An Update On ISIS Activities

May 4, 2018

 

Abu Hamam Town

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Sistani refuses to support any political party,​​ warns against voting for proven losers; endorses continuation of anti-corruption reform program. [..]

Al-Abadi alleges financial corruption by some PMF leaders.​​ [..]

IAF airstrikes kill numerous Daesh fighters in Daquq, Kirkuk. [..]

Yazidi girl freed in Sinjar after 4 years of captivity. [..]

 

Syria

US freezes its funding support for Syria’s “White Helmets.”​​ [..]

Coalition ramps up airstrikes in Albu Kamal, southern Hasaka. [..]

France’s top general says it will keep its troops in northern Syria. [..]

Egypt supports Arab troops in Syria; likely won’t send its own. [..]

UN humanitarian official warns of warfare spreading to Idlib. [..]

SDF battling Syrian troops, Daesh, & anti-government militia in Deir Ez-Zor. [..]

33 Daesh members surrender to SDF in Hajin; 200 others still trapped in city. [..]

Syria apparently taking heavy casualties in battles south of Damascus. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

US State Department spokeswoman​​ Heather Nauert expressed surprise at the number of candidates for the Iraqi CoR election, describing it as a remarkable success in the march toward democracy in Iraq. “First, what I’d like to say about Iraq is congratulations on the election that they are holding. And what is incredible about that election is the fact that they have 320 parliamentary seats and 7,000 candidates coming from 50 parties. I mean, imagine that. That’s a tremendous number. So I think we’ve just seen such incredible success with the march toward democracy in Iraq,” she said.​​ 

She added that the U.S. has​​ had​​ “a lot of conversations with the Iraqi Government. They’re a steadfast partner of the United States. Some of our various programs at DRL – one of our bureaus here, Democracy, Labor and Human Rights – they’re partnering with the National Democratic Institute to implement a $3 million program that aims at strengthening government – governance overall, and then boosting voter participation. USAID also has some separate programs through the Independent High Electoral Commission to try to ensure that all Iraqis – women, minority groups, and the like – all have access to the polls and to elections.” [Mustaqila]

 

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani announced on Friday that he was “standing at a distance” from all the candidates for the CoR elections and did not support any one person or list, while warning about choosing “proven​​ losers.” ​​ Al-Sistani made the announcement via a statement read by his representative in Kerbala, Abdul-Mahdi Al-Karbalai. ​​ The statement added that each voter needs​​ to vote their conscience and not allow anyone to exploit religious authority for electoral gains;​​ needs​​ to learn the lesson of adherence to values, principles, and the rule of law;​​ and​​ should​​ not to be swayed by foreign agendas. ​​ Sistani mentioned the need to choose those who had realistic programs to solve the crises that have plagued Iraq for many years, and concluded that the way to​​ ensure this was to see who the candidates and heads of lists were, “particularly those who were in positions of responsibility [before], to avoid falling into the traps of deceitful losers, the corrupt, or other ‘tested’​​ persons​​ [candidates like them].” ​​ [Sumaria]

 

On Friday, the Grand Ayatollah also called for the reform movement in the country to continue, warning of 3 layers of society that negatively influence reform. ​​ Abdul-Mahdi Al-Karbalai, the Grand Ayatollah’s representative, read the statement during Friday’s sermon, which said, “The Grand Ayatollah calls for benefiting from the experiences of previous nations in the process of reform, including the curriculum of the prophets and imams,” stressing, “the reform movement must continue from the time of the prophets until the Day of Resurrection.” ​​ 

Referring to the “3 layers” of society affecting reform, the statement said that they were (1) the “rebel class” that stood against the reform movement, (2) the “ignorant class” that lacked maturity in the reform movement and were easily misled, and (3) the “prisoners of past thinking” who face the reform movement with a negative attitude and doubts. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Prime​​ Minister​​ Haider Al-Abadi said on Friday that he supported the Grand Ayatollah’s​​ call to avoid “deceitful losers” in the CoR elections. ​​ In a statement issued by Al-Abadi’s press office, he said, “We express our full support for the position and guidance of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani … referring in particular to the call for broad participation in the elections, and making the right choices.” [Rudaw]​​ [Sumaria]

 

PM Haider Al-Abadi on Friday repeated past comparisons between the “battle against Daesh” and the “battle for reconstruction,” saying that Iraq had ended one battle and entered the next. ​​ The remarks were part of a speech to a tribal gathering in Kerbala. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

The Supreme Coordinating Committee for Demonstrations announced​​ it was​​ forming a legal team to file a lawsuit against PM Haider Al-Abadi. ​​ In a statement to Rudaw, the Committee said that after grassroots organization planning to demonstrate​​ for the​​ rights​​ of​​ the PMFs​​ on Friday, they had decided to postpone the demonstration for several reasons. ​​ The first reason given was their desire, shared with representatives of the Grand Ayatollah in Najaf, not to “confuse the situation” by protesting during the election period. ​​ The second reason given was the formation of a legal team to sue Al-Abadi for stalling on the CoR decision to give PMF groups full rights. ​​ The Committee added that they postponed the demonstrations so as not to let any political party exploit them or aggravate security concerns during the election period. ​​ [Rudaw]​​ 

 

The Rule of Law alliance leader Nouri Al-Maliki said on Friday that nobody has the right to say that Iraq’s budget is empty, as Iraq has many resources. ​​ In a speech to a tribal gathering in the Al-Hindiya District of Kerbala, Al-Maliki noted that there were 8 days left until the election, and looked forward to forming a strong majority government. [Sumaria]

 

Muqtada Al-Sadr warned on Friday of possible terrorist operations during the CoR elections; he also called on voters to avoid the pressures from political parties or militias. ​​ Sadr made the remarks in a speech to his followers, delivered on his behalf by the Chairman of the Coordinating Committee for Demonstrations, Ibrahim Al-Jaberi, in Tahrir Square [Liberation Square], central​​ Baghdad. ​​ In the speech, Al-Sadr said that any breach or interference in the elections from a militia or party should immediately be reported to law enforcement. ​​ Al-Sadr called on citizens to “inform observers or the [Electoral] Commission in the event of any compulsion exerted on the security forces or private votes,” warning that “temptations corrupt and threaten … The expatriates are obligated to support their homeland and save it from corruption; they must cast their votes and lead it away from the pressure of political parties and militias.” [Sumaria]

 

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) of Iraq, in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Relations of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), held a conference for international observers of the CoR elections, including foreign missions, UN agencies, and civil society organizations, to review the role of international observers in the electoral process. ​​ Dr. Said Kakayi, a member of IHEC, began the conference by highlighting the importance of the elections as a democratic process and the importance of international observers in making the process legally successful and impartial, as well as the importance of transparency. ​​ He then expressed his thanks to all the foreign missions and international organizations who were participating in the oversight of the electoral process.​​ [BasNews]

 

According to RT, over 2,000 Iraqi women are​​ running​​ in the upcoming Iraqi CoR elections in the hope that they will be able to defend women’s rights as well as​​ deal with​​ other issues related to the Iraqi reality, but most are running for election under the guardianship of parties, which, according to observers, limits their actual roles in​​ supporting​​ their issues. [RT]

 

Corruption

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi appeared in a video on social media, talking about corruption​​ among​​ the PMF leaders. Al-Abadi said that some PMF leaders are stealing and distributing the PMFs’ funds among themselves. Al-Abadi vowed to catch them and make them pay a heavy price for their corruption. He also added that days before he was killed, PMF Finance Director Qassem Al-Zubaidi called​​ to inform him that the PMFs’ names must be thoroughly checked as there are many fake names on the PMF lists, and some PMF leaders are stealing PMF salaries. [Shafaaq] ​​ 

 

During an election rally in Najaf province, Al-Abadi said he would reveal the circumstances​​ behind the killing of Qassem Al-Zubaidi. Al-Abadi​​ said​​ Al-Zubaidi​​ had cooperated with the government to root out corrupt militia leaders who were stealing the salaries of their members. ​​ [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This conjures up the huge scandal over “ghost soldiers” that Al-Abadi confronted a few years ago. Salaries are paid to people on the military rolls who are not actually there. The money goes to the officers behind the scheme. Today’s stories confirm our suspicion that Al-Zubaidi’s death was not a Daesh hit but an attack by thugs working for corrupt Iraqi officials trying to avoid being exposed. This may not have been intended to kill him but to intimidate him by causing bodily harm. He was not shot but died anyway from the beating.​​ 

 

Reconstruction

In a meeting with women in Karbala, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced on Friday that all the officials’ privileges in the latest reform package were cancelled, adding that “Iraqi women have played a significant role in the battle against Daesh.” He also pointed out that they have an important role in the reconstruction of Iraq. [BaghdadToday

 

The PM spokesman, Saad Al-Hadithi, denied on Friday that the countries, which pledged [financial aid for reconstruction of Iraq] during the Kuwait Conference in February, were not trying to fulfill their pledges to Iraq. He said​​ that “the National Action Team (which was set up to follow the decisions of the Kuwait Conference and the financial aid pledged for the reconstruction of Iraq) held a meeting with the representatives of the countries and entities that announced their support for the reconstruction of Iraq, and asked them to provide more details about their financial support.” [BaghdadToday]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Coalition says it conducted 5 airstrikes on Daesh targets in Iraq between April 27 and May 3, in or near Rutba (2), Hawija (2), and Mosul (1). ([InherentResolve]​​ 

 

Foreign policy

Friday, Iraq’s​​ Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, urged Turkey to withdraw its troops from northern Iraq. “We thank Turkey for its contributions to the Iraqi IDPs and its participation in the Kuwait International Conference for the reconstruction of Iraq,” Al-Jaafari said. He added that Iraq “renews its call on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Iraqi territory.”​​ [Petra]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

Northeast​​ (Adhamiya, etc.)

Baghdad Ops Command announced on Friday in a statement that it had arrested a man accused of murder in​​ the​​ Shaab area. [Ghad]​​ 

 

East​​ (Sadr City, New Baghdad, etc.)

Baghdad Ops Command announced on Friday in a statement that it had arrested a suspect accused under Article 4 (terrorism) in the Al-Bawiya​​ neighborhood​​ in​​ eastern​​ Baghdad. [Ghad]​​ 

 

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

Baghdad Ops Command announced on Friday in a statement that it had found 7 IEDs left behind by Daesh in the region of​​ Arab​​ Rakan​​ in​​ southern​​ Baghdad, which were detonated on site without incident.​​ [Ghad]

 

West​​ (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

Baghdad Ops Command announced on Friday in a statement that it​​ had arrested 9 Bangladeshi nationals in Al-Saadan, near the Falluja border,​​ for overstaying their visas.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

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

Total IED incidents reported:  ​​​​ 1

 

ANBAR

Falluja

The Center for Security Information​​ said in a statement​​ on Friday​​ that units under East Anbar Ops Command found 6 IEDs and a 155mm mortar shell left behind by Daesh in the area of​​ Rashad, which were​​ blown up. ​​ He added that another group cleared the Falluja power station and found and destroyed 5 IEDs. [Ghad]

 

Ramadi

The Center for Security Information​​ also​​ announced that a cache of explosives and material to manufacture explosives had been found in Ramadi. ​​ General Yahya Rasul said in a statement that military intelligence units from the 10th​​ Division found the cache, with 8​​ glycerin-based explosives containing ammonium nitrate, 8 IEDs, 12 threaded detonators, and 4 large square IEDs, in​​ Albu​​ Shaaban,​​ north of​​ Ramadi​​ city.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

General Yahya Rasul also​​ announced on Thursday that 2 terrorists had been arrested in Albu Assaf while trying to escape.​​ [Ghad]

 

Friday, a security source reported that “based on intelligence information, there are a number of Daesh members moving freely between Wadi Al-Haddar (Al-Haddar Valley) and Al-Thirthar Lake,​​ disguised as shepherds. [KnoozMedia] ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

 

Rutba

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Anbar Police units found an explosives cache in a tunnel in Al-Dhab’a village, near Rutba.​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

Ministry of the Interior​​ spokesman General​​ Sa’ad​​ Ma’an, said on Friday that war materiel left behind by Daesh had been cleared from the Baiji power station. ​​ He said the Salahuddin Police, together with the Baiji Electric Police, had found and destroyed 15 mortar shells, a 60mm mortal, 20 155mm “Austrian” shells, a rocket launcher and 40 grenade launchers.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Samarra

Daesh says it killed three PMF fighters and wounded four others in an ambush in the Al-Thirthar area, in the desert west of Samarra. [ICDNMay4]

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Diyala Ops Commander Lieutenant General​​ Mizher​​ Al-Azzawi said on Friday that 4 wanted persons had been arrested, 2 of them on terrorism charges, and 2 missiles and some military equipment had been seized. ​​ Al-Azzawi said that the 4 detainees were arrested in various locations around the province, and the 2 missiles and equipment​​ were​​ seized in Khan Bani Saad, southwest of Baquba.[Ghad]​​ 

 

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

The​​ security​​ committee chairman for​​ Abu Saida​​ said on Friday that 3 civilians had been killed by an IED left on a farm road. Awad Al-Rubaie, the Committee head, added that it had happened in the late hours of the previous evening, near​​ Barwana. [Sumaria]

Daesh says it killed three PMF fighters and wounded two others with an IED in Barwana Kabira village, on Thursday. [ICDNMay4]

 

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

A Peshmerga leader said Daesh movements in Diyala Province had increased, referring to an attack the night before on Iraqi forces in the Khanaqin region. ​​ Major General Mariwan Ali, Commander of​​ the 2nd​​ Support Forces in the 70th​​ Peshmerga Unit, said, “Armed Daesh fighters control all the villages in Diyala Province and roam freely through them … Last night they attacked Iraqi Army positions in a village near Khanaqin and killed several soldiers.” ​​ Ali added that the Peshmerga forces were ready to defend all of​​ Diyala, adding, “The US and Iraqi government are aware of the situation in Diyala, but may not want to move in the current situation … Everything is on hold until after the elections.” ​​ [BasNews]

 

The​​ chairman​​ of the Mansouriya​​ subdistrict​​ council, Ragheb Al-‘Anbuki, said on Friday that a civilian had been wounded in an armed attack. ​​ He said that a house on the outskirts of Al-Duwalib village had been attacked with light arms and a grenade, and that the injured party was the brother of a senior officer in the federal police. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)

Daesh said it killed an Iraqi soldier with an IED in the Al-Nida area, on Wednesday. [ICDNMay3]

 

KIRKUK

Hawija

Election.​​ Commander of the 6th​​ IFP Division, Brigadier General Saad Khalaf Badr, urged the Hawija IDPs to quickly return to their homes, after facilitating the security measures for them in the district. “The 6th​​ IFP Division command has provided the necessary protection for 56 polling centers in Hawija District. They have been fully secured,” he said. “The IFP Command has ordered that vehicles be provided for carrying the voters to the polling centers, and there will be no curfew in the district. Cooperation will be at the highest levels,” he added. [BaghdadToday]

 

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

A security source in Kirkuk Province said on Friday that several Daesh fighters had been killed or wounded in an​​ Iraqi​​ Air Force bombing of Daesh safehouses in the southwest​​ of the province. ​​ The source, who asked not to be named, said that the Iraqi Air Force had carried out air strikes on fortified villages and safehouses in Daquq District, destroying the safehouses and killing and wounding a number of Daesh fighters. ​​ He added that Daesh had been using sites between Daquq and Tooz to target civilians and security forces, especially around​​ Al-Shay​​ and​​ Himrin. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

NINEWA

Mosul​​ (No reports)

 

Southern Ninewa

Shura

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says local police units captured a Daesh​​ hisbah​​ official in Tal Wa’i village, just east of Shura city.​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

The Center for Security Information said on Friday that 30 IEDs and 21 detonators had been found in Ninewa. ​​ General Yahya Rasul said that military intelligence units from the 15th​​ Brigade had found the explosives in the village of Shandoukha, northeast of Tal Afar city.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Sinjar

A security source reported on Friday that the Military Intelligence Service​​ freed​​ a 14 year old Yazidi girl, who was kidnapped by Daesh 4 years ago. [BaghdadToday

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

Wednesday, a local source said that clashes are still ongoing between the Turkish Army and the PKK in different locations in​​ the​​ Sidekan subdistrict​​ in northern Erbil.​​ [Shafaaq]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Turkish security​​ units​​ arrested a fugitive in Gaziantep who was involved in a suicide bombing in the province of Kayseri in 2016. A statement produced by the state of Gaziantep explained how the counter-terrorism division was able to uncover the location of the terrorist. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh campaign

Friday, CBS News reported that the US has frozen funding to the Syrian​​ Civil Defense, aka the White Helmets, less than two months after praising the group’s efforts during a meeting with them in Washington. The State Department announced yesterday the funds to the group, which make up a third of their total budget, were under “active review.” An internal State Department document​​ said that its Near East Bureau needed confirmation from the administration to green light funding for the White Helmets in Syria by April 15th or the department would initiate “shut-down procedures on a rolling basis.” That document also said that the department needed to be notified by April 6th that it could continue programs that focus on removing land mines, restoring essential services and providing food to moderate forces and their families or those programs would also have to be shut down. “This is a very worrisome development,” said an official from the White Helmets. “Ultimately, this will negatively impact the humanitarian workers’ ability to save lives.” [Hawar]

 

The Coalition says it conducted 22 airstrikes on Daesh targets in Syria between April 27 and May 3, in or near Albu Kamal (15), Deir Ez-Zor (2), and Shaddadi in Hasaka (5). [InherentResolve]​​ 

 

Friday, French Army Chief of Staff General Francois Lecointre said that the French troops will remain in Syria, along with their US counterparts, in order to complete the “counter terrorism mission against Daesh.” “I think we are staying with the Americans (in Syria), and I cannot imagine that the United States will withdraw before defeating Daesh,” Lecointre said on Friday in an interview with CNews. [Dorar]

 

Friday,​​ Al-Ahram​​ newspaper quoted Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shukri, as saying that sending Arab troops to Syria is a possibility that is being discussed by officials from various countries. “In regards to the situation in Syria, the idea of replacing forces with another that may be Arab is a possibility. This proposition is not only being discussed by the media, but also during discussions​​ and deliberations amongst officials of states to look into how these ideas could contribute to stabilizing Syria,” Shukri said, according to Al-Ahram.

On the other hand, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman,​​ Ahmed Abu Zeid, said that Sameh Shukri was not raising the possibility that Egypt itself might be ready to send forces to Syria, adding that such a decision is subject to constitutional constraints. “The principles that govern sending Egyptian forces outside the country are known to everybody. That won’t happen unless it was in line with constitutional mechanisms, and rules and regulations that have been affirmed more than once, such as cases related to United Nations peacekeeping operations,” said Ahmed Abu Zeid in a statement. [Hawar]

 

Friday, German authorities announced they had​​ arrested a 25 year old Syrian refugee in the southwestern city of Tubingen on suspicion of being a Daesh member. Germany’s​​ federal prosecutor said that Faisal A. is suspected of joining a militia in 2013 that fought against the Syrian government. Later that year, the militia merged with Daesh. Prosecutors said Faisal was initially considered to be a government collaborator by Daesh, but after undergoing religious “re-education” and swearing allegiance to the group, he was made to spy on the people in Tabaqa and help clear homes seized by Daesh. He allegedly left Syria for Germany at the end of 2014. [ZamanAlwasl]

 

Friday, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister, Oleg Seromolotov, said that Russia has “no evidence of the death of Daesh’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.” “As far as I can remember, his death was reported 10 times, but we can’t confirm those reports, unless they are supported by concrete facts,” he added. [Qasioun]

 

United Nations

Thursday,​​ the​​ U.N. humanitarian​​ official, Dr.​​ Jan Egeland said that Syria’s war rages unabated despite a fall in the number of besieged civilians, warning of a potential worsening of the conflict in Idlib. He added that millions of civilians were still caught up in the seven-year-old conflict and many who escaped battle zones had to seek shelter in the overcrowded IDP camps in Idlib. “We cannot have a war in Idlib. I keep saying that now to Russia, to Iran, to Turkey, to the United States, to anyone that can have an influence,” Egeland told reporters. He called for negotiations to protect the civilians, and said recent airstrikes on Idlib were a “bad omen.” Egeland also said that about 11,000 Syrians are still under siege and​​ 2​​ million are hard to reach with humanitarian aid, compared to 625,000 under siege and 4.6 million who were hard to reach a year ago. “The notion that it is ebbing, this war, is completely wrong. This war is on and it’s still in the midst of the civilian population,” Egeland told reporters. [Hawar]

 

The UN Secretary-General believes that within the next few weeks all of Syria’s chemical weapons facilities will be completely destroyed. In a letter to the Security Council, he warned that failing to identify those responsible for using chemical weapons in Syria will disappoint victims. He also stated that “impunity shall not have the upper hand.” [Qasioun]

 

Israel

Thursday, Israel’s Minister of Military Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, said there is no alternative to Bashar Al-Assad today. “In my view, Assad is a war criminal. But we will not interfere in Syria’s internal affairs. What we will not allow is Iran’s attempts to turn Syria into an advanced bridgehead​​ against us. If Moscow decided, for example, to supply Damascus with the S-300, how would that be seen in Israel?​​ If it is not directed against us, that is one matter, but if you open fire from this S-300 on our aircraft, we will certainly respond,” he said.​​ [Dorar]

 

Northwest​​ (No reports)

 

Northeast​​ (No reports)

 

Central and West​​ (No reports)

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

Thursday,​​ Zaman Al-Wasl​​ quoted a military source as saying that the SDF launched a military operation against​​ the​​ Al-Nukhba (Elite) Forces, affiliated with the​​ anti-government​​ Syria’s Tomorrow Movement headed by the former president of the Syrian National Coalition Ahmed Al-Jarba, and urged them to hand over their weapons, following clashes between the two sides on Thursday in Abu Hamam and Al-Kashkiya.​​ [ZamanAlwasl]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Yes, the SDF and​​ Al-Nukhba are on the same side, but they are not allies and not well coordinated with each other. This sounds like a challenge to CENTCOM to broker some kind of arrangement that will avoid a repetition of this incident.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says government soldiers withdrew from Al-Saqra Compound in Salahiya town, north of Deir Ez-Zor, without a fight, allowing the SDF to capture the compound.​​ 

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 33 Daesh members surrendered to the SDF near Hajin. The source says there are more than 200 Daesh terrorists still trapped in the town, lacking weapons and ammunition. The source says the terrorists are imposing heavy taxes on people in the town, and the prices of food items have skyrocketed.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says people have started to leave Abu Hamam, because of government forces’ random shelling on the town. The source says Syrian troops, aided by Iraqi militias, are trying to force the SDF out of the town. The source says a child was killed and a woman wounded in the shelling.​​ 

 

Friday, Qasioun reported that Daesh has carried out several surprise attacks on the Syrian forces’ positions in Albu Kamal. Meanwhile, the Coalition aircraft launched on Thursday several airstrikes on the Daesh positions on the Syria-Iraq border. [Qasioun]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Friday, SOHR reported that fierce clashes are still ongoing between the Syrian forces and Daesh in different locations in southern Damascus, especially in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and​​ the​​ Al-Tadhamun neighborhood as well as Al-Yarmouk Camp.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh media reports that violent clashes continued since morning on the outskirts of Yarmouk Camp and have prevented the regime from advancing in the area. [Dorar] Daesh says it killed more than 65 Syrian soldiers in heavy battles near the Yarmouk Camp. [ICDNMay4]

 

Daesh says it stopped a Syrian Army attack on Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, killing at least 25 soldiers, wounding others, and destroying an armored vehicle. [ICDNMay4]

 

Daesh sources say that Daesh handed over the bodies of 126 Syrian soldiers in Hay Al-Qadam to the government in exchange for releasing “tens” of Daesh women late March. The sources also say 126 more women were freed in exchange for the bodies of 74 soldiers in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad on Thursday.​​ 

The sources say that a few days ago, 70 female Daesh members were released by the SDF in exchange for captured SDF soldiers, in an unspecified location. [ICDNMay4]

 

Daesh said on Thursday its snipers killed 3 Syrian soldiers in Hay Al-Zain and near Yelda town. [ICDNMay3]

 

Social media activists circulated a document from the Ministry of Awqaf in Rif Damashq​​ which called for preachers in the mosques of Eastern Ghouta and especially the city of Douma (the district capital in Eastern Ghouta just 6 miles NE of Damascus) to stick to the prepared scripts for sermons and to avoid mentioning any religious topics that are not absolutely necessary. The Ministry also called for maintaining prayer rituals and including supplications for the President of Syria in every sermon. [Qasioun]

 

Daraa

Friday, SOHR reported that violent clashes broke out between the anti-government Syrian militias and the Daesh affiliate, Jaish Khaled, in Saham Al-Jolan village, 25 km​​ (16 miles)​​ northwest of Daraa city, accompanied by mutual rocket and artillery shelling. [SyriaHR]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

North Africa

Egypt

Friday, the Egyptian Army announced that it foiled an attack on a military checkpoint in Al-Joura village in Sheikh Zuweid, killing​​ 3​​ gunmen. An Egyptian soldier was also killed, however. [Dijla]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

Russia

Russia’s​​ Foreign Ministry said that Al-Qaeda’s revenues now exceed those of Daesh​​ by​​ 1020 times over. ​​ The Deputy Director of the Department for New Threats and Challenges, Dmitry Feoktistov, told reporters on Thursday that Daesh’s revenue stream had largely dried up as a result of​​ the​​ closing​​ of its​​ financing channels and limiting​​ of its​​ oil trade, which he credited to the work of the Russian armed forces. ​​ He estimated the current Daesh income as $3 million per month, while the total income of all Al-Qaeda cells worldwide is estimated between $20 million and $40 million per month. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) announced​​ it​​ had arrested 5 Daesh​​ members​​ who were planning terrorist attacks in the Russian city of Yaroslavl. ​​ The FSB said in a statement that the 5 had been arrested on May 3rd​​ and 4th, and had been planning terrorist acts in “several Russian provinces.” ​​ The FSB added that they seized IEDs, weapons, and ammunition, and that the terrorist attacks were being planned with coordination from outside [of Russia]. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

AFRICA

Somalia

Daesh said on Thursday it shot and killed a Somali policeman in a market in Mogadishu. [ICDNMay3]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Daesh said on Thursday it beheaded an Afghan government “spy” on Sawkai District, in Kunar. It also said it shot and killed an Afghan Army soldier and a Taliban fighter in two separate attacks in the same district. [ICDNMay3]

 

 

Note to readers:​​ We hate mistakes, and​​ so we apologize for confusing you with erroneous dates. The last two reports were for May 1 & 2, not March 1 & 2. Those who copied those reports may want to hand-correct the dates.

 

May 3, 2018

 

South Damascus

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

MoI announces that its election security plan is ready to start. [..]

Japan commits $317 million for two major public works projects. [..]

Huge Daesh weapons cache discovered in Ramadi. [..]

Ninewa Police arrest 20 Daesh members planning election attacks. [..]

Agriculture Minister is focus of Qayara election scandal. [..]

 

Syria

Russia, Turkey working on ceasefire for southern Idlib. [..]

2 Russian military pilots die in plane crash. [..]

SDF-Daesh battle continues for Hajin in Albu Kamal. [..]

Syrian Army-Daesh battle continues in southern Damascus. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Iran: ​​​​ Iran trying to turn Syrian tribes in liberated areas against US. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

The Ministry of the Interior announced on Thursday that their security plan for the elections would begin​​ implementation​​ on the 5th​​ of the month​​ (i.e., this Saturday), and said that security personnel would protect “more than 9000” sites during the elections. ​​ Ministry spokesman Sa’ad Ma’an said in a news conference that there was “high-level coordination” with the Electoral Commission on all activities relating to the elections. ​​ Ma’an said that 940,000 military personnel were scheduled to participate in electoral security operations, including the Army, units from the Ministry of the Interior, and Peshmerga.​​ [Rudaw]

 

Nouri Al-Maliki,​​ leader​​ of the Rule of Law electoral​​ alliance, said on Thursday that​​ his alliance was​​ seeking to “correct the course of the political process” in the elections. He said​​ “Our aim is to restart initiatives that stopped after 2014.” ​​ In​​ a speech to young people in Baghdad, Al-Maliki said that Rule of Law had paid attention to young people and taken their hopes and dreams into account when aiming to implement more comprehensive reforms and provide jobs under the principle of equal opportunity. ​​ He added that he​​ was aiming to solve the unemployment problem, which he said has​​ become a major crisis. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Thursday that Iraq can achieve the “miracle of reconstruction,” having already achieved the “miracle of liberation from Daesh.” ​​ Al-Abadi’s remarks came as part of a speech at an election rally in​​ Najaf, in which he added that the victory​​ over Daesh had come at a dear price​​ but​​ would become a victory for reconstruction, investment, and raising the standard of living.​​ [Sumaria]

 

When​​ Al-Abadi arrived on Thursday​​ in​​ Najaf,​​ Grand Ayatollah​​ Sistani​​ declined​​ to meet him, according to​​ sources close to Sistani. The sources added that Sistani has​​ refused​​ to meet any political figure​​ during the campaign, including Al-Abadi. [Shafaaq]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This might reflect Sistani’s dissatisfaction with the current political leaders, but does show he is avoiding any political role for himself in this election. Sistani was the creator and inspiration for the original Shia coalition​​ back in 2005, which used his photo and presumed​​ support to​​ win votes, but the political class has largely disappointed him over the years.​​ There is speculation he might have more to say about this election before May 12, however.

 

Reconstruction

On Thursday, the Ministry of Finance signed two financing agreements with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) worth $317 million in total. ​​ The first agreement​​ covers​​ a $176 million loan for the Basra water development project, under​​ a​​ 20-year​​ agreement​​ with a 6-year grace period and a fixed interest rate of 1%. ​​ The second agreement​​ covers​​ a $141 million loan for the rehabilitation of Iraq’s irrigation sector,​​ and has a loan period of​​ 25​​ years​​ with a 7-year grace period. ​​ In 2013, Japan had submitted a proposal to the Iraqi government to develop ports and power plants in the country via a $1.24 billion loan. [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Japan has been helping Iraq since the fall of Saddam in 2003, including major public works projects, providing a lot of money without seeking any publicity for its contributions.

 

Thursday,​​ the​​ UNHCR Coordinator for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Monica Noro, and the Consul General of the State of Kuwait in Erbil, Dr. Omar Al-Kendari, visited Dahuk Governorate to observe the progress of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) project to improve the living conditions of camp-based Syrian refugees in Dahuk and Erbil Governorates. The $ 10 million multi-year project aims to improve the shelter, water and sanitation conditions of over 73,000 Syrian refugees living in five camps in Dahuk and Erbil. 

Ms. Noro said​​ that​​ ​​ “Thanks to the generous contribution of KFAED, thousands of Syrian refugees will benefit from enhanced protection, new and upgraded shelter facilities, additional livelihood opportunities, and reinforced camp infrastructures.” “While funding for Syrian refugees in Iraq is critically low, the Kuwait contribution will offer a more sustainable solution to refugees and their hosting communities,​​ since conditions are not yet conducive for their return to Syria,” Ms. Noro added. [Shafaaq]

 

Council of Representatives

On Thursday, the Speaker of the CoR, Salim Al-Jubouri, emphasized the right of the CoR to meet to assess the work of the Electoral Commission after the election, noting that the Commission is an independent institution constitutionally reporting to the CoR. ​​ In a press conference, Al-Jubouri said, “The CoR rejects any intrusion into the work of the Commission from any official or political group.” ​​ [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ There is some bad history behind this stance, as Al-Maliki tried to gain some control of independent agencies in spite of the constitution.

 

Al-Jubouri​​ requested​​ on Thursday​​ that​​ the President, Prime Minister, President of the Supreme Judicial Council and President of the Federal Supreme Court pardon Saddam’s former Defense Minister, Sultan Hashim, on health grounds, in an attempt to support national reconciliation efforts in Iraq. General Sultan Hashim, 74, was sentenced to death in 2007, but the Presidency​​ Council refused to ratify his sentence then. Jubouri said in a press conference held in Baghdad that the family of the former Defense Minister asked him to intervene in order to obtain a special pardon due to Hashim’s unstable health.​​ The Speaker​​ said​​ he would​​ contact President Fuad Masoum, Prime Minister​​ Al-Abadi,​​ and President of the Federal Supreme Court Medhat Mahmoud to discuss the possibility of releasing​​ him. [Anadolu]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Baghdad Central Criminal Court sentenced 8 foreign Daesh “terrorists” to life in prison. ​​ The official spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, Judge Abd Al-Sattar Birqdar, said in a statement that the persons convicted included 3 from Turkey, 1 from Azerbaijan, 1 from Uzbekistan, and 1 from Syria. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

The London-based newspaper​​ Al-Hayat​​ detailed the first day at trial for the French “Daesh wife,” Melina Boughedir. The newspaper said in a report that the Iraqi Appeals Court asked her about the whereabouts of her husband. ​​ She replied that he had gone to get water one day and disappeared, and that she did not know anything more. ​​ Boughedir was asked if she believed in the ideology of Daesh, and she said, “Not at all, and this was the case of many women with their husbands [in Daesh],” according to the newspaper. ​​ After looking at photographs presented by the Court, Boughedir said that she wanted to see her children who were sent to France. ​​ 3 of her children​​ were sent to France in December. ​​ The Court decided to hold a second trial on June 3rd​​ at the request of Boughedir’s new lawyer. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

The Pentagon announced on Thursday that there are approximately 5,000 American troops stationed in Iraq. [Anadolu]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Hoshyar​​ Zebari,​​ former Iraq Foreign Minister and​​ a member of the​​ Politburo​​ of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), said that the independence referendum​​ was​​ the beginning of the declaration of a Kurdish state, and that a day of independence for Kurdistan would “inevitably” arrive. ​​ During a speech on Thursday as part of the KDP campaign in Zummar​​ District​​ in Tal Afar, he said, “We do not regret holding the referendum, and this​​ is​​ a sacred historical document that will endure forever.” ​​ BasNews noted that 93% of the voters taking part in the referendum on October 25, 2017, had voted for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state.

Zebari added, “There is no contradiction between having held the referendum and our participation in the Iraqi CoR elections today.… [The referendum was] an expression of opinion, and we said earlier that we would not announce a Kurdish state directly after the referendum.” ​​ Zebari went on to say, “Some imagine us as guests in Iraq. ​​ No, it’s not like that; we have a shared stake in this homeland, and we would have no problem with it if the Iraqi state dealt with us as citizens, and if there was a constitution obligating equality for all, because that​​ was the constitution advanced by President Barzani.” ​​ [BasNews]

 

The Deputy Chief of Staff for the Peshmerga forces, Major General Qaraman Sheikh Kamal, spoke on the possible return of the Peshmerga to the “disputed” regions of Kurdistan outside the administration of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). ​​ “So far, the Peshmerga Ministry has not been informed of this [i.e. official authorization to return], but we greatly appreciate the Coalition’s attempt to bring the Peshmerga back to the​​ [non-KRG]​​ Kurdish regions,” Kamal told Bas​​ News. ​​ The Iraqi Ministry of Defense recently sent a delegation to Erbil to discuss the possibility of the Peshmerga returning to the “disputed​​ territories.​​ [BasNews]

 

Masoud​​ Barzani, the former KRG President, reportedly discussed a number of political and regional developments with Iraqi Vice President Osama Al-Nujaifi. [BasNews]

 

Foreign ​​ policy

On Thursday, Iraqi Foreign Minister​​ Ibrahim Al-Jaafari​​ visited the Turkish Parliament. Ismail​​ Kahraman, the​​ Speaker​​ of the Turkish Parliament, stated that Iraq and Turkey are very close friends and that Turkey looks forward to working with Iraq​​ for​​ a better future. He also said that Turkey itself faces threats on all sides. The Iraqi Foreign Minister stated that the visits were a sign of the depth of the relationship between Iraq and Turkey. [Anadolu]

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

The Ministry of the Interior announced on Thursday that it had arrested 13 wanted persons, including Daesh fighters. ​​ Ministry spokesman,​​ General Sa’ad​​ Ma’an,​​ said in a statement that security personnel had arrested​​ 8 people on terrorism charges (Article 4),​​ 3​​ on​​ pimping and​​ prostitution charges.​​ 2 suspects accused of belonging to Daesh were arrested in a Baghdad hotel. [Etejah]​​ 

 

East​​ (Sadr City, New Baghdad, etc.)

A police source said on Thursday that a civilian had been killed in an armed attack in Habibiya, next to Sadr City. ​​ The source, who asked not to be named, said that the attack was carried out by unidentified gunmen who shot the victim near his home, and that an investigation was ongoing.​​ [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR

Falluja

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Anbar Police captured 4 men, including a Daesh​​ zakat​​ official, on terrorism charges in Falluja.

 

Ramadi

The Center for Security Information announced Thursday that a “pile” of 116 rockets was found during a search operation in Anbar province. ​​ Center spokesman General Yahya Rasul said that forces under Anbar Ops Commands found the “pile” in Jaraishi,​​ north of Ramadi,​​ containing​​ 73 mortar shells, 8 Hellfire missiles, a grenade launcher, and 8 missiles for armored personnel carriers. ​​ Rasul added that the same pile contained 100 missiles for tanks, 31 57mm rocket launchers, and around 100 detonators for IEDs, and said that these materials were detonated on site. ​​ Rasul said that other units under Anbar Ops Command also found 3 glycerin-based IEDs containing C4 around Albu Bali, as well as 14 IEDs, which were detonated on site. ​​ [Mawazin]​​ [Mawazin]​​ 

 

Al-Qa’im

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Daesh killed 2 Kata’eb Hezbollah members near Al-Qa’im. The source said Daesh had captured the fighters 2 days ago and demanded a ransom to release them but the KH refused to pay.​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN​​ (No reports)

 

DIYALA

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

Thursday, a local official reported that a police officer was wounded by a sniper in Al-Jisr checkpoint at the northern entrance of Jalawla​​ in​​ northeast Diyala. [Alghadpress]

On Thursday, an official source in Diyala discussed the details of the Daesh terrorist attack in Jalawla. ​​ The source told Ghad that security personnel had thwarted the Daesh attack, which was preceded by mortar fire, at the security checkpoint near Wadi Al-Awsaj​​ on​​ the outskirts of Jalawla. ​​ The source added that 2 policemen were killed and 2 others wounded during the attack. ​​ [Ghad]

 

Daesh says it killed three Emergency Police members, wounded four others, and captured weapons and ammunition in an attack on their position in Jalawla. Daesh published photos of the attack. [ICDNMay3]

 

Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)

The Center for Security Information announced on Thursday that 60 mortar shells and 40kg of C4 were found in​​ eastern​​ Diyala. ​​ Center spokesman General Yahya Rasul said in a statement that​​ units under Diyala Ops Command had found the explosives, along with a rifle and “other parts,” in the village of​​ Khalaf Al-Hassoun in the Al-Nida area.​​ [Mawazin]​​ ​​ 

 

KIRKUK​​ (No reports)

 

NINEWA

Mosul

Election.​​ The Ninewa​​ Police arrested 20 Daesh-affiliated terrorists who were planning to carry out attacks in Ninewa province during the election, a security source told Ghad. ​​ The source said that the arrests were made in the​​ Al-Shuhada​​ Al-Thaniya​​ (Second Martyrs)​​ neighborhood​​ of​​ west​​ Mosul. ​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Thursday that the 3rd​​ Emergency Police Regiment of the Ninewa Police had arrested a “well-known” Daesh fighter who was wanted under the names Abu Abd Al-Rahman and Abu Zeinab. ​​ The arrest took place in the market of the​​ Al-Sumer neighborhood​​ in​​ east Mosul.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Southern Ninewa

Qayara

Election.​​ Dijla​​ TV​​ channel revealed on Thursday a corruption scandal in the IDP camps in Ninewa, involving the Agriculture Minister. A source told Dijla that “with the help of both his cousin and uncle, the Agriculture Minister Falah Hasan Al-Zeidan has taken a number of measures to rig the elections.” The source alleged that “The PMF affiliated with Al-Zeidan is controlling the Haj Ali​​ camp in Qayara, and holding both the IDPs and camp staff captive at gunpoint in order to get their votes.” [Dijla]

 

Western​​ Ninewa​​ (No reports)

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

Thursday, Hawar reported that 11 Turkish soldiers were killed and 3 helicopters destroyed in several PKK attacks on Turkish Army personnel in northern Iraqi Kurdistan and southern Turkey.​​ [Hawar]

 

ERBIL

Thursday, Roj News reported that the Turkish Army has started digging trenches around the barracks established in the places it has recently captured in​​ Sidekan​​ in northern Erbil, following several PKK attacks against its personnel in the area.​​ [Roj]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

In a statement released on Thursday, Mohammed Alloush announced his resignation from his post as the political head of Jaish Al-Islam, saying he resigned due to his “conviction that the way should be opened for new energies [faces] to step in and participate in revolutionary and political action.” [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that “the de-escalation agreement does not extend to terrorists,​​ who must be destroyed and eliminated.” ​​ “In Eastern Ghouta, this problem was largely resolved, since those groups that either consolidated with Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups, or themselves violated the cease-fire agreement, were either liquidated or withdrawn from there. Thus, the Syrian government has restored its control over Eastern Ghouta, and the de-escalation mission has been accomplished in this part of Syria,” he stated.​​ 

 

Lavrov​​ also criticized the U.S. for training anti-government militias in Al-Tanaf base and Al-Ruqban IDP Camp. He said​​ that in that area “very strange things are happening, including the training of militants, which is being conducted in order for them to continue fighting despite the ceasefire agreement.” Lavrov​​ was speaking​​ at a press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi. [Qasioun]​​ [Dorar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It is now a well-rehearsed Russian propaganda line that by opposing Assad the US is supporting Daesh.

 

Northwest

Afrin

Wednesday, Hawar reported that clashes broke out between the two Turkey-backed militias, Ahrar Al-Sham and Ahrar Al-Sharqiya, due to a dispute over their share of Afrin’s houses. The clashes lasted for 3 hours, leaving 1 Ahrar Al-Sham member dead, along with 3 Ahrar Al-Sharqiya​​ fighters. [Hawar]

 

Thursday, SOHR reported that a former “Free Police” member, Abu Khalid Al-Zaghloul, was killed, along with his wife, when a roadside IED went off on their car in the Failaq Al-Rahman-held Basouta village in​​ central​​ Afrin.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

According to a statement by the General Presidency of the Turkish Staff, while a Turkish patrol was combing​​ an​​ area​​ in​​ Afrin, a Turkish soldier was killed by an improvised explosive device. The Chief of Staff expressed sorrow and condolences to the family of the deceased. [Anadolu]

 

Jarabulus

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says pro-Turkey opposition groups captured a Daesh Tunisian commander in Al-Awan town, south of Jarabulus. The source says the terrorist had fled Daesh controlled areas east of Deir Ez-Zor.​​ 

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 8 Daesh members, including a local commander, were killed in an airstrike on the Dashisha area. The source says that as Daesh members were burying the dead bodies, the planes bombed them again, killing more terrorists.​​ 

 

Central and West​​ 

Aleppo/Idlib

Turkey and Russia discussed a ceasefire agreement that would take effect in​​ parts​​ of southern Idlib. The agreement stipulates that Russia and the Syrian regime will hold fire from 6 am to 8 pm every​​ day. The agreement includes several towns and villages such as​​ Tamanah,​​ Sukayk, Turej (spelling approximate)​​ , and Um Jalal. [Qasioun]​​ 

 

Wednesday, Tahrir Al-Sham announced it is ready for any negotiations with the Syrian government over the future of Kefraya and Al-Fawaa, Shia villages in northeastern Idlib, saying that it can release the people of the two villages in exchange for “releasing the Sunni people from the regime’s prisons.” ​​ [Dorar]

 

Thursday, Qasioun reported that 4 civilians were killed, and others injured in a car bomb explosion​​ in front of​​ the headquarters of the International Rescue Organization in Al-Dana town in northern Idlib. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, Qasioun reported that a child was killed, and 2 others wounded when a cluster bomb from a previous airstrike exploded in Saraqib in eastern Idlib. [Qasioun]

 

Thursday, SOHR reported that a roadside IED went off on a car of an anti-government Syrian militia operating in Maarat Masrin town in northern Idlib, killing 3 members of it and wounding others.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

Thursday, SOHR reported that the Syrian forces targeted with artillery shelling different locations in Al-Hubait town in Khan Sheikhoun subdistrict in southern Idlib as well as locations in Al-Ghassaniya town in western Jisr Al-Shughur, causing several casualties.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

Four brigades in the city of Maarat Al-Numan in the countryside of Idlib formed a military committee. In a statement, the committee said it had formed to meet the immediate security needs of the city of Maarat Al-Numan and to coordinate with the military factions to​​ foster​​ security and stability. The four brigades are: the Special Forces Brigade, Ansar Al-Haq Brigade, Youth Revolution Brigade, and Abd Ar-Rahman Brigade. [Dorar]

 

Homs

Thursday, Dorar reported that the anti-government Syrian militias of Jaish Al-Tawhid​​ and the​​ Rastan Ops Room have handed over their heavy weapons, including tanks, artillery pieces and machine gun-mounted vehicles, to the Russian troops, under a reconciliation agreement reached with Russia in rural northern Homs. ​​ [Dorar]

 

Latakia

Thursday, Hawar reported that two Russian pilots were killed when​​ their SU-30 plane crashed off the coast of Jableh city, 25 km (16 miles) north of Baniyas and 25 km (16 miles) south of Latakia, according to a statement by Russia’s Defense Ministry. The statement added that the plane did not come under fire and that the crash may have been caused by a bird getting sucked into one of the engines. [Hawar]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 6 Syrian soldiers and Iraqi Hezbollah members were killed and 2 armored vehicles destroyed when a suicide terrorist attacked government forces with a vehicle bomb in Khasham subdistrict.​​ 

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

Thursday, SOHR reported that fierce clashes are still ongoing between the Coalition-backed SDF and Daesh in different locations on the outskirts of Hajin, accompanied by intensified rocket shelling on Daesh positions, with reports of casualties on both sides.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Thursday, SOHR reported that violent clashes are still ongoing between the Syrian forces and Daesh in the southern neighborhoods of Damascus, accompanied by the Syrian forces’ intensified artillery and rocket shelling of the area, with reports of casualties on both sides.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

The southern part of Damascus witnessed the continuation of combat operations and missile and aerial bombardments. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights​​ (SOHR)​​ monitored the continuation of violent conflict between the Syrian regime and​​ supporting militias​​ and​​ Daesh​​ at​​ the midpoint between Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and Yarmouk Camp. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh says it stopped government attacks on the Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Yelda, and Yarmouk Camp areas, killing 39 soldiers and wounding many others. [ICDNMay3]​​ 

Daesh’s A3maq says at least 19 Syrian soldiers were killed in clashes in the Hay Al-Hajar Al-Aswad area on Wednesday. [ICDNMay3]

 

Daraa

Many civilians were injured and killed on Thursday in an explosion in a popular market in the city of Al-Sanamayn near the city of Daraa. A roadside explosion also killed a civilian and injured others (some critically) in the opposition-controlled​​ area. [Qasioun]

On Thursday evening, a civilian was killed and 16 others injured during an aerial bombardment​​ by​​ Syrian planes​​ on the city of​​ Al-Hirak, northeast of Daraa​​ city. Last Monday, the regime killed two civilians and injured others in attacks on the neighborhoods​​ in Daraa and the town​​ of​​ Al-Yadouda in western Daraa. ​​ [Qasioun]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

Under​​ increased pressure​​ from the US​​ and Israel in Syria,​​ Iran​​ is trying to win over tribal groups in​​ northern​​ and eastern Syria in hopes of employing them against the US-led International Coalition fighting Daesh, according to Bas​​ News. ​​ Ali Akbar Velayati,​​ adviser to the Supreme Leader,​​ reportedly held a meeting in Tehran with a delegation representing leaders of the Syrian tribes, saying, “The Syrian Kurdish tribes are fighting the US, and will expel it from the eastern Euphrates area in northeast Syria.… if the Americans do not pay attention and leave Syria, the Kurds will expel them.”

Velayati described his talks with the Kurdish delegation as “constructive” and added that this visit of a Syrian Kurdish delegation to Tehran was itself a refutation of Washington’s claims that the Kurds were allied with the US in eastern Syria. ​​ This visit coincided with a meeting of the Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security for Iran, Alaeddin​​ Boroujerdi, with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. ​​ “We will respond [to Israel] at an appropriate place and time,” Boroujerdi said, adding that Iran’s presence in Syria was at the invitation of the Syrian government. ​​ [BasNews]

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

The​​ Egyptian​​ newspaper​​ Al-Dustour​​ revealed some of the strange ways that Daesh brutally executes prisoners. ​​ In a report carried by Sumaria, they noted, “The strangest methods are freezing [prisoners] and exploding the heads of prisoners.” ​​ They went on to explain that the freezing was done by forcing prisoners into refrigerators and keeping them there until they were frozen to death, as was done to 45 persons on charges​​ that they​​ refused​​ to fight​​ Iraqi​​ troops. [Sumaria]

May​​ 2, 2018