An Update On ISIS Activities

February 11, 2019

 

A group of people in a room

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Daesh Terrorists Captured in Anbar (Feb 11)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Abd Ul-Madhi will establish new security information cell. [..]

GOI’s​​ PMF agency​​ targets​​ proliferation of fake PMF offices.​​ [..]

Anbar breaks up major Daesh intelligence cell whose members killed many. [..]

Closing of two more IDP camps leaves only two still open in Anbar. [..]

Joint military operation targets Daesh activity in Jazeera Samarra desert. [..]

Six Yazidi women & their six children freed, returned to Sinjar. [..]

Two killed, three wounded by Baaj suicide attack in a sheep market. [..]

 

Syria

Daesh stages three more deadly incidents in Raqqa. [..]

SDF gains some ground around Al-Baghouz but loses​​ ground​​ nearby.​​ [..]

French, US soldiers on Iraq side of the border to prevent Daesh fighters from crossing. [..]

Israeli Army shells Lebanese Hezbollah sites in Quneitra, in SW Syria. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Libya: ​​ Libyan National Army claims full control of major oilfield. [..]

Nigeria: ​​ Boko Haram attacks military targets in three NE Nigeria states. [..]

Cameroon: ​​ UNHCR sounds alarm about 35,000 Nigerian refugees in neighboring Cameroon.​​ [..]

Afghanistan: ​​​​ 

Abdullah, Ghani, Karzai comment on talks with Taliban. [..]

Secretary Shanahan visits Kabul; reiterates continuing support for Afghanistan.​​ [..]

Former President, Loya Jirga chairman dies at 93. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

New​​ government

Prime​​ Minister​​ Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi ordered the formation of a “security information cell” on Monday, which would be run by General Mohammed Al-Baidani;​​ General Yahya Rasul, current spokesman of the Security Media Center;​​ and Colonel​​ Othman Mohammed, a representative of the Ministry of Peshmerga in the KRG. [BasNews]

 

Corruption

Ma’an Al-Kadhemi, an official in the​​ PMF​​ organization,​​ said on Monday that since last year the PMF had conducted an inventory of sites actually belonging to PMF groups, as opposed to “fake” PMF​​ sites, and said that there were about 100 “fake” PMF​​ offices​​ that would be closed soon. He said this initiative took place under the direction of PM Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi. [BasNews]

 

A security source said on Saturday that Iraqi authorities were holding the Secretary-General of​​ the​​ PMF​​ militia​​ Abu Al-Fadl Abbas Brigades, Aws Al-Khafaji,​​ at​​ a police station in Baghdad.​​ The source said Al-Khafaji​​ is being held on charges of​​ physically​​ resisting the closing​​ of the group’s​​ office​​ in Karrada.​​ However,​​ Al-Khafaji’s arrest also followed​​ his statements to a local TV channel criticizing​​ Iran and implying that Iran was behind the recent killing of writer Alaa Mashzoub in Karbala.​​ [Hurra]

On Sunday, Al-Khafaji’s companions were reported released, while Al-Khafaji himself remained detained. [Akhbaria]

Ma’an Al-Kadhemi​​ of the PMF organization​​ said Monday​​ that Aws Al-Khafaji had been arrested on Sunday and would be released “in the next few days” if no other complaint​​ is filed against him. [BaghdadToday]

Al-Hurra​​ updated its original story with the news that Al-Khafaji had been released.​​ It said that Khafaji was arrested after criticizing Iran and its supporters in Iraq​​ in an interview with a local TV. Khafaji hinted that Iran supporters killed​​ Iraqi novelist Alaa​​ Mashzoub​​ in Kerbala last Saturday.​​ Al-Hurra​​ wrote that local news outlets reported that he had been tortured and warned not to​​ mention​​ “any of his former leaders or the Iranian regime or its symbols.” The PMF​​ organization​​ said in a statement that it had closed 4 “fake” PMF offices in Karrada. [Hurra]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

CENTCOM Commander General Joseph Votel said on Monday that he did not think the US would significantly increase troop levels in Iraq. He was replying to a question regarding whether some of the US troops withdrawing from Syria could be redeployed to Iraq. [Sumaria]

 

Foreign policy

The French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, said that French citizens who had been detained in Iraq would be tried in Iraq and would not be repatriated to France. Parly is currently visiting Iraq; her statement was seen as a departure from the stance of the French Minister of​​ Justice Nicole Belloubet, who earlier said that France would “intervene” if French nationals were sentenced to death in Iraq. French intelligence has estimated that there are 690 French Daesh members and their families in Syria, including 295 women and 28 minors.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ An alternate​​ interpretation would note that (1) European countries in general do not want the responsibility to put Daesh terrorists​​ from Iraq and Syria​​ on trial; and (2) European countries have generally abolished capital punishment. The second point is one explanation for the first, as the crimes of their Daesh members in Iraq and Syria would in many cases justify death sentences, even to a lot of Europeans. These countries​​ can’t have it both ways, however. There will likely be significant​​ European​​ pressure on Iraq to avoid death sentences against European defendants, but Iraqi judges can’t plausibly have separate sentencing standards for Europeans.

 

See also related story under Syria – Anti-Daesh campaign

 

27 Russian children whose parents are accused of​​ working for​​ Daesh have been repatriated to Moscow, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. On December 30, 2018, Russia said that it had repatriated 30 Russian children​​ of Daesh​​ parents​​ who​​ had been killed during the last 3 years of fighting. In January 2019, Russia said that 115 Russian children between 11 and 17 years old were still being held in Iraq.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Iraqi Foreign Minister, Mohammed Al-Hakim, affirmed on Saturday that US forces were in Iraq “according to an agreement and request from the previous Iraqi Prime Minister and the current Prime Minister.”

Speaking to Kurdistan 24 in Washington DC, where he attended a Ministerial Conference of the Defeat-Daesh coalition, Hakim explained that Baghdad was in “continuous talks with the American side,” on this issue, and he had discussed it with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.​​ 

Hakim also explained that the US military presence did not involve combat troops, but “only military advisors and trainers, who are helping our army.”

“So I wonder why some people in Iraq want to make this subject a big issue,” he said. [Kurdistan24]​​ 

 

Speaking of the “some people,” a delegation from Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Sa’iroon bloc, held talks with members of Fatah alliance, headed by secretary general of the Badr Organization, Hadi Al-Ameri, on Monday.

At a press conference following the meeting, Nasser Al-Rabie, the head of the Sairoon delegation, stressed that the two political parties shared a common stance on the pullout of foreign troops from Iraqi territory.

Ameri, for his part, said that continued presence of American forces in Iraq was not possible in the current form and had to be reorganized under a new agreement.

He said that the Americans were driven out of Iraq in 2011, but they once again entered the country in 2014 under the pretext of fighting Daesh.​​ [Sharqiya]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Does “under the pretext”​​ refer to​​ US​​ airstrikes that destroyed countless Daesh vehicle bombs,​​ for example? How many lives would​​ have been lost​​ if all those vehicle bombs had reached their targets?​​ 

 

BAGHDAD

No reports

 

ANBAR

A security source in Anbar said on Monday that the Directorate of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism in Anbar, in cooperation with the “Falcons” intelligence cell, had dismantled a Daesh cell in Anbar composed of more than 200 Daesh members. The source said that among the members of the cell​​ were​​ people responsible for the massacre of members of the Albu Nimr tribe. [Sumaria]​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

The Secretary-General of the Peshmerga Ministry in the KRG, General Jabbar Yawar, said that Peshmerga forces would arrive at the Anbar border areas in Ramadi and Ameriyat Al-Falluja in the next few days. A security source said that this was part of a security agreement concluded​​ months​​ earlier.​​ [BasNews]

 

Falluja

A member of the​​ subdistrict​​ council for Ameriyat Al-Falluja, Khadeir Al-Rashad, said on Monday that the Bzaibiz IDP camp, the largest IDP camp in Anbar, as well as “Camp 3,” had been closed,​​ now that about​​ 2,500 families​​ in the camps​​ had returned to their home areas. Al-Rashad added that the Bzaibiz camp closure is the third such closure​​ in Anbar, following closure of the Khalidiya and “Kilo 18” camps, leaving only the Ameriyat and Habbaniya camps​​ still open​​ in Anbar. [BasNews]​​ 

 

A local police source in Anbar said on Monday that a fraud ring in Falluja city had been arrested. The source said that the group had been forging death certificates to allow Daesh members to pose as dead victims of terrorism so that their families could claim compensation allotted to victims of terrorist acts. [BasNews]

 

Ramadi

Daesh said on Monday it blew up the house of a tribal PMF soldier and set on fire​​ the​​ vehicle of another soldier in Abu Taiban village, 19 miles northwest of Ramadi city.​​ [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]​​ 

 

Hit

Daesh said it killed two Iraqi Army soldiers, wounded another, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED on Friday in the Kubaisa area of Hit.​​ [ICDNFeb9-Telegram]

 

Daesh said it shot and wounded an Iraqi intelligence​​ officer​​ on Saturday near the Kubaisa area.​​ [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

 

Rutba

A police source said that an IED explosion in the western Anbar desert killed 1 civilian and wounded 3 others. The source said that the area was being searched for other IEDs. [BasNews]​​ 

 

Daesh said on Sunday it captured​​ and​​ then murdered an MoI employee near the Kilo 20 area, eastern Rutba.​​ [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

Daesh published​​ photos​​ on Monday of the beheading of the victim. [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Samarra

Daesh said it killed or wounded Saraya Al-Salam fighters and destroyed their vehicle with an IED on Friday, east of Samarra city. [ICDNFeb9-Telegram]

 

Southern Salahuddin​​ (Balad,​​ Dujail)

Samarra Ops Command said on Monday that “joint military operations” also involving the local police and the Iraqi Army had been launched south of Samarra city, targeting Daesh activity in the Jazeera Samarra area, Ishaqi, Tal Dhiab, Yathrib, and “other villages and neighborhoods.” Samarra Ops Commander General Imad Al-Zahairi said that the operation would continue for 3 days.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Eastern Salahuddin (Tooz)

The Commander of the Peshmerga Brigade in Tuz Khurmatu said on Monday that his troops would return to the road between Kifri and Tuz Khurmatu. He said that this was part of an agreement between the Ministries of Defense and the Peshmerga. [Sumaria]

 

Daesh said it blew up the house of​​ a “wizard” on Saturday, near Tuz Khurmatu.​​ [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Daesh uses the term “wizard” to refer to Sufi Muslims.​​ 

 

DIYALA

Northern Diyala (Khanaqin)

A security source said on Monday that Daesh had attacked a security point​​ on the “outskirts” of Khanaqin District, and fought with security personnel there. [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Daesh said its snipers killed one Border Guard​​ officer​​ and wounded two others on Sunday in the Mikhas area, north of Khanaqin.​​ [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

 

Daesh said it set on fire the houses of two​​ Kurdish​​ Asayish members in the same area on Sunday. [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

 

KIRKUK

Hawija​​ 

Daesh said it wounded two IFP policemen and damaged their Humvee with an IED on Saturday near Al-Tarqiya intersection, in Abbasi subdistrict.​​ [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

 

Daesh said it killed an IFP policeman, wounded another, and damaged their Humvee with an IED on Sunday in Gharib village, in Abbasi subdistrict.​​ [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

 

NINEWA

Mosul District

No reports

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Sinjar

The Security Media​​ Center said that 6 Yazidi women who had been abducted during the period of Daesh’s control of​​ Ninewa​​ had been freed, along with their 6 children. The freed women and children have​​ been returned to their homes in Sinjar.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ [Sumaria]​​ [BasNews]

 

Southern Ninewa

Baaj

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that a civilian and a tribal PMF commander were killed and 3 other soldiers wounded when a suicide attacker blew​​ himself up in a sheep market in Baaj.​​ 

 

The PMF media office said in a statement that PMF units had stopped a suicide attack in Baaj and killed 2 terrorists and arrested 3 others, including 1 woman.​​ [PUKMedia]​​ [Buratha]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

No reports

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

No reports

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Foreign policy

United States

CENTCOM Commander Joseph Votel said on Monday that within “weeks,” US ground troops would begin to pull out of Syria. [ElDorar]

 

President Trump tweeted on Sunday that the US would “soon” control 100% of Daesh-held territory in Syria, adding “@CNN (do you believe this?).”​​ [Sumaria]​​ [Qasioun]​​ [Twitter]

 

See related military stories below under Albu Kamal

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

Suspected foreign fighters for Daesh captured in Syria could end up being sentenced in Iraq, according to​​ Agence​​ France​​ Presse.​​ It wrote that the SDF had captured “hundreds” more fighters as Daesh collapsed in its last few square kilometers. It quoted Belkis Wille from Human Rights Watch​​ as saying that HRW knew of at least 5 instances in which US forces in Syria had handed foreign detainees over to Iraq’s Counter​​ Terrorism Service. These renditions included Australian and Lebanese citizens, at least 1 of whom was sentenced to death in Iraq. Wille said that others coming from Syria were “at risk of torture and unfair trials in Iraq.” French lawyer Vincent Brengarth, who is handling​​ the cases of some of the estimated 60 adult French citizens detained by the SDF in Syria, questioned how the Iraqi courts​​ could have jurisdiction in such cases. [AFP]

 

The British newspaper​​ The Guardian​​ reported on Monday regarding the rumored “coup” attempt against Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in Syria. The newspaper quoted a witness to the “coup” who had been smuggled from Daesh-held territory, who said that the foreign members of Daesh fought​​ against the pro-Baghdadi faction for 2 days, but they lost the fighting and were killed. The witness said that this occurred in Kashma, Deir Ez-Zor, last September. [ElDorar]

 

A Russian report claims​​ that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi​​ is being held in secret by US personnel east of the Euphrates, and that the US​​ is deliberately waiting to announce his capture or death until after the SDF had cleared Daesh’s presence in Syria. The report claimed that there would then be a “Hollywood” operation, similar to how the death of Bin Laden was publicized. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Northwest

No reports

 

Northeast​​ 

Raqqa

Raqqa city​​ & district

Daesh said on Saturday it shot and killed the mukhtar of the Duwar Al-Mazari’ area in front of his house in Raqqa city.​​ [ICDNFeb9-Telegram]

 

North Raqqa​​ (Ayn Eissa,​​ Tal Abyad, etc.)

Daesh said on Sunday it killed or wounded three SDF fighters and destroyed their vehicle with an IED near Abu Qabr village, in Suluk subdistrict.​​ [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]​​ 

 

Daesh said on Sunday it shot and killed an SDF communications official and his associate in Al-Salhiya village​​ in northern​​ Raqqa. [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]​​ 

 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ More Coalition attention is owed to the increased number of Daesh attacks in Raqqa. The city of Raqqa was Daesh’s capital, and it still has a core of operatives in the province who are killing people with no apparent response. This is another example of the fact that losing its territory does not eliminate Daesh in Syria.

 

Central and West​​ 

No reports

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

Daesh said it killed an SDF fighter, wounded another, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED on Saturday on the road between Jazrat Albu Hamid and Jarwan, in Al-Kasrah subdistrict, at the northern end of Deir Ez-Zor Province.​​ [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

 

Mayadin​​ District

Forat​​ said​​ that​​ on Saturday, Daesh fighters​​ again​​ attacked SDF and Coalition troops at the Al-Omar oilfield. It said that the attack was fought off with airstrikes, and that 3 civilians were killed in the fighting.​​ [WSJ]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

Combat

The SDF announced a final push to take the last Daesh-held territory in Syria on Saturday, resuming​​ combat​​ after approximately a week’s break. SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said on Sunday afternoon that SDF fighters had captured 41 positions from Daesh fighters. The SOHR said that​​ the SDF had advanced across agricultural land, backed by artillery and Coalition airstrikes. Bali said that​​ there may be​​ up to 600 Daesh fighters, as well as “hundreds” of civilians, still inside the 4​​ km2​​ area of Daesh-held territory. [AFP]​​ [WaPo]​​ [WSJ]

An SDF spokesman added that “more than 20,000” civilians had been evacuated from Daesh-held territory in the last 10 days’ lull in the fighting.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Getting the civilians out is important militarily, as it reduces the number of people caught up in Daesh’s human shields strategy.

 

However,​​ Forat​​ said that fighting continued between the SDF and Daesh​​ around​​ Al-Baghouz without resulting in any advances for either side. [Qasioun]

 

Moreover, reliable sources told the SOHR that about 600 Daesh fighters were able to advance on areas under SDF-control along the east bank of the Euphrates. [SyriaHR]

 

In the desert near Al-Baghouz, Daesh attacked a car carrying members of a reconciliation committee and members of the National Defense Forces, a pro-government militia. The SOHR observed that the past 24 hours resulted in killing 3 National Defense Forces members and injuring others, 1 of whom was a member of the reconciliation committee in Sukhnah in Homs. [SyriaHR]

 

On Saturday, Daesh issued a video of the murder of an SDF fighter it had captured earlier in the Albu Kamal area. [A3maq-Telegram]​​ 

 

Daesh counter-narrative

Daesh’s media has responded to its impending final defeat in Albu Kamal with an unusually large number of stories intended to continue its victory narrative at all costs. There is no way to know which of these stories are true, exaggerated, or just made up.

Daesh said on Sunday it killed or wounded five SDF fighters after targeting their “gathering” with a rocket north of Al-Baghouz. [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

Daesh said on Monday it killed or wounded 25 fighters after targeting an SDF “gathering” in Al-Baghouz with four rockets. [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Daesh uses the term “gathering” when it shells arbitrarily. The alleged victims could be just civilians who were trying to escape. ​​ 

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded five SDF fighters and stopped an attack on Saturday near Al-Baghouz. [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

Daesh said on Sunday it killed or wounded “many” SDF fighters and destroyed a minesweeper when two of its suicide terrorists attacked SDF units near Al-Baghouz with a vehicle bomb. [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

Daesh said on Monday it stopped an SDF attack on Al-Baghouz, killing or wounding “many” SDF fighters and forcing the rest to retreat. [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

 

Daesh said on Sunday that three SDF fighters were killed or wounded in a land​​ mine explosion in Al-Baghouz. [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

Daesh said on Sunday its snipers killed two SDF fighters in Al-Baghouz.​​ [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

Daesh said on Monday its snipers killed seven SDF fighters in Al-Baghouz. [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ In these impending-defeat situations, the land mine story and the sniper stories are standard fare.

 

Daesh said on Sunday it destroyed an SDF bulldozer and damaged another with two rockets in Al-Baghouz.​​ [ICDNFeb10-Telegram] [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

Daesh said on Monday it destroyed an SDF machine gun-mounted vehicle with a rocket in Al-Baghouz. [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

Daesh said on Monday it destroyed an SDF Humvee with a rocket in Al-Baghouz. [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ None of these three stories is militarily important, or verified, but notice that Daesh got out three “victorious” media stories to help distract people from what is really happening. Daesh’s media warriors have destroyed more bulldozers than actually exist in Iraq or Syria.

 

DaeshDaily comment. ​​​​ As always when Daesh is facing defeat somewhere, there is a spate of “victorious” stories from its media warriors intended to distract attention from that defeat. However, this compilation is the largest collection of “victorious” stories than we have ever seen about one place, and Al-Baghouz is a small place.​​ That may indicate that even to its own​​ propagandists, this impending loss of the last shred of caliphate territory is a historic moment of great​​ symbolic​​ importance, requiring the largest effort yet to set out a counter-narrative. ​​​​ 

 

Hostages and​​ detainees

The Turkish news agency​​ Anadolu​​ reported that local sources said on Monday that the “YPG” (i.e., SDF) and Daesh are negotiating​​ about​​ sending Daesh members from Deir Ez-Zor to Idlib on the condition that Daesh surrenders and releases YPG prisoners. Daesh reportedly said it preferred to send its troops to Iraq instead. [Anadolu]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says there are more than 400 Iraqi Daesh terrorists held by the SDF in the Albu Kamal area. The source said Daesh operatives are trying to pay money to release the terrorists. ​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The SDF is obviously overwhelmed with thousands of Daesh prisoners. The Iraqi government should do something​​ to help with the​​ Iraqi terrorists​​ among them. ​​ 

 

2 French women who left the Daesh-held area in eastern Syria on Sunday night told​​ Agence​​ France​​ Presse​​ (AFP)​​ that many foreigners were being held there, and said that Iraqi​​ jihadis​​ were keeping them from leaving. The 2 said that they had paid smugglers to get them out of Daesh-held territory, and that there had been “massacres” in the part of Al-Baghouz controlled by Daesh. 1 of the women said that Daesh fighters had been allowing Iraqis and Syrians to leave the area, but not other foreigners. [Rudaw]

 

Airstrikes and shelling

The Saudi-owned daily​​ Asharq Al-Awsat​​ wrote on Monday that French artillery stationed in Iraq was targeting the border with Syria, in an attempt to prevent Daesh fighters from infiltrating Iraq.​​ AFP​​ also wrote that French troops in the Coalition were targeting the border area, saying that about 40 French troops were stationed with the approximately 100 US troops by the border near Al-Qa’im. [Sumaria]​​ [AFP]​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

17 civilians were reported killed by Coalition shelling in the Daesh-held portion of​​ Albu Kamal. [Ghad]​​ 

 

Daesh’s​​ A3maq​​ news agency said on Monday that the Coalition conducted more than a hundred airstrikes on Al-Baghouz and targeted the town with “tens” of shells since Sunday. [A3maq-Telegram]

A3maq​​ also said on Monday that more than one hundred people, mostly women and children, were killed or wounded by Coalition bombing and shelling of Al-Baghouz. [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

 

South​​ 

Daraa/Quneitra

Local sources said that the Israeli Army had shelled sites used by the Lebanese Hezbollah in Jubata Al-Khashab, Quneitra city, and a point in the countryside south of Quneitra city. The official Syrian state-run media agency​​ SANA​​ said that the shelling had caused damage, including to Quneitra Hospital, but said there had been no casualties. [BasNews]

 

On Sunday, a land​​ mine explosion injured 3 in an electricity workshop in Jasim city, Daraa. 2 Syrian government troops were killed on Monday by another land​​ mine explosion as they attempted to dismantle it. [Qasioun]​​ 

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Reza Talayi said on Monday that Iran would bomb US bases in Syria and the region if the US committed any “foolishness” against it. Talayi said that all US bases in the region were within range of Iranian weapons. He added that the US and Israel had tried to make Syria a client state split between them and Saudi Arabia, but that the IRGC and General Qasim Soleimani had prevented that from happening. [ElDorar]

 

Saudi Arabia

US and Saudi officials said that the US was pressuring Saudi Arabia to hold Saud Al-Qahtani, a top aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), responsible for his role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The US has issued sanctions against Al-Qahtani and other Saudi officials that it says were involved in Khashoggi’s killing. [WSJ]

 

In a​​ Meet the Press​​ interview, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was shown a graphic tweeted by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, which included the phrases “Our leadership is a red line … We warn against any attempt to link Khashoggi’s crime to our leadership.” Mulvaney said he “[didn’t] know what that is” and declined to classify it as a “threat.” [YahooView]

The Saudi Foreign Ministry tweeted the graphic on Friday.​​ [Twitter]

 

A 6-year-old boy was reportedly beheaded​​ with a piece of broken glass in front of his mother​​ in Medina for being Shia. The Washington, DC-based advocacy group Shia Rights Watch said there had been no attempts to intervene and no response from any authority so far. [Mirror]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This is potentially a major story if true, and demands a response from other countries. The US Government should seek to determine whether it is true, and if so demand accountability.

 

Yemen

UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths issued a statement on Monday saying that access to World Food Program grain was “a shared responsibility among the parties to the conflict in Yemen.” The UN is seeking access to grain stored at the Red Sea Mills, which is enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month, and is now potentially rotting. [WSJ]

 

Daesh said that on Friday it targeted an Al-Qaeda position in the Dhi Kalib Al-Asfal area, in Qifa, with a rocket.​​ [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh said it wounded Egyptian soldiers and damaged an Army bulldozer and an armored vehicle with 2 IEDs on Friday near Arish Airport.​​ [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

 

Daesh said on Monday its snipers killed three Egyptian Army soldiers and wounded another at Abu Shanar security barrier, west of Rafah. [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

 

Libya

The Libyan House of Representatives, led by General Khalifa Haftar, said on Monday that Haftar’s forces were in “full control” of the Sharara oilfield in southwestern Libya. An oil official told​​ Anadolu​​ that Haftar’s fighters took control of the oilfield without a battle after negotiating with the fighters present, who were affiliated with the Libyan Government of National Accord. Sharara is the largest oilfield in Libya, accounting for almost a third of the country’s production​​ when operating fully. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

UNITED NATIONS

Vladimir Voronkov, head of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, said on Monday that Daesh was still a threat and had large financial reserves. Voronkov said that Daesh still had training networks in Afghanistan and about 3,000 foreign fighters. [Sumaria]​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

UNITED STATES

On Monday,​​ Hawar​​ reported that​​ CNN​​ said US General Joseph Votel, Commander of US CENTCOM, said that there were​​ still​​ “tens of thousands” of Daesh operatives in Syria and Iraq. [Hawar]

 

AFRICA

Somalia

Daesh said on Monday that it shot and killed the deputy finance official of the Howlwadaag​​ District, in Beledweyne city, Hiiraan Province.​​ [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

 

Nigeria

On Friday,​​ Boko Haram fighters attacked a military base​​ in the village of Ngwom, 14 km​​ (9 miles)​​ north of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. 3 soldiers were killed. [VanguardNGR] [Punch]

Daesh’s version​​ said it killed three Nigerian Army soldiers, wounded others, and stole 2 vehicles and weapons and ammunition in​​ the​​ attack​​ Friday.​​ [ICDNFeb10-Telegram]

 

On Saturday, Boko Haram fighters attacked Madagali, Adamawa State, in northeastern Nigeria,​​ bordering Borno. A 2-hour gunfight ensued, in which a soldier and the chief of Gubla village were killed. [Punch]

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded several Nigerian soldiers on Friday in an attack on a military position in Malam Fatori town, in the Lake Chad area. [ICDNFeb9-Telegram]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Daesh had made the same claim on Thursday. We don’t know if this is the same attack.

 

Daesh said it killed three Nigerian soldiers, captured three others, set a military position on fire, and stole weapons and ammunition on Sunday in an attack with heavy and mid-sized weapons on Bani Gari town, in Yobe​​ State.​​ [ICDNFeb11-Telegram]

 

Cameroon

The UNHCR said on Monday that out of the 35,000 Nigerians who had fled Boko Haram attacks in Borno State, several thousand were now in makeshift refugee camps in the Cameroon desert bordering Nigeria. In January, the UNHCR said that several thousand other Nigerian refugees were forced to return from Cameroon. It expressed concern that the new arrivals would also be subject to forced return to an area marked by conflict. [UNHCR] [UNHCR]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Chief Executive of the​​ Afghan​​ government,​​ Abdullah Abdullah,​​ blamed the ongoing conflict on the “stubbornness” of Taliban leaders. Abdullah said that compromises were needed to lead to future peace talks, and that peace requires sacrifices, but that the will of the people should not be among those sacrifices. [Khaama]

 

On Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani reiterated the government’s commitment to offering offices to the Taliban and​​ to​​ ensure security for its members. He also criticized the Taliban for participating in the intra-Afghan dialogue in Moscow but not participating in talks in Mecca. He called on the Taliban to come participate in peace talks in Kabul. [Khaama]

 

However, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai​​ called the intra-Afghan dialogue in Moscow a “historic event” as it was attended by people representing all segments of Afghan society, including the Taliban. [Khaama]

 

Acting Minister of Defense Asadullah Khalid met with his US counterpart Patrick Shanahan in Kabul, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement. Shanahan reaffirmed US support to the Afghan security forces, specifically the Afghan Army, and said that the US remains committed to supporting Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism.​​ [Khaama]

Shanahan also said on Monday that there was no directive so far to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan. [Khaama]

 

The Afghan Military said on Sunday that Afghan Special Forces had rescued 7 civilians from a Taliban prison in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan. [Khaama]

 

The former Deputy​​ Intelligence​​ Chief of Afghanistan,​​ Massoud Andarabi,​​ was appointed as the Acting Minister of Interior. [Khaama]

 

Former Afghan President Sibghatullah Mojaddedi​​ died​​ at​​ age 93. [Khaama]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Mojaddedi became the acting President in 1992 after the Najibullah government had been overthrown, and​​ chaired​​ the​​ Loya​​ Jirga​​ assembly that approved the new constitution in 2003, so was a man of great distinction.

 

 

*****

 

READER COMMENTS WELCOME

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February 8, 2019

 

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Mahmoud Ismael (DD Feb 7)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Ninewa activist attacked by Governor’s nephew blames the Governor in TV interview.​​ [..]

Five​​ arrested in Karbala on terrorism charges. [..]

 

Syria

SDF co-chair warns of serious consequences from a sudden US withdrawal. [..]

Merkel says Daesh is still a threat in Syria. [..]

Yazidi child freed after 5 years of Daesh captivity in Egypt. [..]

SOHR: Coalition negotiating with Daesh to leave its remaining small pocket near Al-Baghouz.​​ [..]

​​ 

Other​​ countries

Iran: ​​ Khamenei says Iran’s hostility is not toward the American people. [..]

Saudi Arabia:​​ US Senate pushing White House over MBS role in Khashoggi murder; Saudi Foreign Ministry pushing back.​​ [..]

Libya: ​​ Internal fighting stalls LNA takeover of south Libya oilfield. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh campaign

The US Defense Department released a report on Friday that said Daesh would be able to recreate itself more quickly in Iraq than in Syria. It said that Daesh was reorganizing in Iraq, and that 50 foreign fighters join the group every month. It said Daesh​​ is raising funds through oil trade,​​ extorting “taxes,​​ and​​ other​​ criminal activities. [Sumaria]

 

On Friday, the French Minister of the Armed Forces arrived in Baghdad to discuss the future of military cooperation with the Iraqi government. [Rudaw]

The​​ Minister,​​ Florence Parly,​​ said Friday that verdicts​​ on​​ French Daesh fighters detained in Iraq were up to the Iraqi authorities. The French Minister of Justice, Nicole Belloubet, had previously said that France would seek to intervene if French nationals who had fought for Daesh were sentenced to death.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Foreign policy

On its Facebook page, the US Embassy in Baghdad said on Friday that although the 1979 revolution had promised the Iranian people a prosperous future, the Iranian regime had been able to produce “nothing but false promises.” Iraqi CoR MP Ashwaq Kareem, from Al-Sadr’s Sadiqoun bloc, called upon the Iraqi Foreign Ministry to warn the US Embassy against attacking the states neighboring Iraq. [Anadolu]

 

MP Faisal Al-Essawi told​​ Sumaria​​ on Friday that the US presence in Iraq​​ is not an occupation, but​​ is in fact​​ needed. [Sumaria]

 

BAGHDAD

No reports

 

ANBAR

Al-Qa’im

A source within Anbar Operations Command said on Friday that Joint Ops Command opened an investigation into an incident in which a​​ police headquarters​​ was​​ targeted by rocket fire in Al-Qa’im. [BasNews]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

The Security Media Center said on Friday that an unspecified number of terrorists had been killed and safehouses destroyed in the Kan’ous area.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The concentration of Daesh incidents in this specific area in eastern Shirqat is noteworthy.

 

Baiji

On Friday, a security source told​​ Sumaria​​ that Daesh had executed 3 brothers that it had kidnapped 2 days before as the​​ brothers were​​ looking​​ for desert truffles in Al-Mashak. [Sumaria]

A security source previously said on Wednesday that 3 brothers had been kidnapped by Daesh in the Makhoul Mountains. [Sumaria]

 

Southern Salahuddin​​ (Balad)

Daesh said it killed a policeman and a Saraya Al-Salam “intelligence member” on Wednesday in an ambush in the Al-Aqsa​​ village​​ area in Ishaqi.​​ [ICDNFeb8]

 

DIYALA

Northern Diyala (Khanaqin)

The Security Committee of the Diyala Provincial Council said on Friday that a “dangerous” terrorist cell in the Khanaqin countryside had been dismantled.​​ [Buratha]​​ 

 

Daesh said its snipers wounded a PMF soldier on Thursday in Rabi’a village, in Sadiya, Khanaqin District.​​ [ICDNFeb8]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk

Daesh said it burned​​ down the house of a Shi’i​​ with hand grenades on Wednesday in​​ the​​ Al-Asra neighborhood​​ of​​ Kirkuk city. [ICDNFeb8]

 

Hawija (Abbasi)

Daesh said it targeted a tribal PMF “gathering” in Al-Ahnaf village, west of Abbasi, with 7 mortar shells, on Thursday. [ICDNFeb8-Telegram]​​ 

 

Daesh said it blew up the house of a PMF “intelligence member” on Thursday in Gharib village, in Abbasi subdistrict. [ICDNFeb8-Telegram]

Daesh also said it wounded a tribal PMF soldier with an IED in the same village, on Thursday. [ICDNFeb8]

 

Southwest (Rashad)

The spokesman for the Security Media Center, General Yahya, said on Friday that IFP intelligence units had found a Daesh “nest” on the outskirts of Wadi Al-Kur during a search​​ south of Rashad. The location​​ contained Kalashnikov-type rifles, food, and clothing.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Daesh said it damaged an IFP SUV with an IED on Wednesday near Tal Khadija village, in Rashad subdistrict. [A3maq]​​ 

 

NINEWA

Mosul​​ city

Mahmoud Ismeal, an anti-Daesh​​ activist,​​ said in a television interview that he had been attacked on the orders of Ninewa Governor Nawfal Al-‘Akoub. He said that 1 of the reasons he had been attacked was that he had reported some of the Governor’s​​ associates​​ for being Daesh members.​​ [IraqPress]​​ 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source had previously said on Wednesday that an activist was beaten​​ up by the nephew of the Governor of Mosul and a tribal PMF commander.

 

A local source in Ninewa said that 12 bodies recently found by Civil Defense teams in west Mosul had no identifying marks, and that it would be “very difficult” to identify them. The source said that it was impossible to say whether they were bodies of civilians killed during the period of Daesh​​ occupation or of Daesh fighters. The Directorate of Civil Defense had previously reported finding the 12 bodies on Thursday. [Sumaria]

 

The Security Media Center said that detachments from the Energy Police had arrested a Daesh financer in east Mosul. The Center said that the man was financing Daesh by smuggling oil and oil derivatives. [Forat]​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Mosul District

South (Hammam Al-Alil/Shura/Qayara)

The Directorate of Military Intelligence said on Friday that military intelligence detachments from the 20th​​ Division of the 43rd​​ Infantry Brigade had arrested a terrorist hiding in the IDP camp in Hammam Al-Alil. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

West (Hamidat/Muhalabiya)

PMF Command said in a statement on Thursday that the 44th​​ PMF Brigade would carry out a search and raid operation from the Jazeera Mosul area toward the border with Syria in order to hunt down Daesh cells and secure the area.​​ [Forat]

 

Western​​ Ninewa

No reports

 

Southern Ninewa

No reports

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Babel

The Babel Police Command said a person wanted on terrorism charges had been arrested in Muwailha, northern Babel.​​ [Buratha]​​ 

 

Karbala

The Directorate of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism arrested​​ 4​​ people in western Karbala Province on charges of terrorism. [Sumaria]

 

A security source in Karbala said that tourist security personnel arrested a Daesh member in a hotel in the old city in the center of Karbala Province on Friday. [Sumaria]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

No reports

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

No reports

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Political developments

Elham Ahmed, the co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (the political wing of the SDF), warned that a sudden withdrawal of US forces would result in a resurgence of Daesh. She said it was important for a small number of US​​ troops​​ to remain in northern and eastern Syria because it was a “powerful symbol” and could be considered tactical support. She said that the US forces also provide important intelligence for destroying Daesh. [Rudaw]

 

The​​ Wall Street Journal​​ wrote that the SDF was selling oil to the Qatirji Group, an oil broker subject to US and EU sanctions for supplying fuel to the Syrian government. It wrote that the Qatirji Group was delivering crude oil from SDF-held oilfields to Syrian government refineries. [WSJ]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We can’t have it both ways. If the US is going to cut off its support for the SDF, leaving it to the whims of President Erdogan, it is forced to accommodate itself to the Syrian government in order to have some counterweight to the Turks. As we have reported in numerous stories, the SDF is doing exactly that​​ in different ways.​​ 

 

Foreign policy

United States

A spokesman for the US State Department said that the US was interested in the security of the SDF and its Kurdish units, and that the US had already said that it should not be subjected to military attacks.​​ Dorar​​ says that this statement was intended to comfort the Kurdish allies after Turkey’s​​ President Erdogan expressed a desire to launch attacks east of the Euphrates. [ElDorar]

 

Russia

The​​ Syrian Law Journal​​ wrote on Twitter that Parliament had approved a $200 million, 40-year investment in the Homs Public Fertilizer Corporation by the Russian company Stroytransgaz. [Twitter]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that Daesh was “still a threat” in Syria. Speaking at the inauguration of the Berlin HQ of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, she said that while Daesh had been driven out of its territory, it was “transforming into an asymmetrical warfare force.” [AsharqAlArabi] [Politico]

 

The​​ Times​​ published a report that said that while the caliphate set up by Daesh in Iraq and Syria may end, its ideology will​​ be​​ spread through the remaining fighters. [Arabi21]

 

A Yazidi activist said on Friday evening that Sausan, a Yazidi from Sinjar who was kidnapped in 2014, when she was 5, has finally been freed as a 10-year-old. She​​ was kept with Daesh affiliates in Egypt and now​​ speaks only the Egyptian dialect​​ of Arabic. [BasNews]

 

An Iraqi woman​​ with​​ 3 children who had been arrested in Syria on suspicion of belonging to Daesh was deported to Iraq, where she was sent to a police station.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Northwest

No reports

 

Northeast​​ 

No reports

 

Central and West​​ 

Hama

A land mine explosion in Hama killed 8 members of the Albu Hasan tribe who worked in livestock. [ElDorar]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal​​ District

The SOHR said that many reliable sources​​ have​​ told it that the Coalition is negotiating with Daesh to leave its last remaining pocket. [SyriaHR]

 

On Thursday,​​ the​​ Guardian​​ said that intelligence officials believe some followers of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi attempted to launch a coup against him in a village near Hajin on January 10. A bounty has​​ reportedly​​ been placed on the head of the main planner, Abu Muath Al-Jazairi. [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ As our readers know, we tend to minimize the credibility of Al-Baghdadi stories. There have been a couple of reports of splits among top Daesh leaders, however. Even identifying the current Daesh leaders is difficult, as so many of the top leaders, including their replacements, have been killed by the Coalition and in combat.​​ 

 

The SOHR reported that 12 men of various nationalities and 4 Russian and Uzbek women were able to leave the last Daesh-held pocket and enter SDF-controlled territory. [SyriaHR]

 

A female Daesh leader fled to SDF-controlled areas with her 2 children. She is 28 years old and a Canadian citizen from Toronto of Somali origins. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh issued a video of shooting down an Iraqi recon drone over Al-Baghouz on Wednesday. [A3maq]

 

South

No reports​​ 

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

Ayatollah Khamenei said that the slogan “Death to America” or “Down with the USA” should be taken to refer to the politicians currently in power, specifically referencing Trump, John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo, and not to refer to the American people at large. [NYT] [Twitter]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Thank​​ you, Sir,​​ but we​​ honestly​​ wish that it wouldn’t take you 40 more years to stop the death slogans altogether and to start​​ thinking of your people’s wellbeing instead.​​ ​​ 

 

Saudi Arabia

The US​​ Senate is​​ pressuring​​ the Trump​​ Administration to provide further answers regarding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salmans role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. In October, Senators Bob Corker and Bob Menendez, then the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,​​ requested​​ an investigation into Khashoggi’s killing under the Magnitsky Act, which provides for sanctions on foreign government officials responsible for human rights abuses. The legislation​​ gives the White House 120 days to respond. In November, Corker and Menendez wrote a letter asking the White House to specifically investigate whether MBS was involved, asking the White House to respond by the same deadline. That deadline came on Friday; the White House has not yet formally responded. [ABC]

 

The Saudi Foreign Ministry tweeted a graphic saying, “Our leadership is a red line” and “We warn against any attempt to link Khashoggi’s crime to our leadership,” in an apparent warning against US pressure. [Twitter]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We would like to suggest an appropriate response to this statement, but our response could not be printed by any respectable news organization.

 

North Africa

Egypt

Unidentified gunmen opened fire at Friday prayers in a mosque in Bandar, Asyut Governate, killing 2 people:​​ a 19-year-old and a 14-year-old.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Libya

The Chairman of the National Oil Company, Mustafa Sanalla, said that​​ production at the Sharara oilfield was unlikely to restart soon, as militia fighters affiliated with the UN-backed government in Tripoli were now fighting with Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army on the outskirts of the oilfield. [WSJ]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Military sources said on Friday that Afghan Special Forces had killed 2 senior Taliban leaders in a raid in Nangarhar Province, eastern Afghanistan. [Khaama]

 

The Afghan MoI and the Afghan National Police Forces, in separate statements, said that over 30 “irresponsible” armed persons had been arrested in Balkh Province, northern Afghanistan. [Khaama]

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

On Thursday, Daesh published the 168th​​ issue of its​​ Naba’​​ magazine. In this issue, Daesh published, as usual,​​ an infographic about its attacks in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, west Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and east Asia during the last week. It said conducted 74 attacks, killing or wounding 191 people and destroying 26 vehicles. [ICDNFeb7]

 

 

*****

 

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You are invited to add information to or comment on any Daesh Daily story​​ 

February 7, 2019

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SDF Fighters in Al-Baghouz (Hawar Feb 7)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Carnegie Endowment report cites lack of a functional coalition in Iraq government. [..]

Anti-Daesh activist shot, physically assaulted in Mosul by Governor’s nephew, tribal PMF commander. [..]

 

Syria

US officials offer contradictory​​ statements on whether there is a withdrawal deadline for Syria. [..]

SDF trying to root out large remaining Daesh elements in​​ Raqqa. [..]

Daesh diehards using human shields to hold out in Al-Baghouz area. [..]​​ 

 

Other​​ countries

Saudi Arabia: ​​ NY Times report uncovers further evidence of Crown Prince involvement in Khashoggi murder.​​ [..]

Yemen: ​​ UN relief workers blocked from accessing Hodeida grain storage warehouse by Houthis. ​​ [..]

Afghanistan: ​​​​ Khalilzad insists there is no timetable for US withdrawal from Afghanistan.​​ ​​ [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

New​​ government

On Thursday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published a​​ report​​ that said that Iraqi Prime Minister​​ Adel Abd Ul-Madhi may​​ be forced to employ more​​ executive​​ decrees to overcome the lack of a functional​​ coalition in​​ the current government. [Sada]

 

Corruption

 

See story below under​​ 

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Coalition said on Thursday that it was continuing to train Iraqi security personnel. It said that between January 20 and 27, the ISF had destroyed over 430 IEDs during route patrols, and that the Coalition and the ISF had conducted over 65 “coordinated fire missions.”​​ [InherentResolve]

 

BAGHDAD

West​​ (Mansour, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

Baghdad Ops Command said on Thursday that the “Falcons” intelligence group had arrested a suspected terrorist in Zaidan, in Abu Ghraib District. [Ghad]​​ 

 

ANBAR

Falluja

The Security Media Center said on Thursday that units under Anbar Ops Command had arrested 5 wanted persons in the​​ stadium​​ area​​ along​​ 60th​​ Street,​​ and found 70 IEDs left behind by Daesh in the Albu Daalj area,​​ south of​​ Falluja​​ city.​​ [IraqPress]​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Rutba

On Thursday a security source said an IED explosion killed a Civil Defense employee in Rutba. [BasNews]​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

Daesh said it killed a TV reporter, a “SWAT officer” and two other “SWAT members,” and wounded four others on Wednesday in clashes in the Hawi Kan’ous area. [ICDNFeb7-Telegram]

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source had previously said that Coalition airstrikes killed several Daesh members around Hawi Kan’ous on Wednesday, and that 4 security personnel, including an officer, had been killed in ground fighting.​​ 

 

Daesh said it kidnapped,​​ then​​ killed​​ three tribal PMF soldiers on Wednesday near Misahaq village. [ICDNFeb7-Telegram]

 

Samarra

On Thursday, a security source said that Daesh attacked a security barrier between Samarra and Al-Daur on Wednesday night, where the 9th PMF brigade was​​ concentrated.​​ The brigade​​ prevented Daesh from crossing the barrier. [Sumaria]

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded several Iraqi Army EOD experts with an IED on Wednesday on the road to Al-Mu’tasim, southeastern Samarra. [ICDNFeb7-Telegram]

 

DIYALA

No reports

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk

An official security source said on Thursday that a sticky bomb planted under a civilian vehicle exploded in the Imam Qasim neighborhood of Kirkuk city, causing damage.​​ [SotIraq]

 

NINEWA

Mosul​​ city

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that the nephew of the Governor of Mosul and a tribal PMF commander beat up and shot an anti-Daesh social media activist. The source said the victim could have been killed, but civilians intervened and saved his life. The activist was taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds and several fractures. The​​ reported motivation for the crime was that​​ the activist had reported 4 Daesh members, who are from the same tribe as the Governor, to security forces.​​ 

 

Mosul District

West (Hamidat/Muhalabiya)

Daesh said it targeted an Iraqi Army military position near the Aski Mosul area with machine guns, on Wednesday.​​ [ICDNFeb7-Telegram]

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

Ninewa Ops Command said on Thursday that it was conducting a search of the Mount Sasan area in coordination with PMF units, and that the joint group had found several IEDs and various weapons.​​ [IraqPress]​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

No reports

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

No reports

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

No reports

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

United Nations

A UN report presented to the Security Council said that Daesh has not been defeated in Syria, and is still the most dangerous terrorist group there. It said that there were between 14,000 and 18,000 extremist fighters in Syria and Iraq, about 3,000 of whom are foreign. [Sumaria]​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Iran

The Israeli newspaper​​ Haaretz​​ said on Thursday that Iran had​​ decided to try to​​ transfer its most sensitive​​ military posts​​ in Damascus to other parts of Syria in secret.​​ It said that the IRGC would move its weapons supply center for Syria to the “T4” airbase in Homs as a response to recent Israeli strikes on the Damascus airport.​​ [ElDorar]​​ [Haaretz]

 

Foreign policy

United States

The US reportedly set a target date for the withdrawal of its troops from Syria, with current and former US officials saying that there were military plans in place to pull out a “significant portion” of US forces in Syria by mid-March, and fully withdraw by the end of April. However, the State Department still says that there is no fixed timetable for the withdrawal. [WSJ]

 

In an interview, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that extremists in Syria are attempting to flee and regroup in Africa and northern Libya. He also said the duty of the US is to prevent them from taking territory in Africa, maintain pressure on them, and limit their financial​​ capabilities.​​ [Sumaria] [ElDorar]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The SDF said on Thursday that it arrests foreign fighters “daily,” and confirmed that it arrested a German named Martin Lemke in eastern Syria on suspicion of belonging to Daesh. [Rudaw] [ArabNews]

 

Northwest

No reports

 

Northeast​​ 

Raqqa

Raqqa city​​ & district

The SOHR​​ said​​ it has​​ many reliable sources saying​​ that the​​ SDF​​ operation to raid​​ Daesh locations in​​ Raqqa city continues. About 70 people were arrested,​​ of whom at least 48​​ are still​​ detained by the SDF or other security forces. The SOHR estimates there are between 4,000 and 5,000 fighters hidden in the villages under the SDF control who belong to Daesh and other regional groups. [SyriaHR]

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib/Aleppo

No reports

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor District

Forat​​ reported said that the Coalition conducted an air assault operation to arrest Majid Al-Salama in Al-Shahil city. It said that the Coalition arrested 3 others in Al-Baghouz. [Qasioun]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

The Coalition said on Thursday that it was continuing to support “partner forces,” and was “setting conditions for the enduring defeat of ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley” area. It said that “partner forces” (i.e., the SDF) had now liberated approximately 99.5% of Daesh-controlled territory, following the liberation of​​ Marashidah. [InherentResolve]

 

The SDF said that 80% of Al-Baghouz is liberated from Daesh, and that it continues to advance against Daesh. [Hawar]

 

Rudaw​​ wrote that approximately 3,000 civilians and 500 Daesh fighters were still “trapped” in the Daesh-held portion of Al-Baghouz, an area of not more than 3 km square, and that the Daesh fighters refused to surrender to the SDF. It said that the fighting had died down due to the continued presence of the civilians. A field commander for the SDF was quoted as saying that Daesh was using the civilians in the area as human shields to slow down the SDF advance.​​ [Rudaw]​​ 

The SOHR also said that Daesh was using civilians and its​​ own​​ families as human shields against the Coalition planes. [SyriaHR]

 

On Thursday, Iraqi PMF units carried out a missile strike against Daesh in Al-Baghouz. A media report said that the operation involved 50 missiles. [Qasioun]

 

South​​ 

No reports

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Saudi Arabia

The​​ New York Times​​ wrote that intelligence intercepts recorded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) telling an aide in 2017 that he would “use a bullet” on journalist Jamal Khashoggi if Khashoggi did not return to Saudi Arabia and cease criticizing it, according to American and​​ foreign officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence reports. Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October​​ 2018. The​​ NYT​​ wrote that this was the most detailed evidence to date suggesting MBS’ direct involvement in Khashoggi’s killing.​​ [NYT]

 

Meanwhile, the Saudi government claimed that WhatsApp messages exchanged between MBS and his aide Saud Al-Qahtani on October 2, 2018, the day Jamal Khashoggi was killed, did not concern Khashoggi. A CIA assessment had previously concluded that MBS likely ordered Khashoggi’s killing; the exchange of WhatsApp messages on the day of the killing was 1 piece of evidence cited. [WSJ]

 

Yemen

The UN warned that grain that is supposed to feed up to 3.7 million Yemenis is currently “stranded” and possibly rotting in warehouses in Hodeida.​​ The UN relief coordinator said that the Houthis had denied UN officials permission to access the Red Sea Mills, where the World Food Program has stored 51,000 tons of wheat.​​ [NYT]

 

Qatar

The Qatari Foreign Minister announced that Qatar would host a high-profile regional event in 2019 to address crimes committed by Daesh. [Qasioun]​​ 

 

North Africa

Libya

Khalifa Haftar,​​ leader​​ of the Libyan National Army, took control of the Sharara oilfield in southwestern Libya. An official at Libya’s National Oil Corporation said this could lead to a resumption in production in the field. [WSJ]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

EUROPE

France

2 French journalists who had been held captive by Daesh said on Thursday that Mehdi Nemmouche, who is standing trial for the murder of 4 people at the Brussels Jewish Museum in 2014, was their jailer in Syria. Both the journalists said they “had no doubt” that Nemmouche had been their jailer, with 1 saying that he knew Nemmouche as “Abu Omar.” The journalists said that Nemmouche tortured them and other prisoners. [France24] [France24] [BBC]

 

AFRICA

Nigeria

Daesh said on Thursday a group of its terrorists killed or wounded several Nigerian soldiers in an attack on a military position in Malam Fatori town, in the Lake Chad area. [ICDNFeb7-Telegram]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said on Twitter that “no troop withdrawal timetable exists” for US forces in Afghanistan. This comes after some Taliban officials had claimed that the US committed to a timetable for withdrawal. [Khaama]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ A timetable would obviously benefit the Taliban, as it could wait out the remaining US presence and then resume its efforts to seize control of the whole country.​​ This is why Khalilzad​​ is​​ anxious to avoid creating the impression that there is such a timetable.

 

Participants in the intra-Afghan dialogue hosted in Moscow issued​​ a joint statement as the summit closed, mainly focusing on the need to withdraw foreign forces and remove Taliban leaders from sanctions lists. The participants agreed to hold the next round of intra-Afghan talks in Doha, Qatar. [Khaama]​​ 

 

 

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February 6, 2019