesh attacked the SDF positions there, with reports of casualties on both sides. [SyriaHR]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that the Syrian forces arrested several young men in Albu Kamal. Some sources said that they will probably be forcibly recruited into​​ the Syrian​​ Army. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh says its snipers killed a Syrian soldier near Albu Kamal city.​​ [ICDNApr25] ​​ 

 

Daesh publishes a photo of 3 of its terrorists watching its latest propaganda video in the Susah area.​​ [ICDNApr25] ​​ 

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that 25 members of the Syrian forces were killed, and dozens wounded during the ongoing battles against Daesh in Al-Qadam neighborhood south of Damascus. [Qasioun]

Daesh publishes photos of beheading two Syrian soldiers it captured in Hay Al-Qadam, south of Damascus.​​ [ICDNApr25] ​​ 

 

Wednesday, according to military sources, Qasioun reported that Suhail Al-Hassan militia has joined the Syrian forces in their ongoing battles against Daesh south of Damascus. Meanwhile, Russian planes have conducted over 50 airstrikes on Daesh positions in​​ the​​ Al-Tadhamun and Al-Hajar Al-Aswad neighborhoods as well as Al-Yarmouk Camp. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh says it stopped a Syrian Army attack on Hay Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, south of Damascus, killing 6 soldiers. It says it also stopped a Syrian Army attack on Hay Al-Tadhamun in south Damascus, killing 5 soldiers. It says it stopped an attack on Hay Al-Qadam, damaging​​ 3 tanks.​​ [ICDNApr25] ​​ 

 

Daesh says its snipers killed 3 Syrian soldiers in Hay Al-Tadhamun.​​ [ICDNApr25] ​​ 

Later, Daesh says the casualties of the Syrian Army in Hay Al-Tadhamun increased to 16 soldiers.​​ [ICDNApr25] ​​ 

 

Daraa

Wednesday, the Hezbollah-affiliated media center reported that the Syrian anti-government militias have completely withdrawn from East Qalamoun. The 4th​​ convoy of IDPs left East Qalamoun and headed to​​ the​​ Abu Al-Zendin crossing near Al-Bab city in rural eastern Aleppo. [Qasioun]

Wednesday, Syria Now reported that the Syrian forces found dozens of IEDs left behind by the “terrorists” in Ruhaiba town in East Qalamoun, before driving them out of it. [SyriaNow]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that the Daesh affiliate, Jaish Khaled, distributed food items in Tasil town, west of Daraa. The source says Daesh’s media claimed the distribution was in part “zakat” for poor people, but Jaish Khaled actually distributed to its new members in the town. The source says the town is suffering a severe lack of food supplies, and some people were forced to join the JK a few days ago because they didn’t have any other way to get food. The JK is preventing people from leaving the town. The source says JK members are smuggling cigarettes from government controlled areas and selling them in the town for much higher prices. ​​ 

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

North Africa

Egypt

Wednesday, the Egyptian Army announced that over 30 Daesh members were killed, and 173 others arrested,​​ during the Egyptian forces’ ongoing operations in northern and central Sinai. [AlHurra] [Mustaqila]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Wednesday, Kabul Police spokesman, Hishmat Stanikzai, said that 2 Afghani policemen were killed and others wounded in an armed attack on a police checkpoint in Kabul. [SkyPressIq]

 

Daesh publishes a photo of one of its terrorists, saying he was killed in Afghanistan.​​ 

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

On Wednesday, intelligence from Ops Command responded to a voice recording of Daesh spokesman Al-Muhajir. ​​ Daesh outlet Al-Furqan previously published a voice recording of Al-Muhajir on April 22, including a lengthy speech in which he quoted from Quranic verses and hadiths. ​​ Ops Command issued a statement saying that Iraqis wouldn’t be fooled by such disinformation, and wouldn’t undo the victory they had already achieved through unity and sacrifice.​​ [Sumaria]

 

 

April 24, 2018