An Update On ISIS Activities

May 7, 2018

 

Farouq Al-Jubouri​​ 

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

PMF alliance, Al-Maliki challenge Al-Abadi leadership with majority-coalition proposal in advance of May 12 election.​​ [..]

Al-Jubouri concedes current level of PMF employment is financially unsustainable. [..]

KDP still trying to unify Kurdish parties prior to government formation. [..]

Ninewa Operations Command sets security organization for elections. [..]

Qayara CoR candidate murdered by teen-age son. [..]

 

Syria

Israel cabinet member says it will overthrow Assad if he allows Iran to threaten Israel from Syria. [..]

Two Turkey-allied militias attack each other in Azaz, Jarabulus. [..]

Syrian Army cedes control of four villages to SDF after Coalition intervenes. [..]

SDF reports taking more territory from Daesh in Albu Kamal. ​​ [..]

UN​​ says​​ 7,000 Yarmouk Camp residents displaced by military operations. [..]

Syrian Army-Daesh battle south of Damascus causing heavy casualties. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Egypt: ​​​​ Prosecutors charge 555 people with​​ joining​​ Daesh. [..]

Indonesia:​​ Police prevent terrorist suicide attack in Java. [..]

 

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

The London-based newspaper​​ Al-Quds Al-Arabi​​ reported that “about 10 days ago, Al-Maliki received in his private office the Fath coalition leader, Hadi Al-Amiri,​​ who​​ announced to Al-Maliki his support for the Rule of Law’s ‘political majority’ project.” The newspaper added that “this support will be followed by the integration of the Fath alliance, the Rule of Law and other political blocs into a wider coalition after elections.” It pointed out that “Ayad Allawi has also sent a delegation to Al-Maliki to support his ‘political majority’ project.” The newspaper added that “Masoud Barzani’s KDP party has also sent a positive message to Al-Maliki, announcing its support for Al-Maliki’s project.” [KnoozMedia]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It may seem from this report that other alliances are aligning with Al-Maliki, but there are reasons to doubt such an interpretation. In particular it seems unlikely that either Allawi or Barzani, both of whom have been burned in the past by Al-Maliki, intend such an endorsement, though they might be signaling their desire to be included in the government formed​​ after the election. It could also be that Al-Amiri envisions that his coalition will finish first and that Al-Maliki will​​ be joining him.

 

The Secretary-General of Asa’eb Ahl Al-Haq (AAH), Qais Al-Khazali, said on Monday that the corrupt are worse than terrorists and are destroying Iraq, emphasizing that people’s fate and the elimination of corruption depends on electoral turnout. ​​ In a speech at a rally for the “Fatah” electoral alliance in front of the Martyr’s Monument in Baghdad, Al-Khazali said, “We are at the stage of a new challenge for the citizens,” adding that their religious mission was to preserve the sanctity of the PMF. ​​ [Sumaria]

At the same rally, the head of the “Al-Fath” electoral alliance, Hadi Al-Amiri, said on Monday that areas of Baghdad suffered from terrorism, negligence, and lack of [public] services, emphasizing that his next project is to change and reform the country from its roots. ​​ During a speech in front of the Martyr’s Monument in central Baghdad, Al-Amiri said that one of the priorities of the “Al-Fath” alliance would be to build a strong state and fight corruption. [Sumaria]

 

Al-Khazali​​ said on Monday that “Iraq is on the cusp of a new stage, providing a new challenge for citizens.” He added that “the Iraqis’ destiny and the elimination of corruption depend on heavy and conscious participation in the upcoming elections.” He also called on the Iraqi people to “be fully aware of who defended and saved their homeland,” saying that “through the efforts of the PMFs and those of security forces, all the agendas of Iraq’s enemies have been foiled. All Iraqis will always be in debt to their sacrifices.” Addressing the​​ Marji’ya​​ in Najaf, Al-Khazali added “our message is to keep the PMF sacred.” [BaghdadToday]​​ 

 

Rudaw wrote that sources close to the Grand Ayatollahs of Najaf (Iraq) and Qom (Iran) believe that there is an undeclared war between them evident in the leadup to the Iraqi CoR elections. ​​ Those claiming to be familiar with the situation say that Sistani is thwarting Khamenei’s ambitions in Iraq, and that Khamenei wants to see Iraq administered by followers of Qom rather than followers of Najaf. ​​ According to Rudaw, sources close to the two religious leaders say that the conflict is no longer about the​​ wilayat al-faqih​​ [Khomeini’s concept of governance by religious authority], but rather about Iranian hegemony and the Iranian desire to restrict the religious authority of Najaf​​ for​​ Iran’s​​ benefit.

 ​​ ​​​​ Some in Iraq believe that Iran took advantage of the​​ fatwa​​ that Sistani issued to create the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), in order to weaken the Iraqi state. ​​ Beiwar Rehman, an expert in Shia religious affairs, told Rudaw, “Al-Sistani was against the​​ wilayat al-faqih​​ after the liberation of Iraq, and Al-Sistani does not want religious authority to deeply penetrate the makeup of the government, which is one of the most important differences between Najaf and Qom.” ​​ Rudaw went on to write that most experts expected the differences between the two camps to deepen, although the authority of Najaf is strengthened by having more popular support among Iraqi Shia​​ than its Iranian counterpart. ​​ [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This Rudaw story as shown above reflects some serious editing to bring it in line with common knowledge apparently not possessed by the Rudaw reporter. For those newer to the subject, the key points are these. (1) The leading “academy” of Shia learning is in Najaf, not in Qom, and Sistani is the acknowledged leader, as he has been for decades. (2) Khomeini, who founded Iran’s Islamic theocracy, was at one time at Najaf, where his​​ announced​​ concept of clerical rule was generally opposed. (3) It has always been true that Sistani’s concept of governance, broadly shared by Shia clergy, favors rule by the people and not the clergy. (4) For that reason, it is​​ true as reported here that Sistani, though originally from Iran, has always supported democratic government in Iraq and opposed the Iranian regime. With those points understood, (5) the heart of the Rudaw story—that the openly pro-Iran Al-Fath alliance is an enabler of Iranian influence and could undermine Sistani’s ​​ influence if successful—is extremely important.

 

During a meeting with the local service departments’ presidents in the Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq on Monday, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, said that “Iraq is going through a new stage, and we must do our best to satisfy the citizens’ needs as much as possible.” He urged them to make a real plan to satisfy the people’s needs in the province and improve the services offered to them, especially those of health, education, security and electricity. [BaghdadToday]

 

The Speaker of the CoR, Salim Al-Jubouri,​​ whose party is running in the same alliance as Allawi,​​ commented Monday on leaks​​ about​​ a plan to swap the post of Speaker of the CoR, currently occupied by​​ a​​ Sunni Arab, with the Presidency, currently occupied by​​ a​​ Kurd. ​​ Al-Jubouri said in an interview with​​ Ghad: “This [current sectarian] distribution was not mandated constitutionally, but has become customary,​​ and is subject to change. . . .​​ We have to admit that these political rules have not yet matured, and it would not be easy to have a non-Shia​​ PM now.” ​​ Asked if he expected to remain Speaker of the CoR for the next 4 years, Al-Jubouri said that it was subject to the current political situation, and that he would remain active in politics even if he​​ is not​​ the ​​ Speaker. [BasNews]

 

Al-Jubouri​​ also stated​​ that “with the continued presence of armed groups outside the legitimate control of the State, it’s difficult to achieve national reconciliation among the Iraqi people.” He​​ urged the PMFs either to join the security forces or reward a large portion of them and lay them off. “At some point, the PMFs have played a significant role in defeating Daesh and made a lot of sacrifices, but their mission is over. Now, the situation is different; either they join the ranks of security forces, or reward a large portion of them and lay them off, as it is impossible to imagine the presence​​ of armed groups outside ​​ the legitimate control of the State,” Al-Jubouri added. [BaghdadToday]

 

The German security expert and head of the European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq), Markus Ritter, said on Monday that it will be necessary to reduce the armed security apparatus in Iraq by a “huge amount” for peacetime, saying that after defeating Daesh, Iraq had a major task ahead of it in restructuring and reducing its security presence. ​​ In a statement to the German news agency​​ DW, Ritter said, “Here (in Iraq) there are too many weapons and heavily armed forces. . . . Under my leadership, a team of 35 experts is currently advising the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior and the Office of the National Security Advisor” under a 1-year mission. ​​ Ritter added that the Iraqi police are currently largely paramilitary in nature due to their work fighting Daesh, and that this would need to be scaled down, because the Iraqi government cannot finance the security apparatus on its own. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

According to the Qatari newspaper​​ Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has proposed “raising the ceiling” of the demands of the Kurds to participate in the next government, while stressing the need not to abandon Kirkuk and the “disputed” areas. ​​ Al-Araby Al-Jadeed​​ quoted a “political source close to the KDP” as saying that the KDP was reaching out towards other parties, particularly the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), to come to an agreement regarding the​​ formation of a new Iraqi government. ​​ The source added that the KDP, led by former KRG president Masoud Barzani, suggested “raising the ceiling” of Kurdish demands, not giving up previous positions, and said that the Kurdish parties must press on after the “setback” following the [independence] referendum last year. ​​ [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The KDP’s real objective is to restore some of its lost political power in​​ Kurdistan in​​ the wake of the referendum boomerang and the increased anti-KDP hostility​​ there. Since they can’t get much support admitting that, they keep coming back to the need for Kurdish unity—under their leadership of course.

 

Masrour​​ Barzani, advisor to the Security Council for the Kurdistan Region, said that the Iraqi government is obligated to compensate those affected by the crimes of the former regime, described the upcoming elections as “fateful,” and expressed the hope to form a genuine partnership with the Iraqi government afterwards. ​​ [BasNews]

 

Anti-Daesh​​ campaign

An​​ Iraq security​​ leader says​​ that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is likely still alive and in Syria near the border with Iraq. ​​ Abu Ali Al-Basri, Director-General of the Intelligence and Anti-Drug division of the Ministry of the Interior, said during an interview with​​ Fox News​​ that his latest information puts Al-Baghdadi in Hajin, Deir Ez-Zor Province, Syria. ​​ Al-Basri said that this information was obtained by Iraqi intelligence just days ago and is being used to prepare a joint operation with Russian, Syrian, and Iranian forces. ​​ Brigadier General Yahya Rasul, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, had previously said that Al-Baghdadi was living in the border area east of the Euphrates, and might also be living in Al-Shaddadi, in Hasaka province, Syria. ​​ He added, “It’s not hard to hide in the Syrian​​ desert.” ​​ The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) agreed with this view, as their spokesman, Mustafa Bali, said that the Daesh leader could be in one of dozens of towns on the Syria-Iraq border. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Ho hum—another Baghdadi sighting in which he has not actually been sighted. It is logical to assume that if Baghdadi is still alive and still functioning as the Daesh leader,​​ he is within the small remaining area in Albu Kamal and southern Hasaka where Daesh still controls a little territory. You can say that and sound knowledgeable to​​ some​​ reporters, even though you have no idea where Baghdadi is.​​ 

 

Foreign ​​ policy

Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, revealed on Sunday a number of outstanding issues with Jordan over securing the border. He called for a rapid formation of a joint military committee to control the border and resolve the outstanding issues between them. [RT]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

Northeast​​ (Adhamiya, etc.)

Daesh said on Saturday it killed two guards​​ at​​ an election center in the Adhamiya area using silenced guns. [ICDNMay5]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Adhamiya used to be infested with Baathist, then AQI cells, starting in​​ 2003. It was cleared some time ago. This is the first attack in the area in a long time for which Daesh claims responsibility. ​​ 

 

East​​ (Sadr City, New Baghdad, etc.)

Daesh said on Saturday it killed a PMF member in the Habibiya area. [ICDNMay5]

 

Daesh said on Saturday it attacked an election center in the Baghdad Al-Jadida area with several hand grenades. [ICDNMay5]

 

Southeast​​ (Mada’in, etc.)

A police source said that a civilian had been killed by unidentified gunmen. ​​ The source, who asked not to be named, said that the gunmen shot the civilian near his home in Wardiya. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Southwest​​ (Rasheed, etc.)

Daesh said on Saturday it killed an Iraqi Army officer in the Shurta Khamsa area. [ICDNMay5]

 

Total Baghdad incidents reported:  ​​​​ 5(Includes only incidents reported)

Total IED incidents reported:  ​​​​ 0

 

ANBAR

Falluja

Center for Security Information​​ spokesman General Yahya Rasul said in a statement that units under Anbar Ops Command had carried out a search in areas​​ near​​ Albu​​ Alwan,​​ northeast of the city in Qarma subdistrict, and ​​ Al-Nassaf and Falahat​​ west of the city, and found 4 anti-armor missile launchers, a mortar shell, and an IED, which were detonated without incident. ​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Ramadi

Daesh says that on Sunday it blew up the house of the mukhtar of Awasel village, 12 miles west of Ramadi. It says it then detonated an IED on a police vehicle that came to the house, killing two policemen and destroying the vehicle. [ICDNMay6]

 

Center for Security Information spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasul said in a statement that​​ troops​​ had carried out a search in the areas of Albu​​ Dhiab and Albu Shaaban, finding 5 RPGs, 11 assorted mortar shells, and a damaged missile battery left behind by Daesh.​​ [Baghdadia]

 

Al-Qa’im

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that PMF units killed 2 Daesh suicide terrorists who were trying to infiltrate PMF positions west of Karabla.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that a PMF commander and his driver were killed when a Daesh leftover IED exploded on his vehicle on the road between Al-Qa’im and the Akashat Compound to the south.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that 120 young men from Al-Qa’im started a voluntary cleanup campaign in the city. While doing so they found the dead bodies of 4 Daesh foreign terrorists under the rubble of a house that was destroyed by a Coalition airstrike during the liberation battles. The source sent us photos of the house.​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The discovery of dead bodies was perhaps jarring, but there is something very positive about 120 young Iraqi men taking on a major volunteer project to help their community. We have printed similar reports from Mosul. We don’t want to read too much into such​​ reports but would like to believe they reflect a positive trend and the advancement of a meaningful civil society in Iraq.

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

Monday,​​ Security Media Center spokesman​​ General​​ Rasul announced that security forces found a cache of explosives materials and IEDs, left behind by Daesh, including 21 mortar shells, 7 rocket launchers, 6​​ bombs,​​ and 3​​ surface-to-air missiles, during a search operation in Baiji. [AlGhadPress]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It is amazing how much war-making stuff Daesh had accumulated. Notice that we have multiple stories almost every day about the discovery of new sites, and these stories have been ongoing for many months. The stories are mundane, but in the end all these search and discovery operations add up to improved long-term security for Iraq, by reducing Daesh’s access to weapons and weapons materials.

 

Samarra

Daesh said it detonated an IED on an IFP vehicle near Al-Marat village, east of Samarra, on Thursday. [ICDNMay5]

 

Southern Salahuddin​​ (Balad,​​ Dujail)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that Samarra Operations Command units found a Daesh tunnel and confiscated weapons, ammunition, and food supplies in the Rafi’at area, in Balad, after getting information from people of in the area.​​ 

 

Daesh said on Monday it destroyed a PMF 43rd​​ brigade vehicle with an IED in the Farahatiya area, near Ishaqi, killing or wounding the fighters inside. [ICDNMay7]

In another report, Daesh said two PMF fighters were killed and six others wounded in the explosion. [ICDNMay7]

 

DIYALA

The Police Chief for Diyala​​ province, Brigadier General Faisal Kazem Al-Abadi, announced on Monday that a new mechanism had been established for arresting wanted persons. ​​ In a press statement, Al-Abadi said that the new mechanism involved a database on wanted persons shared between police forces, Ops Commands, and other relevant agencies. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Daesh said on Saturday it blew up a CTS security barrier with IEDs in Abu Qarma village, in the Al-Waqf area. [ICDNMay5]

 

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

The security committee chairman for the Abu Saida​​ subdistrict, Awad Al-Rubaie, said on Monday that a farmer had been killed by a fire of unknown origin. ​​ In an interview, he said that the fire took place in the orchards in the village of Mukhaisa, and was currently under investigation. ​​ [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The Mukhaisa orchards have been an area of Daesh activity.

 

Monday, a local source reported that based on intelligence information, security forces foiled a Daesh attack on a wedding procession in Abu Saida subdistrict in northeastern Diyala. A civilian was reportedly wounded. [AlGhadPress]

 

KIRKUK

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that an AAH commander was killed when an IED exploded on his vehicle on Friday evening in Hawija.​​ 

 

NINEWA

Election.​​ Ninewa Ops Commander Major General Najim Al-Jubouri said on Monday that there had been a meeting between the Director of the Ninewa office of the Electoral Commission, the security​​ commanders, and Major General Abd Al-Khaleq​​ Tala’at,​​ the​​ Erbil Police Chief,​​ representing the Kurdistan Region, regarding security for the electoral process on May 12th. ​​ Al-Jubouri said that the meeting revolved around the security plan set by Ninewa Ops Command

 ​​ ​​​​ There will​​ be no curfew in the province, only a ban on some large vehicles. ​​ Some​​ areas will​​ have their own security commander.​​ Mosul city center will fall under the responsibility of General Hamad Al-Namis, the Ninewa Police Chief;​​ the commander of the 16th​​ Division will be responsible for the eastern part of Ninewa;​​ the 20th​​ Division​​ commander​​ will cover southern Mosul and Badoush;​​ and the​​ 15th​​ Division​​ commander will be responsible for northern Mosul. ​​ [BasNews]

 

Mosul

Spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior,​​ Major General Sa’ad​​ Ma’an,​​ said that the 2nd​​ Rapid Response Regiment under​​ the​​ Ninewa Police Command had arrested 3 wanted Daesh fighters in the Al-Samah neighborhood in east Mosul.[Baghdadia]​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that Ninewa SWAT units captured 4 Daesh terrorists in the Badoush area in far northwest Mosul. The source says one of those captured was Daesh’s​​ wali​​ of Badoush, Ahmed Saleh Al-Afri.

 

Southern Ninewa

Hammam Al-Alil

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that hundreds of voter IED cards were stolen from the IHEC office in Hammam Al-Alil. The source said the cards might have been sold to a local candidate.​​ 

 

Qayara

Election.​​ A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Farouq Mohammed Al-Jubouri, a COR candidate from the National List, was killed as he was returning from the dawn prayer in Lazaga village, next to Al-Hawd. The source said Mr. Jubouri was one of the most popular candidates in south Ninewa. According to the source, the Intelligence Service said that Jubouri was killed by his 16-year-old son. An Intelligence Service major told our source that the son was addicted to hallucination pills. The major also said that the crime weapon was found with the son.​​ 

Another​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that there​​ were unconfirmed reports that the son was influenced by Daesh to kill his own father.​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ In repeating the speculative Daesh connection, we are not in any way suggesting that we have an opinion as to its accuracy.​​ 

 

Daesh claimed responsibility for the assassination. In a statement, they said they had assassinated the candidate by shooting him in the head in his home village of Lazaga. ​​ Security sources yesterday confirmed the killing of the candidate,​​ Farouq Mohammed Zarzour. ​​ The National​​ List, led by Ayad Allawi, demanded an urgent investigation. ​​ In a voice recording in April, Daesh​​ had​​ vowed to target polling places and voters in the CoR elections. ​​ Daesh’s spokesman Abu Hassan Al-Muhajir​​ had​​ warned Iraqi Sunnis not to participate in the elections, saying that polling places would be a target for attacks.​​ [Rudaw]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The story hasn’t appeared​​ in Daesh collected reports yet.​​ 

 

Captain Amir Wathiq of the Ninewa Police​​ officially​​ reported the crime​​ on Monday.​​ Contradicting​​ Daesh’s​​ statement taking credit for the assassination, Wathiq said that​​ Farouq Al-Jubouri had been killed with knives rather than by gunshot.​​ [BasNews]​​ 

In a follow-up story, the Iraqi judiciary​​ also​​ denied that Daesh killed the candidate, saying that he was killed by his son. Judge Abd Al-Sattar Birqdar, spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, said in a statement, “Preliminary investigations into the murder of Farouq Mohammed Zarzour … have revealed that it was not connected to terrorist crimes. . . .The crime was committed as a result of family disputes; the victim’s son confessed to killing his father due to disagreements in the family.”[Rudaw]

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

The Center for Security Information announced on Monday that military intelligence units from the 15th​​ Brigade had found​​ a​​ cache of explosives in the Tal Afar​​ District, containing 35 IEDs and 7 detonators, and had detonated them on-site without incident.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Baaj

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that 12 PMF fighters, including a senior Badr commander, were killed in a Daesh attack on Tal Safouk village on the Syria border.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that several PMF fighters were killed or wounded when Daesh attacked their positions with 4 vehicle bombs in Tal Safouk.​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

Sunday, Arabi 21 reported that the PKK in northern Erbil attacked Turkish Army personnel in​​ on​​ Kafruta Hill in​​ the​​ Lêlikan area​​ of​​ Sidekan subdistrict​​ in northern Soran District, killing a number of Turkish soldiers. [Arabi21]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, announced that Turkey would launch new military operations in areas next to its borders, following its recent campaign in northern Syria. ​​ During a speech at the Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s general conference in Istanbul, Erdoğan said,​​ “Ankara will not hesitate to choke the terrorists as long as they survive, especially in Syria and Iraq.” [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Erdogan’s politically motivated public boasts and threats will continue at least through the snap election he has just called. However, we think his past few statements are notable for the absence of previous specific threats to continue the Turkish offensive to and beyond Manbij. Perhaps the recent statements by the US and France that they were not planning to leave the Manbij area deflated his balloon. It’s too soon to know for sure.​​ 

 

In a statement released on Monday, Turkey’s Interior Ministry announced that 22 terrorists were “neutralized” during 495 Turkish security operations against terrorist organizations in Turkey last week. 150 people were arrested based on suspicion that they support the PKK, and 94 were arrested due to possible ties to Daesh, the statement added.​​ [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

In an interview with​​ Russia’s​​ Kommersant​​ daily on Sunday, French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie Bermann said that Paris no longer insists on the “unconditional” departure of Bashar Al-Assad as a precondition for settling the conflict in Syria. “We will not decide for the Syrian people, but​​ there is no more demand for the unconditional departure of Bashar Assad,” she said. However, she added that “France doesn’t accept that the regime simply takes over the territories liberated from terrorists and militias.” She also stressed that Syria’s future should be determined through “dialogue between the country’s political forces.” [Qasioun]

 

On​​ Monday,​​ however,​​ Israel’s Energy Minister, Yuval Steinitz, said that if Bashar Al-Assad continued to allow the Iranians to operate in Syria, Israel would kill him and overthrow his government. “If Al-Assad allows Iran to turn Syria into a military vanguard against us, to attack us from Syrian territory, he should know that would be the end of him, the end of his regime,” Steinitz told the Ynet news site. [EnabBaladi]

In response to Steinitz’s threat, Sputnik quoted Deputy Head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Abu Al-Fadl Hasan Bighi, as saying that “Israel cannot assassinate the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.” [EnabBaladi]

 

Britain accused the Syrian government of continuing to produce chemical weapons secretly, saying that it was withholding information about its special program for poisonous war materials. Jonathon Allen, the British Representative to the United Nations, said in a press statement today before a closed meeting​​ of​​ the​​ Security​​ Council that the Syrian regime has not presented as of yet the complete story about its activities in this field. He said that​​ the​​ Russian​​ and Syrian regimes’ denial of using chemical weapons was very suspicious. [Qasioun]

 

Northwest

Azaz

Jarabulus

A source told​​ Hawar​​ that​​ violent​​ clashes erupted this Monday in Ghandoura​​ subdistrict in the Jarabulus​​ District​​ between​​ two pro-Turkey militias,​​ Mountain Hawks and Sultan Murad,​​ for​​ unknown reasons. According to the source, the clashes occurred near Al-Sa’an Camp, resulting in the deaths of civilians and fighters. [Hawar]

 

A second media source said that the conflicts were fought with heavy weapons in Hawar Kilis, Dudyan, and Harjala​​ in Azaz District to the west,​​ all in separate subdistricts,​​ and​​ including​​ farm villages, as well as in Al-Ghandoura​​ in Jarabulus, and that​​ the clashes “stretched out towards the region of camps.” The source said that units of the Mountain Hawks stormed a headquarters of the Sultan Murad, resulting in deaths on both sides. [Dorar]

 

Northeast​​ (No reports)

 

Central and West​​ 

Aleppo/Idlib

Monday, SOHR reported that clashes​​ broke out between the Syrian forces and​​ Islamic​​ militias in different locations in Tal Mseibin in Ariha District​​ in southwest Idlib, accompanied by mutual shelling.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

Monday, SOHR reported that a Hurras Al-Din​​ sharia judge was shot dead at Abu Ataba checkpoint in southern Aleppo, amid accusations that Tahrir Al-Sham​​ had​​ killed him.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

Saturday, Qasioun reported that the SDF​​ took control of​​ the Syrian forces’ positions in Al-Salihiya village, adjacent to Al-Husseiniya village northwest of Deir Ez-Zor city, following the Syrian withdrawal from it. [Qasioun]

Monday, Qasioun reported that the SDF captured the Syrian forces’ positions in Al-Husseiniya village northwest of Deir Ez-Zor city, following the Syrian withdrawal from it under Coalition airstrikes and French artillery shelling. [Qasioun]

 

Monday,​​ Qasioun reported that the SDF​​ took control of​​ the Syrian forces’ positions in Marat and Tabiya villages in Khasham subdistrict, following the Syrian forces’ withdrawal from them. The reason for their withdrawal is still unknown. [Qasioun]

 

The SDF announced on Monday that the​​ territory​​ it​​ controls​​ in Deir Ez-Zor had​​ expanded​​ at​​ Daesh’s​​ expense. The “operations​​ room” of “the Storm Island” reported that​​ it​​ took control of 18 square kilometers from Daesh within the past five days. The operation was supported by the planes of the​​ International​​ Coalition and French forces. [Dorar]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

Monday, SOHR reported that under the cover of artillery and rocket shelling, Daesh conducted two parallel attacks on the Syrian forces’ positions in the desert areas of Al-Quriya and Albu Kamal, killing at least 9 members of the Syrian forces and wounding others, with reports of Daesh casualties. [SyriaHR]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that Daesh publicly killed one of its Moroccan members in a market in Hajin after accusing him of treason.

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that Coalition planes killed 8 Daesh security members, including an Iraqi and a Saudi, and destroyed 2 pickup vehicles in an airstrike on Hajin. The source says Daesh used civilians to carry the bodies away.​​ 

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

The UN announced on Monday that military operations in the Yarmouk Camp area have resulted in the displacement of about 7000 refugees, 70% of whom are Palestinian. Stephane Dujarric, a UN spokesperson, said that the displaced refugees fled to the towns of Yelda, Babbila, and Beit Saham, which are all under the control of government forces. He said that the UN is ready to extend humanitarian assistance to those areas once access is allowed. [Anadolu]

 

Sunday,​​ A3maq​​ reported that Daesh foiled a Syrian forces’ attempt to advance towards Al-Yarmouk Camp, killing 30 members of the Syrian forces, including two officers, and destroying a tank as well as a vehicle.​​ [EnabBaladi]

Sputnik quoted a Syrian brigadier general as saying that the Syrian forces have been shelling the Yarmouk neighborhoods since Monday morning, in an attempt to separate the Yarmouk Camp from Al-Hajar Al-Aswad neighborhood. He added that the Syrian forces managed to advance 500 meters in that area.​​ [EnabBaladi]

 

Monday, Syria Now reported that the Syrian forces captured a number of buildings in the northern part of Al-Hajar Al-Aswad neighborhood, a few hours after they liberated its southern part. They found a number of Daesh tunnels and IEDs.​​ [SyriaNow]

 

Daesh said on Saturday it killed 27 ​​ Syrian soldiers and wounded others in battles in the Yarmouk Camp, Hay Al-Tadhamun, and Hay Al-Hajar Al-Aswad. [ICDNMay5]

Daesh said on Saturday it destroyed a Syrian Army tank and damaged an armored vehicle in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad. [ICDNMay5]

 

Daesh said on Sunday it stopped several government forces attacks on different areas in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and the Yarmouk Camp, killing at least 30 soldiers, wounding others, and damaging a military vehicle. [ICDNMay6]

Daesh published on Sunday photos of destroying a Syrian Army tank near Al-Hajar Al-Aswad. [ICDNMay6]

 

Daesh said on Monday that government forces, with support from opposition groups, launched an attack from the Yelda area on Hay Al-Tadhamun and the Yarmouk Camp. Daesh said it stopped the attack, killing at least 32 soldiers, destroying a BMP armored vehicle, and damaging a tank. It also said it stopped several government forces attempts to advance in the Al-Hajar Al-Aswad area, killing or wounding soldiers. [ICDNMay7]

 

Daesh sources said on Monday that Mahmoud Ahmed Al-Horani, a senior Lebanese Hezbollah commander, was killed in the battles south of Damascus. [ICDNMay7]

Daesh said on Monday it killed a Syrian soldier south of Damascus. [ICDNMay7]

 

Daesh published on Sunday photos of executing two Syrian soldiers it captured in the Yarmouk Camp. [ICDNMay6]

Daraa

Monday, Qasioun reported that a number of northern Daraa’s ​​ anti-government militias have announced their integration into a unified military alliance, code-named “the Burkan Al-Hara Alliance”, under the command of the Fajr Al-Din Brigade’s leader. The militias are: Fursan Al-Haq Al-Mujahidin Brigade, Um Al-Yatama Division, Al-Mujahidin, Shumukh Huran Brigade, the Deterrence Division, Fajr Al-Din Brigade, Abu Qasim Division and Ansar Al-Haq Division. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh said it killed six opposition fighters with a rocket in Sheikh Saad town, west of Daraa, on Sunday. [ICDNMay7]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

Monday,​​ Zaman Al-Wasl​​ quoted an Iranian media outlet as saying that 16 Iranian Daesh women were jailed​​ after returning to the country. The Iranian judiciary news website, Mizan Online, cited​​ Tehran’s General Prosecutor, Abbas Jaafari Dolatabadi, as saying that those women had previous records of terrorist activities. [ZamanAlwasl]

 

Yemen

Daesh said on Monday it stopped a Houthi attack on the Yakla area, in Qifa, and forced the Houthis to retreat. [ICDNMay7]

 

North Africa

Egypt

In a statement released on Monday, Egypt’s General Prosecutor, Nabil Sadiq, referred 555 suspects to a military court on charges of joining the Daesh affiliate, Wilayat Sinai and creating 43 “terrorist cells” that carried out 63 attacks that killed police and military personnel in North Sinai. The charges against them, he said, include killing and plotting to kill security personnel, attacking military checkpoints in Northern Sinai and sabotaging a gas pipeline between Egypt and Jordan. Only 216 out of the 555 suspects are in custody, the statement said. [Anadolu]

 

Daesh said on Monday it killed an Egyptian soldier in an unspecified location in North Sinai. Daesh said the soldier was participating in a raid in the area. [ICDNMay7]

 

Libya/Tunisia

Sirte security forces and mine clearance force​​ citizens receive complaints of the ongoing presence of shells and mines in the city. A spokesperson said that that mine clearance force removed many unexploded remnants of war in one of the farms of the region Al-Tawila in the city of Sirte. They are handling the remainder of areas that need to be cleared of war​​ debris. [Libya24]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

Russia

A Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) spokesman said: “An unknown man carried out an armed attack on law enforcement officers, and then disappeared into the entrance of an apartment building on Academician Pavlov Street.” Three policemen were wounded in the attack. The man had earlier been stopped for a document check but opened fire on police, according to reports. He then fled into an apartment he had been renting in the city, before he was shot and killed by the FSB. The FSB released a video showing its officers shoot the suspected terrorist dead.​​ Following the shootout an AK-47 assault rifle was captured at the scene. [DailyStar]​​ 

 

Daesh said on Sunday that one of its “soldiers” shot and wounded three policemen in Nizhny Novgorod. [ICDNMay6]

 

AFRICA

Somalia

Daesh issued a video of shooting and killing a policeman in a supermarket in Mogadishu. Daesh had said that the attack happened on Tuesday. [ICDNMay7]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Daesh said on Saturday it destroyed 2 fuel tanker trucks that were heading to the American base in the Jalalabad Airport, with 2 sticky IEDs. [ICDNMay5]

 

Daesh said on Saturday it killed four Afghan soldiers and wounded another with an IED in the Watapur area, in Kunar. [ICDNMay5]

 

Daesh said on Saturday its snipers killed an Afghan Border Police officer and wounded another in the Haska Meyna area, in Nangarhar. [ICDNMay5]

 

Daesh said on Sunday it killed a Taliban member in his house in Chaparhar. [ICDNMay6]

 

On Sunday, Daesh also published photos of beheading three people in Kunar. [ICDNMay6]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Daesh called the victims “murtad-s.” Daesh uses this term to describe anyone who opposes it in any way.​​ 

 

Indonesia

Indonesian police announced on Monday that they had arrested 3 suspected terrorists who were planning to attack police and security forces. ​​ Police spokesman Setyo​​ Wasisto said in a statement on the network​​ America B/ABC​​ that the arrestees had been planning to attack police stations in Bogor, West Java, including plans for a suicide bombing and assaults on police checkpoints. ​​ He added that the 3 had been arrested in Bogor by an anti-terrorism team, and explosive materials were seized at the time of the arrests.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

Daesh’s​​ A3maq​​ published an infographic about Daesh attacks in Afghanistan during the last 12 months. It says that Daesh conducted more than 175 attacks, killing 1,291 people (634 government forces members, 411 Shia people, 207 Taliban members, 31 Americans, and 8 Turks. [ICDNMay6]

 

Daesh published a photo of one of its Iraqi terrorists, claiming he was killed in Anbar. [ICDNMay7]

 

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