An Update On ISIS Activities

February 21, 2018

 

Pro-Government Militia in Afrin

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

US keeps PMFs at least 20 km from its military facilities in Iraq. [..]

Islamic Dawa Party leader says Al-Abadi, Al-Maliki have a post-election Dawa coalition deal. [..]

Anbar PC members cites thousands of remaining IEDs in west Anbar cities. [..]

Ninewa Police arrest Daesh leader who ordered hundreds executed. [..]

Basra’s years-old unexploded mines impede development projects. [..]​​ 

 

Syria

Syria continues Eastern Ghouta airstrikes amid growing criticism. [..]

Syrian troops move into Afrin in​​ developing​​ deal with PYD. [..]

SOHR says Turkey has captured 15% of Afrin villages. [..]

Tahrir Al-Sham being challenged by new Liberation Front of Syria. [..]

Egypt joins effort to de-escalate conflict in eastern Ghouta. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Israel:Israel prevented 2016​​ terrorist​​ airliner bombing over Australia. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed​​ newspaper reported from Iraqi officials that the US Army has taken strict measures around its military bases in Iraq, and they entail the PMF staying at least 20 km​​ (12.5​​ miles)​​ away from them. The Iraqi officials said the US bases tasked the Iraqi Army and Police with ensuring the PMF​​ gets no closer to​​ its​​ bases. [Sumaria]

 

Anti-Daesh Campaign

Iraqi Ambassador to Moscow, Haider Mansour Hadi, announced that Iraq is cooperating with Moscow and Washington to monitor and control the Iraqi-Syrian border, especially after terrorists tried​​ to​​ infiltrate​​ into Iraq. Hadi said in a press statement that “until recently, there had been no complete control over the borders, and we are working with the Syrians, Russians, and Americans in order to impose full monitoring on the border with Syria,” adding that “at this time Iraq controls the border completely” in coordination with Syria. [Sumaria]

 

According to Andrei Novikov, the head of Russia’s CIS Anti-terrorist Centre (ATC), the remaining Daesh units who have incurred losses in Syria and Iraq have moved to neighboring countries, with the biggest number in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where a new Daesh base is being established. He added that there is evidence indicating that Daesh seeks to take over the production and smuggling of drugs, especially heroin. [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, Minister of Higher Education and Technology, Abdulrazzaq Al-Issa, discussed the completion of Iraq’s commitments to destroy the sites and remnants of chemical weapons with the international delegation of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).​​ Al-Eissa confirmed that Baghdad abided by the international agreement and resolved all waste sites in the Muthanna and Falluja projects. [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday evening, the spokesman of the Prime Minister’s media office, Saad Al-Hadithi, said that all foreign national detainees held on terrorism charges, including women, will stand trial according to Iraqi law. [Mustaqila]

 

Reconstruction

Wednesday,​​ Turkey’s​​ Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Berat Albayrak, met with Iraqi Minister of Oil, Jabbar Al-Luaibi, and discussed cooperation in the energy sector between Iraq and Turkey, according to Turkish media sources. [Rudaw]

 

Election

Wednesday, Dawa Party leader Jassem Mohammed Jaafar told the press that Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and Vice President Nouri Al-Maliki signed a hand-written document pointing to a coalition after the election is over. He added that the proposed coalition entails the combining of all seats from the Al-Nasr and State of Law lists after the elections, in what he foresees as the largest​​ post-election​​ bloc. ​​​​ [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ For clarification, both Al-Abadi and Al-Maliki are long-time Dawa members. In this election, however, the Dawa members have more or less amicably divided into pro-Abadi and pro-Maliki factions, each in turn ​​ leading different alliances, and Dawa is not running separately. So putting the elected representatives of both factions back together after the election makes logical sense politically. The complication is that Al-Maliki has frequently been reported to be undermining Al-Abadi’s leadership, which suggests that these are not just good​​ political​​ friends who happen to lead separate tickets.

 

Wednesday, Anbar​​ CoR member​​ Liqaa Wardi said that the procedures taken in the updating of voter records, especially in Anbar, were very slow, adding that it is​​ unknown whether the delay was due to technical or political reasons. She added that the process to renew the records and hand new cards to voters will limit forgery​​ and​​ make​​ the elections more transparent and ethical. [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, the​​ CoR​​ Ethics Committee issued a statement​​ that​​ urged​​ both the legislative and executive​​ branches​​ not to allow those included in the general amnesty law​​ No. 27 of 2016 to participate in​​ the​​ CoR and local elections, as well as people who have been interrogated in administrative and corruption cases. [Sumaria]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Wednesday, spokesman of the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, Asim Jihad, announced that “there has been good progress in the talks between Baghdad and Erbil, especially after the recent meetings held between Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.” Jihad said that the talks between Erbil and Baghdad regarding oil will result in an agreement soon. About the agreement between the Ministry of Oil and British Petroleum, Jihad said the Ministry intends to export Kirkuk’s oil, either through Turkey or Iran. [BasNews]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)​​ 

Daesh says it shot and killed a National Security Service “spy” on Al-Tadbir Street, in Tarmiya, on Monday. [ICDNFeb21]

 

Wednesday, a police source reported that an IED explosion near a street market in Shatt Al-Taji wounded 3 civilians. [Sumaria]

 

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

Wednesday, the Baghdad Operations Command (BOC)​​ announced that security units carried out a search operation in the Al-Khtaimiya area in southern Baghdad.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

West​​ (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

Wednesday, the BOC announced that a rocket left behind by Daesh was found and an IED was defused near the house of a civilian in Ghazaliya.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

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

Total IED incidents reported:  ​​​​ 2

 

ANBAR

Wednesday, a security source in Anbar reported that Daesh killed 20 smugglers, mainly truck drivers who​​ were Anbar residents, in a trap set up near the Iraqi-Syrian border. [Sumaria]

 

Falluja

Wednesday, the Military Intelligence Services announced that the East Anbar Operations Command captured a Daesh drone​​ hideout​​ in Saqlawiya. [Sumaria]

 

Anah​​ (including Rawa)/Al-Qa’im

Wednesday, member of the Anbar PC, Hamid Al-Dulaimi, said that war remnants still pose a great threat to civilians and IDPs who have returned to liberated areas of western Anbar. Al-Dulaimi said that Upper Euphrates cities, including Al-Qa’im, Rawa,​​ and​​ Anah​​ still have thousands of IEDs and rigged houses which have not been detected​​ yet​​ by security units. [BasNews]

 

SALAHUDDIN​​ (No reports)

 

DIYALA

Wednesday, Dijla Ops Commander, Mizhar Al-Azzawi announced the arrest of 8 wanted suspects, including 2 on​​ terrorism charges​​ in various parts of Diyala. [Sumaria]

 

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

A​​ security source reported that security units​​ initiated a search for​​ Daesh members in cooperation with the​​ Iraqi Air Force (IAF)​​ in the Himrin Basin, which led to the destruction of 4 Daesh guesthouses and the death of a number of Daesh​​ members. [Baghdadia]​​ 

General​​ Al-Azzawi announced that the shelling on Daesh’s guesthouses in the Himrin Mountains in Qara Tapa on Tuesday evening​​ killed​​ a Daesh commander and one of his assistants​​ and​​ destroyed three​​ guesthouses and two vehicles. [Sumaria]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Wednesday, an informed source in Kirkuk reported that unknown assailants attacked an​​ Iraqi Federal Police (IFP)​​ base in Kirkuk’s center with heavy weapons. Explosions and continuous shooting were heard for over 15 minutes.​​ [SotIraq]

 

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

Wednesday, Turkmen commander Fawzi Akram said that “what happened in west Kirkuk was a massacre against the PMF members.” He added that there are “dangerous incubators of Daesh members” in those areas that must be addressed by the state in order to prevent such a massacre in the future. [Knooz]

 

Daesh issued a video of Sunday’s attack on PMFs in Sadouniya village in Riyadh. [ICDNFeb21]

 

A PMF official reported that the PMF found a large quantity of weapons and explosives in addition to 3 rigged vehicles in security operations launched on Wednesday in areas surrounding Riyadh.​​ [PressIraq]

 

Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Robert S. Karem, extended his condolences for the death of 27 PMF fighters in Riyadh during a meeting with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi on Wednesday. [BaghdadToday]

 

NINEWA

Mosul

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Ninewa Police units captured Mohammed Ghanem Abdul Qadir, aka Abu Ajil Al-Badrani, a senior Daesh official who was responsible for mosques in west Mosul. He was apprehended in a house in the Al-Tanak neighborhood in west Mosul. The source says the terrorist was wounded in the west Mosul battles last year and has been getting treated in his house since then. The source says the terrorist had issued orders to execute hundreds of prisoners when Daesh was in charge of Mosul.​​ 

 

Wednesday, the MoD announced that two Daesh​​ terrorists​​ were captured, including a commander in east Mosul.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Wednesday, the MoI announced the capture of two Daesh members in east Mosul. [Knooz]

 

Southern Ninewa

Mosul subdistrict/ Hammam Al-Alil/Shura

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Iraqi Army 20th​​ division found 5 IEDs planted on the road in Tal Al-Shawk village, in Shura subdistrict, after getting a tip from a local resident.​​ 

 

Qayara/Hatra/Makhmur

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Kata’eb Hezbollah captured 4 Daesh terrorists who were hiding in a tunnel near Al-Barit village, south of Hatra. The source says the KH executed the 4 prisoners after interrogating them. ​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Sinjar

Wednesday, PMF media announced that a unit from the PMF’s 7th​​ brigade stationed on the Iraqi-Syrian border prevented an infiltration operation of a group of Daesh suicide attackers into Iraq. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Dhi Qar

Wednesday, the Dhi Qar Police announced seizing two vehicles carrying 3,988 bottles of alcoholic beverages into Dhi Qar​​ Province through​​ the​​ Al-Ghabat area. [Ghad]​​ 

 

Basra

Wednesday, Basra Ops Commander Jamil Al-Shammari said that 20 wanted suspects were arrested in Basra, including suspects​​ charged with​​ terrorism,​​ murder, and drugs. [Etejah]​​ 

 

Wednesday, the department for the removal of the effects of war in the Basra Governorate announced that the Abbas Combat Division has begun carrying out demining operations in​​ large​​ areas of Shatt Al-Arab in cooperation with the department in preparation for a road project.​​ Department​​ manager​​ Wissam Al-Zaidi said that Basra​​ Governorate has​​ 60% of the unexploded mines and projectiles left behind by wars in Iraq, and for years there has been no government EOD effort to demine the governorate.” He​​ said​​ that the mine problem has impeded the implementation of vital projects. [Sumaria]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

Wednesday, former​​ KRG​​ President Masoud Barzani received head of the National Kurdish-Syrian Council​​ at​​ the Salahuddin resort near Erbil. Barzani and the delegation discussed the latest political and security developments in western Kurdistan​​ (northern Syria)​​ and the situation in Afrin. In the meetings they also exchanged opinions about the future of the​​ area​​ east of the Euphrates and discussed the political and military developments in the area. The Council presented an overview of the Council’s relations with political powers in west Kurdistan and Syrian political parties, as well as the political activities of the council. Barzani highlighted the future challenges that​​ face the Kurdish people in Syria and provided guidance to the delegation. [BasNews]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Wednesday, Qasioun reports that the Turkish Army and​​ allied​​ militias arrived at Adamanli,​​ Turkey,​​ adjacent to​​ the Rajo subdistrict in northwest Afrin. [Qasioun]​​ 

 

Wednesday, the Turkish Army announced that two Turkish soldiers were killed and another wounded in an IED explosion in the Semdinli​​ District​​ in​​ Hakkari​​ State, located at the southeast corner of Turkey across the border from Iraqi Kurdistan. [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

New Syrian airstrikes have killed 24 more people in Eastern Ghouta, following yesterday’s reports of over 200 killed and 700 injured. This has triggered an intensified international effort to stop the​​ attacks. ​​ Russia is reported to have requested a Security Council meeting for Thursday, while denying it has any responsibility for the crisis. Secretary General Guterres, France’s President Macron, the governments of Sweden and Kuwait, and the International Red Cross have weighed in on the crisis. ​​ 

 

Wednesday,​​ spokesman for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said that allegations that the Russian military is responsible for civilian casualties in eastern Ghouta are baseless. [ZamanAlWasl]

 

Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov says “the solution to the problem of Afrin lies in the direct dialogue between Ankara and Damascus,” suggesting that Russia would sponsor the dialogue. Lavrov expressed his conviction that “Turkey’s security can be fully realized through direct dialogue with the Syrian government.” [Dorar]

 

Spokesman for Turkey’s Presidency Ibrahim Kalin said that the groups loyal to the Syrian government would be a legitimate target for Turkish forces if they take any steps to support​​ the terrorist PYD/PKK​​ in the Afrin region. [Anadolu]

 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry confirmed that Turkey still intends on purging Manbij of “the terrorist PYD/PKK.” [Anadolu]

 

Northwest

Afrin/Azaz

Entrance of Syrian forces

The​​ Al-Sharq Al-Awsat​​ newspaper reports that there was a meeting between militia units in Afrin and Syrian government officials under the auspices of Russia. The newspaper says “the Syrian government wants to return Afrin to full Syrian government control while the militia units, working to repel the Turkish attack, proposed a symbolic presence of the Syrian government.” [Dorar]

 

SOHR reports that Syrian government forces have moved to the front lines and into lines of contact with​​ Turkey’s​​ Operation Olive Branch. [SyriaHR]

 

The SANA news agency says new groups of “popular forces” of the Syrian government arrived in Afrin city on Wednesday in order to support the militias facing the Turkish aggression.​​ [EnabBaladi]

 

Wednesday, member of the Diplomatic Relations Assembly in the PYD, Dara Mustafa, said that the Syrian government’s participation in defending Afrin alongside the SDF is “a part of the state’s responsibility to defend the borders and sovereignty of the Syrian state.” Mustafa added that the government’s entry into the confrontation in Afrin sends two messages; 1) the Kurds have no separatist project in Syria, and 2) that there is a unified stance within Syria concerning the Turkish invasion of Syrian territory. [BasNews]

 

Hawar reports fierce clashes between the SDF and Turkish forces in Arab Weran​​ in Shara subdistrict. [Hawar]

 

Hawar reports strong clashes between YPG female fighters and the Turkish forces in Tal Salur in​​ southern​​ Jinderes​​ subdistrict.​​ [Hawar] [Hawar]​​ 

 

Enab Baladi​​ reports that the “popular forces” of the Syrian government took part in battles with the YPG near Jinderes. [EnabBaladi]

 

Turkish military advances in Afrin

SOHR reports that Operation Olive Branch has captured 53 villages and​​ the city of​​ Bulbul​​ and says this is about 15% of all of the villages in Afrin. [SyriaHR]

 

Qasioun reports that the Turkish forces captured 19 villages and hilltops in the Afrin area on Tuesday. [Qasioun]

 

Qasioun reports that Turkish-backed opposition militias captured​​ the town of​​ Firkan​​ in​​ Shara​​ subdistrict​​ and Kharba Saluki town​​ in​​ Rajo​​ subdistrict. [Qasioun]​​ 

 

Anadolu reports that Turkish forces cleared Firkan of “any terrorist organizations,”​​ and said​​ that this brings the number of “liberated points to 90.” [Anadolu]

 

Military sources say that Kurdish units are resorting to Daesh strategies, such as planting mines developed by Daesh, in order to prevent the progress of Turkish forces in Afrin, according to Arabi 21 news. [Arabi21]

 

Northeast​​ (No reports)

 

Central and West​​ 

Aleppo/Idlib

Dorar reports Tahrir Al-Sham has lost sites previously under​​ its​​ control in southern Idlib in attacks by Ahrar Al-Sham, Suqur Al-Sham, and Noureddine Al-Zenki.​​ The three groups created a new coalition, the Liberation Front of Syria, last week.​​ [Dorar]​​ 

 

Enab Baladi​​ reports that Tahrir Al-Sham withdrew from 5 areas previously under its control in Idlib and the Liberation Front of Syria (formed by Ahrar Al-Sham and the Noureddine Al-Zenki Movement) took over control of the areas. [EnabBaladi]

 

SOHR reports that fighting continues between Tahrir Al-Sham and the Liberation Front of Syria in western rural Aleppo and southern ​​ Idlib. Clashes took place in Taqad town, Ewijel village, and Khan Al-Asal​​ west of Aleppo. Khan Al-Asal is​​ a suburb on​​ the west​​ side​​ of Aleppo city,​​ Ewijel about 5 miles west of the city. [SyriaHR]​​ 

 

SOHR reports clashes between Tahrir Al-Sham and Noureddine Al-Zenki in Urum Al-Kubra west of Aleppo city and Darat​​ Izza in northwestern ​​ Aleppo​​ District. [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Coalition planes killed 4 Daesh foreign explosives​​ experts who were hiding in a bakery near Hajin. The source says Daesh used the bakery as an explosives factory.​​ 

 

Daesh publishes photos of its​​ hisbah​​ activities in the Albu Kamal area. The photos include the usual public whiplashing, cigarette box burnings, etc. [ICDNFeb21]

 

Daesh publishes photos of targeting SDF positions in East Bahra with heavy machine guns. [ICDNFeb21]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

See update on Eastern Ghouta situation under “National News” above

 

The Lebanese newspaper​​ Al-Akhbar​​ reported the arrival of an Egyptian plane at Damascus carrying Egyptian intelligence officers, with Russian cooperation, in order to mediate a settlement on the eastern Ghouta crisis. The Egyptians are making contact with the Army of Islam and Russians are making contact with the Syrian government. [Dorar]​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Daesh gave a 48-hour ultimatum to 150 Tahrir Al-Sham members who were trapped near the Yarmouk Camp.​​ 

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Lebanon/Israel

Wednesday, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Israeli intelligence announced​​ that Israel had​​ thwarted​​ an attempt by Daesh to bomb an Emirates​​ plane over Australia last year. [Sumaria]

 

Wednesday, a security source said that Lebanese intelligence captured a Syrian man believed to have been in charge of collecting money for Daesh in Albu Kamal in Syria before Daesh was expelled. The arrest was made in Tripoli,​​ in northern​​ Lebanon. [Xendan]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Daesh says it killed​​ two​​ Taliban members in their house in the Bati Kot area, in Nangarhar. Daesh published a photo of weapons in captured from the house. [ICDNFeb21]

 

February 20, 2018

 

Basra

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Failed Daesh suicide bomber in Salahuddin was a Yazidi. [..]

Coalition airstrikes attack Daesh fighters in northern Diyala. [..]

Ugly 48 hours in Hawija leaves at least​​ 30​​ PMFs dead. [..]

Ninewa PC member alleges grand theft of IDP emergency funds. [..]

Mass grave of 87 military personnel found in Qayara. [..]

1​​ PMF commander​​ killed & another captured by Daesh;​​ 4 others killed by Daesh ambush in Hatra. [..]

 

Syria

Syria unleashes major assault on Eastern Ghouta, kills over 250 people. [..]

Independent newspaper reports Turkey’s progress in Afrin limited. [..]

At least 25 PMFs killed in Daesh attack across Iraq-Syria border. [..]

Airstrikes​​ kill 11 Daesh fighters in Hajin, in Albu Kamal. [..]

UN slams Syria, Russia for civilian death toll in Eastern Ghouta. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh Campaign

In a phone call with Sputnik on Tuesday,​​ MOD spokesman​​ General Yahya Rasoul confirmed that there are Daesh sleeper cells remaining in some areas, which may cause disturbances in the upcoming period. He added that intelligence services are intensifying their efforts to capture those cells. [Sputnik]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The general’s comments coincided with two of the worst days experienced in Iraq, militarily, since ”victory” was declared over Daesh—as will be apparent from reading this report.

 

Tuesday,​​ a​​ member of the​​ CoR Foreign​​ Relations​​ Committee,​​ Iqbal Abdul​​ Hussein, revealed that the Iraqi justice system has begun trying foreign female Daesh members​​ whose​​ countries of origin refused to receive them for trial. Director of the Persons with Special Needs Department in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Abeer Al-Jalabi, said “there are nearly 500 foreign Daesh women who entered Iraq illegally who are now awaiting their fate by the Iraqi judicial system.”​​ 

 ​​ ​​​​ The spokesman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Judge Abdul​​ Sattar Bairaqdar,​​ stated that “the Central Criminal Court​​ . . .​​ looked into the cases of a group of women from various nationalities​​ who joined​​ Daesh, including Turks and Azeris. The Court issued life​​ sentences​​ on​​ 10 women​​ who were convicted of​​ terrorism,​​ and​​ it sentenced one Turkish​​ national​​ to death.” [BaghdadToday]​​ 

 

Monday, the Iraqi justice system deported a French female terrorist who was released after completing a 7-month prison sentence on charges of entering Iraq illegally. She was arrested in Mosul last summer with her 4 children, 3 of whom were deported to France, and one was with her at the court on Monday. Her husband was a cook for Daesh and was killed. [AlKhaleej]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Is it a coincidence that all Daesh foreign terrorists were cooks? Will they open restaurants when they return to their countries?​​ 

 

Election

Kurdish MP Sarwa Abdul Wahid​​ of the Gorran party​​ revealed the reason she is running for​​ office with​​ the Coalition of Victory, led by Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi. She says​​ Iraq, in this​​ upcoming​​ restoration phase after Daesh’s defeat, needs a comprehensive national project to promote and resolve all crises in Iraq.” Wahid indicated that “the Coalition of Victory is a national project,​​ free​​ of sectarianism, and formed on the basis of Iraqi nationalism.” [Rudaw]

 

Bas News reports that​​ some​​ Kurdish politicians predict that the upcoming Iraqi elections will result in a majority-government​​ that​​ sacrifices political harmony.​​ Political analyst and former PUK CoR representative Burhan Faraj says that “The disputes among the Shia​​ components point towards the formation of a majority government with Sunni bloc winners and​​ separated​​ from the Kurdish parties.” He added that “the harmony-among-components government ended for the Kurds in 2014.”​​ 

The​​ same politicians​​ note that this possibility​​ gives​​ the Kurds three​​ choices:​​ unite​​ so as​​ to participate in the government;​​ form a strong opposition;​​ or withdraw from the political process in Iraq. He also accused PM Haider Al-Abadi of eliminating political harmony in Iraq and adopting the rule of the majority. [BasNews]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We are glad Mr. Faraj is a​​ former​​ CoR representative.​​ His little rant is a threat on two fronts. He is trying to pressure hopelessly divided Kurdish parties to run together, while threatening Iraq with a comprehensive Kurdish withdrawal. If the gentleman were a bit more​​ objective, he might see that the second threat (in the form of the independence referendum) has already failed and impoverished the Kurds and ​​ that any meaningful unity among the Kurdish parties has already been lost.​​ 

 

Tuesday, Spokesman of the US Department of State Heather Nauert said the US supports the holding of democratic elections in Iraq, adding that she does not have information on whether Washington will participate in electionrelated programs. [Rudaw]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We have suggested​​ here​​ that the election process needs more American support. The election is​​ only​​ 2½ months away.

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

In his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi stressed that the KRG’s airports will be re-opened after all of the federal government’s conditions are met. “We continue in strengthening the authority of the federal government​​ . . .​​ in all of Iraq, including the crossings, and the crossings of the Kurdistan Region, the airports in Suleimaniya and Erbil,” Al-Abadi said. [Rudaw]​​ 

 

However, on​​ Sunday Al-Abadi said that the airports in Erbil and Suleimaniya will open “in the next few days.” [Sumaria]

 

A senior Israeli official,​​ Dore Gold,​​ said on Tuesday that Israel’s Prime Minister believes it is necessary to establish an independent state for Kurds in the region. Gold said that “Israel wants to know how to solve the Kurdish issue, as there are 40 million Kurds in the region who were divided​​ into the countries of the region, and the countries are still present in the region and the Kurds are still divided.” [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Whatever ​​ one’s position about Kurdish independence, Israel’s support for the idea makes​​ absolute​​ sense​​ for Israel. The Kurds are​​ mostly​​ above all the Arab hostility to Israel,​​ and​​ their more secular political culture is​​ more compatible with Israel’s open society.

 

Iraq and Iran

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Tuesday that Iraq would not allow NATO forces to exploit Iraqi territory in a fight against Iran. Al-Abadi pointed out that “Iraq did not agree to the presence of military forces in Iraq, even when there was terrorism.” He stressed that “there are regional conflicts and each country wants to achieve its interests at the expense of the other.” [Sumaria][Anadolu]

 

The​​ leader of the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue​​ (Sunni),​​ Haider Al-Mulla,​​ said on Tuesday that Iraq will not be part of the policy of sectarianism that Iran seeks to create in the region. Al-Mulla said “we deplore the statements of​​ the​​ member of the Cultural Council of the Iranian Revolution,​​ Rahim Azghadi, which encroaches on the sovereignty of Iraq. We call on the Iraqi Foreign Ministry to take a clear stand ​​ on the abuses that have afflicted Iraqi sovereignty.” [Sumaria]

 

BAGHDAD

Anbar MP Ahmad Al-Salmani criticized the decision of government authorities to force IDPs from western Anbar to leave Baghdad and its camps within 2 weeks and return to their liberated areas. Al-Salmani stressed the need for governmental support of measures that will help alleviate the​​ suffering of IDPs and expressed his rejection of any government pressure forcing them to return before providing security and stability. [Rudaw]

 

Security-related incidents reported

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

A​​ security source says​​ four​​ civilians were wounded​​ Saturday​​ in an IED explosion near shops in Yusufiyah. [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR

The leader of​​ the Anbar Salvation Council,​​ Hamid Al-Hayes,​​ said on Sunday that 6 to 8 former Daesh members are intending to run​​ in​​ the upcoming elections on May 12. Al-Hayes says his organization will provide the list of names to the federal government. [Buratha]

 

Ramadi

Tuesday, a security source reported that security units and the CTS office in Baghdad captured a prominent Daesh commander​​ in a​​ major​​ raid in Ramadi. [Knooz]​​ 

 

Rutba

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source​​ said on Sunday that a large number of Daesh fighters in military uniforms attacked an Iraqi Army position in Rutba District, killing​​ five​​ soldiers. The Daesh fighters ran away after burning the bodies of the​​ five​​ soldiers they killed and seizing their weapons.  

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded 13 Iraqi soldiers and destroyed 2 Humvees and 3 other vehicles with IEDs near Rutba city on Sunday. [A3maq]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Tikrit

Monday a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says​​ local police killed a suicide bomber wearing a suicide belt who tried to detonate it in the center of the Abbasi subdistrict south of Tikrit. He was killed from a distance before arriving at the center. It​​ turned out​​ that the suicide bomber, Hamoudi Salem Elias, was a Yazidi​​ from the​​ ​​ Al-Shamal subdistrict of Sinjar. He was born in 1996, and abducted by Daesh in 2014. Daesh brainwashed and recruited him to their ranks. An eyewitness from the Al-Abbasiya Police said that the suicide bomber infiltrated into Diyala from the Himrin Mountains of Diyala, where a large group of Daesh members are​​ still​​ active​​ on mountain peaks.

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We have openly warned about this very scenario, in which a child whose parents and life has been stolen by Daesh ends​​ up by giving Daesh​​ his or her​​ own life too. What happened in​​ Abbasi​​ ​​ is not an isolated incident.​​ Among​​ all of Iraq’s sad stories, there are none sadder than this.

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Mass poisoning of PMFs

Monday,​​ a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said​​ 17 members of a division affiliated with the Failaq Badr​​ PMF organization​​ have​​ died due to poisoning​​ in Al-Khalis District under mysterious conditions. 140 others were​​ also​​ poisoned, and most are in critical condition and were moved to Baghdad hospitals.​​ This​​ PMF​​ division was formed two months ago to protect Al-Khalis District center in​​ Diyala and to support the local police.​​ The PMF organization decided not to report this to the media.

 

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

Tuesday,​​ The Directorate of Military Intelligence announced that the Coalition targeted Daesh to the north of Lake Himrin, based on accurate intelligence, killing a number of Daesh leaders. [Sumaria]​​ A local source says 4 airstrikes targeted Daesh hideouts near Lake Himrin. [Sumaria]

Another version of the same story adds the information that​​ the operation destroyed a guesthouse, killing a number of terrorists, including the general administrator of “wilaya Diyala” and his assistant. [Mawazin]​​ 

 

The 5th​​ division of the Military Intelligence Services intercepted a terrorist group, captured one of its members, clashed with another group, and raided two Daesh guesthouses in​​ the​​ Al-Asyud​​ farm area.​​ Inside the guesthouses​​ they found​​ 2 suicide belts, 4 IEDs, 1 laptop, a 2 GB Ram, 1 (60mm) mortar shell, 8 (60mm) mortar shells, 5 (81 mm) mortar shells, 5 (60-81 mm) mortar shell loose barrels, and clothing. The suicide belts and IEDs were destroyed by EOD​​ personnel. [Dijlah]​​ 

 

Manager​​ of Jalawla​​ subdistrict,​​ Yacoub Yousuf,​​ announced on Tuesday that more than 1,200 displaced families are returning to their liberated villages in northeastern Diyala. [Sumaria]

 

KIRKUK

Monday, Manager of the General Inspector’s office in the MoD in Kirkuk, Colonel Arkan Ahmed Latif, said in a press statement that the intelligence efforts of the General Inspector’s office and IFP​​ intelligence enabled security units to arrest​​ the​​ head of Daesh intelligence in the Kirkuk​​ Governorate. The arrest came after the IED explosion in the Daquq​​ District, where a terrorist was wounded while attempting to plant an IED. [Dijlah]​​ 

 

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

Daesh ambush

The PMF announced that Daesh fighters dressed as soldiers ambushed a PMF unit on Sunday night, killing 27 PMF fighters. Daesh set up a fake checkpoint outside Hawija and asked the PMF unit to stop and get out of their vehicles under the pretext of conducting a search. The Daesh fighters then shot the PMF soldiers and fled. [Yahoo]​​ [Annahar]

Another and compatible version of the story is that​​ Daesh launched an ambush on civilians and armed units Sunday night, and​​ an​​ armed​​ confrontation​​ broke out before the PMF lost contact with the PMF unit being attacked. Monday, according to informed sources,​​ ​​ the Security Information Cell found 20 bodies of PMF members in Al-​​ Al-Sadouniya​​ village in Riyadh in the aftermath of Daesh’s attack.[IraqPress]

 

In response to Sunday evening’s attack,​​ Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced on Tuesday that an investigation is being opened into who gave the orders for the withdrawal of a limited number of PMF units from Hawija, noting that there needs to be more “qualitative training of all security forces, logistical support, and intelligence cooperation.” Al-Abadi issued orders to “prosecute the culprits” of Sunday’s attack and stressed his determination to eliminate Daesh sleeper cells.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Tuesday, Former Deputy Governor of Kirkuk Ismail Al-Hadidi described the deaths of 27 PMF members in a Daesh trap as a “large and unexpected incident.” He confirmed that there are Daesh units present in Riyadh​​ subdistrict, especially​​ the remote rugged parts of Hawija which are not controlled by security. Al-Hadidi said that the majority of Daesh’s units remaining there are made up of​​ local residents.​​ [BaghdadToday]​​ 

 

Tuesday, the US Embassy in Baghdad said​​ that “Washington strongly condemns the ambush and brutal killing of members of the PMF, which was carried out by Daesh yesterday near Hawija.” The statement put out by the​​ Embassy said “As the Prime Minister stressed, the battle against Daesh in Iraq is not over yet, and despite the end of the military campaign against Daesh, the remnant Daesh terrorists still cling to its deviant ideology and have the ability and the resources to organize attacks and bring instability to the liberated areas, instilling fear among the local populations.” [Sumaria]

 

Tuesday, a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said​​ Hezbollah Commander Abu Jawad Al-Yassiri, General Director of the Second Division’s intelligence unit, was killed in an IED explosion that targeted his vehicle in Riyadh as a reconnaissance patrol unit was deployed. An eyewitness said the IED targeted a pickup, which caused the explosion that killed Al-Yassiri and critically wounded his driver. He was transported to the Hawija public hospital.

 

Daesh’s version says it ambushed a National Security Service unit west of Riyadh on Sunday, killing 30 men, destroying 6 vehicles, and capturing large quantities of weapons and ammunition. [ICDNFeb19]

Daesh’s​​ A3maq​​ said 20 members were killed and 5 vehicles were destroyed in the ambush. But later on, it “corrected” the numbers. [A3maq] [A3maq]

 

PMF retaliation

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Tuesday that Kata’eb Hezbollah and the AAH ambushed and killed 6 Daesh terrorists near Sadouniya village. The source says the Kata’eb and the AAH beheaded the 6 terrorists and paraded with their heads in the area. The source sent us photos​​ as confirmation.​​ 

 

Monday,​​ a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said​​ PMF units blew up houses in Al-Sadouniya village in Riyadh, where its 27 members were killed. Eyewitnesses at the incident location said that at the time of the report on Monday, the PMFs had blown up 12 houses at the site where PMF members were​​ abducted​​ the night before. However, an eyewitness said not all of the houses belonged to Daesh members; some belonged to innocent civilians not connected to Daesh.​​ 

 

Monday, a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that the Al-Nukhba (Elite) 2nd division affiliated with the Hezbollah brigades, led by Abu Ayoub, has taken over the Sadouniya village intersection, with an order from Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.​​ Al-Nukhba destroyed​​ 14 houses inside the village in which​​ 27​​ PMF intelligence members were killed the night before. ​​ 

​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says PMFs in Hawija have prevented the return of many displaced families. The source says the PMFs claim that the police screening procedures are not sufficient. One of the people who was prevented from returning is a local police commander who has 2 brothers with Daesh.​​ 

 

Sunday, a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that​​ a Daesh IED was found before it was detonated in front of the home of the military commander of the Al-Imam Ali Brigade in Hawija, Rafie Al-Ubaidi. 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says there are still around 900 Daesh terrorists in the Hawija area. The source says most of these terrorists are on the move constantly and they travel between Daquq, Dibis, the Himrin Mountains area, and Makhmur.​​ 

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad, etc.)

Daesh said it targeted an IFP vehicle with an IED south of Rashad, on Friday.​​ [ICDNFeb17]

 

NINEWA

Mosul

Tuesday, Ninewa PC member ​​ Khalaf Al-Hadidi reported that 10 billion Iraqi dinars disbursed as emergency grants for IDPs in Ninewa disappeared in the past few days. He added that the “federal government in Baghdad knows about theft and corruption in the IDP operations but it continues to send money.” He demanded an investigation into the disappearance of the funds. [Ghad]​​ 

 

Spokesman for the Ninewa Police Headquarters, Capt. Emad Al-Bayati, announced the arrest of 2 lawyers from the Ninewa Court of Appeals on terrorism charges for their involvement with Daesh. [BasNews]

 

Chief​​ spokesman for the​​ Ministry of Interior (MoI),​​ Gen. Saad Ma’en,​​ said security units arrested 7 people on terrorism charges in Mosul. [IraqPress]

 

Also on​​ Sunday, a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that​​ through accurate intelligence,​​ and backed by the Coalition, Ninewa SWAT arrested 6 of the most dangerous Daesh leaders,​​ who were trying to restructure Daesh’s​​ organization.​​ The Daesh leaders arrested are:

  • Hammad Mahmoud Al-Ahmadi, a former army​​ official​​ who was Daesh’s general communications officer;

  • Mahmoud Mohsen Sayil, Daesh’s media officer​​ for its​​ “Dijla state;

  • Ibrahim Yas Hamad Al-Ahmadi, a Daesh security officer in Tal Al-Rumman​​ in western​​ Mosul who executed many​​ members​​ of the Iraqi​​ armed​​ forces;

  • Ahmed Taha Mohammed Al-Ahmadi, who worked as Daesh’s security officer for​​ the​​ Al-Jawsaq neighborhood in​​ western​​ Mosul.

According to a Ninewa SWAT source, this group, consisted of 20 Daesh​​ members,​​ have now all been​​ ​​ arrested​​ as they​​ tried​​ to reorganize Daesh and return to​​ western​​ Mosul.

 

Southern Ninewa

Hammam Al-Alil

Sunday, a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says​​ that Daesh secret communication codes, used by Daesh to protect their communication lines from being detected and monitored, were found in a Daesh guesthouse in ​​ Hammam Al-Alil, south of Mosul. The same security source has sent us exclusive photos.

 

Qayara

A security official said on Tuesday that a mass grave was found in Haj Ali village southeast of Qayara city, containing the remains of 87 people, all of them from the armed forces according to their identity cards. [BasNews]

 

Hatra

Sunday,​​ according to a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source,​​ a​​ medical​​ source at the Hatra District Hospital reported the death of the commander of the 4th​​ company of Hezbollah’s 1st​​ regiment, Bashar Mohammed Al-Mousawi, also known as “Abu Iman,” in an​​ attack staged by Daesh​​ gunmen. Al-Mousawi died before​​ he could​​ arrive​​ at​​ the hospital.

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Daesh captured a Nujaba’ Movement commander​​ in​​ southern​​ Hatra and killed 4 of his bodyguards. The source says the group were coming back from the Syrian border area when they were ambushed by Daesh.

 

Sunday, a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says​​ Sayyed Al-Shuhada’ Brigades destroyed central Hatra District’s primary school for girls, after they were ordered to redeploy to Hatra Island, south of Mosul.  According to an eyewitness, Abu Mohammed Al-Masoudi, the regiment commander of Sayyed Al-Shuhada’ Brigades, burned the school’s furniture before the eyes of the other PMF factions. Al-Masoudi said “we are the ones who liberated it, and we are the ones who are burning it down.” “This is the furniture of the state, and we are the state.”

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Tuesday that PMFs stopped the return of 30 displaced families to Hatra. The source says the return had been approved last week in an agreement between the PMFs​​ and the​​ Mayor of Hatra​​ District, but the PMFs changed their mind,​​ saying they need to​​ do​​ further security checkups.​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says a group of 150 Daesh terrorists are deployed between the Tal Afar area, near Abu Maria village, and the Syrian border. The source says the​​ terrorists​​ are hiding in the hills, and move from time to time to attack nearby villages and security forces.

 

Sinjar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says​​ a Daesh​​ commander​​ ,​​ Rashid Dabur Sanad Hassan Al-Faridi,​​ worked in an office that sold the women abducted from Sinjar,​​ then took over Daesh’s security in Qayrawan subdistrict. He escaped to Syria and coordinated with the Lebanese Hezbollah militias from there. He returned and took over the command of a company in the Hezbollah brigades in Sinjar. He currently holds the position of head of security in the Saraya Hezbollah 4th division of the 7th brigade. He threatens any Sinjar resident who calls him a Daesh member.

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Basra

The military disasters of the past few days hit home in Basra, where many of the victims lived. A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Basra residents held funerals for​​ 15​​ PMF members who were killed in various battles in a period of one day in Iraq, including commanders in Hezbollah, Al-Nujaba’ Movement, and PMF​​ Intelligence. Some​​ were​​ PMF members killed in​​ the​​ Riyadh​​ ambush​​ in​​ Hawija;​​ others were​​ among those​​ killed​​ in the Daesh attack​​ near the Iraqi-Syrian border​​ in Anbar. Large-scale protests were held in Basra demanding​​ that​​ PMF​​ officials not send their sons to Syria and western parts of Iraq.

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

SULEIMANIYA

A number of journalists from the PUK expressed their dissatisfaction with the​​ new electoral​​ alliance between the PKK and Shaswar Abdul Wahid’s​​ New Generation list in Suleimaniya. A​​ PUK​​ official​​ said that the percentage of PKK votes is not at a level that would affect the party. [BasNews]​​ Abdul Wahid is a TV executive who has been leading a protest movement and was recently arrested and released on bail.​​ 

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Anadolu reports that​​ militants​​ in the Afrin area fired 3 artillery shells into Hatay State in southern Turkey, landing on agricultural land. According to Turkish military sources, the Turkish Army responded to the source of the fire. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Major news outlets reported Tuesday that a Syrian air and government ground assault is underway in Ghouta, in the Damascus area, in an effort to finally bring this area under regime control after​​ five years. An estimate 200 people have been killed in the past two days, most of ​​ them apparently from bombing of civilian areas. News footage showed a lot of dead children.

Late-breaking development.​​ The estimated death toll is now over 250.

 

See earlier story below under “Damascus/Rif Damashq”

 

The​​ Eurasia Daily​​ newspaper published that after a month of fighting, the Turkish forces have failed to capture any large towns in Afrin, saying that Operation Olive Branch is taking on the feel of a long-term operation. Eurasia Daily says that Turkish forces have managed to capture 7% of the Afrin region after 1 month of fighting and have lost around 30 Turkish soldiers.​​ Eurasia Daily​​ comments that when Turkish media announced on February 16 the​​ neutralization​​ of 1.551 terrorists, that number includes “human losses, the wounded, and captives.” [EADaily]​​ 

 

Russia called on the Turkish and Syrian governments to begin negotiations to resolve matters related to the Afrin region. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said “the solution to Afrin’s problems lie in direct dialogue between Ankara and Damascus.” [EnabBaladi]

 

Tuesday, Department of State​​ spokesman​​ Heather Nauert expressed concern over the escalating Syrian and Russian attacks on eastern Ghouta. She also stated​​ that Washington is not providing support to anyone in Afrin. [Rudaw]​​ 

 

Northwest

Afrin/Azaz

SOHR reports that there is an agreement between the YPG and the Syrian government authorities that provides for the entry of forces sent by the government to the Afrin area. [SyriaHR]

Tuesday, the YPG announced that the Syrian government had responded to its request and sent military units to be stationed on the border and to participate in defending the territorial integrity of Syria. [Rudaw]

Spokesman for Turkey’s President Ibrahim Kalin said that Ankara does not rule out the existence of secret deals between the YPG and the Syrian government, but that “the agreement between the Syrian government and the YPG is propaganda.” [EnabBaladi]

 

This was contradicted by the Syrian government, which​​ announced the entrance of “popular militias” into Afrin, while Turkey carried out its threats and bombed a Syrian convoy. [Dorar]

According to sources close to the YPG, 2 Syrian soldiers were killed and 3 others were wounded in Turkish airstrikes as they entered Afrin city. [Rudaw]

 

Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan said on Tuesday that his country succeeded in stopping the possible deployment of the Syrian Arm in Afrin, revealing the coming steps his military will take in the region. [Dorar]

The dutifully pro-Erdogan Anadolu reported that pro-Syrian government militias tried to reach Afrin city but retreated after the Turkish Army fired warning shots. [Anadolu]

 

Russian diplomatic sources say Russian security forces entered Afrin city a week ago. The sources added that “Syrian government forces are also present in Afrin city, regardless of whether Damascus and the Kurds reach an agreement or not.” [Qasioun]

 

Meanwhile,​​ Qasioun reported​​ that Turkish-backed opposition militias captured Deir Sawan​​ in Shara subdistrict in northeast Afrin,​​ and Okanli in the northern Bulbul subdistrict, and​​ Dafla village in Rajo​​ subdistrict in the northwest.​​ Opposition militias opened a road on Tuesday and entered Azaz​​ District. [Qasioun]​​ The Turks claimed to have captured several other villages in Bulbul and Shara.

 

ROJ News reports that the YPG destroyed a tank belonging to the Turkish Army as well as 2 armored vehicles in Deir Sawan in Shara District. [ROJ]

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

Sunday, a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source​​ reported that over 25​​ Hezbollah members​​ were killed, and a large Hezbollah group was kidnapped, after Daesh launched four suicide​​ attacks and a car bomb attack on the PMF​​ border​​ positions from Al-Dashisha village on the​​ Syrian side of the​​ Iraq-Syria border. According to the sources, Daesh captured​​ and burned​​ the​​ PMF barracks​​ after the other PMF​​ members​​ abandoned their positions​​ and fled deep into Iraqi territory towards Al-Sukhariyat.

 

Monday,​​ a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says​​ Daesh members publicly killed 5 PMF members in Al-Dashisha village.​​ The 5 PMFs were abducted the night before in the Anbar governorate in a Daesh attack on a Hezbollah division’s base in​​ the​​ Al-Sab’een area in west Anbar, according to eyewitnesses. The PMFs killed included one of Hezbollah’s prominent commanders, Abu Fatimah Mohammed Jawad, head of the Hezbollah security’s intelligence in Anbar and his aide, Abu Karrar Al-Fartousi.

 

Special asayesh forces neutralized a vehicle bomb in Al-Mufti District in Hasaka, according to local residents. [Hawar]

 

Central and West​​ 

Hama

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Tuesday that Abu Othman Al-Anbari, a former AQI leader and a current Nusra commander, was wounded in​​ fighting​​ with Daesh east of Hama. ​​ 

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin

The Syrian Army announced finding a network of tunnels in Subaikhan District south of Mayadin. “One of the tunnels was found in Jabal Al-Shara, extending over an area of 200 meters at a depth of 100 meters, containing 16 rooms where Daesh leaders were holed up,” reported a SANA correspondent. [SyriaNow]

 

Albu Kamal

Monday,​​ a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says​​ 11 Daesh​​ members were killed in​​ an​​ airstrike on Hajin during Daesh gatherings to plan an attack on Al-Bahra​​ village. The shelling targeted a convoy of three vehicles carrying Daesh fighters. All of them were killed and all of their vehicles were destroyed.​​ 

 

Monday, a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says the Al-Nujaba’ Movement, the PMF present in rural Albu Kamal, captured Daesh​​ terrorist​​ Burhan Khazal Saleh Al-Jubouri near Al-Susah in Albu Kamal. He was wearing a suicide belt and failed to detonate it. He surrendered himself to the PMFs present there.​​ He was born in the Kharaba Jaber village of Qayara,​​ pledged allegiance to Daesh when it entered Iraq in 2014,​​ and fled to Syria with other Daesh members.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Tuesday that Daesh executed 10 Syrian soldiers and​​ Lebanese​​ Hezbollah fighters it had captured near Abu Hamam village.​​ 

 

On Saturday, Daesh published photos of targeting SDF positions in West Bahra village with SPG9 rockets. [ICDNFeb17]

On Saturday, Daesh published photos of targeting SDF positions in East Bahra village with shells and heavy machine guns. [ICDNFeb17]

On Saturday, Daesh issued a video of clashes with the SDF near Bahra village. [ICDNFeb17]

On Sunday, Daesh published photos of targeting an SDF military position in West Bahra with an SPG9 rocket. [ICDNFeb18]

Daesh also issued a video of attacking an SDF position in the village with an SPG rocket. [ICDNFeb18]

On Monday, Daesh published photos of its terrorists near Bahra. [ICDNFeb19]

 

On Saturday, Daesh published photos of targeting SDF positions in Abu Khater village with different kinds of weapons. [ICDNFeb17]

 

On Tuesday, Daesh said it destroyed an SDF vehicle carrying fighters with an IED northeast of Sha’afa village, near the Iraqi border. [A3maq]

 

On Saturday, Daesh published photos of training its terrorists on SPG9 rockets in the Albu Kamal area. The photos also show targeting Syrian Army positions near Albu Kamal city with the rockets. [ICDNFeb17]

On Sunday, Daesh said it targeted Syrian Army positions near Albu Kamal with 6 SPG9 rockets. Daesh published photos of one of the attacks. [ICDNFeb18]

On Monday, Daesh published photos of targeting a Syrian Army position in Al-Ashayer village, west of Albu Kamal, with an SPG9 rocket. [ICDNFeb19]

On Tuesday, Daesh said it targeted 2 Syrian Army positions near Albu Kamal with SPG9 rockets. Daesh published photos and issued a video of the attacks. [ICDNFeb20]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

SOHR reports that a Syrian Army attack on eastern Ghouta on Sunday killed 123 people, including 27 children and 19 civilians, while television media reported 194 deaths.​​ [Hawar]

 

The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says “there are no words that can do justice to the dead children, their mothers, their parents, and their loved ones.” Anadolu reports that 79 civilians have been killed in airstrikes since Tuesday morning. [Anadolu]

UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria Panos​​ Moumtiz called on the Syrian government and its Russian allies to stop targeting civilians and infrastructure in the eastern Ghouta, saying “the humanitarian situation on civilians in the eastern Ghouta is out of control.” [Dorar]

 

Tuesday, SOHR reported​​ clashes between Tahrir Al-Sham and Daesh in Yarmouk Camp. [SyriaHR]

 

On Saturday, Daesh published photos of cleaning up Haifa Street in the Yarmouk Camp. Daesh had captured the street from Tahrir Al-Sham a day earlier. [ICDNFeb17]

Daesh also published photos and a video of earlier battles in the camp where it captured 2 neighborhoods from Tahrir Al-Sham on Friday. [ICDNFeb17]

On Monday, Daesh issued a video of its terrorists in the 2 areas. [A3maq]

 

Daesh said its snipers killed an opposition fighter in Yelda on Friday. [ICDNFeb17]

 

On Sunday, Daesh published photos of its “education activities” south of Damascus. The photos show a few children in a “class” in an unidentified location. [ICDNFeb18]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It’s been awhile since Daesh published reports about its “services.”​​ 

 

Monday,​​ a​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says​​ Nusra Front commander, Au Khattab Al-Uzbeki, was killed in a trap set up by Daesh in southern Damascus as he passed the highway linking Yarmouk Neighborhood and Al-Quds​​ Street. An eyewitness said that​​ Daesh members tried to capture him but he did not stop. They shot​​ into​​ his vehicle as he passed on the highway, and he died on the spot. The Daesh members stole his 4WD pickup vehicle and left the body on the highway. The source said that Abu Khattab was​​ a prominent​​ Daesh commander who defected​​ to the Nusra Front. He joined the Nusra Front in 2017 with a group of foreign immigrants.​​ He held the position of “wali of southern Damascus” in Daesh’s organization.

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Saudi Arabia/Yemen

On Sunday, Daesh said killed 5 Houthi fighters and wounded another by detonating an IED on their vehicle in the Al-Shaar area, in Ibb. [ICDNFeb18]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Daesh called the Ibb area “Wilayat Al-Jabal Al-Akhdhar” (the Green Mountain Province.) This is a new “wilaya.” Actually, Al-Jabal Al-Khadhar Province is in Oman. Daesh is expanding on paper.​​ 

 

North Africa

Egypt

On Saturday, Daesh said it stopped Egyptian Army attacks in North, East, and Central Sinai.​​ 

  • It said it killed several Egyptian soldiers in clashes, destroyed a Humvee and 2 other military vehicles and damaged 2 bulldozers and 5 other vehicles with IEDs, and damaged another vehicle with an RPG south of Rafah. It also said its snipers killed an Egyptian soldier and wounded another in the same area.​​ 

  • It said it damaged a Humvee with an IED in the Touma area, south of Sheikh Zuweid, and killed or wounded soldiers by targeting their patrol with an IED in the Kharouba area, west of the city.

  • It also said it killed or wounded several soldiers in clashes south of Sheikh Zuweid.​​ 

  • Daesh said its snipers killed a soldier in the Karm Al-Qawadis area, east of Arish.​​ 

  • It said it killed four soldiers in the Jabal Al-Halal area, in Central Sinai, and damaged 2 armored personnel carriers with IEDs in the same area.[ICDNFeb17]

Daesh published photos of battles with the Egyptian Army south of Sheikh Zuweid. [ICDNFeb17]

 

Daesh said its snipers hit three Egyptian soldiers in the Al-Tawil area, east of Arish, on Friday. [ICDNFeb17]

 

Daesh said its snipers hit two Egyptian soldiers south of the Kilo 17 area, west of Arish, on Friday. [ICDNFeb18]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

Spain

Tuesday, Spanish Police announced the arrest of a Moroccan citizen living in Spain on terrorism charges. [Forat]

 

Russia

Russian officials said that five women have been killed and five other people, including a police officer​​ and​​ a national guardsman, wounded in a shooting at a church in the republic of Dagestan.

Two of the wounded were said to be in a critical condition. A man fired at people leaving an evening service in the city of Kizlyar. The attacker was shot and killed at the scene. He was later identified as 22-year-old Khalil Khalilov, a resident of Dagestan. [BBC]

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack. [ICDNFeb18]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It’s only people with Daesh-like mentality who think that it’s a form of bravery to shoot at unarmed women in a church.​​ 

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Head of the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center,​​ Andrey Novikov,​​ says that Daesh has suffered severe losses in Syria and Iraq and has moved to neighboring countries. Novikov says there is a good chance Daesh will emerge in the near future in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Novikov says Daesh is currently focusing on recruiting young people from various ethnic groups and training them in Afghanistan. [ArabsToday]

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Russia is “deeply concerned” by the growing influence of Daesh in Afghanistan. [Youm7]

 

Afghan authorities found 2 mass graves containing the bodies of civilians abducted by Daesh. [Ghad]

 

Daesh said it killed a “wizard” in his house in Bati Kot area, in Nangarhar, on Friday. [ICDNFeb17]

 

On Sunday, Daesh said it killed an Afghan government and a Taliban “spies” in the Dih Bala area, in Nangarhar. [ICDNFeb18]

Daesh published photos of executing the two men. [ICDNFeb19]

 

Daesh said it targeted “the American base” in Jalalabad Airport with a Grad rocket on Monday. It said ambulances were seen heading to the airport. [ICDNFeb20]

 

On Tuesday, Daesh said it detonated an IED on a police recruitment office in Hesarak​​ District in Jalalabad, killing four people, including the office manager, and wounding two others. [ICDNFeb20]

Daesh’s​​ A3maq​​ said the office was for recruitment of “police and army.” [A3maq] ​​ 

 

On Tuesday, Daesh said it killed a pro-government militiaman and captured his weapon in Jalalabad city. [ICDNFeb20]

 

Pakistan

On Tuesday, Daesh said it wounded Pakistani policemen by targeting a security barrier with​​ a​​ hand grenade in east Peshawar. [ICDNFeb20]

 

Notice to readers:​​ Daesh Daily will not publish on Monday due to the Presidents Day holiday, but we will continue to track major developments. Our next issue will be on Tuesday the 20th.

 

February 16, 2018

 

Afrin

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Allawi coalition says Kuwait conference led to misallocation of proceeds. [..]

State of Law coalition charges Barzani family with turning over Daesh prisoners to the Turks. [..]​​ 

500-600 bodies remain to be removed from central Mosul. [..]

 

Syria

Tillerson, Cavusoglu discuss Manbij, but conclusion is unclear. [..]

Rumors suggest possible Afrin deal between Syria, PYD. [..]

Coalition lands 35 more airstrikes on Albu Kamal. [..]

Turkish forces reported gaining in western Afrin. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Lebanon.​​ Guterres warns of risk to Lebanon from another Israel-Hezbollah war. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh Campaign

Between February 9th​​ and 15th​​ the Coalition conducted​​ 4​​ airstrikes in Iraq,​​ near Rutba (1), near Baiji (2), and near Tal Afar (1). [CentCom]

 

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s office announced that he left Baghdad for Munich on Friday to attend the Munich Security Conference. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

An Iraqi court sentenced a female Russian national to one year in prison for crossing the Iraqi border illegally, the first sentence of its kind. She​​ had been​​ forced to live in a Daesh-controlled area, but was declared innocent of terrorism by the court, according to a member of the Russian Federal Council, Ziyad Sabsabi.​​ [Sumaria]

 

In total contrast to the expressed opinions of some Shia PMF​​ spokesmen​​ against US troops in Iraq,​​ Shafaaq​​ reports​​ that​​ political leaders in the​​ Sunni governorates, Anbar, Salahuddin, and​​ Ninewa, view the​​ neutral​​ presence of US forces​​ as a​​ critical​​ factor in ensuring​​ that​​ terrorist organizations do not return, and​​ in deterring​​ Shia​​ factions from spreading​​ to​​ Sunni cities under the guise of maintaining security. Shafaaq cited an​​ Anbar PC​​ member​​ who requested to remain anonymous. He said “Let’s be honest;​​ any​​ day the US forces​​ are​​ in​​ our cities is an unhappy day for remaining Daesh fighters, because they know well the threat of drones and airstrikes of the Coalition.” [Shafaaq]

 

Reconstruction

Friday, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi reiterated that rebuilding and investing in Iraq and improving​​ its level​​ of services requires security, and “this security is interconnected with the security of the region and the world.”​​ Al-Abadi​​ added​​ that “terrorist organizations are not bound by geographic borders, whose members hail from all countries of the world and receive money from several states.” He added that “we need global cooperation” in order to fight terrorism. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

The​​ Al-Wataniya (Nationalism​​ Coalition) party, led by Ayad Allawi,​​ called​​ the Kuwait conference​​ a​​ wasted opportunity​​ which​​ could have supported the reconstruction and revival of the economy of Iraq. The​​ party​​ stated that “instead of attending the conference with specific demands and commitments that serve areas liberated from terrorist organizations, Iraq attended the conference with a delegation that included irrelevant parties.” [Rudaw]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The concern seems to be that the money raised through the conference will be spread around much of Iraq instead of being focused on the mostly Sunni areas that are more likely to vote for Mr. Allawi’s party.​​ 

 

Election

Friday, State of the Law Coalition, headed by Nouri Al-Maliki,​​ alleged that​​ a “conspiracy” on Iraq​​ is under way​​ by the Kurdish leading family,​​ the​​ Barzanis, in cooperation with Turkey. State of the Law​​ demanded that​​ the federal government pressure Erbil to surrender all​​ the​​ terrorists held in its prisons. State of Law representative Mohammed Al-Saihoud​​ stated that​​ “the KRG authorities handing over terrorists stained with Iraqi people’s blood to Turkey is against the law and the constitution.​​ He alleged further that this is one​​ of a series of conspiracies by the​​ ruling family​​ in the Kurdistan Region. He added that “this​​ arrangement​​ is a conspiracy between the Barzani ruling family and Turkey, and it has specific goals, and they are absolutely against Iraq.” [BaghdadToday]​​ 

 

Friday, Wisdom Movement representative, Mohammed Al-Lakkash, revealed that Prime Minister Al-Abadi was the one​​ who​​ suggested​​ de-linking the electoral alliance​​ of his bloc and​​ the Wisdom Movement headed by Ammar Al-Hakim. Al-Lakkash said that the Wisdom Movement had intended to enter the elections​​ on a stand-alone list before Al-Abadi extended an invitation to join​​ his​​ Al-Nasr Alliance,​​ which​​ at that moment​​ included​​ the​​ Al-Fatah​​ coalition, and Al-Abadi’s withdrawal from the electoral alliance came as a surprise. [Rudaw]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We can’t help thinking that there is still more to this story.​​ This alliance appeared to be a major plus for both Al-Abadi and Al-Hakim, and letting it go so easily seems to weaken both to some extent.​​ 

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

West​​ (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

Friday, the Military Intelligence Services announced the arrest of 2 wanted suspects on terrorism charges in​​ Abu Mnaiseer subdistrict and Al-Tamar Al-Sihha​​ area in Abu Ghraib. [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR​​ 

Hit/Haditha

Daesh says it severely wounded a government “source” and destroyed his vehicle with a sticky​​ IED in Hit city. [ICDNFeb16]

 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Eastern Salahuddin (Al-Daur, Tooz)

Friday, head of the PMF’s 23rd​​ brigade media, Hussein Al-Husseini, said that the PMF​​ prevented​​ the attempted infiltration of​​ a number of Daesh members into​​ the​​ Al-Aith area​​ in Al-Daur, taking advantage of the rainy weather. [Ghad]

 

DIYALA

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya, Abu Saida)​​ 

Daesh says it killed three Shia in an attack in the Dhababa area, south of Muqdadiya. [ICDNFeb16]

 

Daesh says it wounded two PMF fighters in clashes nu Luhaib area, in Muqdadiya District, on Thursday. [A3maq]

 

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

Chairman​​ of the Diyala PC Security Committee, Sadeq Al-Husseini,​​ further explained​​ the death of the Daesh military​​ emir​​ of​​ the​​ Al-Waqf Basin​​ northeast of Baquba, reported yesterday in​​ Daesh Daily. He died​​ from​​ wounds he​​ received​​ in an airstrike on a Daesh guesthouse near the Mukhaisa farms​​ last week. [Forat]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says SDF units killed a Daesh suicide terrorist who attacked them with a vehicle bomb north of Kirkuk. The source says the terrorist is originally from the Chamchamal area.​​ 

 

Hawija (Riyadh, Zab, etc.)

Daesh says it blew up the house of an MoI lt. colonel in Madina village, east of Hawija, on Wednesday. [ICDNFeb16]

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad, etc.)

A security source in Kirkuk reported that a terrorist on a motorcycle was wounded on Friday​​ as​​ he tried to plant an IED in the Daquq street market.​​ [Sumaria]

 

NINEWA

Mosul

Friday, the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights reported that 40 bodies were removed from under the rubble in​​ the​​ Al-Qlei’at and Tawalib areas in Mosul, while hundreds remain buried under demolished houses and roads​​ on the west side of the city. The observatory noted that 10 out of the 40 bodies belong to Daesh​​ fighters. It says that​​ although it is challenging to differentiate between civilian and Daesh bodies, Daesh bodies are recognizable​​ by their clothing. Medical sources in Mosul estimate there are​​ still​​ 500-600​​ bodies​​ in Old Mosul that have not been removed. [Buratha]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Osama Al-Nujaifi pressured PM Abadi to issue orders to allow Daesh families to return to their areas.​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ While it is important to have innocent people, even if they were Daesh family members, to return to their houses, it should not be done without proper security checks. Otherwise, it is a certainty that some of these families will provide shelter and support networks for Daesh terrorists. This move of course comes for election purposes. Since 2003, thousands of terrorists were released, and continued on with their terrorist attacks, because of such political games. ​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Qayara/Hatra/Makhmur

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 4 Daesh terrorists, using silenced guns, shot and wounded a Rapid Intervention service member near his house in Tal Al-Sha’er village in Qayara, before fleeing toward the Qaraj subdistrict in Makhmur. ​​ 

 

Hatra

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says four PMF fighters were killed and three others wounded in a Daesh attack near Maymouna village, south of Hatra.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says PMFs killed 3 Daesh suicide terrorists south of Hatra.​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

Thursday, the Military Intelligence Services announced the arrest of a “terrorist” in Zummar​​ in northern Tal Afar. The terrorist worked as a doctor for Daesh members who were wounded in the liberation campaigns.​​ [Ghad]​​ [IraqPress]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

KDP leader Masoud Barzani,​​ during a meeting with KRG parliament members,​​ reported that the two main driving forces behind the Kurds’ holding of the​​ independence​​ referendum were the “constitutional breach and​​ the​​ violation of partnership on the part of the Iraqi government,​​ [SotIraq]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It seems that​​ Mr.​​ Masoud just can’t let it go,​​ still defending his referendum constantly,​​ and​​ it seems also​​ that​​ the results of​​ his disastrous leadership on the issue have​​ not​​ changed his public posture that he is always right. However, the hostility he has incurred from others in Iraq (for example the story above under​​ National News) as well as the hostility from a growing number of Kurds still living in​​ financial​​ crisis, has cast his leadership in a different light.

 

Manager of the Warte​​ subdistrict reported that although 3 years have passed since Turkish planes shelled Zargali village​​ in​​ the Rawandoz district due to PKK​​ camp nearby,​​ which​​ displaced​​ dozens of families, only 9 IDP families have returned so far, as tensions and fears of renewed shelling continue. [BasNews]​​ 

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Manbij issue

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday that he and his US counterpart, Rex Tillerson, reached an agreement to resolve the crisis in Manbij city, saying ”Ankara will take joint steps with the US in Syria as soon as Kurdish militias leave the Syrian city of Manbij.” Cavusoglu stressed “the need to fulfill promises and commitments made by Washington on the ground, rather than just in the context of statements.” [Dorar]

Tillerson’s statement about the meeting, as reported by the pro-Erdogan Anadolu,​​ stressed the “mutual commitment of the​​ two​​ countries to ensure their security and defense as strategic allies and partners.” [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ After reading these two stories, we admit we still don’t know what Tillerson said to Cavusoglu about Manbij. If we are to accept Cavusoglu’s characterization of the meeting, the US has just caved in to Turkey on Manbij as it did (apparently to its immediate regret) in Afrin. However, this would seem to contradict General Funk’s recent statement that the US had no plans to leave Manbij. We also remember the recent statement by President Erdogan characterizing his telephone discussion with President Trump immediately after the Afrin invasion started, making it sound like Erdogan’s perspective was accepted. The truth was that Trump had called and​​ sharply criticized​​ his invasion.​​ 

So Mr. Secretary,​​ we appreciate that you are weary from all your travel, but​​ we hope you will issue a clarification about Manbi. We also​​ urge you,​​ in your own interests,​​ to avoid having any of your​​ future meetings defined​​ by the Turks.

 

Afrin issue

Sources in the YPG told Al-Mayadeen news that “executive procedures for the entry of the Syrian Army into [Afrin] city​​ have​​ begun, but the timing has not yet been determined.” Al-Mayadeen​​ reports that​​ they are “waiting for executive and logistic procedures”​​ and that​​ “the agreement was signed and only operational measures are needed. The various military authorities have taken​​ the​​ steps needed to deploy the Syrian Army’s soldiers in Afrin and in the surrounding area.” [Qasioun]

 

A​​ Russian spokesman​​ warned of the repercussions of the entry of the Syrian government’s forces​​ into Afrin.​​ Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee in Russia, said that​​ “The media reports indicate an alleged agreement between the Syrian government and the​​ Kurds for the introduction of Syrian forces to Afrin, which I do not think is correct. Estimates must be preliminary and cautions,”​​ he​​ said.​​ [Dorar]

 

A source close to the​​ PYD-defined “West Kurdistan Autonomous Administration​​ said​​ on Friday that there are ongoing meetings between regional and international parties to resolve the Afrin problem politically, “including Americans, Russians, Iranians, and​​ the​​ Autonomous​​ Administration.”​​ He said discussions revolve​​ around surrendering Afrin city to the​​ security forces and civil police of the Syrian government, and the exit of​​ all​​ military forces from the area entirely. The source said a French delegation is currently visiting Qamishli city to meet with​​ PYD​​ officials to discuss Afrin. [BasNews]​​ 

 

The Kurdish Salvation Movement, an anti-Assad militia,​​ expressed​​ its full support of Operation Olive Branch led by the Turkish Army and Syrian opposition factions, stressing their support for preserving​​ the integrity of Syria’s territory. [Qasioun]

 

United Nations

Sweden and Kuwait revealed a revised version of a draft resolution calling for a 1-month truce in Syria, circulated​​ to members of the Security Council. According to Agence France Presse, the truce will not include Daesh and Al-Qaeda and would allow the Syrian government forces to continue their military operations, especially in Idlib Province.

The draft resolution provides that the cease-fire shall enter into force 72 hours after its adoption by the Security Council and emergency humanitarian aid will be delivered 48 hours after the start of the ceasefire. A Security Council vote on the draft resolution is expected next week. [Hawar]

 

Friday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the failure of the de-escalation agreement reached by the guarantors in the Astana talks to calm the situation in Syria, adding that the conflict is reigniting in the country again. [Dorar]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

Between February 9th​​ and 15th​​ the Coalition conducted 39 strikes in Syria near Albu Kamal (35), near Deir Ez-Zor (2), and near Al-Shaddadi in Hasaka (2). [CentCom]

 

Member of the Diplomatic Relations Assembly in the PYD, Dara Mustafa, responded to Lebanese Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, who said on Friday that “we know that there is between $500-700 million under the title “Kurdish Protection” in the Pentagon’s budget. He urged Kurds to “learn from past experiences and realize that the US is using them as tools to implement its plans in the region, and they will sell you out in the slave market in the end.”​​ 

Mustafa said that “our view is different from Nasrallah’s; the US hasn’t bought us to sell us. There are clearly defined lines in cooperating with the US, considering it is an international power that seeks to lower the level of terrorism spreading in the region through Turkish-led terrorist groups,” and aid from the US was used to clear Kurdish areas from terrorism. Mustafa noted that Russia is using the Syrian government and its allies, and was able to gain a foothold in the Khmeimim base and vast areas of Syria. [BasNews]​​ 

 

Northwest

Afrin/Azaz

SOHR reports clashes between the Turkish forces and Kurdish​​ units​​ in Mahmudiya village south of Jinderes in southwestern Afrin. [SyriaHR]

 

Qasioun reports that the Turkish forces captured 5 villages​​ and have moved further into both the Rajo and Sheikh Hadid subdistricts​​ in western Afrin.​​ [Qasioun]​​ [Qasioun]

 

Pro-PYD​​ Hawar, but also other outlets,​​ report​​ that​​ 6 civilians were injured by suffocation as a result of Turkish bombing with chemical weapons in Aranda village. [Hawar]

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

More dueling reports:

Hawar reports that 40 young men joined the SDF in Al-Shaddadi District in the presence of the YPG and SDF after finishing training courses. The training courses are​​ just​​ 30 days in length, during which combatants receive military and war tactics​​ training. [Hawar]

However,​​ Dorar reports that the PYD launched a​​ wide​​ search for new recruits in Hasaka Province who fled the front lines after being forcibly recruited into the​​ YPG. Dorar reports that the PYD failed to find and arrest any of them.​​ [Dorar]

 

Raqqa

Raqqa city & district

Thursday, unknown assailants assassinated Ibrahim Al-Salama.​​ ​​ Al-Salama served as coordinator of negotiations between the SDF and Daesh in Raqqa Province. Al-Salama​​ suffered​​ a mysterious​​ explosion during the negotiation process, which led to the amputation of his leg. He was transferred to Iraq’s​​ Kurdistan Region to have a prosthetic leg attached. [Qasioun]

 

Central and West​​ (No reports)

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin

Friday, Syrian troops shelled SDF positions in Dhiban, east of the Euphrates. [Qasioun]

 

The Syrian Army announced that it found a​​ 500-meter-long​​ Daesh tunnel in Mayadin and surrounding villages that was used as Daesh’s headquarters and had stores of ammunition. [SyriaNow]

 

Albu Kamal

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Daesh arrested four men in the Hajin area after accusing them of cooperating with the SDF. The source the men were selling fuel when Daesh terrorists captured them and took them to an unknown location. Later on, the source says Daesh executed the four men.​​ 

Daesh says it captured several SDF positions near Abu Khater village, east of Hajin. [A3maq]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Coalition planes killed 11 Daesh terrorists, including an Iraqi commander, in an airstrike on the Sha’afa area.​​ 

 

Daesh says it killed eight SDF fighters, captured another, and captured a vehicle, weapons, and ammunition in an attack on SDF positions northeast of Al-Sha’afa, near the Iraq border. Daesh also says Coalition planes mistakenly bombed an SDF position northeast of Sha’afa, killing or wounding several fighters. [ICDNFeb16] [A3maq]​​ 

Daesh publishes photos of the attack. [ICDNFeb16] [ICDNFeb16]

Daesh issues a video of an SDF fighter it captured in the attack. [A3maq]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Deir Ez-Zor Military Council, an SDF faction, killed 3 Daesh terrorists who sneaked​​ into Bahra village.​​ 

Daesh publishes photos of battles with the SDF in West Bahra village. [ICDNFeb16]

Daesh says it killed two SDF fighters and wounded two others with rockets in Bahra. [A3maq]

Here Daesh says it killed two SDF fighters and wounded another with a rocket in Bahra. [A3maq]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Despite the boastful words, notice from these reports that Daesh is fighting from outside Bahra, a tacit admission that it does not control the village.​​ 

 

Daesh says its​​ snipers hit four Syrian soldiers near Baghouz Bridge, east of Albu Kamal city, on Thursday. [ICDNFeb16]​​ 

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

The Syrian Human Rights Network documented the killing of 729 civilians in eastern Ghouta during the past 3 months (through February 14) in shelling by the Syrian forces. [ZamanAlWasl]

 

SOHR reports clashes between Tahrir Al-Sham and Daesh in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp south of Damascus city. [SyriaHR]

Daesh says it captured 2 neighborhoods in the Yarmouk Camp after an attack on Tahrir Al-Sham, killing 5 Tahrir Al-Sham members, including 2 commanders, and capturing weapons and ammunition. [ICDNFeb16] [A3maq] [ICDNFeb16]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Lebanon

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that a new war between Hezbollah and Israel would be “the worst nightmare because it would mean the destruction of a large part of Lebanon.” Guterres said “we need a common vision in the Security Council for the situation in the Middle East.” [Anadolu]

 

North Africa

Morocco

The Moroccan Ministry of Defense​​ said that on Thursday it​​ arrested 3 dangerous individuals, aged 24-30​​ and​​ involved with Daesh. The MoD said “they are involved in incitement and have sought to gain experience in manufacturing explosives and IEDs.​​ Initial evidence indicates that one of these members had previously joined the Polisario​​ Front​​ separatists. Last week, a Moroccan official had announced that there is a connection between the Polisario and terrorist organizations in the region, which the​​ Front denies. [Quds]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The Polisario Front is a separatist organization fighting to end Moroccan control of the adjoining former Spanish colony of western Sahara.