An Update On ISIS Activities

January 8, 2018

 

Coalition Bombing South of Mosul

 

 

 

TODAY’S MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

EU leader outlines reconstruction strategy for Iraq. [..]

Turkmen vs. Kurd argument rages on in Tuz Khurmatu. [..]

Command of Salahuddin-Diyala border operation declares success. [..]

Bodies of 20 women found in west Mosul mass grave. Another mass grave found in Tal Afar. [..]

Six Daesh terrorists arrested for deadly​​ September​​ attack in​​ Dhi Qar. [..]

 

Syria

Several Daesh commanders reported enjoying life in Turkey. [..]

Clashes between Syrian Army & Tahrir Al-Sham continue in southern Idlib. [..]

Civilian death toll rising from Syrian Army-Tahrir Al-Sham​​ fighting near​​ Damascus. [..]

 

Afghanistan

Military operation kills 72 Daesh, Taliban fighters in eastern Afghanistan. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Reconstruction

Monday, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the​​ European​​ Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy​​ and​​ Vice-President of the European Commission,​​ put forward​​ a Joint Communication proposing an EU strategy for Iraq. The proposal outlines both ongoing and longer term EU support to the country, fully taking into account the Iraqi government’s priorities. Federica said: “Iraq is at a crossroads in its history following the territorial defeat of Daesh at great sacrifice.​​ It is now crucial to act quickly and rebuild the country with the participation of all the components of Iraqi society, to promote and protect fundamental rights and the rule of law in each and every area. . . .This needs international support and we are ready to contribute, to keep supporting the Iraqi people and government in these challenges.” The strategy focuses on delivering continued EU humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people and facilitating the stabilization of areas liberated from Daesh, with three million displaced Iraqis still unable to return home. It also seeks to address the longer term reform, reconstruction and reconciliation efforts that Iraq needs to pursue in order to consolidate peace and build a united, democratic country in which all citizens can fully enjoy their rights in greater prosperity. [Anadolu

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Monday, ROJ News reported that the Iraqi parliament voted to ban the Kurdish engineering company Kar Group from operating oilfields in Kirkuk, after lawmakers in the Iraqi Parliament claimed the Kurdish firm “refused to cooperate” with Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company (NOC) regarding the handing over of the Khurmala oilfield. The parliament authorized NOC to take over production and export operations at the field. In addition, parliament requested the Iraqi central bank to track down cash deposited at banks outside Iraq that​​ were​​ generated from Kurdish oil exports. It asked the central bank to draft a detailed report on the names of banks used to deposit the cash. [ROJ] [Kurdistan24]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

The Iraqi Police Command said on Monday that its forces seized explosives​​ and​​ arrested several people on different charges in Baghdad. [Rudaw]

 

Southeast​​ (Mada’in, etc.)

A Police source says an​​ IED exploded​​ near a street market​​ wounding three civilians in Nahrawan in southeast Baghdad. [Sumaria]

 

West​​ (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

Monday, the BOC announced that its security units seized 40 IEDs left behind by Daesh in the Shurtan area in west Baghdad. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Total Baghdad incidents reported:  ​​​​ 3(Includes only incidents reported)

Total IED incidents reported:  ​​​​ 2

 

ANBAR

Ramadi

Tribal PMF commander, Ismail Al-Dhiabi announced that dozens of Daesh families​​ have​​ returned to liberated Ramadi areas, especially Albu Mahal and Sufiya, and that there are political and governmental entities providing protection to those families, despite legal complaints and tribal opposition​​ to​​ the return of “the terrorist cells.” Al-Dhiabi​​ says​​ the majority of these families are blacklisted for security reasons. [BasNews]​​ 

 

Daesh says it damaged a PMF Humvee with an IED, wounding an officer in the Albu Dhiab area on Sunday. [A3maq]​​ 

 

Hit/Haditha

Monday, the CTS announced that its units located a Daesh ammunition depot in Hit. The depot contained 59 explosive wire rollers, 52 SPG9 rockets, 3 Kalashnikov depots, 24 mortar shells, 11 IEDs, 18 boxes of ammunition, 9 guided missiles,​​ and​​ 9 KG of TNT, among other explosives.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

Daesh said it killed two PMF fighters in clashes near Al-Hanka village, south of Shirqat, on Thursday. [A3maq]​​ 

 

Baiji

Saturday, the PMF say they killed 7 Daesh terrorists in Makhoul District.​​ [Forat]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 80 displaced families returned to their houses in Baiji, after an agreement with the PMF units in the area.​​ 

 

Tikrit

Monday, PMF commander Jabbar Al-Maamouri revealed that Daesh executed some of its​​ own​​ members in Mtaibija because they refused to carry out suicide attacks. Al-Maamouri added that Daesh is struggling to find militants for suicide attacks,​​ either​​ local or foreign.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Eastern Salahuddin (Al-Daur,​​ Tooz)

Sunday, PMF commander Ali Al-Husseini announced that Tuz Khurmatu was attacked by mortar shells launched from the mountainous areas “which are controlled by a group of separatists.” Al-Husseini added at the time of the report that 10 rockets had fallen since Sunday morning.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

A spokesman for the PMF and Deputy Chairman of the Tuz Khurmatu Council Ali Hashem Al-Husseini says separatist gangs associated with​​ what he called​​ the “Barzani militia” shelled neighborhoods​​ in​​ Tuz​​ Khurmatu​​ with mortars, causing panic among residents of the neighborhoods, although not causing injuries or casualties so far. The PMFs​​ have responded to the​​ separatists​​ with artillery and are continuing to track the sources of the shelling, according to Al-Husseini. [PressIraq]

 

Monday, Turkmen representative Memar Uglu said in a press conference that the shelling against civilians is an act of​​ retaliation​​ by​​ Daeshaffiliated​​ (Kurdish)​​ parties for the October 16 events to impose the rule of law​​ because of​​ the Kurdish parties’ failure to administer disputed areas. [Ghad]

 

Monday, Kirkuk representative Shakhwan Abdullah said in a press conference that the violations in Tuz Khurmatu​​ have​​ included setting buildings on fire, looting of houses, and “even rape,” which were all reported to concerned parties. He added that the Turkmen PMF has voted​​ to​​ form an investigation committee to stop violations. [Sumaria]

 

Monday, Turkmen representative in the CoR, Mohammed Jafar, announced the deaths of 2 civilians and the wounding of dozens of others in mortar shelling on​​ residential areas in Tuz Khurmatu, and​​ accused “Kurdish gangs” of carrying out the operations. Jafar called on Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to send security forces to those areas immediately.

 

In a press conference on Monday, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said the CoR’s decision concerning the formation of an investigation committee to look into the Tuz Khurmatu events and holding the perpetrators accountable is “an important step.” Barzani warned of “Arabization attempts” in Kirkuk and added that he “hopes Baghdad will put an end to the Arabization and​​ the​​ problems in Kirkuk.”  [Rudaw]

 

Daesh said on Sunday it killed an Iraqi Army officer, wounded other soldiers, and destroyed a vehicle with an IED in Al-Qurshiya village, east of Suleiman Bek. [A3maq]​​ 

 

DIYALA

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 11 fighters from Al-Nujaba’ Movement were killed in a Daesh ambush in the Himrin Mountains area on Saturday.​​ 

 

A security source in Diyala said 4 Daesh bodies were found on the border with Salahuddin. [Sumaria]

 

Monday, the Diyala Police Command announced the arrest of 12 wanted suspects during security operations in various parts of Diyala, 2 of them arrested on charges of terrorism. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

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

Monday, ROJ reported that PMF units attacked the Zinana vicinity in Kifri with mortar shells and helicopter airstrikes. The PMF says it was responding to mortar shelling on Tuz Khurmatu from Kurdish areas that led to the deaths of 6 civilians. [ROJ]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment. ​​​​ This is related directly to the stories about Tuz Khurmatu above, under Eastern Salahuddin. Tuz Khurmatu is an especially contentious disputed area because of the hostility of the Turkmen to Kurdish efforts to control it and eventually move it into Kirkuk and thereby into Kurdistan. The movement of Iraqi Army and PMF troops into Tuz Khurmatu has thus frustrated the Kurds but emboldened the Turkmen.

 

Commander of Tigris Operations Lt. Gen. Mizher Al-Azzawi announced the end of military operations on the border between Diyala and Salahuddin in the Al-Maita Basin. [Sumaria]

According to a PMF statement, a comprehensive operation was launched on Monday morning to track and hunt down Daesh cells from four sides in Al-Maita, Albu Awad, and Albu Bakr in northern Al-Udhaim in Diyala, as part of the operations to track Daesh that have been taking place over the past 5 days by the 23rd​​ and 24th​​ brigades of the PMF with participation from the Iraqi Army. [Knooz

 

Monday, a security source reported that 8 Daesh guesthouses were destroyed in Hawi Al-Udhaim. The source added that security units located a rigged vehicle in the Al-Maita basin, which was detonated under control. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Monday, an unnamed security source in Diyala reported that a joint security unit discovered 4 bodies of Daesh militants in the western side of Hawi Al-Udhaim on the border between Diyala and​​ Salahuddin. The source added that the Daesh members had been killed in IAA airstrikes in the past days. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Monday, a security source in Diyala reported that a joint security unit captured and destroyed a rigged car in the Al-Maita basin on the border with Salahuddin. The source added that security units defused 8 IEDs planted in agricultural areas in Al-Maita.  [Sumaria]

 

Daesh publishes photos of targeting the Udhaim police station with mortars. [ICDNJan8]

 

Eyewitnesses say Daesh attacked the Iraqi Police south of Qara Tapa on Saturday and violent clashes broke out. [SotIraq]

 

Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)

Saturday, the Diyala governor said that​​ the house of the tribal leader of the Al-Nida area was attacked by a​​ parked vehicle bomb and by a suicide terrorist. He said a woman and a man were killed in the attack. [Sumaria]

Daesh said one of its foreign suicide terrorists attacked a tribal gathering in the Al-Nida area with an explosives vest on Saturday. It also says it detonated a parked car bomb on the same gathering. The targeted house belongs to the tribal leader of the area. [A3maq] [ICDNJan7]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Monday, a security source says unidentified gunmen in four-wheel drive vehicles opened fire on the Arab Tribes headquarters in Kirkuk. Several people were injured in the attack.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

The PMF announced on Saturday that security forces had finished clearing 70% of the Zegheitoun Valley west of Kirkuk city.​​ [PressIraq]

 

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

Monday, a PMF source reported that the PMF arrested Khaled Khamis, also known as “Wali​​ Daesh” in Hawija, in addition of a number of​​ khatibs​​ (persons who deliver sermons) in clearing operations​​ along​​ the borders of Hawija, Rashad, and Zarqa. The source added that security units and the PMF completely cleared the areas adjacent to Hawija, Rashad, and the Himrin Mountains, adding that 5 rigged vehicles were destroyed during the search and clearing operations.​​ [Etejah]​​ 

​​ [PressIraq]

 

Saturday, Commander of the 11th​​ brigade Ali Al-Hamdani announced that 25 villages in the vicinity of Hawija city were cleared and a number of suspects were arrested.​​ [IraqPress]

 

NINEWA

Mosul

East Mosul

Daesh said on Saturday it shot and killed the mukhtar of Hay Al-Intisar. It also said it killed two Military Intelligence​​ personnel​​ in Hay Sumer. [A3maq]​​ 

 

West​​ Mosul

Monday, police officer Omar Al-Hajjar announced the discovery of a mass​​ grave containing the bodies of 20 women with signs of torture in west Mosul. Al-Hajjar​​ said​​ that the women were killed by Daesh units as they tried to escape to east Mosul during the liberation campaign.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ [Buratha]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that IFP units arrested 4 Kata’eb Hezbollah members who refused to close down their office in Hay Al-Shuhada. The Ninewa Operations Command had issued orders recently to close down all militia offices in Mosul. The source says the 4 members were released after they signed a​​ written pledge not to reopen the office.​​ ​​ 

 

Ninewa PC Deputy​​ Chairman, Noureddin Qablan, told Al-Sabah newspaper that 400 Mosul families returned from the southern Mosul camps to their homes in Old Mosul on Sunday evening. Qablan added that the security units which supervised the transportation buses also provided smaller vehicles and other necessities for transporting the returned families to their​​ own​​ homes. Qablan also said that this was the first batch of returning families in 2018, and there will be more in the next few days.​​ [Xendan]​​ 

 

Daesh said it killed an Iraqi government “spy” in Hay Al-Arabi, on Saturday. [A3maq]​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Hammam Al-Alil

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Coalition planes killed several Daesh terrorists near Shakir village. The source sent photos of the dead terrorists.

 

Western Ninewa

Tal Afar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says security units found a mass grave with many Daesh victims, including former policemen, south of Tal Afar. The source sent photos of the mass grave.​​ 

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Dhi Qar

Dhi Qar Governor Yahya Al-Nasiri announced the arrest of 6 terrorists​​ from “Wilaya Al-Janoub” (the southern state) of Daesh,​​ who were involved in bombing a restaurant and the Fadak checkpoint in Nasiriya in mid-September 2017. The head of the Dhi Qar PC called for execution of​​ the Daesh members involved in the attack. Al-Nasiri added that the Daesh members admitted to carrying out attacks in Baghdad, Basra, Muthanna, Al-Diwaniya,​​ and​​ Najaf, as​​ well as the attack in​​ Dhi Qar, which killed and wounded 177 people. Al-Nasiri also said the arrests took place over several phases during operations targeting guesthouses of “Wilaya Al-Janoub” in the Anbar desert. [Mada]​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

Monday, the KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said that committees have been formed to settle the issue related to paying salaries of the employees at the Kurdish ministries of health and education. He added that the resources of the region are not sufficient to pay the salaries of the​​ KRG employees. The Kurdish leader expressed the KRG readiness to coordinate with Baghdad to settle this issue. Meanwhile, Barzani​​ characterized the Iraqi Parliament’s decision to ban Kurdish engineering company Kar Group from operating oilfields in Kirkuk as a wrong decision. [ROJ]

 

Eyewitnesses say Turkish warplanes bombed border areas in Erbil in the area of Khawakarak, targeting PKK militants. [Sumaria]

 

DAHUK

Monday, ROJ News reported that the Turkish forces carried out airstrikes on​​ PKK targets in​​ Barbula village in Zakho District,​​ in​​ northwest Dahuk province. [ROJ]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that Harbi Yaseen Amash, a Daesh commander from the Shirqat area, was seen in Istanbul. The source sent photos of the terrorist taken in a public place in Istanbul. The source also says that several Daesh commanders, who fled the south Damascus area, have arrived in Turkey. The source says the terrorists paid bribes to government soldiers in order to flee. ​​ 

 

Monday, Turkish security forces arrested the Daesh commander of “Wilaya​​ Qaysari” (Wasat) who held an​​ imam​​ position​​ with​​ Daesh, according to Anadolu. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir​​ Bozdag announced on Monday that the state of emergency in Turkey will be extended another 3 months. [Sumaria]

 

In a statement released on Monday, Turkey’s​​ Ministry of Interior​​ announced that Turkish​​ troops “neutralized​​ 17 PKK terrorists in 729 counterterrorism operations between Jan. 1 and 7. During the operations, 112 suspects were arrested on charges of aiding and abetting the terrorist PKK group, while 46 were taken into custody for alleged links to Daesh, according to the statement. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

The Syrian government is seeking to form a delegation of people from Al-Jazeera Province in northeastern Syria to go to the peace conference in Sochi. The Syrian government is planning to make a delegation with Kurdish, Arab, and Christian members, along with members from other components of Syria’s society. Meanwhile, The Kurdish government institutions in Qamishli city in northeastern Syria have nominated 120 people to participate in the Sochi conference.​​ [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The obvious strategy here is to undermine the PYD’s claim to represent the population of northern Syria by assembling a group of people who don’t support them. Indeed, the PYD has always had opponents, and it has acted high-handedly at times.

 

Monday, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced that Russian air defense forces defeated an attack by 13 drones on its Khmeimim air base and Tartus naval bases in Syria. The ministry said in a statement that 10 drones attempted to attack Khmeimim Air Base, while three attempted to attack Tartus. The ministry also confirmed that the attack had resulted in no casualties among Russian military personnel, and the two bases “continue to operate as normal.” [Dorar]

 

Sunday, the PMF announced the deaths of 8 Daesh members in a rocket shelling that targeted a Daesh gathering in Syria. The PMF statement said that the 28th​​ brigade detected movements of Daesh members in east Dahhaj village​​ who​​ were planning to carry out terrorist attacks on the Iraqi-Syrian border.​​ [Mawazin]

 

Bas News reported that the YPG in Syria published a video of the confessions of the French Daesh member called “Emily Koenig” who had played a significant role in online recruitment and spreading Daesh propaganda since joining their ranks in Syria in 2012. Koenig was listed on a UN watch list and on the US State Department terrorist list.​​ [BasNews]

 

Al-Qaeda officially announced the existence of one of its branches in Syria, although it did not announce the name of its new formation in Syria or any other details about it. [Arabi21]

 

Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa)​​ (No reports)

 

Northwest

Idlib/Aleppo

Turkish Anadolu News quoted a military source as saying that Afghan elements believed to be from the militia of the​​ Iran-controlled Afghan​​ Fatimoun brigade took control of Sinjar​​ town​​ under intensive Russian aircover, putting pro-government militias only 18​​ km (11 miles) from Abu​​ Al-Dhuhur airport in eastern​​ Idlib. [Qasioun]

 

A Syrian government official commented on Monday about the losses of the Fatimoun militia that were recently revealed by Iranian media, saying​​ that​​ “what is being published about the existence of a brigade called Fatimoun that is made up of Afghani elements is untrue and it is shameful to give the impression that there are thousands of them. The official added “How many elements are there in this brigade, which kills 2,000 people and has wounded 8,000 and is still on the battlefield?” The official claims that the​​ numbers​​ of​​ Fatimoun​​ volunteers who have come to Syria to fight with the government are in the dozens, not the hundreds,​​ and these reports are inflating intelligence information. [Dorar]

 

Tahrir Al-Sham killed more than 20 pro-government fighters​​ in the Al-Zahra’ neighborhood north​​ of Aleppo city. [Dorar]

 

Tahrir Al-Sham announced on Monday that​​ it​​ carried out a surprise attack on the Syrian forces in rural southern Idlib by disguising themselves as Syrian​​ Army​​ members and attacking from within the Syrian forces’ positions.​​ [Dorar]

 

Monday, Qasioun reported that more than 59 civilians were killed, including 35 in a car bomb explosion in Idlib and 24 others in Russian and Syrian airstrikes on Kafr Nabl, Al-Sheikh Ahmed, Al-Ghadfa, Kansafra, Al-Fa’alul and Abu​​ Al-Dhuhur. [Qasioun]

 

Monday, Dorar reported that a Turkish military vehicle exploded near Darat Azza, northwest​​ of Aleppo city near southern Idlib. Meanwhile, a Turkish military convey was targeted with a rocket in Zarzita village,​​ northwest of Darat Azza, with​​ no​​ reports of causalities. [Dorar]

 

Monday, Dorar reported that​​ the Turkestan Islamic Group militia​​ sent military reinforcements, including dozens of military vehicles, tanks and heavy machineguns, to several front line​​ locations in rural southern and eastern Idlib in order to repel the Syrian forces’ advance in the region. [Dorar]

 

Central and West (Homs,​​ Hama,​​ etc.)

Hama

Sunday, the Syrian opposition​​ militia​​ Jaish Al-Ezza announced it shot down a Russian reconnaissance drone in Lataminah,​​ north​​ of​​ Hama​​ city. [Qasioun]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says a Syrian soldier was killed and another wounded when an IED exploded on their vehicle in Mayadin city.​​ 

 

Albu Kamal

Daesh said on Sunday its snipers killed four SDF fighters in Al-Bahra village, northwest of Hajin. It also said it destroyed an SDF SUV with a rocket near the same village. [A3maq] [A3maq]​​ 

Daesh published photos of targeting SDF units in the village with mortars. [ICDNJan7]

Daesh said on Saturday it killed five SDF fighters in clashes near the village. [A3maq]​​ 

Daesh publishes photos of battles near the village. [ICDNJan8]​​ 

 

Daesh publishes photos of targeting SDF positions northeast of Hajin with mortars. [ICDNJan8]​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 3 Hezbollah fighters were killed and others wounded when an IED exploded on their vehicle in Albu Kamal.​​ 

 

Daesh said on Saturday that a group of its terrorists attacked SDF positions near Al-Kashkiya village, killing seven fighters, before returning safely. [ICDNJan6]​​ 

 

Daesh said on Sunday it destroyed a Syrian Army tank with a rocket in Al-Abbas village, northeast of Albu Kamal. [A3maq]​​ 

Daesh publishes photos of targeting an SDF vehicle with a rocket east of Al-Shaafa village​​ near Albu Kamal city. [ICDNJan8]

Daesh publishes photos of targeting SDF positions near Gharanij with mortars. [ICDNJan8]​​ 

Daesh publishes photos of its “air defense units” shooting at Coalition planes near Gharanij. [ICDNJan6]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Monday, SOHR reported that more than 280 people have been killed since Tahrir Al-Sham and the Ahrar Al-Sham militia launched their attack on the Syrian forces in Harasta on the 29th​​ of December, 2017. [SyriaHR]

 

Sunday, SOHR reported that the Syrian forces managed to open a corridor for their members inside the Vehicle Department​​ near​​ Harasta,​​ who have been​​ besieged by Tahrir Al-Sham, Ahrar Al-Sham and Al-Rahman Corps. [SyriaHR]

 

Monday, Enab Baladi reported that at least 21 civilians were killed by Syrian forces’ aerial and artillery bombardment of the Eastern Ghouta cities and towns of Douma, Utaya, Hamouriya, Saqba, and Madeira. [EnabBaladi] [Anadolu]

 

Monday, a source in the Damascus Police said that armed groups in Eastern Ghouta launched two rockets on the Toma Neighborhood in Damascus. A woman was injured in the attack. [SyriaNow]

 

Daesh publishes photos of its terrorists south of Damascus. [ICDNJan6]

 

Daesh publishes photos of rain in the Yarmouk Basin area. [ICDNJan7]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Jordan/Lebanon

Monday, Jordan’s state news agency (Petra) says the country’s intelligence service has foiled a massive terrorist scheme, planned by a Daesh-backed cell. The agency​​ said​​ that the cell planned to carry out attacks last November. It said that security forces arrested 17 people and seized weapons and other materials. [Anadolu]

 

Saudi Arabia/Yemen

Daesh said on Sunday it killed 3 Houthi fighters in Yemen with an IED in Qifa. [A3maq]​​ 

 

Israel

Monday, Israeli internal security announced that with help from the Israeli police, two Arab-Israeli women in the Negev desert were arrested on charges of communicating with Daesh members abroad and planning to carry out attacks on Israelis. [Elaph]

 

North Africa

Egypt

According to an Egyptian security source, Anadolu reported on Monday that three militiamen were killed, and two Egyptian army recruits were wounded during security raids in central Sinai. Meanwhile, 8 terrorists were reportedly killed in a security crackdown in the North Sinai city of Arish, according to a local security source.​​ [Anadolu]

 

Daesh sources said on Sunday that an Egyptian police captain died of wounds he sustained in a Daesh attack in Arish few days earlier. [ICDNJan7]​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that Zakariya Satam Al-Jubouri, aka Abu Ishaq Al-Iraqi, is now a senior Daesh leader in North Sinai. The source says Jubouri, who used to be the​​ wali​​ of Al-Zab,​​ appeared​​ in the latest Daesh publication from North Sinai.​​ 

 

Tunisia

Sunday, the Tunisian Preventive Security Department of the National Guard in Kasserine, Tunisia, in coordination with the National Unit for the Investigation of Terrorist Crimes,​​ arrested 30 members of a​​ takfiri​​ group residing in Kasserine. [Tunisien]

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

EUROPE

Germany

According to Reuters, German officials estimate that 1,000 German nationals have​​ joined Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Interior Ministry State Secretary Emily Haber said that “a low three-digit number of minors is expected” to return to Germany. Reuters pointed out that German officials have “concerns about the radicalization of minors.”​​ [Sumaria] [Reuters]

Germany’s​​ Green Party reports that Germany expects more than 100 minors​​ whose parents joined Daesh​​ to return from Iraq and Syria. [Sumaria]

 

France

Monday, after the French government said that it did not intend to repatriate French nationals suspected to have fought for Daesh and suggested that they should stand trial locally, the International Federation for Human Rights and the French Human Rights League expressed concern that foreign nationals may not receive fair trials in accordance with international human rights​​ from​​ Kurdish​​ authorities​​ in northern Syria. [Shafaaq]

 

France’s​​ Minister of Interior Gerard Collomb announced on Monday that 20 terrorist attacks were thwarted in France in 2017. [Anadolu]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

The Afghan Ministry of Defense reported that 72 Taliban and Daesh assailants were killed and an approximately equal number wounded in military operations in 13​​ areas. [Sumaria]

 

The 201st​​ Silab Corps of the Afghan Army reported on Monday that 12 Daeshaffiliated militants were killed and 30 others wounded in artillery shelling and airstrikes in eastern Kunar province. The source added that Daesh militants had carried out a coordinated attack on the local Afghan police in Soki,​​ to which the Afghan​​ Army​​ responded. [Ghad]

Daesh said on Sunday it attacked pro-government militiamen in Kunar killing 15 fighters, wounding 27, destroying 6 Humvees and 4 military positions, and capturing several areas. [ICDNJan7]

 

Daesh published photos of the “graduation” of a group of its terrorists in a camp in Kunar. [ICDN]

 

Pakistan

Monday, Pakistani police arrested a Daesh member in Punjab as he attempted to carry out a terrorist operation against a “sensitive target,” according to a police official who added that security forces seized an IED and other explosives that were in the man’s possession. [SPA

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

Daesh published a propaganda video about its battles in the Deir Ez-Zor area. [ICDNJan6]

January 5, 2018

Deir Ez-Zor Province

 

 

 

TODAY’S MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Al-Abadi proposes to unify the Iraqi armed forces​​ under one command.​​ [..]

Iraq & KRG will start negotiating oil issues shortly. [..]

Iraq closes Ramadi IDP camp, as all its inhabitants have returned home. [..]

Hawija security sweep kills 50 Daesh fighters, forces 35 Daesh families out. [..]

IDP commander says 1/2 of Mosul streets now restored to pre-Daesh level. [..]

 

Turkey

Turkey arrested 4,765 Daesh members in 2017. [..]

 

Syria

Erdogan re-emphasizes opposition to Assad continuing in power. [..]

Brett McGurk thanks SDF fighters for their sacrifices and accomplishments. [..]

Coalition launched 54 airstrikes in Albu Kamal in past week. [..]

Syrian forces have now captured 14 villages in southeastern Idlib. [..]

Daesh Daily source says Iraqi militiamen looted houses in Mayadin. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

US suspends most of its military assistance to Pakistan. [..]

Iran’s Foreign Minister blames Trump, Saudis for internal violence. [..]​​ 

 

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh Campaign

British Minister of Defence Gavin Williamson said on Thursday that his government is committed to continuing its work with the Coalition to hunt down extremist fighters in Syria and Iraq. He​​ also said​​ that the UK is determined to win the online war with Daesh and prevent their propaganda from recruiting more extremist fighters or causing more attacks against innocent people. Williamson signed a statement of intent with Iraq’s​​ Defense Minister Irfan Al-Hayali to invest $13.5 million to boost Iraqi counterterrorism efforts. [Arabiya]

 

Between December 29, 2017, and January 4, 2018, the Coalition conducted​​ 4​​ strikes in Iraq,​​ near Baiji (2) and Mosul (2). [CentCom]

 

Reconstruction

Friday, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi called on Iraq to maintain the victory Iraq has achieved by unifying the army, the PMF, and the Peshmerga, as well as other armed forces. He stated that Iraq is capable of rising to the same levels as other developed countries. [Rudaw]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Iraqi Minister of Oil Jabbar Al-Luaibi announced that Al-Abadi is prepared to hold negotiations with the KRG on​​ oil and expects consultations to start in the coming days. [Rudaw]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

Northeast​​ (Adhamiya, etc.)

The Ministry of Defense announced that​​ detachments​​ of the Department of Intelligence and Security in Baghdad arrested the so-called information officer of Daesh’s “Wilaya Diyala” in Adhamiya.​​ [Sumaria]

 

West​​ (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

A security source reported on Friday that five civilians were injured in a roadside bomb explosion in the Radwaniya area in western Baghdad.​​ [Baghdadia]

 

ANBAR

Ramadi

At the end of December 2017, the government of Anbar closed​​ its​​ first​​ IDP​​ camp,​​ in Ramadi,​​ after all of its inhabitants had been returned to their liberated areas.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Anah​​ (including Rawa)/Al-Qa’im

An adviser​​ on displaced​​ persons to the Governor of Anbar,​​ Mazen Khalid,​​ announced the return of​​ 160 families to western parts of Al-Qa’im District on Friday.​​ [Sumaria]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says a Tribal PMF commander was killed in clashes with Daesh north of Shirqat.​​ 

 

Baiji

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source sent us​​ photos, taken from the mobile phone of a captured Daesh member, showing a group of terrorists hiding in the Makhoul Mountains area.​​ 

 

Tikrit

The Ministry of Defense announced on Friday the discovery of 7 Daesh​​ hideouts​​ in Salahuddin Province, saying in a statement “The Salahuddin Operations Command has launched a large-scale operation​​ in​​ Al-Jazeera west of Tikrit to gather information on the presence of a group of terrorists in the villages of Al-Joza and Al-Shiha.” The Ministry announced that 3 Daesh members were spotted in the Tigris River and killed, including one wearing an explosives​​ belt.​​ [Baghdadia]

 

Eastern Salahuddin (Al-Daur,​​ Tooz)

Badr Secretary General Hadi Al-Amiri pledged to respond to the demands of the Tuz Khurmatu residents concerning the withdrawal of the PMF and allowing the displaced​​ residents​​ to return within a week. [Rudaw]

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Daesh says it wounded an Iraqi Intelligence officer with a sticky IED under his vehicle in the Qatoun area, west of Baquba. [A3maq]​​ 

 

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

A security source said on Friday that 3 Daesh members were killed during a security operation in the Albu Awad area​​ in Udhaim,​​ along​​ the border between Diyala and Salahuddin. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)

The​​ tribal elders and dignitaries of Al-Nida rallied to declare a tribal war on Daesh sleeper cells. They say the​​ Al-Nida Basin, west of Mandali, has seen the worst security breaches compared to other parts of Diyala in terms of the presence of Daesh sleeper cells, long periods of violence, assassinations, kidnappings, and extortion of civilians.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

A security source says an unknown gunman assassinated a lawyer late Thursday night in eastern Kirkuk in an Arab-majority neighborhood. This is the 2nd​​ assassination in Kirkuk in one week. [BasNews]

 

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

A local source said on Friday that more than 50 terrorists were killed and dozens arrested as a result of the search and clear operations​​ in​​ liberated areas of southwest Kirkuk and eastern Salahuddin on Thursday, specifically Hawija​​ city, Riyadh, Abbasi, Al-Zab, Qata Al-Zarqa, and the Himrin Hills.​​ [Etejah]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says tribal leaders kicked out 35 Daesh families from Hawija to the Daquq​​ IDP​​ camp. The source also says security units captured 25 Daesh terrorists, including 3 local commanders, in the Hawija area.​​ 

 

NINEWA

The​​ Chairman​​ of the Ninewa Provincial Council thanked Iraqi PM Haider Al-Abadi for agreeing to open the international road between Mosul and Dahuk,​​ saying that​​ establishing​​ normal​​ control​​ will​​ facilitate movement between the two​​ jurisdictions. [Rudaw]

 

Mosul

IFP​​ Commander Brigadier Louay Jawad said 50% of the streets and roads in Mosul, including​​ Old Mosul,​​ have been rehabilitated to​​ the level​​ they were​​ at​​ before Daesh, which he credited​​ to the engineering efforts​​ in the city.​​ [Baghdadia]

 

East Mosul

A security source said on Friday that 3 terrorists belonging to Al-Qaeda were arrested in east Mosul. They​​ were found hiding in a tunnel.​​ [Baghdadia]

 

A security source said on Friday that security services arrested 3 people hiding in a house in east Mosul.​​ [Etejah]

 

West​​ Mosul

A police source says Iraqi Federal Police found 20 bodies of young people, including that of a Daesh terrorist, in Old Mosul. The police source says the bodies bore signs of torture.​​ [Etejah]

 

Southern Ninewa

Qayara

A security source said on Thursday that 4 Daesh members were killed in a village west of Qayara. [Ghad]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Thursday, Turkish authorities announced the arrests​​ of 26 people suspected of belonging to Daesh in different cities in Turkey. Turkish authorities announced on Thursday that Turkey arrested 4,765 suspected Daesh members in 2017, 1,447 of​​ them​​ in Istanbul. [Kuna]

 

The Turkish Gendarmerie arrested 2 Daesh members as they tried to infiltrate from Syria into Turkey on Friday, according to security sources. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Turkish President Recep Erdogan​​ reiterated his position that Bashir Al-Assad should not be allowed to retain his position as President of Syria. Erdogan​​ said on Friday that the​​ “guarantor”​​ countries will continue the Astana talks to reach a solution in Syria without Bashar Al-Assad. “We will continue discussion with Astana to reach a solution without [Al-Assad]. We do not want a solution with [Al-Assad], we want a democratic Syria and we want the Syrian people to impose their own will on the fait accompli,” said Erdogan.​​ 

Returning to his favorite subject,​​ Erdogan​​ insisted that​​ Ankara “will not allow the PYD terrorist organizations to reach the Mediterranean Sea,” calling on “the countries of the world to fight these terrorist organizations”​​ and​​ saying that “unfortunately America still supports them (the PYD) with weapons.” [Dorar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ As the “guarantor” countries include Russia and Iran, we are not confident that the Astana and other conferences designed to pre-empt decisions of the UN-sponsored conferences that are unlikely to favor Assad will have the result that Erdogan says he expects. It would help, however, if he would maintain​​ this​​ public​​ stance on Assad and see that his real interests lie in working with the US and Turkey’s other NATO allies​​ who support him on this issue.​​ 

 

Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron called for Western nations to play a greater role in ending the war in Syria, saying the crisis cannot be resolved by just “a few” foreign powers. He added that the international community should “not give ground to certain powers which think that just a few, recognizing one part of the opposition from the outside, will be able to find a stable and lasting solution for the situation in Syria.” “In this context, the United Nations, regional powers, Europe and the United States have a great responsibility, and I will fully commit… to succeeding in building the peace in Syria,” he told the diplomatic corps in Paris. [Dorar]

 

Special Envoy Brett McGurk thanked​​ the SDF fighters, saying “the sacrifices of these fighters resulted in the liberation of 50,000​​ sq km from the grip of Daesh.” [Rudaw]

 

In a statement published on his Telegram account Thursday, Abdul Razzaq Al-Mahdi, a Syrian anti-government Islamist cleric and a former Tahrir Al-Sham​​ sharia judge, called on the opposition groups in northern Syria and Ghouta to “shell the Russian Khmeimim airbase and the Syrian military airports​​ from which warplanes take off​​ with Grad rockets,​​ as they have destroyed everything.” ​​ [Qasioun]

 

Between December 29, 2017, and January 4, 2018, the Coalition conducted 54 strikes in Syria,​​ all in or​​ near Albu Kamal. [CentCom]

 

Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa)

Raqqa

Raqqa city& district

In a statement released on its official website Thursday, the PYD said its troops​​ killed 14 “terrorists” during a security operation in Al-Karama town in rural eastern Raqqa. According to the statement, the “terrorists” were planning to attack the PYD checkpoints and the IDP camp in Al-Mabrouka in rural Hasaka. [ZamanAlWasl]

 

Northwest

Idlib

Friday, SOHR reported that the Syrian forces captured Idlib’s southeastern villages of Al-Mashhad, Mreijeb Al-Mashhad, Tal Khazna and Um Rajim, following clashes with Islamic opposition groups, bringing the total villages captured by the Syrian Forces in rural southeastern Idlib to​​ at least​​ 14 villages over the last 24 hours. [SyriaHR]

 

Friday, Araby 21 reported that under the cover of intense Russian airstrikes, the Syrian forces captured Al-Khawin village in rural southeastern Idlib. [Arabi21]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 4 Daesh terrorists were killed in a failed assassination attempt on a Nusra commander in Idlib.​​ 

 

Thursday, Iba’a reported that Tahrir Al-Sham raided a Daesh hideout In Al-Halbeh village in southeastern Idlib, killing 3 Daesh members and seizing some IEDs, explosives​​ belts and ammunition, according to Saad Al-Din Mohammed, a Tahrir Al-Sham security official. [Qasioun]

 

Friday, SOHR reported that violent clashes resumed between the Syrian forces and Tahrir Al-Sham, after the latter foiled a Syrian forces​​ attempt to capture Sheikh Baraka village, with reports of casualties on both sides. [SyriaHR]

 

Qasioun reported that the Syrian forces had​​ advanced to within 2 km of the Strategic Abu Al-Dhuhur military airport in rural eastern Idlib​​ near the Aleppo border. This​​ followed​​ up​​ their recent attack on Sheikh Baraka village,​​ 2 miles​​ southwest of Sinjar​​ in southeastern Idlib near the Hama border. This​​ occurred in the context of a​​ Daesh attack on Al-Huwais Castle​​ on the Hama side of the border. [Qasioun]​​ See story below under “Hama”

 

Central and West (Homs,​​ Hama,​​ etc.)

Hama

Friday, according to local military sources, Enab Baladi reported that Daesh captured Huwais Castle and Khirbet Rasm Al-Teen in rural eastern Hama. [EnabBaladi]

 

Friday, SOHR reported that violent clashes are ongoing between Tahrir al-Sham and Daesh, following a Daesh attack on different Tahrir Al-Sham-held locations in rural northeastern Hama, in an attempt by Daesh to advance​​ into rural southeastern Idlib. ​​ [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor

The YPG freed two Yazidi children along with a young Kurdish woman from Daesh in Deir Ez-Zor Province. [Rudaw]

 

Mayadin

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says pro-Iran Iraqi militias destroyed and looted many houses in Mayadin city and other areas in Deir Ez-Zor province.

 

The SDF says it seized control of Al-Jadila and Ilyas, 23 km (14 miles) southwest of Mayadin, after Daesh withdrew from them. [Dorar]

 

Albu Kamal

Daesh publishes photos of its “air defense units” shooting at Coalition planes over Hajin. [ICDNJan5]

 

Daesh publishes photos of a group of its terrorists near Albu Kamal. [ICDNJan5]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Friday,​​ SOHR reported that 76 members of Tahrir Al-Sham were killed over the last week, along with 48 members of the Syrian forces.​​ SOHR​​ says violent clashes are still ongoing between Tahrir Al-Sham and the Syrian forces, due to the​​ military’s​​ attempt to end the siege imposed by Tahrir Al-Sham on the Vehicle Department in​​ the city of​​ Harasta,​​ a northeast suburb of Damascus,​​ and free its​​ servicemen held there. [Hawar] [SyriaHR]

 

According to several sources, Enab Baladi reported on Friday that the Syrian forces captured some houses in the vicinity of the Criminal Security area, southwest of Harasta near the city of Arbin. The same sources said that the Syrian forces haven’t captured any buildings in Al-Ajami​​ neighborhood in Harasta. [EnabBaladi]

 

Friday, SOHR reported that violent clashes broke out between Daesh and Jaish Al-Islam in the groves, located between Yelda town in Rif Dimashq and​​ the​​ Al-Hajar Al-Aswad​​ neighborhood in southern Damascus, with reports of casualties on both sides. [SyriaHR]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

Friday,​​ Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in​​ Tehran,​​ accused US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia of supporting “violence, death, and sabotage in Iran.” [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Zarif is blaming the wrong people, perhaps because it is politically unacceptable to offend Khamenei and his thugs by blaming the regime leaders who are the real source of the problems, and there is a felt need to​​ deal with the​​ political​​ pressure by​​ blaming​​ someone. Khamenei made a statement that did the same thing. Conceding the unfortunate deaths during the protests, the protesters in the streets are arguably on the​​ elected​​ government’s side in its efforts to make progress in the face of the obstruction from Khamenei’s side. ​​ Trump’s rhetoric may have been strong, but at least he is openly supporting the Iranian people, which neither side of the Iranian government is willing to do, for different reasons.

 

North Africa

Egypt

Al-Azhar’s deputy Abbas Shoman said that the killing of terrorists is a “legitimate duty” for the police and the army. He said​​ Al-Azhar has no right to​​ atone for the actions of​​ the terrorists. Shoman said terrorists are just exploiting religion to convince young people of their​​ political​​ ideas. [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

France

The French Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet confirmed that although France does not recognize the Kurdish state, the authorities in the Rojava area of northern Syria could try French citizens who joined Daesh or other militant groups. Belloubet said that if the Rojava authorities guarantee them the right of legal defense, France has no objection to the trial of French citizens in Rojava. Belloubet also said that if Rojava does not guarantee legal defense, French authorities will intervene through their embassy, the Red Cross, or other humanitarian organizations. She did not use or recognize the term “local authorities in Rojava” and instead referred to “local authorities that arrested jihadists.” [Hawar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This may be more about France than the PYD. Officials in various European countries have indicated that they would rather have their terrorists prosecuted and punished in Iraq and Syria than have to deal with these people back in their home countries and take the risk of Daesh-inspired incidents they might cause.

 

AFRICA

Nigeria​​ 

Daesh publishes photos of dead Nigerian soldiers it says it killed in Borneo. [ICDNJan5]​​ 

 

ASIA

Pakistan

The US has suspended almost all of its security assistance to Pakistan, claiming that Pakistan has failed to deal with terrorist networks operating inside Pakistani territory. The​​ State​​ Department says that aid will be withheld until​​ it takes action against the Haqqani network and the Afghani Taliban. [Sumaria]

 

Pakistan said on Friday that it is too early to say whether the suspension of the US security assistance to Pakistan’s military will affect the fight against terrorism in the region or not. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said on Wednesday that Pakistan is not ready to reconsider its cooperation with the US “unless this cooperation is appreciated.” [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment. ​​​​ Pakistan has been getting away with its double game for many years, largely because it is a large, strategically located, and important country whose cooperation is really needed and which has generally been given. However, the operatives it has harbored in Pakistan continue to destabilize neighboring Afghanistan and kill US soldiers. In short, its defense policy embraces contradictions it has consistently refused to face up to. Actually changing its policy to be consistently cooperative and start​​ rooting out​​ these terrorist networks will not be easy because their supporters in the government are well entrenched.​​ 

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

Daesh publishes the 103rd​​ issue of its​​ Naba​​ magazine. In this issue, Daesh reports​​ on​​ its attacks in Iraq, Syria, and other countries. It also publishes​​ an​​ infographic​​ trying to​​ explain why Hamas is an infidel organization. [ICDNJan5]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ There is a new generation of jihadis in Gaza that supports Daesh. Several Daesh leaders who fled from Iraq or Syria have gone back to Gaza. Also, the “older” Daesh generations tried to keep a de facto peace with Hamas (although Daesh announced Hamas to be infidel last year). However, new Daesh leaders, who almost lost everything in Iraq and Syria, are trying their luck.​​ 

 

January 4, 2018

 

Hawija

 

 

 

TODAY’S MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

IOM counts 3.2 million displaced Iraqi returned, 2.6 million still displaced. [..]

Iraqi units kill at least 51 Daesh in Hawija “purge” campaign. [..]

Gorran leader says Kurds now have more faith in Al-Abadi than the KRG. [..]

Iraqi intelligence​​ announces​​ arrest of perpetrators of deadly Nasiriya attack. [..]

 

Syria

Daesh mines still killing​​ many​​ civilians in Raqqa. [..]

Syrian forces take five more southern Idlib villages from Tahrir Al-Sham. [..]

53 civilians reported killed in one week of Syrian airstrikes in Damascus area.[..]

 

Afghanistan

Daesh stages deadly suicide attack on police officers in Afghanistan. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh Campaign

A security source says Iraqi security forces have launched several raids and search operations aimed at pursuing Daesh cells in the cities of Kirkuk, Mosul, and​​ Diyala. The source added that “the region has recently seen significant activity of Daesh elements and security forces have intelligence on where these cells are located and are working to flush them out.” [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Sumaria News reports that British​​ Minister of​​ Defence Gavin Williamson arrived in Baghdad for an official visit on Thursday. A source who asked not to be named says Williamson discussed with Iraqi officials and Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi​​ the​​ relations between the two countries and the security and political situation in Iraq and the Middle East in general. [Sumaria]

 

Foreign Affairs magazine published an editorial warning that just because Daesh is defeated, that does not mean that the world is safe from extremist groups. The article said that Salafist jihadis constitute about 35% of the major armed groups in Iraq, 50% of the armed groups in Somalia, and 70% of the armed groups in Syria. [SkyPress] [ForeignAffairs]

 

Reconstruction

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as of​​ the end of December 2017, 3.2 million displaced​​ Iraqis had​​ returned to their homes while 2.6 million are still displaced. ​​ More than 1 million people have returned to Anbar Province where the last battle against Daesh took place. Among the returnees, “about a third say they found their homes completely or largely​​ destroyed. 60% found their homes​​ moderately damaged” according to​​ IOM​​ spokeswoman Sandra Black.​​ [Xendan]

 

Election

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday “I pledge my support to the Iraqi government to urge it to disarm militias that are not linked to the government.” Macron added that the Iraqi government must be helped “to hold free elections and restore calm to the country.” [BasNews]

 

Thursday, Head of Independent Electoral Commission Maan Al-Hitawi said that the PMFs have no right to participate in the special voting in the upcoming elections, along with other security forces. “All the PMF voters have the right to participate in the public voting, and thus, they cannot be allowed to participate in the special voting for there is no data about the PMF members,” Maan said. [BasNews]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Thursday, a leader in the Gorran (Change) Movement, Saber Ismail, said that the Kurdish people have much more confidence in Al-Abadi’s government than​​ in​​ the KRG, pointing out that “the Kurdish people have fully realized that Baghdad is the capital of all Iraqis and political forces.” “The Kurdish powers are fully aware that without holding a dialogue with Baghdad, the Kurdistan region will not be financially, administratively and politically settled,” he added.​​ [Buratha]

 

The office of Iraqi PM Al-Abadi announced that Al-Abadi received a delegation comprising a number of Kurdish parties on Thursday. Al-Abadi stressed that the central government is continuing to secure the salaries of the Kurdistan employees, stressing that he wants to maintain the unity of Iraq while ensuring its ethnic and sectarian diversity. [Sumaria]

 

KRG PM Nechirvan Barzani met with US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman on Thursday. A statement from the Barzani’s office says the two sides discussed the situation in the Kurdistan Region​​ and​​ the need to secure the financial​​ amounts owed to​​ the Kurdistan Region in the budget​​ while maintaining stability after the tensions between Baghdad and Erbil. They also discussed preparations for the elections and steps to reform the Kurdistan Regional Government. [Sumaria]

 

Nechirvan Barzani said on Thursday that Turkey could play a positive role in solving problems between the KRG and the central government. Barzani received new Turkish Consul Hakan​​ Karajai in Erbil and indicated that Karajai stressed the development of relations between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region​​ and Turkey’s readiness to exert efforts to solve the problems between Erbil and Baghdad. [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It says something about Barzani’s desperation to find support against Baghdad that he is now appealing to the Turks, who were among those most hostile to the independence referendum.

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

The General Directorate of Intelligence and Security announced the arrest of a man wanted on​​ terrorism​​ charges in Baghdad. [Baghdadia]

 

ANBAR

Al-Qa’im

A security source in Anbar Province said on Thursday that a​​ Border​​ Guard officer was wounded in an IED explosion on the​​ Al-Qa’im-Syria border. [Sumaria]

 

Thursday, according to the PMF website,​​ military​​ engineering teams dismantled the communications towers in Al-Qa’im District in the effort to restore the towers to actual service. “The troops set up a field hospital to provide medical services to fighters and civilians in the Province,” the official PMF website added. [Baghdadia]

 

The General Staff of the 13th​​ brigade announced on Thursday that “the brigade forces have secured the return of 5,000 displaced families to Al-Qa’im District.”[IraqPress]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

Daesh says it killed a PMF fighter, wounded others, and damaged a vehicle in clashes in the Makhoul Mountains area. [A3maq]​​ 

 

DIYALA

An official in Diyala Province said on Thursday that the first steps are being taken to withdraw the army from city centers and hand over security responsibility to the police. [Sumaria]

 

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Thursday, according to Dijla Ops Commander Mizhar Al-Azzawi, Dijla Ops units killed 13 terrorists and wounded​​ 1​​ other in a security operation in northeast Baquba, finding explosives​​ belts with the terrorists. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

The General Directorate of Intelligence and Security announced that a security unit found a pile of hardware in Baquba that terrorists were planning to use as explosives. [Baghdadia]

 

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

Thursday, the Security Committee in the Diyala Provincial Council announced that Special Operations Intelligence in the Counterterrorism Apparatus killed Daesh’s “Governor of Diyala” in the Himrin Hills. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

KIRKUK

The Military Information Cell announced on Thursday that the Kirkuk Operations completed the inspection of 30 villages in several areas of Kirkuk. [Sumaria]

 

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

Thursday, a member of the Hawija Provincial Council said security forces killed more than 40 Daesh terrorists and arrested 10 during the first day of the “purge of Hawija District.” [Sumaria]

Ali Al-Hamdani, leader of the PMF, announced the end of the first phase of the purge of Hawija and surrounding areas in the western part of Kirkuk.[AIN]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says a joint PMF and Tribal PMF force, disguised as Daesh fighters, ambushed and killed 11 Daesh terrorists and confiscated 2 vehicles in Halat village, in Riyadh subdistrict.​​ 

 

A security source said that security units began raids and search operations for Daesh terrorist cells in Kirkuk Province in the areas of Hawija, Rashad, and Kirkuk​​ city.[Baghdadia]​​ 

 

NINEWA

Mosul

According to local sources,​​ Daesh leader Abu Omar was arrested in Mosul. Omar is known as a barbarically brutal figure and enjoyed causing panic among the residents in Mosul when Daesh had control of the city.[Ghad]​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Qayara/Hatra

The PMF announced it killed 4 Daesh terrorists in Imam village on Thursday in western Qayara.​​ [Ghad]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says PMF units stopped a Daesh attack on​​ Qayara’s​​ Ihjala village. The source says​​ that as​​ the Daesh members were fleeing, a citizen shot at them,​​ killing 2 terrorists, an Iraqi and a Moroccan. The source sent a photo of the dead Iraqi terrorist.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says four PMF fighters were killed in a Daesh ambush in Al-Sakhri village, south of Hatra.​​ 

 

WesternNinewa

Baaj

Daesh says it killed or wounded Iraqi Border Guard members, including an officer, with 2 IEDs in the Tal Safouk area. [A3maq]

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Dhi Qar

The Falcon Intelligence Cell (Al-Suqour) reported on Thursday the arrest of the planners and executors of the terrorist attack in Nasiriya which took place on September 14, 2017. [Mawazin]

 

Najaf

Thursday, a security source says border guards on the Iraqi-Saudi border found a tunnel heading in the direction of Najaf with “entrances, exits, and rooms.” [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Al-Arabiya News reported on Thursday that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard withdrew a number of its members from Syria to return to Iran to​​ help​​ suppress the protests​​ there, which​​ have been ongoing for 8 days. [Dorar]

 

In response to a question about whether the PYD should participate in the Syrian Dialogue Conference in Sochi, Russia,​​ Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Turkey’s​​ President,​​ said that a terrorist organization cannot represent the Syrian people. “They are not Syrian Kurds,” Kalin said, “Turkey is well aware how injustice has been exercised to expand the territory it (the PYD) controls.” Kalan accused western media of ignoring PYD abuses because “its practices are part of a US plan that is currently being implemented.” [Anadolu]

 

Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa)

Raqqa

Raqqa city​​ & district

Syrian activists documented the​​ deaths​​ of 83 civilians last month​​ from​​ mines left behind by Daesh in Raqqa Province. [EnabBaladi]

 

West Raqqa​​ (Tabaqa, etc.)

According to the Coalition, a Coalition team worked with Syrian partners and erected a steel bridge in record time on December 27, 2017 near Hawi Al-Hawa village west of Raqqa. Commanding General​​ James Jarrad​​ says the​​ bridge will help the Raqqa Internal Security Force to provide better security for the people of Raqqa and will facilitate humanitarian relief and assistance efforts in Raqqa.​​ [CentCom]

 

Northwest

Aleppo/Idlib

Thursday, Qasioun reported that Syrian forces, backed by intensive artillery shelling, captured Idlib’s southern villages of Um Saharij​​ (Hama), Maar Hattat, Rasm Al-Abd, Labidah and Fahil Jallas, after battles with Tahrir Al-Sham. ​​ [Qasioun] [SyriaHR]

 

Thursday, Qasioun reported that 5 civilians were killed, and more than 10 others, including women and children, were wounded in Russian airstrikes on Al-Tuqan city in rural eastern Idlib, according to medical sources. [Qasioun]

 

Central and West (Homs,​​ Hama,​​ etc.)

Latakia

Thursday, Sputnik reported that air defense forces​​ at​​ the Russian Khmeimim airbase destroyed two drones, used by the Nusra Front to attack different residential locations in Jableh and Mhardeh cities in Latakia. [SyriaNow]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin

Thursday, Hawar reported that the SDF captured Al-Jadila and Ilyas villages, 23 kilometers southwest of Mayadin, following violent clashes with Daesh, killing 11 Daesh members. [Hawar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It is noteworthy but unexplained that the SDF is still fighting in Albu Kamal while government troops seem to have stopped fighting.

 

Albu Kamal

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Coalition planes killed Sabah Hassan Sanbar Al-Ahmadi,​​ AKA​​ Abu Omar Al-Shayeb, a senior Daesh leader, in an airstrike near Albu Kamal, in addition to several other terrorists. The source says Ahmadi, originally from Mosul, was one of​​ the first Iraqis to join Al-Qaeda, and was appointed the general security commander of the “caliphate.”  ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

 

Daesh published photos of targeting SDF positions near Al-Bahra village (near Hajin) with mortars. [ICDNJan3]​​ 

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

SOHR reports the first week of the violent attack by Tahrir Al-Sham and the Ahrar Al-Sham militia against the Syrian forces on the outskirts of Harasta city has ended. The region​​ has​​ seen intensive bombardment, causing extensive destruction of infrastructure and causing the death and injury of dozens of civilians. 53 citizens have been killed during this bombardment in​​ Eastern Ghouta since Friday December 29, 2017, according to SOHR. [SyriaHR]

Thursday, according to police sources, a woman and a girl were killed and 24 civilians were injured when Syrian opposition​​ militias​​ shelled​​ the​​ Al-Emarah​​ neighborhood in Damascus​​ city​​ and Harasta in Rif Damashq. [SyriaNow]

 

Thursday, SOHR reported that the Syrian opposition​​ militia​​ Jaish Al-Islam launched an attack on the Syrian forces’ positions in Al-Nashabiyah town in Rif Damashq, killing at least 14 members of the Syrian forces. ​​ A number of Jaish Al-Islam’s members were also killed and wounded. [SyriaHR]

 

Thursday, SOHR reported that 4 civilians, including a woman and a female child, were wounded​​ by​​ ​​ Syrian forces shelling of​​ thee town of​​ Masraba in Eastern Ghouta. Meanwhile, the Syrian forces reportedly targeted​​ the​​ Rif Damashq cities of Hamouriya, Arbin, Douma and Harasta with rocket and artillery shelling and airstrikes. [SyriaHR]

 

Daraa

Wednesday evening, Dorar reported that Syrian opposition​​ militias​​ foiled a surprise attack by Daesh’s affiliate, Jaish Khaled, on their positions near Al-Sheikh Saad town in rural western Daraa, killing and wounding many members of​​ Jaish Khaled. [Dorar] [ZamanAlWasl]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh sources say a policeman and two other persons were killed in​​ an​​ ambush on the International Road, west of Arish. [ICDNJan4]​​ 

 

A new Daesh propaganda video released on Wednesday says that the Egyptian wing of Daesh has declared war on Hamas for allowing Trump to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The video shows the execution of a man who Daesh claims worked with Hamas’s armed wing. [Newsweek]​​ [ICDNJan4]

 

Tunisia

Wednesday, the Tunisian National Unit for Research on Terrorist Crimes of the National Guard in El-Aouina​​ dismantled a Takfiri cell consisting of 9 operatives in Sousse Province. [Tunisien]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Thursday, officials and eyewitnesses confirmed that a suicide attack targeted police officers who were handling a protest. Daesh has claimed responsibility. The Police Department says 5 officers were killed and 11 were wounded. [BBC]​​ [Ghad]

Afghanistan’s TOLOnews channel quoted the Ministry of Health and the Kabul Police as confirming​​ that at least 15 people were killed and 20 injured in Thursday evening’s suicide attack on Afghan Police forces in Kabul. [Anadolu]

January 3, 2018

 

Christians in Mosul (BBC)

 

 

 

TODAY’S MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Al-Abadi says government trying hard to bring Iraq’s Christians home. [..]

Discussions begin between GOI, KRG officials on managing disputed areas. [..]

Al-Jubouri moves to soften post-referendum anti-KRG measures. [..]

Al-Qa’im council chairman says restoring normal services will cost $1.5 billion. [..]

 

Turkey

Erdogan​​ again says Turkey’s attack against Kurds in NW Syria is imminent. [..]

 

Syria

SDF spokesman says Coalition will continue supporting autonomy for SDF-held areas. [..]​​ 

Syrian Army, Russians regain three villages in southern Idlib. [..]

SDF captures three more villages in Deir Ez-Zor. [..]

 

Somalia

US airstrike targets​​ Al-Shabab militants west of Mogadishu. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Reuters has reported that three Iranian intelligence officers were killed in clashes in the western Iran city of Piranshahr, near the border with Erbil Province in Iraqi Kurdistan. Iran’s Revolutionary​​ Guards issued a statement saying that the three died in “a fight with revolutionary elements,” suggesting that the​​ clash resulted from the protests ongoing in Iran.​​ 

However, Rudaw, a Kurdistan media source, says the clash was between KDP-Iran​​ Peshmerga and Iranian​​ troops.​​ Their “local sources​​ report the deaths of 6 members of the Iranian forces.​​ [Rudaw]​​ 

 

Anti-Daesh Campaign

Iraqi PM Haider Al-Abadi said on Wednesday that there are still security challenges in Iraq,​​ citing plans to eliminate terrorism and corruption. Al-Abadi said “we must expose corruption in order to preserve the victory achieved by the blood of heroes,” referring especially to any corruption in the security forces that might impair their​​ effectiveness. [Sumaria]

 

Since​​ Mosul’s​​ liberation in July, 3,000 missing persons reports have been filed by Mosul residents. Most of the missing persons are men or boys, some taken by Daesh, others being held by Iraqi security forces on suspicion of​​ fighting for​​ Daesh. According to​​ Human Rights Watch, around 20,000 people are being held in detention centers across Iraq on suspicion of belonging to Daesh and there are unthinkable numbers of bodies in the many mass graves Daesh left behind. One Iraqi investigator says it will be years before these families find out what happened to their relatives,​​ as​​ Iraq does not have enough forensic experts to exhume the dozens of mass graves left by Daesh and the Iraqi judicial system is illequipped to​​ efficiently​​ process all the detainees that were taken during the liberation process. [WashingtonPost] [Mada]

 

Reconstruction

Prime Minister​​ Al-Abadi also said Wednesday that religious and sectarian diversity must be preserved in Iraq, adding that the government is “working full force” to return displaced Christians to their areas of residence. According to a statement from the PM’s Media Office, Al-Abadi received the heads of the Christian denominations and “wished them a merry Christmas and happy new year filled with love and peace,” reassuring all Iraqi citizens of their rights as citizens “regardless of their affiliation, religious or political.” [Sumaria]

 

See reconstruction story below under Al-Qa’im

 

Election

CoR Speaker Salim Al-Jubouri said on Wednesday that no official date has been set for the upcoming​​ parliamentary​​ elections, while the electoral process is linked to budget laws and the elections. Al-Jubouri reassured that “there is no intention at all to formally delay the elections.” [Sumaria]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Delegations from the federal government and the KRG arrived in Mosul to negotiate​​ the management of​​ disputed areas on Wednesday, according to a local source. The central government delegation is headed by Iraqi Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Othman Al-Ghanmi and the KRG delegation by Interior Minister Karim Sinjari.​​ The source said “the 2 delegations resumed negotiations for the purpose of agreeing on a joint formula to manage the disputed areas. [Buratha]​​ [Sumaria]

 

Leader of the Kurdistan Islamic Group,​​ Shwan Rebar,​​ announced on Wednesday that a Kurdish delegation is heading to Baghdad for talks with government officials. Rebar said “The delegation will meet with Iraqi PM Haider Al-Abadi and the Iraqi​​ political parties,” adding that the delegation is a joint political delegation including the Taghyir Movement​​ (Gorran), the Kurdistan Islamic Group, and the Justice and Democracy Alliance led by Barham Salih.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Deputy Head of the​​ Gorran (Change)​​ CoR delegation,​​ Amin Bakr,​​ warned of any side agreements or secret negotiations between Baghdad and Erbil, suggesting that such negotiations would serve only the political parties and not the people of Kurdistan as Iraqi citizens. Bakr said that secret or undeclared negotiations could lead to concessions made by the KRG in return for KDP political gains. Bakr says he supports a dialogue to resolve differences through legal and constitutional means in the public interest but that should not mean “offering the people of Kurdistan as a sacrifice to fix the ruling party and those who stand with it,​​ with the sole intention of preserving chairs.” Bakr stressed that all Kurdistan parties should be represented in the dialogue, not just the​​ two​​ main parties. [Sumaria]

 

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat​​ newspaper reported on Wednesday that Baghdad and Erbil intend to form a joint committee to review all controversial issues. The committee will be composed of 7 members: 5 from the national government and two from the KRG.​​ [Sumaria]

 

CoR Speaker Salim Al-Jubouri announced on Wednesday an official letter to the Federal Supreme Court to inquire about abolishing the punitive decisions taken against the Kurdistan Region after the referendum held on September 25, 2017. Al-Jubouri said “we have stated that the decision of​​ the Federal Court canceled the consequences and effects of the Kurdistan referendum.” He added “I think if everyone is confident that the referendum has been canceled, those decisions will be canceled and we will return to legislation as it was before September 25, 2017.” [BasNews]

 

Al-Jubouri said on Wednesday that the amount of money obtained from oil exports​​ from​​ the Kurdistan Region could be enough to cover the salaries of all of the Kurdistan Region staff. [Sumaria]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

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

Wednesday, Detachments of the General Directorate of Intelligence and Baghdad Security arrested a man on​​ terrorism​​ charges and found a stockpile of materials and mechanisms for building, detonating, and launching explosives in Latifiya.​​ [Baghdadia]

 

West​​ (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

The Military Intelligence Directorate arrested a fugitive on terrorism charges on Wednesday in Mansour. [Baghdadia]

 

Wednesday, Baghdad Operations Command announced the arrest of​​ 2​​ people on​​ terrorism​​ charges and the seizure and dismantling of explosives in Abu Ghraib. [Baghdadia]

 

ANBAR

A statement made by the Mistry of Defense said that security units found hidden caches in agricultural and residential areas in Anbar Province used by terrorists to target innocent civilians. [Mawazin]

 

Ramadi

Al-Sabaah news reports that tactical​​ units​​ of the Falcon Cell (Al-Suqour) destroyed a secret Daesh tunnel in the​​ Ramadi​​ desert. [Sabaah]

 

Al-Qa’im

Wednesday, a police source said three policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb targeted a security patrol in Al-Qa’im District. [BasNews]

 

Head of the Al-Qa’im District Council,​​ Nathim Bardan,​​ said on Wednesday “the security situation is stable in Al-Qa’im District but the infrastructure and service projects are completely destroyed.” He added that “the electricity, health, and education departments are more than 90% destroyed and the District needs more than $1.5 billion to restore services to what they were before 2014. [BasNews]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Southern Salahuddin (Balad, Dujail)

Samarra Operations Command announced on Wednesday that security units killed 4 suicide terrorists in southwest Dujail. [Sumaria]

 

DIYALA

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)

Wednesday, a local official in Diyala revealed that security services have started moving their patrols​​ along​​ the Kirkuk-Baghdad​​ Road in​​ the​​ Al-Adhim​​ area near the Salahuddin border. The​​ new security method is being used to close​​ coverage​​ gaps on the road that allow Daesh to kidnap civilians. The official says this is a temporary measure and that permanent security points need to be erected to fully secure the road. [Sumaria]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

A security source said that a member of the Tribal PMF was killed in a clash with Daesh in Dibis​​ District in western Kirkuk Province.​​ The source said armed confrontations broke out between the Tribal PMF​​ and Daesh​​ and one Daesh terrorist was killed. [BaghdadToday]

 

Eyewitnesses reported that two federal police officers were wounded in Dibis.​​ A police unit carried out a search around the perimeter of Ghara village in Dibis and during the search they were ambushed by two​​ armed gunmen. [Shafaaq]

 

NINEWA

Southern Ninewa

Hammam Al-Alil

A security source in the Ninewa Operations Command revealed on Wednesday that 17 people were killed and 17 arrested in a security operation in the central Al-Jazeera area south of Mosul between the​​ town​​ of Albu Saif and​​ the village of​​ Al-Shamisat. The sources said “the Joint Security Forces carried out a raid in the central Al-Jazeera area for the second time​​ based​​ on information that​​ Daesh had infiltrated the area.” He added “the security forces managed to kill 11 Daesh terrorists and arrest 6 others during the operation today.”​​ [This seems to contradict the casualty numbers earlier in the story.]​​ [BasNews]​​ 

Wednesday, Deputy Commander of Ninewa Operations Command Maj, Gen. Ahmed Salim Bahjat said that Iraqi security units killed 6 Daesh members on the Tigris River islands in southern Mosul. [Youm7]

 

Qayara

Wednesday, the General Directorate of intelligence announced the arrest of a person on​​ terrorism​​ charges in Qayara. [Baghdadia]

 

Western Ninewa

Sinjar

Tuesday, Dorar News reported that the Iraqi PMFs have started to reinforce their positions on the Iraqi border with Syria in the Jeghaifi region in northwest Ninewa,​​ to prevent any infiltration or attacks by Daesh members from the Syrian side, according to the director of the PMF military engineering unit,​​ Zulfiqar Al-Aridi. [Dorar]

 

A security source announced on Wednesday the start of the restoration and rehabilitation of the military embankment on the border with Syria to prevent Daesh attacks coming from Syria.​​ [Baghdadia]

 

KURDISTAN NEWS

According to official Kurdistan media, Asayesh forces have arrested a number of terrorist cells in the past few days, including an all-female group associated with Daesh. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

SULEIMANIYA

The Ministry of Defense announced that detachments of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security arrested 4 people on​​ terrorism​​ charges in Suleimaniya. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Wednesday, Bas News reported that the PKK revealed the identities of​​ the​​ two Turkish intelligence agents, who were kidnapped in Suleimaniya in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region​​ back​​ in August, 2017. [BasNews]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

A television station close to the Turkish government said that Turkish President Recep Erdogan gave his instructions regarding the alleged military operation on the Afrin region of “Western Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan)” and that the attack on the Syrian Kurdish YPG is about to begin. Turkey’s stated goal is to dismantle “terrorist bases and sites” that pose a threat to its borders and the region at large, seeing the YPG as the Syrian extension of the Turkish PKK terrorist group. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This attack has been threatened numerous times before, usually with pro-government news media as the conduit, and has not yet happened. So the stories are losing credibility, or maybe Erdogan is still testing the reaction of the US and others. All of these threats should be taken as anti-American statements, as we have supported the Kurds militarily, and the US​​ should make a definitive public statement that such a move by Turkey is unacceptable. Erdogan keeps throwing up this trial balloon because so far the US has failed to puncture it.

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

An official source in the SDF said in no uncertain terms that the geography of Syria will be reconstituted and that the areas under SDF control will be protected by the US-led Coalition. The source said “Syria will be composed of 2 administrative regions, the first west of the Euphrates River run by the Syrian Government, backed by Russia and Iran, and the second east of the Euphrates River which includes West Kurdistan (Kurdistan in Syria) and areas in the north east of Syria and on the Iraqi border.” The source added “the area east of the Euphrates and northeast in Syria will declare a federal government with all components of Kurds, Arabs, and others, and will have its own army and its own flag similar to the Kurdistan Region.” The source stressed that the Coalition forces will stand by the SDF’s side in this matter and neither the Syrian nor the Turkish forces will be able to enter the “federal borders of Western Kurdistan and Northern Syria.” [BasNews]

 

Wednesday, Qasioun reported that the SDF has arrested Emily Koenig, a 33-year-old French woman who has become one of the most famous French jihadists since traveling​​ to Syria in 2012, where she played a key role in online propaganda and recruitment for Daesh. [Qasioun]

 

In an interview with​​ the​​ Al-Mayadeen TV channel on Wednesday, Secretary of Iranian National Security Ali Shamkhani called on the US to withdraw its troops from Syrian territory, describing their presence as “illegal.” He added that “Iran will support Syria in seeking the withdrawal of the US troops from its territory, and we will demand that in all international forums.” [Dorar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ While the gentleman was making his latest anti-American propaganda statement, Iranians were protesting in the streets against the regime he represents.

 

Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa)​​ (No reports)

 

Northwest

Aleppo/Idlib

Wednesday morning, Qasioun reported that under the cover of dozens of Russian airstrikes, the Syrian forces captured Idlib’s southern villages of Al-Tubiya, Rajm Al-Mushrif and Mushrifat Al-Khanzir, following violent clashes with Tahrir Al-Sham and other Syrian opposition factions. ​​ [Qasioun][EnabBaladi]

 

Wednesday, Anadolu reported that 2 civilians were killed and 10 others wounded in airstrikes by Syrian planes​​ that struck​​ a hospital and a bakery in Idlib province. [Anadolu]

 

Afrin/Azaz

Wednesday, Hawar reported that the Turkish army continues to intensify its military equipment along the “Ghir” hill in​​ the​​ Bulbul area​​ of​​ Rajo Subdistrict in Afrin, while continuing to build the​​ separation wall between the Turkish and Syrian territories of Kurdistan, amid continuous shelling of Afrin’s villages. [Hawar]

 

Wednesday, Hawar reported that the YPG foiled attacks by the Turkish forces on the outskirts of Afrin, killing 2 Turkish soldiers and wounding 5 others, according to a YPG military source. [Hawar]

 

Hawar reports​​ Kurdish​​ Asayesh forces seized a truck loaded with thermal weapons belonging to the Turkish Army in the Afrin region. [Hawar]

 

Central and West (Homs, Hama, etc.)

Homs

Tuesday, SOHR reported that at least 9 members of the Syrian forces, including two Hezbollah members, were killed in a violent Daesh attack on their​​ positions in Hamima town in easternmost rural Homs, which was followed by violent clashes between the Syrian forces and Daesh, with reports of​​ casualties​​ on both sides. ​​ [SyriaHR] [Dorar]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Mayadin

On the 116th​​ day of the Al-Jazeera Storm campaign, the SDF liberated 3 more villages in Deir Ez-Zor from Daesh: Al-Mahmida, Ard Al-Zir, and Al-Majid,​​ 28​​ km (17 miles) southeast of Mayadin and 20km (12 miles) north of Hajin​​ in Albu Kamal. [Hawar]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

According to sources in Civil Defense, Russian aircraft targeted towns and cities in eastern Ghouta on Wednesday evening, killing at least 20 people including children. The death toll is expected to rise.​​ [Anadolu]

 

Wednesday, Syria Now reported that several members of Tahrir Al-Sham, including a senior Tahrir Al-Sham commander, were killed during the ongoing clashes with the Syrian forces on the outskirts of Harasta in Eastern Ghouta,​​ Rif Damashq. ​​ [SyriaNow]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

See lead story under Iraq National News above.

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

AFRICA

Somalia

Wednesday, the U.S. military said it killed two militants in Somalia in an airstrike targeting​​ the​​ Al-Shabab militia, an Al-Qaeda-linked group. The military’s Africa Command said the strike took place around 50km​​ (30 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday, and that a “vehicle-borne improvised explosive device” had also been destroyed in the early morning attack. [Anadolu]

January 2, 2018