January 4, 2019
PMF Vehicle Destroyed in Tal Afar
Iraq will hold 2019 oil production level as part of OPEC supply reduction. [..]
President Salih extends his personal diplomacy tour to Qatar. [..]
Move to set up alternative governing council in Sinjar sparks controversy. [..]
Bolton, Jeffery, Dunford in Turkey to discuss implications of US withdrawal. [..]
Pompeo promises to protect Syrian Kurds from Turkey; Turkey objects. [..]
PYD spokesman says it is seeking an agreement with Syrian government. [..]
GOP Senators propose bill to sanction Syria & its allies for human rights abuses. [..]
Coalition conducted 469 airstrikes in Syria within 2 weeks. [..]
Tahrir Al-Sham captures village in Turkish-held Afrin District. [..]
Reports of Egypt, Gulf States troops going to Manbij are officially denied. [..]
Daesh area of control in Deir Ez-Zor now down to 3 towns & 3 villages. [..]
SDF rescues 7 captured Yazidi women in Albu Kamal. [..]
Yemen: US airstrike kills perpetrator of attack on USS Cole in 2000. [..]
Egypt: Al-Sisi concedes Israel has permission to bomb Daesh in Sinai. [..]
Tunisia: Ennahda party endorses national reconciliation in Syria. [..]
Afghanistan: 52 Daesh, Taliban fighters killed in Afghanistan. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
General Yahya Rasul, speaking for Joint Ops Command, told Iran’s Fars news agency that the US troops withdrawn from Syria will be stationed in Erbil, but would not be redeployed to federal government territories inside Iraq. [Qasioun]
Bas News reported that a senior Kurdish source said Friday that US troops withdrew from Syria and headed towards the Kurdish region of Iraq. Bas News stated that the German Press Agency quoted the Deir Ez-Zor civil council relaying a similar story. [BasNews]
The Coalition said that between December 16 and December 29, 2018, it conducted 9 airstrikes in Iraq. [InherentResolve]
DaeshDaily comment. The Coalition changed strike report formats; strike reports are now biweekly and do not include specific locations.
Iraq says it is committed to OPEC’s agreement to reduce oil production, and will keep its production level at 4,513 million barrels per day during 2019. OPEC countries and Russia agreed to cut oil supplies by 1.2 million barrels per day during 2019. [BasNews]
The daily Al-Arab says Iraq’s President, Barham Salih, is intending to visit Qatar following his recent visit to Turkey. Saleh has visited 7 regional countries, in addition to Italy, so far. The pro-monarchy Saudi daily Okaz reported earlier that Qatar proposed that Iraq join a coalition with Syria and Iran, but Iraq rejected the offer. [BasNews]
The Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali Al-Hakim said on Wednesday that a decision to prevent citizens with Syrian or Iranian stamps on their passports from traveling to Jordan, the Gulf states, and European states was valid. He said that the decision was made by the other states, not Iraq. [ElDorar]
North (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)
The Security Media Center says that National Security units arrested a Daesh officer who was moving in disguise in “north Baghdad,” without specifying the exact location. [Sumaria]
Daesh said it damaged a PMF vehicle with an IED on Thursday near Al-Fatha. [A3maq]
The Security Committee of the Diyala Provincial Council reported on Friday that intelligence operations tracked down a series of Daesh sleeper cells in Buhriz, south of Baquba. [BaghdadToday]
Central Diyala (Muqdadiya)
On Friday, a “local source” reported that a Daesh member was killed in the village of Makhisa, near Muqdadiya. [Mawazin]
Northern Diyala (Khalis north)
A member of the Diyala Provincial Council said on Friday that the presence of Daesh has decreased in the Zoor agricultural basin, northeast Diyala. [BaghdadToday]
Daesh said it wounded an Iraqi Army soldier and damaged a Humvee with an IED on Thursday in the Hibhib area. [ICDNJan4]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that 3 members of the same family were killed when a group of Daesh terrorists in military uniforms attacked a house in Al-Jabala village, between Tal Afar city and Badoush.
A DaeshDaily source said on Friday that two PMF fighters were killed when their vehicle was destroyed by an IED near Tal Afar’s northern entrance.
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that the YPG formed a new local government in Sinjar and excluded Arabs from the new council. The source also said that the YPG announced that Arabs are not allowed to enter Sinjar without the YPG’s approval.
On Thursday, the Chairman of the Ninewa Provincial Council, Saido Chato, denounced attempts to form a parallel local council in Sinjar as being carried out by “illegal parties” and said that such a council would receive no official support or recognition from any official department of Ninewa Province. [SotAlIraq]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
Military & security developments
Turkish media reported a large explosion in a residential complex in Ankara, leaving open the possibility that it was caused by a suicide attack. 5 people, including 2 policemen, were wounded, according to the initial tally. The explosion was caused by the natural gas network, which is suspected of being sabotaged. [BasNews]
A PKK group attacked Turkish border guards patrolling the Turkey-Iran border in the eastern province of Iğdır with shoulder-held rockets, grenades, and automatic rifles, killing 1 soldier and wounding 2 others. [Sumaria]
The Turkish Chief of Staff said that a Turkish soldier had been killed in an “accidental incident” in “northern Iraq” (Iraqi Kurdistan) during an operation against the PKK. [Arabi21]
The Wall Street Journal wrote on Friday that Turkey was asking the US for “substantial” military support for Turkish forces to fight Daesh in Syria, including airstrikes, transport, and logistical support, according to senior US officials. The officials said that the requests were extensive enough that if the US fully obliged, it might be more involved in Syria rather than less. The WSJ wrote that 1 official said that the US was unlikely to provide all the support that the Turks required, particularly air support. [WSJ]
DaeshDaily comment. The more important question would be why the US would encourage Turkey to join the anti-Daesh fight in Syria, when Daesh is already close to final defeat thanks largely to soldiers the Erdogan government has disdained. Erdogan has no apparent interests in Syria except to pursue his own campaign against the Kurds. US military support to do what, exactly?
US National Security Advisor John Bolton says he will be visiting Turkey, alongside Special Envoy to Syria James Jeffery and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, to discuss US forces’ withdrawal from Syria. Fighting Daesh and protecting the Kurds will be among the topics of discussion. [Qasioun] [Kurdistan24]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the US is willing to guarantee that “the Turks won’t slaughter the Kurds” after the US withdrawal from Syria. He says that this is a part of the US mission in Syria. [ZamanAlWasl] [Kurdistan24]
However, Turkey rejected Pompeo’s statements regarding protecting Kurds in Syria from being killed by the Turks. A statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry says that Turkey rejects the “form and content” of the US statement. The statement added that Turkey was committed to “combating terrorism,” which included fighting both Daesh and the PKK, and that the fight against the PKK should not be taken as a fight against any specific ethnic or religious group in Syria. [Anadolu]
DaeshDaily comment. Notwithstanding that virtually all of the PKK members and all the Syrians alleged to be PKK members are Kurdish.
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
A member of the PYD executive committee, Badran Jia Kurd, said on Friday that it was trying to reach an agreement with Damascus, mediated by Russia, regardless of the US plan to withdraw troops from Syria. Kurd said that the PYD had made an offer to Damascus in a recent meeting in Russia, and was waiting for Russia’s response. [BasNews]
The Jerusalem Post anticipated a bloody confrontation between the Turkish and Syrian armies following the US withdrawal. It says that the US is willing to hand over the areas it controls to Turkey, while the Syrian government, backed by Russia, also wants to take over those areas. [ElDorar]
The SOHR says that the religious group “Shura Council of Scholars in Al-Sham” issued a statement, claiming to represent Muslim clerics in Syria, describing Tahrir al-Sham as an “outlaw saboteur group.” It called for unity between all other militias in the ongoing fight against Tahrir Al-Sham. The group had described in 2016 the SDF an “infidel” movement and should be fought. [SyriaHR]
DaeshDaily comment. This is a pro-Turkey Salafist group that was established in 2015.
Republican US Senators proposed a bill on Friday that would impose sanctions on Syria and its allies for human rights abuses. Those who would be sanctioned by the bill include the Central Bank of Syria. [Anadolu]
The US Department of Defense says that the mission in Syria is not over yet, as Daesh is still there. A DoD official told the US-funded Al-Hurra TV channel that there is a change in the US position, but there is still a lot to do. [ElDorar]
The Coalition said that between December 16 and December 29, 2018, it conducted 469 airstrikes in Syria. It also reported that over the same time period, there were 222 strikes from “other actors that crossed the Euphrates River Valley.” [InherentResolve]
DaeshDaily comment. If “other actors” means Iraq, then the role of the Iraqi Air Force has been much greater than reported. The Coalition changed strike report formats; strike reports are now biweekly and do not include specific locations.
Media sources say that Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) has captured the village of Qila, in Jinderes subdistrict in southwestern Afrin, following battles with pro-Turkey militias. The fighting started among these groups in Idlib and Darat Azza, northwestern Aleppo, and has reached Afrin, which Turkey seized earlier from the YPG. [Hawar]
The SOHR wrote that both Egyptian military sources and SDF sources denied recent reports about a potential Egyptian-Gulf military presence in the eastern Euphrates and Manbij in particular, saying there were no steps being taken toward establishing such a presence. [SyriaHR]
The Turkish daily Yeni Şafak claimed that the PKK has a military headquarters in Al-Haya village, east of Manbij. It says that PKK leaders meet there daily, with PKK leaders coming from their main command in Qandil mountain, “northern Iraq” (Iraqi Kurdistan) to attend. [ElDorar]
Daesh said on Friday it killed four SDF members and destroyed their SUV with an IED in Jab Al-Qadir village, near Manbij and the Euphrates. [A3maq-Telegram]
However, local sources said an SDF vehicle was destroyed in the village but no casualties were reported.
Raqqa city & district
Daesh said on Friday it killed or wounded three SDF members in an attack with machine guns on the Iyadat Shamela security barrier in Raqqa city. [ICDNJan4-Telegram]
Central and West
See story above under Afrin
A story circulated on social media, without confirmation or further details, that Major General Sharaf Hassan Al-Hamawi of the Syrian Army had been killed in Palmyra, Homs. [ElDorar]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
SOHR reported 2 separate attacks by Daesh militants—in Al-Busayrah subdistrict, Deir Ez-Zor District, and Dhiban subdistrict, Mayadin District, just north of Hajin in Albu Kamal. The attacks targeted an SDF checkpoint and a local money exchange office, leaving 1 civilian dead. The SOHR says that Daesh has dozens of sleeper cells in SDF–held areas carrying out assassinations and guerilla attacks, and that such attacks have claimed the lives of 128 civilians since last August. [SyriaHR]
Deir Ez-Zor District
Daesh said it killed two SDF members and wounded another on Wednesday in ambush in Al-Takihi village, in Al-Busayrah subdistrict. [A3maq]
Daesh said it captured and killed an SDF member on Wednesday in Al-Sabha village. [A3maq]
Albu Kamal District
The SOHR says that Daesh is collapsing in Deir Ez-Zor due to the SDF pressure and internal conflicts among its leaders, to the extent that it is now incapable of keeping civilians from escaping to SDF-held areas. It says that Daesh’s areas of control are now confined to Al-Sha’afa, Al-Baghouz, Al-Susah, and 3 other villages. [SyriaHR]
A military source in eastern Deir Ez-Zor says SDF units have freed 7,000 civilians, mostly women and children, from Daesh captivity and moved them to safe locations. [Hawar]
A DaeshDaily source said on Friday that SDF units freed seven Yazidi women near Al-Kashma village. The source said the SDF handed over the women and their children to the KRG in Erbil.
Khida Saratov, a member of the team working on retuning Russian nationals from war zones in the Middle East, says that a Russian woman and one of her children were killed in a Coalition airstrike on Al-Sha’afa village. The women was from Chechnya and a mother of 5. A Kurdish family is taking care of her children. [Qasioun]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
The Deputy Commander of the Iranian Navy, Rear-Admiral Touraj Hassani, says Iran will be sending a fleet on a tour to the western Atlantic, i.e., near US waters, in March. He says the ships will include the Sahand, a newly-built destroyer and a helicopter carrier. [Hawar]
Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Badawi, who was believed to have been responsible for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, was reportedly killed in a US airstrike on Tuesday. CENTCOM spokesman Bill Urban confirmed that the strike had occurred, and said that US forces were still assessing whether Al-Badawi had been killed. [Independent]
DaeshDaily comment. The US military has long memories, especially of those who kill US servicemen.
Egypt’s President Abd Al-Fatah Al-Sisi says that the Egyptian and Israeli armed forces are cooperating to confront terrorism in the Sinai. He told CBS that over 1,000 Daesh fighters are situated in the Sinai, and that Egypt allows the Israeli Air Force to attack them. [Anadolu]
DaeshDaily comment. This explains our earlier report from Daesh about Israeli airstrikes in north Sinai.
Daesh sources said that 6 or more Israeli airplanes conducted more than 20 airstrikes on Thursday, targeting different areas around Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.
The Qatari-owned Al-Araby Al-Jadeed wrote that the Egyptian Presidency forbade official comment on Al-Sisi’s CBS interview, and requested through the Egyptian Embassy in Washington that it not be broadcast, due to the politically sensitive nature of admitting to military cooperation with Israel. [AlAraby]
The De–mining Room for the Central Military Region, including Sirte, said that it had removed and dismantled a 200-kg missile over the past few days, which had remained in a residential district since 2016. It said that about 1.5 tons of war detritus had been removed over the past month, and that about 75% of the explosives and mines had been removed from Sirte. A spokesman for the Sirte Protection Force added that war detritus remained a real hazard for civilians in Sirte. [Libya24]
Tunisia’s Ennahda Party says that national reconciliation is a must in Syria. This unexpected position came in a press statement by the executive office of the party. The statement also says that such a reconciliation will end the Syrian people’s agonies and restore Syria’s position in Arab and international organizations. [ElDorar]
The Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 3 persons suspected of being members of the “Tawhid and Jihad Battalion,” which is the same terrorist cell whose members were killed in a shootout early Thursday morning in Sidi Bouzid Governorate. [Tunisien]
The Director of the Ops Center in the Algerian MoI, Hassan Qasimi, says that Algeria deported a group of so-called “Free Syrian Army” fighters who fought in Aleppo, after they tried to enter the country as immigrants. [Sumaria]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
Daesh published on Friday a photo of a policeman it murdered in Bakaara market in Mogadishu city. [ICDNJan4] Daesh had previously said on Thursday it shot and killed a policeman in Bakaara market, in Mogadishu. [A3maq]
Afghan military sources said that 52 fighters belonging to the Taliban and to Daesh’s Khorasan branch (ISIS-K) were killed in various military operations around Afghanistan. [Khaama]
Daesh said that four women and children were killed on Wednesday in an “American bombing” in the Ibrahim Khel, in Khogyani District, Nangarhar. [A3maq]
Daesh said it stopped an “Afghan and American forces” attack on the area. [A3maq]
On Thursday, Daesh published the 163rd issue of its Naba’ magazine, which includes an infographic about its attacks in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Somalia, west Africa, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It claims to have conducted 72 attacks, killing or wounding more than 302 people, and destroying 38 vehicles. Daesh also published instructions to its followers about digital media and how to save or delete their information. Daesh told its followers to avoid using mobile phones. [ICDNJan3]
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