An Update On ISIS Activities

April 18, 2018

 

 

Turkish Troops in Northern Iraq

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Ninewa Criminal Court issues 815 terrorism sentences, including 212 death sentences. [..]

KDP still trying to create a unified Kurdish electoral list. [..]

Turkish military, PKK still killing each other in northern Erbil. [..]

 

Syria

Chemical weapons inspectors further delayed by armed attack on security team. [..]

Russia, US​​ reps at UN​​ exchange hostile jabs​​ over​​ Syria’s​​ chemical weapons.​​ [..]

Report says Iranian troops in Syria now focused mostly against US troops. [..]

YPG in Hasaka deploying border guards on Turkey border under US plan. [..]

Russian bridge across Euphrates in Deir Ez-Zor threatens SDF positions. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Australia: ​​ Iraq arrests two Daesh members who plotted to blow up Australia-Abu Dhabi flight. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

Muqtada Al-Sadr expressed his fears about attempts of fraud in the upcoming elections. ​​ In a statement, he said he met yesterday with the Dutch Ambassador to Iraq, Matthjis Wolters, discussing a number of issues including the upcoming elections. ​​ Sadr emphasized the need for fair and transparent election practices, including UN supervision, and said that the Iraqi people needed to develop open relations with other countries, especially Europe.[Rudaw]

 

The PM for the Kurdistan​​ Region discussed the political and electoral process in Iraq with the UN Special Envoy on Wednesday. ​​ Nechirvan Barzani received the​​ envoy, Jan Kubis, to discuss the elections for the Iraqi Council of Representatives in May, and particularly the participation of the Kurdistan Region in the elections.​​ [BasNews]

 

The US announced on Wednesday that it did not support any specific candidate to lead the Iraqi government, emphasizing that it would work with whichever candidate wins the election. ​​ US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said during a weekly press conference in Washington that the Trump administration does not support any specific candidate.[BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This is, of course, what they have to say in the current situation, especially because some Iraqi politicians are trying to win votes by making the US a campaign issue. The​​ official​​ statement should not, however, be read to infer that the US has no strong opinions about this​​ election. The stakes are huge for Iraqis, but the US has a lot at stake too, and most of the vast sums of money pledged for Iraq’s reconstruction have behind them some confidence, ​​​​ along with an element of hope, that the government of Iraq will prove worthy of this support, and of all the sacrifice and money expended on its behalf over many years.

 

Reconstruction

PM Haider Al-Abadi,​​ during a speech​​ to​​ tribal leaders in​​ Diwaniya,​​ said “We are determined to achieve a second victory after breaking Daesh and defeating them, which is the victory of reconstruction. . . .​​ We will not stop pursuing Daesh either in Iraq or in the region.”​​ [Sumaria]

 

Internally displaced persons

Al-Abadi said on Wednesday that the Iraqi government is continuing to restore all displaced persons to their homes, while stressing the need to prevent Daesh from causing demographic changes. ​​ In​​ a speech at the 10th​​ conference of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent in the Middle East and North Africa, he​​ said​​ “The world imagined that Iraq was finished in 2014, but we have achieved strength and unity in our country and overcome Daesh.”​​ [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday,​​ the​​ Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights​​ (IHCHR) media director, Jawad Al-Shamri, said that “there is no truth to the Amnesty​​ International​​ report referring to cases of rape and sexual exploitation of Daesh-affiliated women in IDP camps.He said​​ the reports are “baseless.”​​ [IraqPress]​​ 

 

However, the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration, branches of which are in Ninewa and Kirkuk provinces, asked for reports on the situation in​​ IDP​​ camps in order to respond to​​ the​​ Amnesty International​​ report. ​​ The Amnesty report referred to cases of rape and sexual exploitation of Daesh-affiliated women in the camps. ​​ Ministry spokesman Staar​​ Nurouz told reporters, “We directed the departments in Ninewa​​ and Kirkuk to provide us with up-to-date​​ reports on the camps to confirm what the Amnesty International report said​​ . . . .​​ The Ministry is waiting for reports from these branches.”

Amnesty International’s report, released on Tuesday, said that women and children with alleged links to Daesh are being denied humanitarian assistance, prevented from returning to their homes, and being subjected to sexual violence. ​​ The organization’s report was based on interviews with 92 women in 8 camps for displaced persons in Ninewa and Salahuddin, as well as interviews with 30 NGO camp workers, 11 camp administration officials, and 9 current and former UN officials.[BasNews]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)

Daesh says it blew up on Monday the house of an Intelligence Service member in Nadim village, near Meshahda, with IEDs, wounding him. [ICDNApr18]

 

Daesh says it killed an Iraqi Army member with machine guns in Tarmiya on Monday. [ICDNApr18] ​​ 

 

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

Wednesday,​​ the Baghdad Ops Command announced that 15 IEDs and 2 mortar rounds left by Daesh were found during search operations​​ in​​ south Baghdad. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

West​​ (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Iraqi National Security Service said it captured a Daesh terrorist belonging to the Daesh Al-Furqan Brigade,​​ based on accurate intelligence information,​​ as he​​ ​​ tried​​ to​​ sneak​​ into Baghdad.​​ [PUKMedia]​​ 

 

Total Baghdad incidents reported:  ​​​​ 2(Includes only incidents reported)

Total IED incidents reported:  ​​​​ 2

 

ANBAR

Ramadi

On Tuesday,​​ Iraqi forces began a 7-part operation to hunt down Daesh fighters north of Ramadi. ​​ A source in Anbar Operations Command said in a statement that they had embarked on an operation to hunt down fighters in several areas north of Anbar, from the desert of Lake​​ Thirthar​​ to the southern shore of Lake​​ Thirthar. ​​ The source added that the operation was under the supervision of​​ the​​ Anbar Operations Commander,​​ Major General Mahmoud Al-Falahi, and that the 10th​​ Anbar Police Emergency Division and the Popular​​ Mobilization​​ Forces and tribal forces were participating in the operation, with air support from the Coalition and the​​ Iraqi​​ Air Force.[BasNews]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced that​​ with air support from​​ Iraqi warplanes,​​ 6 Daesh members were killed during search operations in Salahuddin, including 4 in​​ the Kanuqa​​ Mountains south of Shirqat and 2 in Tikrit. [Shafaaq]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says a Salahuddin Operations Command soldier was killed by a Daesh IED near Khanuqa village, south of Shirqat.

Daesh says it killed a PMF fighter, wounded two others, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in Khanuqa village. [ICDNApr18]

 

Baiji

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Salahuddin Police announced​​ they​​ found and destroyed 15 explosives​​ belts, 15 grenades, 5 IEDs, 15 land mines and a workshop for the manufacture of car bombs and explosives,​​ while clearing the area extending from Makhoul​​ subdistrict​​ to​​ Bakka Bridge in​​ the​​ Baiji desert.​​ [Etejah]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Kata’eb Hezbollah killed 2 Daesh terrorists and captured another in clashes in the Makhoul Mountains area. However, 3 KH fighters were killed.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says the KH stopped another​​ Daesh attack in the Makhoul Mountains area on Wednesday evening, killing 5 terrorists including Ahmed Jum’a, a Saddam Army captain who joined the AQI back in 2007 before he joined Daesh. However, 4 KH fighters were also killed.​​ 

 

Southern Salahuddin​​ (Balad,​​ Dujail)

Daesh says it attacked an Iraqi Army military position Adhiya village in Ishaqi on Tuesday, killing four soldiers and wounding six others, including a lieutenant colonel. Daesh also says it destroyed an IFP vehicle that came to the area, with an IED, killing or wounding the soldiers inside. [ICDNApr18]

 

Daesh says it destroyed a Badr militia vehicle with an IED in Albu Hassan village, in Yathrib, on Tuesday. [ICDNApr18]

 

DIYALA

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

Wednesday, Bas News reported that​​ four​​ people were wounded, including​​ two​​ Iraqi Federal Police (IFP) officers, in a terrorist attack near Khanaqin. According to local sources, the​​ two​​ IFP members were wounded while trying to foil an​​ attempt by 7 gunmen to kidnap civilians near a factory in Khanaqin.​​ [BasNews]

 

Wednesday, a security source in Diyala said that 3 civilians were wounded when unidentified gunmen opened fire on their vehicle on the outskirts of Khanaqin District.​​ [Sumaria]

 

KIRKUK​​ (No reports)

 

NINEWA

Wednesday,​​ Ninewa Criminal Court announced that since the recapture of the province, 815 sentences, including 212 death sentences and 150 sentences of life imprisonment, have been issued to people convicted of “terrorism.” ​​ The spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, Judge Abd Al-Sattar Birqdar, said in a statement, “The majority of these sentences affected Daesh fighters, proven to have conducted criminal operations,​​ in public trials held in accordance with the law. . . .​​ The Court also issued other sentences, including 341 sentences of provisional​​ imprisonment,​​ but​​ 112​​ defendants were​​ released​​ after their​​ guilt was not proven.” ​​ [Sumaria]​​ [Baghdadia]​​ [Anadolu]

 

The judge​​ also​​ said that Ninewa Criminal Court sentenced a well-known​​ Ninewa​​ lawyer to death for​​ joining Daesh and participating​​ in the assassination of several judges.”​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Mosul

Security forces belonging to the Ninewa Operations Command arrested 6 wanted persons and detonated 35 IEDs. Another force arrested 6 wanted persons in Al-Kawar​​ in southwest Mosul, and engineers blew up 2 explosive devices in​​ nearby​​ Al-Sina’a​​ and detonated 6 IEDs in Qara Tapa, north of Tal Afar Airport.​​ [Buratha

 

The spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior, Major General Saad Maan, announced on April 18th​​ that intelligence units had arrested a man with a silenced pistol, glycerin usable​​ in C4 explosives, and 9 homemade explosives​​ in west​​ Mosul.[IraqPress]

 

In a statement released on Wednesday, Security Media Center denied a report that Daesh has captured​​ Alam Louk village in​​ east​​ Mosul.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Southern Ninewa​​ (No reports)

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Baaj

A security source said Wednesday that security forces had killed a Daesh-linked smuggler in a military operation near the Iraq-Syria border. ​​ The exact location on the border was not clear. The smuggler, Abu Hudayfeh Al-Iraqi, aka Al-Aydhab, was responsible for transporting weapons and explosives to Daesh. ​​ He was killed in a tunnel near the border following an intelligence lead. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Babel

Wednesday, the Babel Police announced​​ they​​ found a large cache of IEDs in​​ the​​ Al-Fadhiliya Al-Oula and Al-Abd Wais areas in​​ Jurf Al-Sakhar in​​ Al-Musayyib District,​​ northern Babel, as part of a comprehensive plan to secure the upcoming CoR election. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Dhi Qar

Wednesday, a local source said that security forces arrested a 60​​ year​​ old man wanted​​ on terrorism charges​​ in Al-Fajr subdistrict in northern Dhi Qar Province. [Ghad]​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

Wednesday,​​ a​​ member of the KDP​​ politburo, Hoshyar Zebari​​ (Iraq’s former Foreign Minister), said that the KDP, as the largest Kurdish party, is seeking to unify all the Kurdish parties running for the upcoming elections under one electoral list in order for the Kurds to enjoy a strong position in the Iraqi Council of Representatives as well as other federal institutions in Baghdad. He argued​​ that the​​ multiplicity of Kurdish electoral lists in the current situation isn’t a healthy phenomenon due to the challenges facing the Kurds now.​​ [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We don’t like to criticize such a distinguished gentleman, but while Kurdish political unity is good in some ways, unity imposed by the KDP to serve its own, often dubious purposes is not. The “current situation” is not good for the KDP, but the independence demonstrated by other parties in the face of KDP pressure is good for the KRG and for Iraq. The KDP is the source of the current disunity and should not pose as the solution.

 

Wednesday, Turkey’s Chief of Staff announced that 5 PKK terrorists were​​ neutralized​​ in Turkish airstrikes on 3 PKK positions in​​ the​​ Zab area​​ near the northwest border of Iraqi Kurdistan.​​ [Anadolu]

 

Wednesday, Hawar reported that the PKK in northern Iraqi Kurdistan attacked Turkish Army personnel in Tal Bayrak​​ village​​ in​​ the​​ Barzan subdistrict of Mergasor District in northern Erbil, killing 5 Turkish soldiers and destroying 3 Turkish military sites.​​ [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Barzan is the home territory of the Barzani family.

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Chemical weapons

Wednesday, Hawar reported that a UN security team came under fire in Douma while doing reconnaissance for OPCW inspectors intending to visit sites of the suspected chemical weapons attack. ​​ OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü said the United Nations Department of Safety and​​ Security (UNDSS) had decided to carry out reconnaissance at two sites in Douma before the inspectors would visit them. “At site two, the team came under small arms fire and an explosive was detonated. The reconnaissance team returned to Damascus,” he said. Britain’s ambassador to the OPCW, Peter Wilson,​​ said it was now unclear when the inspectors would be able to reach​​ Douma. [Hawar]

 

Tuesday, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia rebuffed the new Western bid for an investigation into the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Douma, telling the UN Security Council that there was no point establishing a new inquiry to determine blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria because the United States and its allies had already acted as “judge and executioner.” “The idea of creating a mechanism on attributing responsibility for the use of chemical weapons no longer makes any sense as Washington and its allies have already determined who’s guilty and in essence are already acting like self-appointed executioners,” Nebenzia said.​​ [Qasioun]

 

On the other hand, Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelley Currie told the UN Security Council that “Russia has called us here as part of a messaging campaign to try to distract from the atrocities committed by the (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s) regime.” “In order to do that, Russia has asked this​​ Council to focus its attention on the one part of Syria where the Assad regime isn’t pummeling civilians to death with barrel bombs or banned chemical weapons,” she said.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Wednesday, the Belgian weekly​​ Knack​​ magazine reported that 3 Belgian companies, including A4E Chemie Trading, Anex Customs, and Danmar Logistics, are being prosecuted for exporting to Syria and Lebanon 24 shipments containing a total of 168 tons of isopropanol, a product used to manufacture chemical weapons​​ material​​ such as sarin gas, between May 2014 and December 2016, without the necessary authorization.​​ [Hawar]

 

Russia

Wednesday, Wes Mitchell, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said that the US doesn’t seek confrontation with Russia in Syria, but warned that it is ready to use force if needed. He also noted that Russian mercenaries have tried to attack US military positions in Syria. “We do not seek a confrontation. But our forces will not hesitate to use necessary and proportionate force to defend themselves as they are in engaged in operations,” Mitchell said. According to Mitchell, the US has fulfilled its role in preventing the escalation of conflict with Moscow, maintaining contact with it via special channels created to prevent incidents in the very complicated and “overloaded” battle space. He added that the US and its allies are close to defeating Daesh in Syria and Iraq. “In the upcoming days and weeks, the US and its allies will weaken and defeat Daesh, support a stable Syria, and limit the malicious influence of Iran,” Mitchell said.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Foreign policy

United States

Wednesday, Syria’s presidential Political and Media Adviser Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban said that “the media leaks that the US President Donald Trump called for replacing the US forces there by an Arab​​ alliance are very strange.” “In case the media leaks were true, it would be very strange for an illegal occupying power to send an invitation to other parties to come and occupy the country as well,” she added.​​ [Dorar]

 

Iran

 In a report published on Wednesday,​​ Foreign Policy​​ magazine said that with Daesh in retreat and anti-regime militias losing ground, Iranian-backed militias in Syria are shifting their focus​​ on the ground​​ from battling Daesh toward Washington and its allies. According to the​​ FP​​ report, Western military officials and independent analysts have long said it was only a matter of time before U.S. forces on the ground in Syria were targeted by the Iranian-backed militias. Now, this weekend’s U.S.-led airstrikes on alleged chemical weapons installations could hasten such attacks.​​ 

 ​​ ​​​​ On April 6, the Baqir Brigade, one of a number of Iranian-backed militias operating in Syria, announced on its Facebook page that it would begin attacks on U.S. military personnel. Armed groups in Syria with direct or suspected connections to Tehran have become increasingly vocal about their intention to target U.S. forces in Syria, mostly grouped in the country’s north and northeast. ​​ “After the fight against Daesh, now they’re making it clear Americans are their enemies. If a conflict heats up between the U.S. and Iran, these guys are the agents on the ground,” says Renad Mansour, an Iraq-based researcher for Chatham House who has spoken with leaders and members of pro-Iranian militias.​​ 

 ​​ ​​​​ Just hours after the U.S. attack on alleged Syrian chemical sites, hundreds of Iranian-backed militia fighters reportedly surrounded a U.S. air base to the west of Baghdad, defying the orders of commanders in the city, according to the Lebanese newspaper​​ Ad-Diyar. US military officials declined to confirm or deny the incident but cautioned that all Iraqi forces, including militias, must​​ obey the central government. “Coalition forces maintain the right to defend themselves and our Iraqi partners against any threat,”​​ said​​ US Army Col. Ryan Dillon in response to an emailed question about the report.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Israel

In a report published on Wednesday, the Israeli newspaper​​ Yedioth Ahronoth​​ said that “Israel will respond strongly to any retaliation attack against it launched from Syria.” “Based on data, Iran is determined to respond as soon as possible to Monday’s attack on its drone base in Syria, which killed Iranian soldiers. Revenge could be taken directly or by one of Iran’s proxy organizations, through a rocket barrage from Syria, a terror attack near the fence or abroad, or a cyber attack on Israeli computer systems,” the newspaper said. [Qasioun]

 

Northwest​​ (No reports)

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

Wednesday, according to local activists in Hasaka, Arabi 21 reported that the YPG has started deploying border guards across the border​​ from​​ Turkey. Ibrahim Al-Habash, Al-Khabur website director, said that “the Kurdish PYD militia is reinforcing its positions in Ras Al-Ayn on the Syrian-Turkish border in Hasaka province, applying a US plan to form border guard​​ units from these militias and deploy them to the border with Turkey.”​​ [Arabi21]

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that the Syria Liberation Front captured Tal Ja’afar near Khan Sheikhoun city in southern Idlib, following clashes with Tahrir Al-Sham. ​​ 

Meanwhile, a child was killed during clashes between Tahrir Al-Sham and the Syria Liberation Front in Tarmala,​​ Faqie,​​ and​​ Karsaa villages in​​ the​​ Kafr Nabl​​ subdistrict of​​ Maarat Al-Numan;​​ and on the outskirts of Ihsim and Marayan in​​ the Ihsim subdistrict of Ariha District.​​ [Qasioun]​​ 

 

SOHR​​ has now​​ reported that the Syria Liberation Front recaptured Tarmala, Faqie,​​ and​​ Karsaa. Meanwhile, Tahrir Al-Sham reportedly executed two members of Ahrar Al-Sham captured during the​​ fighting.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

Hama

Wednesday, the anti-government Abu Amara Special Task Brigade announced that it blew up a Syrian forces’ ammunition depot in Qamhana village in northern Hama.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that Syrian anti-government militias captured Qubbat Al-Kurdi village​​ in​​ Salamiyah District in eastern Hama, following a counterattack on the Syrian forces’ positions in​​ the village, forcing them to withdraw from the village and seizing their weapons and ammunition.​​ [Qasioun]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that​​ the​​ Russians​​ are building a bridge across the Euphrates River to connect Deir Ez-Zor city with the SDF-held villages of Marat, Khasham, Tabiya and Hatla located on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River​​ in Mayadin and Albu Kamal, in​​ what was described as​​ a Russian attempt to advance towards the Conoco oilfield, northeast of Deir Ez-Zor.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Mayadin​​ District

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that 18 members of the Syrian forces were killed, and dozens wounded in a violent Daesh attack on Syrian positions in Mayadin. [Qasioun]​​ [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that Russian warplanes conducted several airstrikes on the Daesh-held area in​​ the​​ Mayadin desert in rural eastern Deir Ez-Zor. Meanwhile, the Syrian forces shelled Al-Baghouz and Susah​​ towns in eastern Deir Ez-Zor, without any reports of casualties among civilians.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that the SDF captured two Daesh members in Gharanij.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Daesh says it targeted 2 Syrian Army positions, in Al-Ghabra and Al-Sukkariya villages, with SPG9 rockets. Daesh publishes photos of the attack in Al-Ghabra. [ICDNApr18]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that​​ five​​ civilians were killed, and others wounded by the Syrian forces’ shelling on the outskirts of Al-Ruhaiba village in east Qalamoun, as part of the ongoing clashes between the Syrian forces and the anti-government militias there. [Qasioun]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 6 Jaish Khaled terrorists including an Iraqi explosives expert, and one civilian, were killed by a Russian airstrike in Abdin town.​​ 

 

Daesh publishes photos of the fighters of its affiliate, Jaish Khaled. [ICDNApr18]

 

Daesh says its snipers killed two Syrian soldiers near Al-Yarmouk Camp. [ICDNApr18]​​ 

 

Daraa

Wednesday, Shabab Al-Sunna Forces (Youth of Sunna Forces) announced that they​​ stopped​​ a Hezbollah attempt to infiltrate into Bosra Al-Sham city in eastern Daraa, killing several Hezbollah members and capturing others. [Dorar]

 

Wednesday, the anti-government joint ops room, “Repelling the Aggressors,” declared Daraa’s western Daesh-held towns of Al-Shajara, Saham Al-Jolan, Al-Qusayr,​​ and Quraysh as military zones in preparation for shelling​​ them​​ and launching a military operation against Daesh there, urging civilians to stay away from Daesh headquarters as far as possible for their safety. [Qasioun]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

Iran Defense Minister Amir Hatami arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday for a two-day visit. ​​ Hatami said that the purpose of the visit was to discuss the recent​​ US​​ missile strike on Syria, as well as developing military and security cooperation between Iran and Iraq. ​​ The Iranian state news agency IRNA reported that the​​ General​​ Secretary of the Iraq​​ Ministry of​​ Defense, Major General Muhammad Jawad, greeted Hatami at Baghdad International Airport.[Sumaria]

 

Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General​​ Othman Al-Ghanmi said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic of Iran stood by Iraq against Daesh, saying, “the two peoples’ blood has become mixed.” ​​ Al-Ghanmi met with Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami and said that Iran and Iraq were cooperating to fight terrorism, and added that he was confident that Iran would support Iraq in its future reconstruction, according to the Iranian news agency Fars.[Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We suspect, however, that the real purpose of Hatami’s visit was to get Iraq’s support of Iran’s anti-US policy in Syria.

 

Bahrain

According to the Qatari newspaper​​ Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, Bahrain failed to retrieve 40 wanted Bahraini citizens who are in Baghdad. ​​ The newspaper said that the Bahrain​​ Foreign​​ Ministry has wanted these 40​​ people​​ for years on terrorism charges, but chose an inopportune time to make the request, since it coincided with the elections. ​​ [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The​​ political​​ complication is likely that​​ ​​ the men are Shia.​​ It is also true that “terrorist” is a convenient term for the Sunni Bahrain government in dealing with opposition from its majority Shia population.

 

North Africa

Egypt

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Egyptian Armed Forces announced it has killed the Daesh leader in central Sinai.”The Third Field Army forces raided a number of rugged, mountainous areas in central Sinai and killed Nasser Abu Zakoul,​​ the​​ emir​​ of the Daesh terrorist organization in central Sinai during extensive fire exchange.” Egypt’s Armed forces found six automatic rifles, two hand grenades, large quantities of ammunition and a wireless communication device in possession of the​​ emir, the statement added. “Third Field Army will continue their efforts to eliminate all​​ takfiri​​ and terrorist elements in the area,” the statement said. [AlBayan[AhlMisr]

 

Daesh says it detonated on Tuesday 2 IEDs on 2 Egyptian Army Humvees in the Dawadin and Dhahir areas, south of Sheikh Zuweid, destroying one, damaging the other, and killing or wounding the soldiers inside. It also says it killed or wounded four soldiers, including an officer, with an IED in the Al-Joura area, south of Sheikh Zuweid. [ICDNApr18] ​​ 

 

Libya

Wednesday, Arabi 21 reported that​​ one​​ person was killed and​​ three​​ others wounded when the motorcade of​​ the Libyan National Army’s​​ Chief of Staff Abdul Razek Al-Nadori was targeted by a car bomb as it was passing through Sidi Khalifa,​​ one of the eastern districts of Benghazi.​​ Sources said that the bombing was followed by gunfire and the military expelling​​ people​​ from the area. ​​ The office of the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces said on its Facebook page that the bomb was placed​​ at​​ the eastern entrance to Benghazi in Sidi Khalifa and exploded immediately​​ after the motorcade passed.​​ Initial reports indicate that Al-Nadori survived the attack. [Arabi21][Wasat][Wasat]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

United States

Tuesday, Dijlah reported that the US government has decided to transfer the detained John Doe, a US citizen of Saudi origins with suspected ties to Daesh, to the custody of another country in no fewer than 72 hours. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is defending John Doe, has announced that it intends to submit a petition to the court to stop his deportation on the grounds that he has not been charged with terrorism, and that he has the right to appear before a court under US law. [Dijlah]

 

Australia

Wednesday,​​ The Guardian​​ said that Iraqi authorities arrested two Daesh members, Ahmed Marei and a Lebanese Daesh commander,​​ Tarik Al-Khayat. They​​ are accused by authorities of conspiring with​​ the​​ Sydney-based brothers​​ of one​​ of the​​ arrestees​​ to blow up Etihad Airways flight EY451 from Sydney to Abu Dhabi​​ last July, which had​​ 400 passengers and crew members on board. [IkhNews]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Wednesday, Anadolu reported that a bomb blast has killed five people, including a police commander, in the southern Kandahar province, according to an Afghan official. A Kandahar police spokesman says Col. Janan Mama, commander of the border rapid reaction force, three of his police bodyguards,​​ and a civilian were killed in Wednesday’s attack. The spokesman, Zia Durrani, says the sticky bomb was placed on the commander’s vehicle in Kandahar, the provincial capital. The Taliban claimed responsibility in a statement sent to media. [Anadolu]

 

Daesh publishes a photo of one of its terrorists, saying he was killed in Afghanistan. [ICDNApr18]

 

Pakistan

Daesh says it killed a Shia person and wounded another with a handgun in Quetta city. [ICDNApr18]

 

April 17, 2018

 

C:\Users\pemd7\Desktop\Daesh Tunnel.jpg

Daesh Tunnel​​ 

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Stance toward role of US in Iraq divides Al-Jubouri, Al-Maliki. [..]

46 Daesh tunnels discovered​​ in Iraq​​ since January 1. [..]

Iraqis returning home have enabled closing of 32 IDP camps. [..]

Amnesty International says IDP camps discriminate against wives and children of suspected Daesh members.​​ [..]

McGurk says Iraq “is moving in the right direction.​​ [..]

Kirkuk SWAT commander and 20 associates​​ reportedly​​ arrested on multiple felony charges. [..]​​ 

US​​ commits​​ $75 million for reconstruction in Nineveh Plains, Sinjar. [..]

Christian woman rescued from Daesh tells a 4-year horror story. [..]

22 gunmen from Daesh cells arrested north of Tal Afar. [..]

 

Syria

Trump Administration trying to persuade Middle East countries to replace US troops in​​ Syria. [..]

DoD requests $550 million to support SDF role in Syria. [..]

Russia trying to negotiate Daesh out of south Damascus. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Tunisia/Libya:​​ Tunisia discovers 44-mile Daesh tunnel linking Tunisia, Libya. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

Tuesday, the MoD warned that whoever​​ destroys​​ candidates’ photos or their electoral programs published in public places in order to harm them or affect the electoral process will be jailed for at least one month, pay a fine of at least 1,000,000 Iraqi dinars, or both. [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We commented yesterday on a story from Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq about a PMF threat to trash other candidates’ campaign​​ photos.

 

The maximum spending on advertising for electoral campaigns in Baghdad, as set by the Electoral Commission, has risen to $1 million per candidate, and $144 million for electoral lists. ​​ Spending limits in Basra were set at $350,000 per candidate and $16 million for electoral lists. ​​ [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ All of you who wish Iraq politics were more like American politics could take heart from this storyor maybe not.

On Tuesday, the PMF announced its intention to launch large-scale operations to provide electoral security in areas of eastern Anbar, Samarra, and Baghdad. ​​ The PMF operations commander in eastern Anbar, Karim Al-Khaqani, said that coordinated security operations would begin soon. ​​ He added that their goal was to eliminate dormant Daesh cells and safehouses. ​​ The overall commander of operations in eastern Anbar, Major General Saad Harbih, had previously announced large-scale search operations for electoral security. [Rudaw]

 

On Tuesday, the Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Salim Al-Jubouri, emphasized the need for Iraq to draw upon both​​ internal​​ and international support in order to ensure the participation​​ of everyone in the upcoming elections. ​​ Al-Jubouri asked​​ the​​ Special Envoy​​ to the Coalition, Brett McGurk, to​​ help​​ remove all obstacles that might prevent Iraqis from voting, especially IDPs and citizens of cities liberated from terrorism. ​​ He went on to praise US support for Iraq and its people, and called for US companies to play a bigger​​ role​​ in rebuilding Iraq. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

By contrast, spokesman Abbas Al-Musawi of​​ Nouri Al-Maliki’s State of Law alliance​​ said that past experience proved that “Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are not honest with us.”​​ He​​ stressed​​ that the​​ State of Law​​ alliance​​ “will not allow the US embassy to choose the next prime minister.” “There are now American military bases in Iraq,” he said, adding that “Western and foreign agendas are the ones that created problems in our country, and the​​ State of Law Coalition​​ does not want problems with any country, but rejects foreign intervention in Iraqi affairs.” [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The former Prime Minister may actually be on to something here, as his repeated anti-American statements would seem to make it less and less likely that the US would favor his return to power, even assuming his​​ that​​ previous job performance had not already eliminated that possibility. Of greater concern is the possibility that the experienced Al-Maliki believes public opinion, in Shia areas at least, is still anti-American and that he needs to tap into that.

 

Anti-Daesh​​ campaign

A number of tunnels used by Daesh have been found in Iraq in 2018. ​​ (We covered a few major tunnel stories in yesterday’s issue.)​​ A Defense Ministry official says​​ there were more than 200 tunnels of varying size in Anbar and the Mosul desert. ​​ The newspaper​​ Al-Arabi Al-Jadid Al-Qataria​​ reported that 46 tunnels dug by Daesh have​​ been found by Iraqi forces in the north and west of​​ Iraq since the beginning of 2018. ​​ “Some of the tunnels have small bedrooms, cooking areas, and weapons caches, all between 5 and 10 meters underground,” wrote the report. ​​ Iraqi officials were quoted as saying that the tunnel digging in many areas of the country started after the coalition airstrikes in September 2014.​​ There was​​ information indicating​​ that Al-Baghdadi lived in one such tunnel. [Sumaria]

On April 17, an Iraqi court sentenced the French jihadi Jamila Boutoutou, 29, to life in prison for belonging to Daesh. ​​ In February, a 27-year-old French jihadi, Melina Bougdir, was sentenced to 7 months in prison for illegally entering Iraq. [Rudaw]

 

Tuesday, the Central Criminal Court sentenced 3 Azerbaijani women and a Kyrgyz woman to death, and a French woman as well as two Russian women to life imprisonment on charges of joining and​​ working with Daesh. [Sumaria][Anadolu]

 

Reconstruction

Tuesday, the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Center (JCMC) announced that 32 IDP camps have been closed, including 7 in Baghdad, 6 in Dahuk, 5 in Erbil, 8 in Anbar, 3 in Salahuddin, 2 in Diyala and​​ 1​​ in Kirkuk, following their​​ IDPs’ return to their​​ home​​ areas. ​​ [PUKMedia]

 

Amnesty International accused Iraqi authorities of imposing “collective punishment” on women and children with suspected ties to Daesh, referring to “denial of humanitarian aid, people being prevented from leaving IDP camps, and sexual violence against women.” ​​ An Amnesty International report detailed widespread discrimination against women and children in IDP camps who are​​ believed to have family ties to Daesh members. ​​ Lynn Maalouf, the Middle East research director for Amnesty International, wrote​​ that​​ “Women and children associated with Daesh are being punished for crimes they did not commit.” [Rudaw] [Hawar]

 

During a meeting with Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the anti-Daesh Coalition, on Tuesday, Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi stressed that “Iraq insists​​ on unifying Iraqis towards the goal of reconstruction and creating an attractive environment for investment.” He also stressed the importance of “the stability of the region, preventing causes of tension and focusing on ending terrorism.” Meanwhile, Brett McGurk expressed the US support for Iraq in “this phase of reconstruction and security enhancement.” “The United States believes that Iraq is moving in the right direction,” McGurk said. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

The Vice Chief of Staff for the Kurdish Peshmerga forces revealed that the Iraqi MoD has not yet invited Peshmerga forces to redeploy in the “disputed” Kurdish areas outside of KRG control. ​​ He expressed the hope that the Peshmerga could receive an official invitation to redeploy in order to provide added security ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, saying that the security situation has deteriorated under the control of Iraqi forces. ​​ [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The deterioration of security since Iraqi military units replaced Peshmerga in disputed areas is a constant Kurdish talking point. As we have commented, however, political power is a larger motive than security. Having Peshmerga patrolling parts of Iraq outside of Kurdistan, a KRG strategy since 2003, has been strategy for​​ extending KRG political influence​​ beyond its own borders, not​​ for​​ supporting the security of Iraq, though the policy ​​ has always been supported by the​​ rationalization that fellow ethnic Kurds and other minorities in those areas need security​​ that Iraq can’t provide.  ​​​​ ​​ 

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

West​​ (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

Tuesday,​​ the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) announced that 4 terrorists were captured while trying to​​ sneak​​ into Baghdad.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

ANBAR

Falluja

Tuesday,​​ Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced that Al-Jazeera Ops​​ Command​​ units​​ destroyed 7 Daesh guesthouses and 3 tunnels, and detonated 24 IEDs during search operations in Anbar.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Tuesday, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced the launch of a security operation to clear the Jazeera (desert) areas and Upper Euphrates in Anbar in order to “prevent the establishment of terrorist groups.” [Sumaria]

 

Ramadi

Perhaps related to the previous story, the Anbar Operations Command launched a large-scale operation on Tuesday to hunt down Daesh members north of Ramadi. ​​ An anonymous senior leadership source said that the operation would span many areas of northern Anbar, the desert​​ around​​ Lake Thirthar, and the southern shore of Lake Thirthar. ​​ The source said that the operation was under the supervision of the Anbar Operations Commander,​​ Major General Mahmoud Al-Falahi,​​ with the participation of the 10th​​ division, the Anbar​​ Emergency​​ Police, and PMF​​ units. [Sumaria]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced that Salahuddin Ops Command found a laboratory for the manufacture of IEDs containing 37 IEDs, an ammunition depot containing 8 SPGs,​​ 9 missiles,​​ and 12 RPGs, as well as a Daesh guesthouse, during search operations in Salahuddin.​​ [Ghad]

 

Samarra

Tuesday, the PMF Media Center reported that PMFs found Daesh hideouts containing IEDs, land mines and foodstuffs during search operations in​​ the​​ Salahuddin desert.​​ [Buratha]​​ [Sngiq]

 

Tuesday,​​ Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced that Samarra Ops Command and a PMF unit conducted a search operation in different locations south of Jazeerat Samarra (Samarra Island), clearing 1760 km.​​ Eight​​ IEDs were found, according to Rasoul.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

DIYALA

Tuesday, Diyala Police spokesman Colonel Ghalib Atiyah said that 11 wanted persons were arrested​​ on terrorism and criminal charges in different locations in Diyala.​​ [Ghad]

 

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Tuesday, a security source in Diyala said that​​ three​​ citizens were injured when an IED exploded in Al-Askari neighborhood in central Khan Bani Saad subdistrict.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Daesh says it three Iraqi soldiers, wounded two others, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in Al-Naqib village, south of Buhriz. [ICDNApr17]

In another report, Daesh says it killed one Iraqi soldier, wounded four others, and damaged their vehicle with an IED in the same village. [ICDNApr17]

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

The Security Committee of the Diyala Provincial Council announced on Tuesday that a​​ Daesh leader” was killed by PMF forces around Imam Wais. The head of the committee, Sadiq Al-Husseini, said that the Daesh leader was killed by PMF intelligence units who had been monitoring his movements. ​​ Al-Husseini added that Daesh has​​ lost around 30 leaders and gunmen in the first quarter of 2018 from​​ military and​​ PMF operations in Diyala. ​​ [Sumaria]

A​​ Diyala​​ Police​​ captain, Habib Al-Shammari, repeated the same story but credited the killing to Iraqi security forces, saying that the Daesh leader and two of his companions had been killed in an ambush by Iraqi forces around Imam Wais. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Tuesday,​​ a​​ member of the Bait Nahrain Democratic Party, Amer Huzairan, said that the Christian voters in Kirkuk and the Ninewa Plain are under pressures​​ from​​ other political parties​​ that​​ are trying to deprive Christian voters of their right to vote freely. [Rudaw]

 

According to sources in Ninewa,​​ an arrest warrant was issued​​ Tuesday​​ for the commander of the SWAT​​ force in Kirkuk, Captain Luwai Muhammad Reda, as well as 20 of his​​ associates. A media official for the PMF, Jawdat Al-Assaf, said that the arrest warrant was issued on the basis of gang members’ confessions to armed robbery, car theft, and​​ detonation of​​ car bombs. They said that Luwai Muhammad Reda was the one who gave the orders to detonate the car bombs, which killed a number of civilians.​​ [IraqPress] ​​ 

 

Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)

Daesh says it killed two PMF fighters and destroyed their vehicle with an IED on the road between Riyadh and Hawija. [ICDNApr17]

 

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

Tuesday,​​ a Tooz​​ District​​ leader, Ali Al-Husseini, denied​​ a report​​ that Daesh has captured a village in​​ Iftikhar​​ subdistrict in Daquq District. He said​​ that “the situation in Daquq is secure and stable.”​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

NINEWA

Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya, Tel Keif, etc.)

Tuesday,​​ Joey Hood,​​ Deputy Chief of the US Ambassador to Iraq, said that the U.S. has allocated​​ $75,000,000​​ for the reconstruction of Sinjar District and the Ninewa Plain, which were​​ destroyed during the war against Daesh.  [ArabsToday]

 

In a report published on Tuesday, the​​ Daily Mail​​ said that an Iraqi team of two members working for the Iraqi Christian​​ organization,​​ Shlama Foundation,​​ successfully rescued a Christian woman who had been held by Daesh for over three years. Rita Habib, a 30-year-old Christian woman, was kidnapped from Qaraqosh in Hamdaniya. Raped by numerous men, all of whom had wives and children, Ms Habib was sold from one member of the extremist network to another in an endless cycle of abuse. She said “The worst of all was girls aged nine who were raped. Girls would be sold for 4,000 to 15,000 dollars.” The two team members stepped in pretending to be Daesh members wanting to buy a sex slave. The pair paid £20,000 to buy her and a Yazidi woman being held with her.  [KnoozMedia]

 

Mosul

Tuesday, a security source said that 3 officials in the Ninewa Health Office were arrested on charges​​ of joining and​​ working​​ with Daesh and​​ killing​​ civilians.​​ [BasNews]​​ 

 

A security source said on Tuesday that the Ninewa court for investigating terrorism had issued an arrest warrant for the President of the Umm Al-Rubayeen Housing Association in Ninewa, Najat Khalf Muhammad Al-Jubouri, charging her​​ with 4 counts of terrorism. [Sumaria]

 

East Mosul

Tuesday, the MoI announced that security forces found a workshop for the manufacture of IEDs and gun silencers in East Mosul.​​ Brigadier General Saad Maan, spokesman for the Ministry, said in a statement that the Ninewa Intelligence Directorate, working together with the Ministry, was able to seize the workshop following the confession of one of the accused. ​​ [Buratha]​​ [Ghad]

 

West Mosul

Tuesday, Al-Ghad Press reported that a Swedish team of seven members started lifting the decomposing corpses of Daesh members that are still under the rubble of buildings in Old Mosul.  [AlghadPress]

 

Ninewa police arrested 6 Daesh members in the Al-Ma’moun neighborhood in southwest Mosul, on terrorism charges. [Mawsleya]​​ 

 

Tuesday,​​ Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced “that the Ninewa Ops Command found and destroyed 2 homemade missiles, 4 IEDs and 3 tunnels containing 4 tank shells, a mortar shell and 5 homemade rockets during search operations.”​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa​​ (No reports)

 

WesternNinewa

Tal Afar

The captain of the National Security Service in Ninewa, Salam Al-Khashmani, said on Tuesday that Iraqi forces had completed a large-scale operation to clear Daesh cells from the village of Tamarat, north of Tal Afar. ​​ Al-Khashmani said, “The operation resulted in the arrest of 22 Daesh gunmen who were wanted for trial, the destruction of 4 IEDs, and the destruction of 3 tunnels used by the gunmen to hide from security forces.” [Rudaw]

 

Sinjar

 

See Sinjar-related story above under Nineveh Plain.

 

Baaj

Tuesday,​​ Ninewa Police commander Hamad Namis Al-Jubouri announced that 4 wanted Daesh terrorists were captured in Al-Salamiya Camp​​ in southeast Mosul.​​ [Buratha]​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

Tuesday, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said that “there is no official dialogue with Baghdad over the Peshmerga deployment in disputed areas.” He also expressed “the KRG concern over the security situation in disputed areas,” saying that “the KRG is ready to participate in maintaining security in those areas.” He also pointed out that the KRG has good relations with Iran, and is going to improve its relations with Turkey. [ROJ]

 

ERBIL

Turkish artillery shelled border areas​​ in far​​ northern​​ Erbil on Tuesday, according to eyewitnesses. ​​ One witness said, “The bombing targeted the areas of Kly Ras, Kly​​ Magari,​​ Khawakarak, and Jidali,”​​ (spelling approximate)​​ and said that casualties were unknown so far. [Sumaria]

The PKK announced on Tuesday that they had killed and wounded 16 Turkish soldiers in 3 attacks launched within the borders of the Kurdistan region. ​​ The PKK statement said that its members attacked 3 separate areas where the Turkish army was posted in​​ Sidekan​​ subdistrict in​​ northern​​ Erbil. ​​ The Turkish army confirmed yesterday that 3 soldiers were killed and one wounded in a PKK attack in Sharnakh. [BasNews]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Turkey will send trainers to participate in the NATO-led training mission in Iraq.​​ He said​​ that Turkey has expressed its full support for the NATO-led training mission​​ there. “We are working on a plan to train Iraqi officers and soldiers, and what we want to do is to establish military schools and academies, from which trainers will later graduate to supervise the training of the Iraqi Army.” [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Tuesday, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he hopes that the airstrikes by Washington, Paris and London will pave the way for pushing the faltering political process in Syria and reaching a political settlement under the UN auspices to end the Syrian conflict. “All signs indicate that Syria has become incapable of creating chemical weapons. However, if such weapons are used again, France and its allies will not hesitate to launch new strikes against Syria,” he added. [Hawar]

 

Monday, the​​ Wall Street Journal​​ reported that President Donald Trump and his administration are seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the U.S. military in Syria. According to U.S. officials, the plan would use the Arab force to help stabilize the northeastern part of the country after the​​ defeat of Daesh. The initiative comes as the administration has asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars to help restore northern Syria. It wants Arab nations to send troops as well, officials said. “Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE have all been approached with respect to financial support and more broadly to contribute,” an administration official said.​​ 

 ​​​​ ​​ According to the report, John Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser, called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, in​​ an​​ attempt to persuade Egypt to join the force. “Mr. Trump, who has expressed growing impatience with the cost and duration of the effort to stabilize Syria, alluded to the push on Friday night, when he announced the missile strikes,” the WSJ said. “We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing larger amounts of money,” the WSJ quoted Trump as saying.​​ 

 ​​​​ ​​ According to the WSJ, the idea also has caught the attention of Erik Prince, the private businessman who founded Blackwater USA and who has helped the UAE and Somalia set up private security forces. Mr. Prince said Monday that he has been informally contacted by Arab officials about the prospect of building a force in Syria but that he was waiting to see what Mr. Trump would do. [Qasioun]

 

Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that Riyadh is ready to send troops to Syria as part of a wider coalition if it is proposed. “We’ve been discussing sending forces of​​ the​​ ‘Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition’ to Syria,” the minister said at the joint press conference with UN Secretary-General António Guterres after a meeting in Riyadh. [Arabi21]

 

Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that “there are ongoing discussions with Washington about the type of troops that should be deployed to eastern Syria and where they will come from.”​​ He​​ stated that the deployment offer was “not new”, adding that Riyadh had previously proposed the idea to former US President Barack Obama. “We are in discussion with the US, and have been since the beginning of the Syrian crisis about sending forces into Syria,” Al-Jubeir told reporters in Riyadh during a press conference alongside Antonio Guterres, the UN chief. “We made a proposal to the [previous] Obama administration that if the US were to send forces​​ . . .​​ then Saud Arabia would consider along with other countries sending forces as part of this contingent.” [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The last point may be the key.​​ Even if​​ Saudi Arabia and maybe other Arab countries​​ considered​​ sending troops, they would prefer to augment American forces, not replace them.​​ 

 

Tuesday, Yahya Kadwani, deputy chairman of Egypt’s parliamentary committee, said that Egypt welcomes the initiative to deploy its troops to Syria. He told Sputnik that Cairo would​​ do so​​ only after UN Security Council approval, but the matter has not been discussed by lawmakers. [Dorar]

The US DOD’s 2019 budget document for overseas operations revealed that the Pentagon had requested arms and ammunition for a force in Syria of between 60,000 and 65,000 fighters from the YPG and the SDF. ​​ The Pentagon requested $300 million for weapons for forces aiding Washington in fighting Daesh, and another $250 million for aiding the same groups with border security. 30,000 of the fighters were expected to cover ongoing clashes in the Euphrates Valley​​ region of Syria, and another 35,000 to maintain security in areas from which Daesh had been expelled. [Rudaw]

 

East Ghouta

Monday, the Russian​​ Novosti​​ news agency reported that clashes broke out between the Syrian forces and some “gunmen” who haven’t left Douma. Casualties have been reported on both sides. [Qasioun]

 

Monday, according to local sources, Dorar reported that two car bombs exploded in the vicinity of the chemical attack site in Douma, killing one civilian and wounding another. [Dorar]

 

Northwest​​ (No reports)

 

Northeast​​ (No reports)​​ 

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib

Tuesday, SOHR reported that clashes resumed​​ in Idlib​​ between Tahrir Al-Sham and​​ the combined​​ Ahrar Al-Sham and Suqur Al-Sham in the vicinity of Tal Aas and Tal Ja’afar​​ near​​ Khan Sheikhoun city as well as​​ the subdistrict capital of​​ Hish, all​​ in Maarat Al-Numan in southern Idlib, with reports of casualties on both sides. [SyriaHR]

 

Homs

Tuesday, Syrian Now reported that the Syrian forces have eliminated Tahrir Al-Sham’s last strongholds and groups in the vicinity of Al-Jin Mountain in rural northern Homs, killing several members of Tahrir Al-Sham. [SyriaNow]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal​​ District

 Tuesday, Coalition Spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said that based on intelligence information, “Daesh has stepped up its operations against the Syrian forces on the western bank of the Euphrates River in the vicinity of Albu Kamal.” He also pointed out that the International Coalition “isn’t carrying out any operations against Daesh on the western bank of the Euphrates River.”[Sumaria]

 

Daesh says its snipers hit a Syrian soldier in Al-Ashayer village on Monday. [ICDNApr17]

 

Daesh says it targeted a Syrian Army military position in Al-Ghabra village with and SPG9 rocket. [ICDNApr17]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Tuesday, the Syrian government announced the commencement of the agreement reached with Jaish Al-Islam​​ about​​ Al-Dumair city, 40 km​​ (25 miles)​​ northeast of Damascus. According to that agreement, about 1,000 members of Jaish Al-Islam will leave Al-Dumair city and​​ go​​ to Jarabulus in​​ northern Syria near the Turkish border. [Qasioun]

 

Tuesday, SOHR reported that the Syrian government is holding negotiations with Daesh in order to move it out of south Damascus. According to sources, Daesh refused to evacuate and move to southern Syria. It tried through negotiations to secure a safe exit towards northern Syria instead. [SyriaHR]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ If they go to southern Syria they could run into the Coalition-affiliated opposition militias, perhaps exactly what the crafty Russians had in mind and what Daesh wants to avoid.

 

Tuesday, SOHR reported that the Syrian forces targeted with over 40 mortar shells and missiles the Daesh-held locations in Al-Yarmouk Camp and​​ the​​ Al-Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood​​ just​​ south of Damascus, killing a child and wounding others. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh says its snipers killed three Syrian soldiers, including an officer, near the Yarmouk Camp and Hay Al-Tadhamun, south of Damascus. Daesh issues a video of a Syrian officer targeted by its snipers in Yarmouk Camp. [ICDNApr17]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards announced on Tuesday that one of​​ their​​ soldiers​​ had been killed and 5 wounded in an attack on one of its positions in Sistan and Baluchestan province​​ on the​​ Pakistan​​ border, at the main border crossing between the two countries. ​​ The state news agency​​ IRNA and the private pro-regime news agency Tasnim reported that a terrorist group from Pakistani territory attacked the forces of the Revolutionary Guards at a border control tower​​ near​​ Mirjaveh, the small border city on the Iran side of the border. [BasNews]

 

Yemen

Daesh published photos of printing out and distributing its Naba magazine in Baida. [ICDNApr17]

 

North Africa

Libya/Tunisia

Tuesday, a senior Tunisian security official said that a 70-km-long​​ (44-miles)​​ underground tunnel linking Tunisia and Libya was recently discovered by Tunisian security forces. “The tunnel was previously prepared to facilitate smuggling Tunisian Daesh terrorists outside the country to reach the regional hotbeds of conflict, and help them get back to their home country,” the official added. ​​ [BasNews]​​ 

 

On Monday, the Vice-Directorate to Combat Narcotics, within the Judicial and Police Directorate, announced that​​ it​​ had arrested two people, aged 41 and 46, one of whom is a member of a​​ takfiri​​ group and was wanted by the Central Directorate to Combat Terrorism for National Security. ​​ Their car was searched and found to contain 20 kilos of cannabis, 200 Tunisian dinars, and 100 Euros, said to be the proceeds of drug trafficking. [Tunisien]

In Libya, the Military Engineering Wing​​ assigned to​​ emergency operations recovered a 500-kilo shell left behind in the residential neighborhood of Sayyada Aisha in Hawari, west of Benghazi. ​​ The operation followed a tip to the Military Engineering Wing, which is working to recover shells and​​ war debris left behind by terrorist groups during their control of some neighborhoods​​ in​​ Benghazi. [AfriGate]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

AFRICA

Somalia​​ 

Daesh issues a video of shooting and killing a Somali solider in Afgooye​​ on Monday. [ICDNApr17]

 

 

 

April 16, 2018

 

Daesh Hideouts in Horan Valley

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Iraq puts Daesh financial backers on UN sanctions list;​​ will target others. [..]

Security units discover elaborate Daesh tunnel operation in NW Anbar. [..]

PMFs in central Diyala use IED​​ against​​ Daesh, kill 7. [..]

Turkmen candidate’s security convoy attacked in Kirkuk city; 1 killed, 9 hurt. [..]

9 more Daesh tunnels, 143 IEDs, destroyed in Ninewa. [..]

Ninewa Police take down Daesh IED lab in west Mosul. [..]

1,000 bodies found in Daesh mass grave SW of Mosul city;​​ 

Slow recovery of bodies a growing issue, as volunteers try to help. [..]

PKK claims it killed 16 Turkish soldiers in northern Erbil province. [..]

 

Turkey

Turkey launches major anti-PKK military operation in SE Turkey. [..]

 

Syria

Question of whether US will extend Syria stay gets mixed signals. [..]

Chemical weapons experts arrive in Damascus; get delayed by Russians. [..]

Syrian forces attack Tahrir Al-Sham, other rebels in Hama, Homs. [..]

Syrian forces preparing major attack on Yarmouk refugee camp. [..]​​ 

US embassy letter warns friendly militias in southern Syria to avoid attacking Syrian troops. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Great Britain:​​ Prime Minister slams Syria, Russia over chemical attacks. [..]

Afghanistan:​​ Russian general estimates 10,000 Daesh, other militants ​​ in Afghanistan. [..]

Pakistan:​​ Daesh gunmen kill 2 Christians leaving Sunday Mass, wound 5. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election

In Dhi​​ Qar Province on Monday,​​ a​​ PMF​​ representative​​ warned candidates for the Iraqi Council of Representatives not to take down photographs of martyrs and replace them with their own pictures for electoral propaganda purposes. ​​ Aby Duaa Al-Shatri, the provincial representative of the PMF, said that if candidates did so, this would “force PMF members in Dhi​​ Qar to take pictures of the candidate and crush them underfoot.”[Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This might at first glance seem to reflect devotion to “martyrs,” defined in Iraq as those who died to defend Iraq. However, the PMF has no authority over elections,​​ or in Dhi Qar provincial affairs. It is applying street muscle​​ against​​ political competitors of the Fath Al-Mubin (Conquest) alliance led by PMF leaders. This is an outright power play and a threat to undermine the election campaign​​ by intimidating voters, not only in Dhi Qar but in other provinces.​​ 

 

Sheikh Misroor​​ Naji Al-Jubouri, a tribal elder and spokesman for the Sunni Arab tribes of Kirkuk, emphasized that the current security situation in Kirkuk was inappropriate for holding legislative elections on May 12 as scheduled. ​​ “Unlike previous elections, citizens may not be able to vote freely even if they go to polling stations,” he said.[BasNews]

 

Reconstruction

In what could also be considered an election campaign story, Iraqi PM Haider Al-Abadi stated that “There is no challenge that is impossible for Iraqis,” giving a speech emphasizing the importance of reconstruction work and of public-private partnerships. [Rudaw]

 

Anti-Daesh​​ campaign

An Iraqi security official said on Monday that the Iraqi government has succeeded in putting Iraqi individuals and entities that finance Daesh on the UN sanctions list in preparation for freezing their assets. “The Security Council Committee on International Sanctions on Daesh and Al-Qaeda has agreed to add one Iraqi company and two individuals to the UN sanctions list” the official said on condition of anonymity. “The list included Al-Kawthar Financial Brokerage Company, its owner Omar Mohammed Rahim Al-Kabsi, as well as Salim Mustafa Mohammed Al-Mansour, known as Al-Afri,” according to the same source. Security expert Hisham Al-Hashimi has said that “The two people were killed during battles against armed groups in Iraq in 2016. He also said “The decision was taken under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and is part of an ongoing Iraqi government effort to criminalize all leaders and members of Daesh and all parties, companies, and persons financing them.”[Sumaria]

 

The Ministry of Justice announced on Monday that 13 people convicted of “terrorism” had been executed, while stressing that the provisions of the law were followed “without being influenced” by any outside pressure. ​​ The Information Office said in a press release, “The death penalty for the 13 people was carried out after all legal procedures were completed,” adding, “among them were 11 people convicted of terrorist crimes, from detonating car bombs to killing security forces to kidnappings.”​​ [Sumaria]

 

Observers of Daesh reported a call for members to renew their pledges of loyalty to its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, a maneuver that reveals major conflicts inside the organization. ​​ This is believed to be the first public​​ call for a​​ pledge of allegiance to Baghdadi since the “Caliphate State” in Syria and Iraq collapsed last year. ​​ Observers​​ for the London-based Saudi-owned​​ newspaper​​ Al-Sharq Al-Awsat​​ said that this showed the weak state of Daesh, and was just an attempt to rally its members and strengthen internal cohesion, by using Baghdadi as the symbol of the organization.​​ [Sumaria]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)

Baghdad Operations Command announced on Monday that​​ 5​​ terrorists and one woman accused of theft had been arrested, and explosive devices left behind by Daesh had been detonated. ​​ A statement said, “Security forces arrested​​ 3​​ suspects in accordance with Article 4 (terrorism) during a security operation in the Erkia and Fadel districts in north Baghdad, as well as​​ 2​​ other suspects arrested under the same article in the Duwaim area.”​​ [PressIraq]

 

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

Security forces found 2 leftover Daesh IEDs in the Albu Awsaj area in Latifiya, south Baghdad, which were detonated on site without damage. ​​ [PressIraq]

 

ANBAR

Falluja

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that Iraqi Army units captured Ahmed Khalil Al-Eissawi, a senior Daesh official, and another Daesh member from Mosul who were hiding in a house in Hay Al-Jolan, Falluja city. The source says the 2 terrorists were planning to leave the country with forged passports.​​ 

 

Daesh said it killed a PMF official and several of his associates in an ambush in the Zoba’a area, on Friday.​​ [ICDNApr15]

 

Ramadi

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that local police captured a Daesh official, originally from Ninewa, in Hay Al-Tameem in Ramadi.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that local police arrested 3 persons on terrorism charges in 2 locations in Ramadi city.

 

Anah​​ (including Rawa)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that Iraqi Army, Anbar Police, and PMFs units, supported by Coalition planes, conducted a search in the Horan Valley area and found and destroyed large Daesh tunnels. The source said on Monday that the units found 12 tunnels, each containing 4 trailers​​ hidden in what looked like an “underground city.” The source said the ongoing campaign has resulted so far in killing 43 Daesh terrorists, arresting 13, and confiscating hundreds of weapons and IEDs.​​ 

Later on, the source said Iraqi forces found a Daesh field hospital equipped with modern medical equipment in another tunnel and arrested 2 wounded Daesh members.​​ 

 

In what appears to be a confirmation of the above report, on Monday the Center for Security Information announced the discovery of a former hospital and a group of tunnels used by Daesh, the destruction of an old base used by the organization, and the arrest of four suspects during search operations in western Anbar province. ​​ The Center said, “Security forces in command of the search operations north of Rawa and Al-Qa’im, in the direction of Nineveh and Salahuddin, were able to find a former hospital used by Daesh terrorist groups in the area of​​ Tamasha, as well as a room, a caravan, and a tunnel in the Al-Dabashi area, and a group of tunnels around Umm Al-Wahash,” adding, “The security forces destroyed an old base used by members of Daesh, arrested 4 suspects, and seized two motorcycles and a rifle” in the Ashwa region. ​​ [Sumaria] ​​ 

 

The commander of the western Anbar Popular Mobilization Forces, Qassem Musleh, confirmed on Monday the discovery of a Daesh training camp and announced a pre-emptive sweep of the western Anbar desert. He added that his forces have been able to clear vast areas of the desert, thanks to a high degree of coordination between the security services and the Popular Mobilization Forces.​​ [PressIraq]

 

Al-Qa’im

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that National Security Service units captured 2 members of Al-Nujaba’ Movement who had kidnapped a money exchange office owner in Al-Qa’im and demanded $30,000 ransom from his family. The source says the criminals had forged an arrest warrant in order to arrest the man.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Iraqi Army 8th​​ division units found large amounts of ammonia in a house that had been used by Daesh as an explosives factory in Hsaiba. ​​ 

An intelligence unit report confirmed that “Military Intelligence detachments in the 8th division seized more than 13,800 liters of ammonia nitrate packed in 230 60-liter barrels,”​​ which had been left behind by Daesh. ​​ These materials are considered essential in the manufacture of IEDs. ​​ The materials have been dealt with in accordance with current field conditions.”​​ [IraqPress]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that PMF units killed 6 Daesh terrorists and arrested 3 others in a search alongside the road between Baiji and Haditha. The units found trailers buried underground, used by Daesh as hideouts. Two PMF fighters were killed in the operation.​​ 

 

Tikrit

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Iraqi Army 7th​​ division units captured 3 Daesh terrorists at a checkpoint south of Tikrit.​​ 

 

A spokesman for the Center for Security Information announced the arrest of 4 “terrorists” in Salahuddin and Ninewa. ​​ A statement said that military intelligence detachments had arrested 3 terrorists at the southern entrance to Tikrit, while another suspect had been arrested in the Qayara area south of Mosul.[Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Samarra

Monday, an IFP source reported that​​ two​​ policemen were killed, and others wounded in a Daesh suicide attack on the Dalaf Police Station, south of Al-Ishaqi. [Sumaria]​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Security units in the Samarra District discovered several mortars and hand grenades that were planted as traps. Detachments​​ from​​ the regiment worked with engineering teams to disarm them. ​​ [IraqPress]

 

DIYALA

The Diyala Province Police Command revealed on Monday that they had foiled 20 terrorist and criminal plots during the first quarter of 2018, some of which had targeted officials and civilians.”The Diyala Police succeeded in thwarting 20 terrorist and criminal plots during the first quarter of 2018, some of which were at the point of being carried out in different areas of the province, including Baquba,” Diyala Police spokesman Colonel​​ Ghalib​​ Al-Atiyah said. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Daesh said its snipers killed an Emergency Police​​ officer​​ south of Buhriz, on Friday. [ICDNApr14]

 

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

On Monday, the Popular Mobilization Forces announced that they had killed 7 Daesh members, including a leader of the group, in​​ central​​ Diyala. ​​ PMF media announced in a statement, “Intelligence units of the 110th​​ Brigade of the PMF ambushed a car carrying 7 Daesh members with an IED, in the area of ​​Imam Wais, northeast of Muqdadiya, which exploded as they passed by, killing them all.” ​​ PMF intelligence added that operations would continue until the last Daesh member was eliminated. ​​ [Forat]

 

Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)

Daesh said it killed a PMF fighter in an ambush near the Iranian border, on Friday.​​ 

 

KIRKUK

A car bomb​​ that​​ exploded near the convoy of a candidate​​ of​​ the Iraqi Turkmen Front, Ammar Hudayat​​ Kahih, killed one and wounded nine, among whom were convoy members protecting the candidate, and his driver. ​​ An unnamed source added that ambulances transferred the body of the slain man to the forensic medicine department, while the wounded were brought to the nearest hospital. ​​ [Buratha]

Daesh said on Sunday it wounded a Turkmen Front official and three of his associates by detonating an IED on their convoy in the Khadra​​ neighborhood​​ in Kirkuk​​ city.​​ [ICDNApr15]

 

Kirkuk/Dibis

The Commander of Special Operations for law enforcement, Major General Maan al-Saadi, announced on Monday the arrest of one of the “most dangerous criminals” involved in robberies in​​ Kirkuk,​​ also announcing​​ the seizure of a cache of more than 100 weapons. ​​ “A criminal gang tried yesterday to rob a house in the​​ Rahimah​​ neighborhood, but the owner of the house confronted them and killed one of the thieves. Three criminals dressed in counterterrorism uniforms fled​​ . . . .​​ One was arrested and the other two criminals are still wanted. ​​​​ He added that intelligence​​ they​​ received led police to raid a gang in the vicinity of the Kirkuk Castle, where they found more than 100 weapons of different types. ​​ Three implicated suspects were arrested and are now under investigation. ​​ [Buratha]

 

Monday, a security source reported that clashes with heavy weapons broke​​ out between unidentified gunmen and the​​ Iraqi Federal Police (IFP)​​ on the Baghdad-Kirkuk road.​​ [Shafaaq]

 

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that hundreds of IFP and PMF members started a search in the Riyadh area. The source says the units killed 6 Daesh terrorists and found 2 tunnels.​​ 

 

Forces of the Ali Akbar Brigade of the PMF targeted a group of Daesh terrorist gangs around Riyadh. ​​ Major General Ahmed Al-Menshawi​​ issued​​ a statement saying, “The enemy took casualties, while some of them fled,” and added that the Brigade was continuing operations. ​​ [Buratha]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that a woman was killed and her husband and children seriously wounded when an IED exploded on an ambulance on the road between Abbasi and Hawija. The source said the family was being taken to the hospital after a food poisoning incident.​​ The source said Daesh had executed a son of this family in 2015 after accusing him of cooperating with the government.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that 30 Daesh terrorists attacked PMF units in Mu’tasem subdistrict, killing four fighters. The source also said a civilian was killed when a Daesh mortar shell fell on his house. The source said IFP units arrived in the area to support the PMFs.​​ 

 

Daesh said it blew up the house of a PMF fighter in Al-Rummana village, east of Hawija, on Sunday.​​ [ICDNApr16]

NINEWA

Monday,​​ Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahiya Rasoul announced that​​ the Ninewa Ops Command’s 15th​​ Division destroyed 9 Daesh tunnels, a guesthouse, and 5 depots containing 143 IEDs during search operations.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Mosul

East Mosul

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Iraqi Army 20th​​ division EOD units blew up, under control, a vehicle bomb that was parked near the fourth bridge in Hay Al-Baath, in east Mosul. The source said the units captured the vehicle’s driver after getting information from citizens in the area.​​ 

Security forces safely carried out a controlled detonation of a car bomb in Mosul, near a bridge in the southeast of the city, according to a police source.[Sumaria]​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Ninewa Police units arrested a Daesh member and his son in Hay Al-Saheroun, in east Mosul, and confiscated a silenced gun.​​ 

 

North Mosul

Daesh said it destroyed a PMF SUV with an IED on the road between Badoush and central Mosul on Sunday, killing all the fighters inside.​​ [ICDNApr16]

 

West Mosul

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Mosul Police found a Daesh leftover vehicle rigging and IED factory in Al-Mosul Al-Jadida​​ (New Mosul)​​ in west Mosul and confiscated large quantities of explosives.​​ 

The Ministry of the Interior announced the discovery of a laboratory for the manufacture of IEDs in west Mosul. ​​ Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Mann said in a statement, “The Al-Hadba’ police directorate found a laboratory to make IEDs, left behind by Daesh gangs in a garage in the New Mosul area.” The laboratory contained 159 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, 7 anti-armor mines, 60 missile warhead pieces, 3 IEDs, and an 11m rocket launcher. [Buratha]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that two tribal PMF fighters were killed by silenced weapons in their house in Hay Al-Abar, in west Mosul. The source said this was the first attack of its kind in this area since the liberation of Mosul. The source also said security units arrested 11 suspects in the area,​​ most of whom are from Baaj.​​ 

Daesh said on Monday it killed two PMF fighters in their house in Hay Al-Abar. Daesh published photos of the IDs of the two fighters.​​ [ICDNApr16]

 

The teams of the​​ PMF​​ Directorate of Field Engineering prepared 50 oxygen containers for detonation west of Mosul, in preparation for displaced people to return to their homes, according to a PMF media statement. [Forat]

 

Police in Ninewa province found a 3-story tunnel used by Daesh members during a search operation, detonated 4 explosive devices, and arrested 22 wanted persons in Tamarat village to the west of the city of Mosul, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Saad Maan. ​​ [IraqPress]​​ [Mawazin]​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Mosul subdistrict

An Associated Press article reports that local authorities found over 1,000 bodies buried in a “Daeshi” mass grave southwest of Mosul city. ​​ Most of the bodies appear to belong to militants killed by airstrikes or artillery shelling, but there are also bodies of women and young children.​​ 

Nine months after the mass destruction of Mosul, Iraqi authorities lack the resources to properly clear the city, even though most of the rubble removal costs are funded by the UNDP. The County Council office told the AP that cleaning the area was the responsibility of Civil Defense. Civil Defense said that the responsibility for the removal of bodies falls to Forensic Medicine. The Director of Forensic Medicine declined to comment. ​​ “The failure to clean the area of ​​bodies and IEDs is preventing residents from returning to contribute to reconstruction, as others have done in other areas,” said Fares Abdul Razzaq, director of the Al-Midan district. ​​ 

The head of the Nineveh Provincial Council, Bashar Al-Kiki, told the AP that the Directorate of the Municipality has no resources for cleaning. He pointed out that the bodies have so far been raised by civilian volunteers and then transferred to the city’s Forensic Medicine department, in a desert valley near the village of Sihaji, southwest of Mosul city in the Mosul subdistrict. ​​ The local official estimated there were about 1,000 bodies buried in the mass grave. ​​ A group of young civilian volunteers is still working on recovering bodies.​​ [SotIraq]

 

Qayara

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Iraqi Army 20th​​ division units captured a Daesh terrorist in the Qayara area.​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

Major General Najem Jubouri, Ninewa Operations Commander, announced the start of operations to clear border areas, following the killing of 22 Daesh members. Jubouri said security forces from the Command and units of the 15th​​ division began clearing border areas in west Ninewa and checking names of residents. He said “Border security forces were able to kill 22 Daesh members after receiving information they had infiltrated the western border of Mosul.” [Buratha]​​ 

 

A spokesman for the Center for Security Information reported on Monday that 5 tunnels had been destroyed and two caches of equipment discovered. ​​ The operation was part of a search including the areas of Kasik (about 30 miles northwest of Mosul city) – Strategic Line – South Muhalabiya (Mosul subdistrict) – Tal Awad – South Airport – Tal Afar – Tal Ghazal – Al-Shabait – Tal Afar​​ junction. ​​ The equipment found included 130 packages of different types, which were detonated, as well as 15 explosive devices and 141 mortar shells. ​​ [PressIraq] [Ghad]

 

Baaj

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that a Daesh suicide terrorist, dressed as a PMF fighter, attacked PMF units near Baaj with an explosives vest, killing four fighters including a commander, and wounding six others.​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

The PKK announced on Monday that 16 Turkish soldiers were killed and wounded in northern Erbil during 3 operations​​ against​​ Turkish military positions. ​​ The armed wing of the PKK said in a press statement, “Our forces attacked the positions of the Turkish Army in the area of​​ Lilkan in the Bradost​​ (Sidekan)​​ border region​​ in​​ northern​​ Erbil. . . .​​ Our forces carried out 3 separate operations in the same area,” adding that the operations resulted in the deaths of 14 soldiers, the wounding of 2 others, and the destruction of an army site. ​​ [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We see an alarming trend in recent stories about the Turkish Army and PKK in northern Iraqi Kurdistan. The pattern in the past was that Turkish units would cross the border to attack PKK camps on the Iraq side of the border. More often, they would send planes to bomb PKK locations. This was retaliation for PKK attacks from the camps into southeastern Turkey that kill Turkish soldiers and police. Turkey escalated this backandforth deadly game by stationing​​ small troop units​​ in northern​​ Iraqi Kurdistan. The PKK is now attacking these units.​​ 

It all amounts to a broadening of the civil war between Turkey and the PKK, and it parallels the Turkish threats to invade Sinjar because of the presence of PKK units there (who came to help the Yazidis), and the invasion of the Kurdish areas of northern Syria to attack the YPG militias who had taken these areas from Daesh, and whom the Turks choose to regard as directly part of the PKK. One escalation begets another. The failure to confront Erdogan over the Afrin invasion will have further bad consequences until that stance is changed. In the end, we should consider how to get Erdogan and the PKK into some kind of negotiation, in the interests of de-escalation. That may seem like a long shot, but people are dying every day​​ because no one is trying seriously to do anything about it.

 

A meeting of senior officials of the KRG and representatives of the Coalition was held today in Erbil. Meanwhile, the​​ KRG​​ Peshmerga Ministry​​ stated​​ on Monday that​​ since​​ Iraqi forces took control of Kirkuk and “disputed” areas after the October 16, 2017 referendum on Kurdish independence and the security situation has deteriorated significantly since then. ​​ [BasNews]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Monday, Hawar reported that the with the participation of over 300 Village Guards and 2500 Turkish soldiers, the Turkish Army launched a large-scale military offensive against the PKK in​​ the​​ Basta and Mount Judi areas​​ in Turkey’s southeastern Şırnak Province.​​ [Hawar]​​ 

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Monday, Frances’ President Emmanuel Macron said he had convinced President​​ Trump​​ to keep a US presence​​ in Syria​​ there for “the long term,”​​ and launch​​ the​​ airstrikes​​ conducted​​ as punishment for the chemical weapons attack in Douma. “Ten days ago President Trump wanted the United States of America to withdraw from Syria. We convinced him to remain,” Mr.​​ Macron said during a two-hour grilling on French television. “I assure you, we have convinced him that it is necessary to stay for the long-term,” he added. [CNN]

 

Sunday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that the US mission in Syria has not changed, reiterating that the US President Donald Trump wants American troops home “as quickly as possible.” “The US mission has not changed – the President has been clear that he wants US forces to come home as quickly as possible,” Ms Sanders said in a statement. “We are determined to completely crush Daesh and create the conditions that will prevent its return. In addition we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region,” Ms Sanders added. [Qasioun] [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Ms. Sanders statement notwithstanding, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley had said even before Macron’s statement that Trump was committed to staying involved in Syria​​ until Daesh is fully defeated, the chemical threat is over, and a system is developed for neutralizing Iran’s military activities in Syria.​​ This is another example of mixed messages from the Trump Administration, but the general impression​​ given​​ after the airstrikes on chemical facilities was that a longer US commitment would likely be one result of the latest confrontation.​​ Certainly, the active role played by Great Britain and France in the airstrikes shows a willingness to take on responsibility for dealing with the Syria crisis, as does the continuing work of the Coalition air force to which they and others are contributing.

 

In an interview with CBS on Monday,​​ however,​​ Haley said that “the US mission in Syria was never aiming for Al-Assad’s departure, but it was aiming for preventing war and sending a message.” “The Assad regime doesn’t deserve to engage in talks with the US. The US will not hold talks with the Assad regime, but will participate in the UN-led Geneva talks,” she added. She also said that Washington will announce on Monday further economic sanctions on Russia and companies​​ “dealing with equipment related to Assad and any chemical weapons use.” [Qasioun]

 

Monday, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, said that the strikes by Washington, Paris and London “are not an attempt to change the tide of war in Syria or to change the regime.” “But it was a way to show that the world has been done with chemical attacks,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, the war in Syria will go on in its horrible, miserable way,” he added. [Qasioun]

 

Monday, EU foreign ministers threatened new sanctions against Syria over its alleged chemical attacks, but held off from joining expected new punitive U.S. measures against Russia. EU foreign ministers discussed steps to deepen the isolation of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. “The European Union will continue to consider further restrictive measures against Syria as long as the repression continues,”​​ the​​ 28 foreign ministers said in a​​ joint​​ statement after their talks in Luxembourg, referring to economic sanctions. [Qasioun]

Monday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Germany and France are working on reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis. “Germany and France are pushing for a new international effort to achieve a lasting ceasefire in Syria,” he said, criticizing Russia for repeatedly​​ blocking U.N. Security Council action on the war. “Berlin will leverage its bilateral ties with Moscow to ensure Russia’s adoption of a constructive stance on the issue,” he added. “Whether we like it or not, without Russia, the political process will not succeed,” Maas said. “There will be a solution involving everyone who has influence on the region,” he continues. “Nobody can imagine someone who uses chemical weapons against his own people to be part of this solution,” he added. [Dorar]

 

In a statement released on Monday, the Kremlin criticized the US for its recent airstrikes on Syria, saying that Russia is “not prepared” now to engage in talks with the United States. According to the statement, Russia considers the recent Western strikes on Syria as a violation of international law and Syria’s sovereignty. Concerning the US sanctions, the statement said that Russia is convinced that this is “an undisguised attempt to engage in unfair competition, hiding behind some other considerations, attempting to squeeze out competitors, in this case, Russian companies, from international markets.” [EnabBaladi]

 

East Ghouta

In a statement released on Monday, the UK’s delegation to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)​​ accused Russia and the Syrian government of denying them access to Douma, saying that they “arrived in Damascus last Saturday, but Russia and Syria haven’t yet allowed them to enter Douma.” [Dorar]

 

Monday, Russia announced that the​​ OPCW​​ experts will enter Douma on Wednesday.​​ “Tomorrow (Tuesday) the UN security services will test the routes. And on Wednesday is when we plan the arrival of the OPCW experts in Douma,” a senior Russian official,​​ Igor Kirilov,​​ said at a press​​ conference in the Russian embassy at The Hague, explaining that the roads were still being cleared of mines.​​ [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It has been suggested elsewhere that the chemical effects of the attacks on Douma would fade over the next few days, making them less detectable, which suggests an alternative reason for the Russian-imposed delay. Russia, after all, claims that the allegations against the Syrian regime are false. Perhaps they lack confidence in their own assurances that the Syrian government has been falsely accused.

 

Monday, the US envoy to the OPCW, Kenneth D. Ward, said he was concerned that “Russia may have tampered with evidence at the site of the Douma attack​​ with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission to conduct an effective investigation. This raises serious questions about the ability of the (team) to do its job.” All members must condemn Syria, following Douma’s terrorist chemical attack,” Ward added. [Qasioun]

 

Northwest​​ (No reports)

 

Northeast​​ 

Raqqa

Raqqa city​​ & district

Monday, Hawar reported that a 7-year-old girl was killed, and 15 others wounded in an IED explosion in​​ the​​ Al-Jazra​​ neighborhood in Raqqa city. [Hawar]

 

Central and West​​ 

Aleppo/Idlib

Sunday, according to local sources, Syria Now reported that in response to statements by Turkish officials about Ankara’s intention to launch a military operation in Idlib, Tahrir Al-Sham​​ capturing​​ Khan Sheikhoun​​ (site of the first US airstrikes against chemical weapons use)​​ as well as several villages in Maarat Al-Numan in southern Idlib, following fierce clashes with the Turkey-allied Syria Liberation Front. [SyriaNow]

 

Monday,​​ Enab Baladi​​ reported that the Syria Liberation Front captured a​​ militia unit​​ from the Turkestan Islamic Party​​ (China)​​ during the ongoing battles against Tahrir Al-Sham in Jamiyat Al-Sadiya in western Aleppo. [EnabBaladi]

 

Monday, according to local sources,​​ Enab Baladi​​ reported that the “FSA Special Forces’ 9th​​ Brigade” joined the Syria Liberation Front in its ongoing battles against Tahrir Al-Sham in different locations in rural western Aleppo, after it received major military reinforcements from the “Euphrates Shield” area. [EnabBaladi]

 

Hama

Monday, the pro-Syrian government​​ Al-Watan​​ newspaper​​ reported that the Syrian forces have launched a large-scale operation against Tahrir Al-Sham and its allies in​​ Hama’s​​ rural Salamiyah District, 33 km (21 miles) southeast of Hama and 45 km (28 miles) northeast of Homs. The Syrian forces reportedly captured Al-Hamrat village in northeastern Homs, following fierce clashes with Tahrir Al-Sham and its allies.​​ [Hawar]

 

Homs

Monday, Qasioun reported that Syrian anti-government militias launched an attack on the Syrian forces’ positions in Al-Jin Mountain in rural northern Homs, captured a military​​ position,​​ and killed several members of the Syrian forces in it. [Qasioun] [ZamanAlWasl]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal​​ District

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that Daesh publicly executed three people from the Sha’itat tribe in Hajin after accusing them of communicating with the government. ​​ 

 

Monday, Qasioun reported that Daesh conducted an attack on the Syrian forces’ positions in the vicinity of Al-Sukkariya village north of Albu Kamal. Daesh published photos of destroying a Syrian forces’ military position on the outskirts of Al-Sukkariya village. [Qasioun]

Daesh said on Monday it targeted Syrian Army positions in Al-Sukkariya village with 4 mortars. [ICDNApr16]

It also said it targeted a Syrian Army position in the village with an SPG9 rocket. Daesh published photos of the attack. [ICDNApr16]

 

Monday, SOHR reported that internal fighting is still ongoing between Daesh and a splinter group of about 50 dissident Daesh members, mostly Tunisians, in the Al-Qala’a area between Hajin and Al-Sha’afa. Daesh reportedly killed 6 of the splinter group, and arrested others. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh published on Saturday photos of targeting a Syrian Army military position in Al-Ghabra village with an SPG9 rocket. [ICDNApr14]​​ 

Daesh said on Saturday it targeted a Syrian Army military position near Albu Kamal with an SPG9 rocket. It also said it targeted Syrian Army positions near the city with 6 mortars. [ICDNApr14]

Daesh said on Saturday it targeted 3 Syrian Army positions in Al-Ashayer village, north of Albu Kamal, with SPG9 rockets. Daesh published photos of 2 of the attacks. [ICDNApr14]

Daesh said on Sunday it targeted a Syrian Army position in Al-Ashayer with an SPG9 rocket.​​ [ICDNApr15]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Monday, Qasioun reported that the Syrian government has deployed over 6,000​​ troops​​ on the outskirts of the Daesh-held Al-Yarmouk Camp, south of Damascus, in preparation for storming it. New military reinforcements have reportedly been sent to the area. [Qasioun]

 

Monday, SOHR reported that violent clashes broke out between the Syrian forces and anti-government militias in Al-Mahsa area in East Qalamoun, accompanied by mutual shelling, following the latter’s attack on the Syrian forces’ positions in the area, with confirmed reports of casualties on both sides. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh said its snipers hit a Syrian soldier in Hay Al-Tadhamun in south Damascus, on Sunday. [ICDNApr16]

 

Daesh said its snipers hit an opposition fighter in the Yelda area, on Sunday. [ICDNApr16]

 

Daraa/Quneitra

In a letter sent by the US Embassy in Amman to the “Southern Front,”​​ Al-Sharq Al-Awsat​​ newspaper reported on Monday that the US embassy in Amman warned the​​ militias of the​​ “Southern Front,” the key anti-government alliance in southern Syria, that taking any military action against the Syrian forces may undermine the U.S.-Russian brokered de-escalation zone agreement. According to​​ Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, the embassy asserted that the anti-government factions in the Southern Front should​​ avoid​​ providing​​ the Syrian government with any pretext to end the ceasefire agreement. “As a guarantor of the de-escalation agreement, we do not want to see the regime taking your territory in the south. We want to preserve your right to demand a state of freedom and justice, so we ask you to take full care not to g