April 20, 2018
IHEC warns it will nullify votes compromised by vote tampering. [..]
Iraq resumes reparations payments to Kuwait. [..]
Mass grave of executed Daesh fighters found in Old Mosul. [..]
Army kills 18 Daesh who attacked Tal Afar-Syria border. [..]
State Dept. accuses Russia, Syria of trying to destroy evidence of Douma chemical attack. [..]
Lavrov suggests Russia will install its missile defense system for Syria in response to US strikes; influential Israeli expert suggests Israel would immediately destroy it. [..]
Syria– Kurdish political spokesman says Trump’s plan to insert Arab forces into Syria would give Erdogan an excuse to keep occupying Afrin. [..]
Tahrir Al-Sham attacks Syrian troops in northern Latakia. [..]
SOHR reports 28 Daesh killed by Coalition airstrike on Hajin, Albu Kamal [..]
Coalition hits Daesh in Albu Kamal with 23 airstrikes in 1 week. [..]
Daesh deal with Syria to evacuate Yarmouk refugee camp is back on, after heavy Syrian & Russian airstrikes. [..]
Deal reached for opposition militias to evacuate West Ghouta for Idlib, Syrian Desert. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) threatened to nullify the votes of any political alliance, party, or candidate trying to tamper with polling place vote counts, emphasizing that they would punish any manipulator who tried to subvert the people’s ability to choose their own representatives. The Board of Commissioners issued a statement saying that this included any proven attempt to tamper with electronic vote-counting devices, and that legal action would be taken in addition to nullifying votes from the polling place in question.[Rudaw]
Muqtada Al-Sadr urged young people on Friday to turn out in the upcoming election. Al-Sadr wrote in an article, titled “Future Generations and The Future of Generations,” that “There isn’t a basis here for me or my family, but most of all, I want to say that I am concerned for the future of Iraq and the future of the current generations, particularly our children and young people who grew up in wars, fighting, sectarian conflict, etc. I call upon the generation coming of age, with great hopes and liberal minds, who dislike violence and don’t want to see Iraq become another Kandahar or Chicago. . . . We don’t want them to have an era like the one we lived through; we want them to have a future that they themselves can plan and build.” [Rudaw]
On Friday, a CoR member from the National Alliance accused the intelligence services of other Middle East countries of using cyber warfare in Iraq, which he says violates “Iraqi honor.” Ali Al-Badiri said that foreign “electronic armies” were fabricating videotapes of candidates in the upcoming elections, and criticized the Ministry of Communications for its weak response to this “invasion.” He added that seats in the Council of Representatives must be won fairly, and that “Iraqi honor” was a “red line” that could not be crossed. [Sumaria]
PM Haider Al-Abadi said on Friday that one enemy in the reconstruction campaign is corruption, saying that corrupt people were continuing to frighten people who had already become frightened. Al-Abadi issued this statement at a tribal meeting in Maysan province, in which he also said, “We will continue to hunt down and destroy Daesh,” pointing to the airstrike the day before yesterday on Daesh fighters in Syria. [Sumaria]
The Coalition says that between April 13 and April 19 it conducted 7 airstrikes on Daesh targets in Iraq, in or near Al-Qa’im (3), Ain Al-Assad base (1), Hawija (1), Qayara (1), and Tal Afar (1)). [InherentResolve]
Friday, Qasioun quoted Security Media Center spokesman Gen. Yahya Rasul as saying that Iraq is going to conduct more airstrikes on the Daesh-held sites in Syria in the coming days. He added that those airstrikes will continue as long as Daesh still exists on the border with Iraq, which is considered as a threat to Iraq’s internal security. [Qasioun]
The British Ambassador to Iraq, John Wilks, said on Thursday that the issue of Kirkuk Province will be on the list of issues to be discussed by Erbil and Baghdad after the May elections. “We must prevent hate, problems, and violence, and recognize the situation in the disputed areas after their recapture from Daesh,” Wilks said in a statement to reporters, adding, “It is necessary to have a collective effort in those areas, and for everyone to be able to participate in free and safe elections.” [SotIraq]
In a statement released on Friday, the United Nations said that Iraq has resumed paying Kuwait compensation for the destruction of Kuwaiti oil fields and facilities during the 1990-91 Gulf War. Since 2014, payments have been suspended because of security and budgetary problems caused by Iraq’s fight against Daesh. “The United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) today made available $90 million to the Government of the State of Kuwait,” the U.N said. “With today’s payment, the Commission has paid out $47.9 billion, leaving approximately $4.5 billion remaining to be paid to the only outstanding claim.” According to the UN body, payouts will be made quarterly as funds become available. If payments are made on schedule, the debt should be repaid by 2021. Kuwait and Iraq agreed last year that payments would gradually increase from 0.5 percent of Iraqi oil proceeds in 2018 to 1.5 percent in 2019 and 3 percent in both 2020 and 2021. [Dijlah]
BAGHDAD (No reports)
A DaeshDaily source says units of the PMF Ali Al-Akbar Brigade stopped a Daesh attack on the Akashat Compound, south of Al-Qa’im, killing 3 terrorists. The source says 20 terrorists in pickup vehicles attacked the compound but were forced to flee.
A DaeshDaily source says Salahuddin Operations Command units found a Daesh weapons and explosives cache in the Makhoul Mountains area.
Friday, the PMF Media Center announced that the PMF 23rd Brigade dismantled 7 IEDs during a search operation in the Mtaibija area along the Diyala border. [Sumaria]
Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)
The Chairman of the Muqdadiya District Council, Adnan Al-Tamimi, said that Coalition warplanes shelled a Daesh hideout in Al-Zor Basin north of Muqdadiya. An Iraqi soldier was killed and another wounded in an IED explosion near a Daesh rest house in Al-Zor Basin. [Sumaria]
The Chairman of the Diyala PC Security Committee, Sadiq Al-Husseini, said on Friday that a Daesh leader, whom he called the “right hand” of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in the province, had been killed. Al-Husseini said that the bombing of Daesh locations in Al-Zor Basin had killed two Daesh fighters, one of whom was the “right hand” of Al-Baghdadi, according to preliminary information. [Sumaria]
Daesh says it killed an Iraqi Army soldier and wounded three others, including an officer, with an IED in the orchards of Isaiwid village. [ICDNApr20]
Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)
Sadiq Al-Husseini, the head of the Diyala Security Committee, said on Friday that what he called the “Diyala security border” with neighboring provinces was complete. Al-Husseini said that joint operations between Diyala and the neighboring provinces had formed a High Committee under the directive of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (the Prime Minister) in order to locate any gaps that would threaten civilians’ security. [Sumaria]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
Friday, Hawar quoted a Tribal PMF official as saying that Daesh conducted a suicide attack against a PMF security checkpoint in the Al-Zab area on Thursday. [Hawar]
A DaeshDaily source says the PMF 56th brigade (Badr) killed 2 Daesh suicide terrorists in Sadouniya village, in Riyadh subdistrict. The terrorists were in Iraqi military uniforms. One was Iraqi from Tal Afar; the other was unidentified.
Friday, The Ninewa Police Chief, Brigadier General Hamad Al-Jubouri, said that 3 Daesh members were arrested during a surprise raid in East Mosul. [Xendan]
Center for Security Information spokesman, General Yahya Rasul, said on Friday that various quantities of weapons and explosives used by Daesh had been found. Rasul said in a statement, “A unit from Ninewa Ops Command found 7 explosives belts, 3 IEDs, 24 grenades, a damaged drone, and 15 flash bangs in the area of Al-Faisaliya,” on the east side of the river. He added that a different unit had found 4 gaps in the embankment in the village of Asriya, and carried out a controlled detonation of 10 mortar shells. [Rudaw]
Al-Etejah Press quoted a security source as saying that security forces found a mass grave in Old Mosul containing the remains of over 60 bodies of Daesh fighters and leaders who were executed by their Daesh commanders after they fled battles with the Iraqi Army. [Etejah]
A DaeshDaily source says volunteer teams working with Civil Defense units retrieved 30 bodies in the Al-Farouq neighborhood and buried them in Wadi Okab cemetery in far western Mosul.
A DaeshDaily source says the Ninewa Police found 32 rockets in the Al-Shifa’ neighborhood in west Mosul.
Friday, the Iraqi MoD announced that the Ninewa 4th Police Emergency Regiment found 23 homemade rockets left behind by Daesh in Al-Shifa’. [Sumaria] This is probably the same story as above despite the number discrepancy.
Friday, the Center for Security Information announced the discovery of 30 explosives belts, several IEDs, and the body of a suicide bomber during a security inspection just southwest of the city. The Center said the search was carried out by the Army 20th division in the Atshana area. They also found 7 tunnels, which were destroyed. [Sumaria]
Daesh says it killed or wounded IFP members in clashes in Al-Khadra village, in Makhmur’s Qaraj (Arab) subdistrict. [ICDNApr20]
A DaeshDaily source says armed men in a pickup truck wearing military uniforms shot at the oil pipe between the Qayara Refinery and Hammam Al-Alil. The source says the men were shouting “Our oil is being stolen, we want our share.” Maintenance units from the refinery arrived later and fixed the pipe.
Military sources said on Friday that Daesh had been repelled and 18 of their fighters killed on the Iraq-Syria border. Major Ali Al-Araji of the Army 15th Division said, “Iraqi forces repulsed a violent attack that Daesh made on the Iraqi-Syrian border near the Rabi’a area, and were able to kill the attackers and seize their weapons.” Al-Araji added that the same forces had spread out along the border for fear of Daesh fighters sneaking into districts in northwest Ninewa, and that they had subsequently launched a search operation in that area to arrest Daesh affiliates. [BasNews]
Friday, a security source said that a 13 year old Yazidi girl was freed after her relatives paid a ransom of $18,000 to the Daesh members who kidnapped her. According to the same source, Daesh kidnapped her as well as her family over three years ago during its attack on Sinjar District. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. It is encouraging to see any Yazidi returning home, but the pattern of paying off terrorists to do it is troubling. Not explained in these stories is whether the money is going to the individual terrorists or through them to the Daesh organization, which of course could use it to kill and kidnap other people.
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
Friday, Anadolu quoted Turkish security sources as saying that 3 Daesh suspects were arrested during 4 security operations in Turkey’s southeastern Adıyaman Province, north of Gazientep. [Anadolu]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
Thursday, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, said that the U.S. has “credible information” that Russia and the Syrian government are trying to eliminate any trace of sarin or chlorine gases at the sites of Douma’s chemical attack. “We have credible information that indicates that Russian officials are working with the Syrian regime to deny and delay these inspectors from gaining access to Douma,” she said. “We believe it is an effort to conduct their own staged investigations. Russian officials have worked with the Syrian regime, we believe, to sanitize the locations of those suspected attacks and remove incriminating evidence of chemical weapons use,” she added. In addition to destroying evidence, said Nauert, Russia and Syria are pressuring witnesses to change their stories. “We have also watched as some people have seemingly been pressured by the government to change their stories about what actually occurred that night. . . . We have reports from credible people on the ground who have indicated that they have been pressured by both Russia and Syria to change their stories,” she added. [Qasioun]
Friday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, said that the United Nations asks to be given access to the Syria chemical attack sites. Al-Hussein said if the Syrian government “wants us to believe its narrative, they should have no problem allowing us in.” “By not allowing us in, then I don’t believe what it is that they are saying,” he added. “We believe that if the evidence suggests culpability, the OPCW should be capable and [impartial] enough to make that decision,” he said. [ZamanAlwasl]
Friday, Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that based on the available data, the Syrian government has used chemical weapons at least four times since 2014, according to the German Der Tagesspiegel newspaper. “The German government also has unconfirmed indications that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in three other cases,” it added. [Anadolu]
Missile defense system
Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the latest US missile strikes against Syria have removed any moral obligation for Moscow not to deliver advanced S-300 missile defense systems to Syria so it can defend itself in the face of such acts of “aggression.” “We promised not to do it around a decade ago at the request of our partners, and we took into consideration their argument that this would destabilize the situation, despite this [S-300] being a purely defensive system,” he said. “We heeded their call. But now we have no such moral obligation,” the top Russian diplomat added. [France24]
DaeshDaily comment. We suggest that the appropriate US response is that when this system is installed, we are committed to destroying it. However, based on the story below, we won’t even have to bother.
In a report published on Friday, according to Bloomberg, the Lavrov announcement has raised fears in Israel, which has conducted airstrikes against various targets in Syria. “Israeli analysts and former defense officials say there’s only one likely response from Israel if the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems are delivered to Syria: An immediate attempt to blow them up,” the report said. According to former Israeli military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, the deployment of S-300 in Syria has been a concern for Israel in the past two decades and “at the end of the day, it will happen.” Yadlin told Bloomberg it was inevitable that the S-300 missile system would be deployed in Syria and then targeted by Israel. “If I know the air force well, we have already made proper plans to deal with this threat. After you remove the threat, which is basically what will be done, we’re back to square one,” he said. [Dorar]
Friday, Jordan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman, Mohammed Al-Kayed, said that preserving the “de-escalation” zone in southern Syria is a priority for Jordan. Al-Kayed stressed that de-escalation zone in southern Syria brought an end to most of the bloodshed there. He added that the zone is also a move towards a blanket ceasefire in Syrian territory, which preserves Syria’s unity. [Qasioun]
Proposal for Arab troops
Arab forces led by Saudi Arabia that enter northern Syria would apparently face Kurdish political opposition. The Secretary of the Communist Party of Kurdistan (Syria), Najm Ed-Din Omar, said that “Sending Arab troops will give Turkey a pretext to legitimize entering its troops into Afrin and other parts of Syria. . . . We need UN peacekeepers, or a no-fly zone over Syrian Kurdistan and the east Euphrates so that our people can live in peace; if Arab forces come, the Turkish regime will say that it is also in Afrin, occupying 365 villages and 7 cities and towns in Afrin, and that it is the same type of ‘Arab force.’” [Rudaw]
Northwest (No repots)
A DaeshDaily source says several Daesh terrorists, including Egyptian and Saudi explosives experts and an Iraqi commander, were killed in an airstrike on a house used by Daesh as a vehicle bomb-rigging factory near Dashisha, by the Iraqi border.
Raqqa (No reports)
Central and West
Friday, SOHR reported that fierce clashes are still ongoing between the Syrian forces and Tahrir Al-Sham in Salim and Al-Hamrat in rural northern Homs, following a Syrian forces’ attempt to infiltrate the opposition-held area. Casualties are reported on both sides. [SyriaHR]
Friday, Qasioun reported that 12 members of the Syrian forces were killed, and 9 others wounded in a Tahrir Al-Sham attack on their positions in Tal Rasho in the vicinity if Al-Tufahiya Mountain in northern Latakia. [Qasioun]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Friday, Qasioun reported that Daesh launched a surprise attack on the Syrian forces in the vicinity of Al-Duwair village in Ashara subdistrict in Mayadin. Meanwhile, the SDF heavily targeted Daesh in Hajin, in Albu Kamal, with artillery and rocket bombardments. [Qasioun]
Albu Kamal District
Friday, SOHR reported that 28 Daesh members, including 7 leaders, were killed by a Coalition airstrike as they were meeting in a house in Hajin last Tuesday. [SyriaHR]
The Coalition says that between April 13 and April 19, it conducted 23 airstrikes on Daesh targets in Syria—21 in Albu Kamal and 2 in or near Shaddadi. [InherentResolve]
A DaeshDaily source says the earlier Iraqi Air Force airstrike on Hajin targeted a Daesh weapons and explosives factory and killed several Daesh explosives experts, including an Iraqi.
Friday, SOHR reported that due to the intensified Syrian forces’ artillery and rocket shelling on Al-Tadhamun neighborhood in Damascus and the Yarmouk Camp, Daesh announced that it “reaccepts” the original evacuation agreement reached with Russia and the Syrian government. [SyriaHR]
Daesh says more than 100 Russian and Syrian airstrikes have targeted Yarmouk Camp, Hay Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Hay Al-Tadhamun, and Hay Al-Qadam since Thursday. Daesh issues a video of the results of the airstrikes. [ICDNApr20]
Daesh says that after heavy shelling and bombing, Syrian Army units attacked Hay Al-Tadhamun in south Damascus city. It says it killed 10 soldiers, including an officer, wounded others, and damaged a bulldozer with a rocket. [ICDNApr20]
Daesh says it stopped a Syrian Army attack on Hay Al-Qadam, south of Damascus, killing three soldiers, wounding others, and capturing light weapons. Daesh says it forces the Syrian Army to retreat. [ICDNApr20]
Friday, Dorar reported that Tahrir Al-Sham foiled a Syrian forces’ attempt to infiltrate into Al-Yarmouk Camp south of Damascus, killing 10 members of the Syrian forces and besieging others. [Dorar]
However, SANA has reported that a ceasefire agreement was reached between the Syrian government and the anti-government militias, including Daesh, in West Ghouta. According to that agreement, all the anti-government militias, including Daesh, should leave West Ghouta and head to Syria’s eastern desert or Idlib. [Qasioun]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
In a report published on Friday, Human Rights Watch criticized Lebanese municipalities for what it called the unjustifiable expulsion of hundreds of Syrians from their homes since 2016, as sentiment against refugees simmers. “At least 13 municipalities in Lebanon have forcibly evicted at least 3,664 Syrian refugees from their homes and expelled them from the municipalities, apparently because of their nationality or religion,” from the start of 2016 through to the end of March this year, and almost 42,000 Syrian refugees remained at risk of eviction in 2018,” the report said. [Hawar]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
Friday, Afghan media sources reported that five civilians, including a child, were killed, and nine others wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in eastern Nangarhar province. [Sumaria]
Daesh publishes photos of some of its terrorists in the Darzab area, in Jowzjan. [ICDNApr20]
Daesh publishes photos of cutting off hands and foot of two men in Kunar. [ICDNApr20]
Daesh publishes the 128th issue of its Naba’ magazine, republishing reports about its attacks in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Somalia, and Pakistan. It also includes an infographic about attacks related to the Iraqi elections in Anbar, Diyala, and Kirkuk. Daesh also continues its series of security instructions for its members and supporters. [ICDNApr20]