An Update On ISIS Activities

December 26, 2018

 

A group of people standing in the grass

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Daesh Explosives Confiscated in Al-Qa’im (DD Dec 24)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Iranian pressure on MoI minister appointment irks Allawi CoR bloc. [..]

Trump pays a surprise visit to US soldiers at Haditha base.​​ [..]

MoI units capture 12 Daesh fighters in Al-Qa’im. [..]

Pro-KDP Yazidi militia runs afoul of Badr militia in Sinjar. [..]

 

Syria

SDF asking Egypt to mediate between SDF & Syrian government.​​ [..]

Russia demands US turn over all US-held areas to​​ Assad​​ and withdraw soon. [..]

French troops extend patrols north of Manbij toward Turkey border. [..]

Turkey warns Syria not to attack Turkish troops in Idlib.​​ [..]

Islamist militia attacks Syrian Army troops in Latakia. [..]

SDF kills 100 Daesh fighters, cuts off supply routes to three Albu Kamal towns.​​ [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Egypt:​​ Mubarak court testimony accuses Turkey of harboring Muslim Brotherhood fugitives. [..]

Libya:​​ Daesh stages suicide attack on Libyan Foreign Affairs ministry in Tripoli. [..]

United States:​​ McGurk resigns in protest over Trump’s abrupt Syria withdrawal.​​ [..]

Nigeria:​​ Daesh claims five attacks on Nigerian soldiers. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

New​​ government

The Wataniya (National) bloc, headed by Ayad Allawi, said there was “immense” Iranian pressure on Prime Minister Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi to​​ accept​​ Faleh Al-Fayadh as Minister of Interior. This was according to Haider Al-Mullah, a leading figure of the bloc. He​​ added, “We would never allow that to happen.​​ [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The Interior ministry apparently has an improving reputation, but to Sunni Iraqis especially it had previously acquired a bad reputation for often well-documented abuses against Sunnis.​​ 

This makes the appointment of the new Minister a matter of utmost concern to political blocs that primarily represent Sunni constituencies, like Wataniya. The perception, perhaps fact, that Iran is pushing for Al-Fayadh would therefore be in itself a major issue.​​ 

 

Al-Sadr’s Sa’irun​​ bloc​​ proposed on Tuesday to put the appointment of Faleh Al-Fayadh to the post of Minister of Interior up for a secret vote instead of​​ a​​ public​​ one. The Bina’ (Construction) bloc leaders rejected the proposal since, as​​ Sot Al-Iraq​​ reports, they know that half of their​​ bloc​​ is against​​ Al-Fayadh. Political divisions have kept the Defense and Interior ministries vacant. [SotAlIraq]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Because Interior is generally regarded as a Shia ministry for historically understandable reasons, Defense has been regarded as a Sunni ministry, for purposes of sectarian and political balance.

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

A report by the Coalition says that Daesh​​ has​​ lost all of its territory in Iraq and 99% of its​​ territory in Syria. [SotAlIraq]

 

Foreign policy

On Wednesday, when President Trump made a surprise visit to American troops at the Al-Asad Airbase​​ in Haditha, he announced that the US may use Al-Asad to launch attacks into Syria. The visit lasted 3 hours, and he did not​​ go to Baghdad or​​ meet with any Iraqi officials. [Sumaria] [NPR] [Rudaw] [Sumaria]

 

Iraj Masjedi, Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq, denied that there was any Iranian military presence in Iraq, including military advisors. He says that all advisors who assisted the Iraqi government in its war on Daesh have left the country. He stressed that there is no justification for the US military presence in the area.​​ [Rudaw]

 

BAGHDAD

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)​​ 

Daesh said it shot and destroyed an Iraqi Army thermal camera in the Al-Khan area, near Meshahda, on Friday. [ICDNDec22]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It must have taken a lot of bravery to do that.

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

A security source says an emergency police unit found a roadside IED in Al-Sihha neighborhood in Dora, Rasheed District. ​​ An EOD team defused the IED. [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR

Sabah Karhout, a member of the Anbar Provincial Council, says that the US Army is moving around near Al-Qa’im and Rutba, and is suspected to have military​​ bases​​ there. The first base is allegedly north of Rummana in Al-Qa’im, and the second is east of Rutba. [BasNews]

 

Ramadi/Falluja

The Security Media Center said on Wednesday that units under Anbar Ops Command detonated 48 IEDs left behind by Daesh in the Humaira area​​ south of Ramadi, and 41​​ more​​ IEDs in the Albu Khalid area​​ in Falluja, south of Falluja city along the Ameriyat Al-Falluja Road. The units also arrested 2 wanted persons, 1 in the Al-Qatana neighborhood of Ramadi​​ city, and 1 in the area of Al-Soura, east of Ramadi.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that Counter Terrorism units captured a Daesh commander in Al-Askari neighborhood, in Ramadi city. The units also captured also 2 tribal PMF members after the terrorist admitted they provided him with fake IDs.​​ 

 

Al-Qa’im

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that MoI units captured 12 Daesh terrorists and confiscated rockets and IEDs in Al-Qa’im. The source said the units had captured a Daesh member who gave the names and location of the other terrorists. The source sent us photos of the confiscated explosives.​​ 

 

Rutba

Daesh said on Monday it killed or wounded nine Iraqi soldiers and destroyed 2 vehicles with 2 IEDs in the Kilo 120 area. [A3maq]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that an Iraqi Army soldier was killed and another wounded in a Daesh shelling near the Kan’ous area. The source said that Army and Salahuddin Police units were not able to dislodge Daesh from the area. The source later said that planes bombed Daesh positions in Hawi Kan’ous.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that two tribal PMF members were killed in a Daesh attack near Al-Salman village.​​ 

 

Baiji

Daesh said it shot and killed two tribal PMF members and damaged their vehicle in an ambush in the Al-Fatha area, northeast of Baiji, on Sunday. [A3maq] [ICDNDec24]

 

Daesh said it wounded four PMF members, captured four others, and damaged their vehicle in an ambush west of Siniya on Tuesday. [ICDNDec26]

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Daesh said it killed two Iraqi soldiers, wounded an officer and two other soldiers, and destroyed a Humvee with an IED in the Ja’afra area, in Buhriz subdistrict, on Monday. [A3maq]

 

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

On Wednesday, the Security Media Center announced that Ninewa Ops Command found​​ two​​ terrorist hideouts in Sheikhi village​​ in Abu Saida. [Sumaria]

 

Northern Diyala (Khanaqin)

Daesh said it wounded an IFP member Monday in​​ an​​ attack on Al-Ikhwa village, in Khanaqin District. [A3maq]

 

Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)

Daesh said it destroyed an Iraqi Army Humvee Saturday with an IED in the Al-Nida area near the Iran border, in the Mandali subdistrict. [ICDNDec24]

 

KIRKUK

Hawija​​ 

The MoI announced that IFP intelligence units and units from the Directorate of Intelligence and Counter Terrorism in the Interior Ministry captured 8 Daesh​​ leaders, wanted for various acts of terrorism, targeting security forces, and forced displacement. [Forat]​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad)

IFP Command said on Wednesday that IFP units had found a safehouse​​ in Albu Najm,​​ northeastern​​ Daquq​​ District, containing 2 rocket launchers, 23 “homemade” rockets, and various types of ammunition.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Daesh said it targeted the tribal PMF building in Mansiya village in Rashad with light weapons and rockets, on Tuesday. [ICDNDec26]

 

NINEWA

Makhmur

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that local police units captured a Daesh terrorist who was hiding in a tunnel in the Gwer subdistrict in western Makhmur.​​ 

 

Mosul​​ city

The Directorate of Military Intelligence said on Wednesday that 3 wanted terrorists were arrested in the Al-Salam neighborhood of southeastern Mosul.​​ [Ghad]

 

Daesh said it wounded two Iraqi Army members with a hand grenade in Al-Arabi neighborhood, in north Mosul north of the Tigris, on Thursday the 20th. [ICDNDec22]​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that National Security units captured 4 Daesh terrorists in different areas in west Mosul. The source sent us photos of 2 of the terrorists.​​ 

​​ 

Mosul District

South (Shura/Qayara)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that Ninewa SWAT units killed 2 Daesh terrorists who were hiding in a​​ desert​​ tunnel near Shura.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that PMF units stopped a Daesh attack near Ain Al-Jahash village, killing 2 terrorists and forcing the rest to flee.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that 2 Daesh terrorists were severely wounded​​ as​​ they tried​​ to plant an IED near a police checkpoint​​ close to​​ the Al-Jada’a IDP camp.​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

A​​ car bomb went off in Tal Afar on Wednesday around noontime​​ killing​​ 2 civilians and wounding​​ 11 others. [Forat]

In another version of its own report, Daesh said on Tuesday it killed three Shia and wounded 12 others when it set off a parked vehicle bomb at Ras Al-Jadda Circle in Tal Afar city. [ICDNDec25]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ A substantial minority of Turkmen are Shia, who mostly fled after Daesh came; many have not come back. Incidents like this won’t encourage those still absent.

 

Sinjar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that Yazidi PMFs are preparing the Sinjar area for the return of displaced people. They defused 12 IEDs and land mines in several houses and farms in Sinjar.​​ 

 

DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that Yazidi PMF units established a sand barrier west of Sinjar city after getting information that Daesh intend to attack. The source said that many Daesh terrorists who fled eastern Hasaka in Syria were hiding in the desert west of Sinjar.​​ 

 

The leader of​​ the​​ Yazidkhan​​ Protection Force (HPE), a pro-KRG militia, accused Badr units of capturing 30 of his fighters in Sinjar Sunday evening and gave a 24-hours ultimatum to release them. The source said that Badr units claimed to be Iraqi Army and intelligence units when they arrested the members.​​ 

A PMF source said that the fighters were arrested because they were not licensed. He said that they were transferred to an Iraqi Army 16th​​ division unit because the local police refused to take them. [Rudaw] ​​ 

By another account, on December 24 at 01:00 am, PMF militia units thought to be part of the Badr Organization raided the HPE headquarters. Shots were fired and 30 armed members of the HPE were arrested and taken away.​​ HPE’s leader, Haydar Shesho, who is supported by the KDP Peshmerga, said he has given a deadline to the PMF to release the arrested HPE members by 12:00 Wednesday; otherwise HPE will retaliate.​​ 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Yazidkhan​​ militiamen​​ removed and shredded PMF flags from buildings in Sinjar, in an apparent retaliatory move.​​ 

 

After the arrests, the KRG-appointed​​ Mayor of Sinjar​​ District, Mahma Khalil, announced on Tuesday,​​ apparently on his own “authority,” that Sinjar was “re-annexed” to the KRG. He said that Daesh​​ was​​ defeated a year ago and the Iraqi government​​ hasn’t done​​ anything for the district. He also demanded the UN and other international organizations help the district and kick out the “illegal forces.” [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Khalil, a KDP member, was kicked out of his position as District Mayor when Iraqi forces entered Sinjar. However, he returned to his position after a political deal.​​ 

 

HPE and​​ government​​ PMF​​ militias​​ have been​​ operating simultaneously​​ in Sinjar since October 2017 and no major incidents had​​ previously​​ taken place before despite the existence of disagreements. The PMF units​​ enjoy a good relationship with PKK affiliated militia forces in the area but view HPE as an adversary due to HPE’s links with the KRG. Security concerns caused by the​​ division of security responsibilities among​​ multiple militia forces​​ are seen by many Sinjar residents as​​ a​​ significant​​ obstacle​​ to​​ the return of Yazidi IDPs, because this creates doubts about the reliability of the security. Incidents​​ occurring between them​​ could​​ damage recent optimism amongst IDPs created by the reopening of Sehela Road. ​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Hatra

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that two PMF members were killed and two others severely wounded in a Daesh attack near Al-Barit village.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that Ninewa SWAT units, supported by airplanes, raided a Daesh tunnel southeast of Hatra on Saturday evening, killing 5 terrorists, including Ali Abdullah Al-Janabi, a military commander originally from Diyala. The source said that Janabi was previously a Saddam army officer.​​ 

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Babel

The police chief of Babel said on Wednesday that intelligence and national security units had arrested a wanted terrorist in Muwailha, in northern​​ Babel Province. [Ghad]​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

No reports

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Political developments

Turkey demanded that Google eliminate a map of Kurdistan available online​​ that included​​ parts of Turkey. The Minister of Transportation,​​ Mehmet Cahit Turhan,​​ says that Turkey is aware of such a map on Google Earth, showing Kurdistan as also containing parts of Iraqi, Syrian, and Iranian territory. [Sumaria]

Google removed the map of Kurdistan from Google Maps at the request of Turkey. [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The likely map at issue is a map of Greater Kurdistan that projects the boundaries as if all Kurds were united in the same country. No one is claiming that these borders are a current fact. You can see the map in Erbil and probably elsewhere. This is precisely the map the PKK has in mind as it advocates for a unified independent Kurdish state, which helps to explain why Turkey, which would have the most territory to lose if such a state were created, might find this map​​ against its national interests.​​ 

 

Military & security developments

On Wednesday, a Syrian Kurdish leader posted on Facebook that the plan to deploy​​ peshmerga and “elite forces” of the Syria Tomorrow Movement,​​ headed by Ahmad Jarba,​​ to the border with Turkey to prevent a Turkish invasion (instead of​​ deploying​​ the​​ YPG) still stands. [BasNews]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Political developments

Co-Chair​​ Elham Ahmed​​ of the Syrian Democratic Council (political wing of the SDF) said that the SDF was negotiating with Egyptian officials on serving as mediators between the SDF and the Syrian government. Ahmed​​ said​​ that the SDF seeks to reach an agreement with the Syrian government. A delegation from Egyptian intelligence is visiting Syria shortly, and will pass the message to its Syrian counterpart. [EnabBaladi]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The strategy behind this move is to accelerate the PYD’s cooperation with the Syrian government, so that the government can serve as a counterweight to the Turks, now that the US has effectively withdrawn its backup support.

 

Foreign policy

Russia

Russia described the US withdrawal schedule as “vague,” and demanded that all areas vacated by the Americans be handed over to the Syrian government. Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “We understood that the withdrawal from northeastern areas and Al-Tanaf might take 2-3 months.” It is not clear who will control these areas when the Americans leave, she says. [ElDorar]

 

Germany

A report commissioned by the leftist bloc in the German Parliament said that Turkish forces in Syrian territory should be considered occupying forces. The leftist bloc asked the German government to take note of this and formally consider​​ a​​ Turkish incursion as a violation of international law. [Hawar]

 

Israel

Newsweek​​ says that recent Israeli airstrikes on Syrian positions wounded Lebanese Hezbollah leaders who were onboard an Iranian plane​​ preparing to fly​​ to Iran,​​ which was​​ hit in the attack.​​ 2​​ Iranian planes left the airport a few minutes before the strike. [ZamanAlWasl]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Coalition issued a press release on Tuesday saying that Operation Inherent Resolve continued to support Coalition “partner forces” (i.e. SDF) during the December 16-22 period. UK Coalition Deputy Commander Christopher Ghika said, “ISIS presents a very real threat to the long-term stability in this region and our mission remains the same, the enduring defeat of ISIS.” [InherentResolve]

 

Northwest

Manbij /Al-Bab/Jarabulus

A Syrian journalist published photographs of French troops on military patrols between Manbij and Jarabulus. These are the first such patrols following the US decision to withdraw its troops from Syria. A security source noted that the French had previously only patrolled inside Manbij, in SDF-held areas. [DefenceBlog] [Kurdistan24]

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that if France was staying in Syria just to protect the Kurdish troops there, it would “bring no benefit to anyone.” [France24]

 

Hawar​​ reported on Wednesday that an IED in Manbij injured 1 civilian on Al-Jazeera Road. [Hawar]

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded three SDF members and damaged their SUV west of Duwar Al-Sawame’, on the road between Manbij and Al-Bab, on Sunday. [ICDNDec24]

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

Daesh said it killed four SDF members, including a commander, and destroyed their SUV with an IED in an unspecified location in the Hasaka area, on Friday. [ICDNDec22]

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded SDF members and damaged 3 vehicles Monday when it set off a (parked) motorcycle bomb in the Kou’ Al-Siddiq area west of Hasaka. [ICDNDec25] [A3maq]

 

Daesh said it severely wounded an SDF member Monday by running him over (with a vehicle) on Abyad Road, southwest of Hasaka. [ICDNDec25]

 

Daesh said it shot and severely wounded an SDF “spy” in Markada, southern Hasaka, on Monday. [A3maq]

 

Raqqa

North Raqqa​​ (Ayn Eissa)

Daesh said it killed or wounded SDF members with machine guns​​ Friday​​ in an ambush near Hazima, north of Ayn Eissa. [A3maq] [ICDNDec22]

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib

Turkey threatened the Syrian government with “dire consequences” if it thinks about attacking Turkish forces in Idlib, saying it reached an agreement with Russia and Iran to that respect. It says all parties agreed to 12 Turkish observation posts in the area. [ElDorar]

 

The SOHR says that Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) arrested a leading figure from the Hurras Al-Din​​ (Guardians of Religion)​​ militia​​ south of Idlib. This comes as an extension of tension between the​​ two​​ militia groups,​​ which​​ first​​ began​​ in November and caused gunfights. [SyriaHR]

 

Homs

The SOHR reported that Coalition forces​​ at​​ the Al-Tanaf base, near the Iraq-Syria border, targeted Syrian forces in Zarqa, east of Homs and west of Area 55,​​ the latter​​ held by the Coalition. No casualty reports were available. [SyriaHR]

 

Latakia

The Islamist militia coalition Harridh Al-Muminin says it attacked 3 Syrian Army positions in northern rural Latakia,​​ taking advantage of​​ bad weather conditions. A military source said that the attacks killed 20 soldiers and wounded many others. [ElDorar]

However, the SOHR said, regarding the same operation, that the attacking militias killed 4 Syrian soldiers and lost 2 of their own during the attacks.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

The SOHR reported continued assassinations and security anarchy in areas of Deir Ez-Zor district, where armed men on a motorcycle shot and killed 2 SDF fighters in Barsham village, west of the Euphrates. Such individual operations have become the main​​ tactic​​ used by Daesh in the area. [SyriaHR]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Daesh motorcycle attacks have become increasingly common in both Iraq and Syria, as well as motorcycles used for vehicle bombs. This reflects Daesh’s diminished resources and loss of territory, so is a sign of weakness in a way, but the great majority of these attacks seem to have succeeded, to some extent due to the greater mobility and flexibility of this tactic but also because military units have been slow to recognize it.

 

Mayadin​​ District

Intense fighting was reported between the Syrian Army and its allied militias on one side, and the SDF on the other. The battles were reported to have taken place between Syrian Army units in Mayadin on the Euphrates, and SDF units in Dhiban, on the eastern side of the Euphrates. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh said it killed three SDF members and destroyed an SUV with machine guns in​​ an​​ ambush in the Hawayej area, near Mayadin city, on Thursday the 20th. [A3maq] [ICDNDec22]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

On Tuesday, SDF units cut off Daesh supply routes into​​ Al-Susah, Al-Sha’afa, and Al-Baghouz, killing at least 100 Daesh fighters and destroying several positions. [Hawar]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that Coalition planes killed 4 Daesh terrorists in an airstrike on a safehouse near Al-Susah.

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that Coalition planes killed 4 Daesh terrorists and destroyed a pickup vehicle near Al-Susah.​​ 

 

The SDF took over Albu Khater village,​​ near Hajin,​​ with the help of the Coalition, on Wednesday. [Qasioun]

 

SDF units destroyed several Daesh armored vehicles and captured large quantities of weapons and ammunition in Hajin. ​​ 3 armored vehicles were destroyed,​​ while mortars and cannons were captured. [Hawar]

 

The​​ SOHR reported​​ an​​ increase in​​ SDF attacks​​ against Daesh’s​​ eastern​​ positions,​​ amid​​ the​​ widescale​​ flight of​​ civilians from the area,​​ given recent Turkish threats​​ against the Kurds in northeastern Syria. ​​ 5,500 persons, including 300 Daesh​​ fighters,​​ fled​​ the area during this month.​​ All​​ of the Daesh fighters were reported to have been​​ arrested by the SDF. [SyriaHR]

 

The​​ SOHR reported violent confrontations​​ between​​ the​​ SDF and Daesh units near Abu Hasan and neighboring villages​​ southeast of Hajin,​​ accompanied by intense​​ Coalition airstrikes on​​ the areas surrounding the Al-Tanak oilfield. Reports say​​ that the​​ precision of airstrikes is much higher than previously. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh published on Monday photos of its “mortar units” in the Albu Kamal area. [ICDNDec24]

Daesh published on Wednesday photos of targeting Syrian Army positions near Albu Kamal with SPG9 rockets. [ICDNDec26] [ICDNDec26]

 

South​​ 

Suwayda

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that Daesh released a young Druze man it had captured months ago in exchange for the release of a Daesh commander who had been captured by government forces.​​ 

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his country’s treasury is void of hard currency, due to the US sanctions on Iran. He says this has affected Iranian exchange markets practically and “psychologically.” [BasNews]

 

Yemen

Daesh said on Monday it killed an Al-Qaeda member and wounded 2 others with an IED in the Dhi Khalib​​ Al-Asfal area, in Qifa. [ICDNDec24]

 

Daesh said on Wednesday it killed or wounded Al-Qaeda members with 2 IEDs in Anah​​ Valley in Qifa. [ICDNDec26]

 

North Africa

Egypt

In his testimony before the Cairo Criminal Court, former President Hosni Mubarak accused Turkey of harboring wanted Muslim Brotherhood​​ members. He said,​​ while testifying against​​ previous​​ President Mohammed Morsi, that Israel intercepted a boat carrying Mohamed Beltagy, a leading figure​​ in​​ the​​ Muslim​​ Brotherhood,​​ near Gaza. Mubarak​​ said​​ that Israel handed​​ him over to Egypt. In​​ addition to Morsi, 27 others from​​ the Lebanese​​ Hezbollah, Hamas, and​​ the​​ Muslim​​ Brotherhood​​ are named as defendants in the ongoing case. [Hawar]

 

Daesh said on Saturday its snipers killed two Egyptian Army officers and another soldier and wounded another soldier in the Al-Ahrash Camp in Rafah. [A3maq]

In another version, Daesh said the victims were policemen. [ICDNDec22]

 

Daesh said on Wednesday it killed an Egyptian Army soldier and wounded two others with an IED in the Al-Rasm area, in Rafah. Daesh said the soldiers were going to “booby-trap the houses of Muslims” in the area. [A3maq] [ICDNDec26]

 

Daesh said it destroyed an Egyptian Army bulldozer with an IED in the Lahfan area, south of Arish, on Friday. [ICDNDec22]

Daesh said on Tuesday it destroyed an Egyptian Army bulldozer with an IED in the Muqata’a area, south of Rafah. [ICDNDec25]

 

Libya

On Tuesday, 3 suicide attackers wearing explosives​​ belts attacked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building of the Libyan Government of National Accord in downtown Tripoli, killing at least 2 people and wounding​​ between 10 and​​ 18.​​ Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack. [Sumaria]​​ [ABCNews]

Daesh said on Tuesday that 3 of its terrorists, armed with machine guns and explosives vests, broke into the building of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tripoli. It said that the terrorists “controlled” the building for few hours, then burned it down. It said 31 security personnel and ministry employees were killed or wounded in the attack. [ICDNDec25]

 

On Tuesday, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry condemned Tuesday’s suicide attacks targeting​​ the Foreign Ministry building. The attacks​​ are now reported to have left 3 people dead, including a senior civil servant. [SotAlIraq] [AlJazeera]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

UNITED STATES

Brett McGurk, US Special Envoy to the Coalition, resigned on Friday night in protest of​​ President​​ Trump’s decision to​​ abruptly​​ pull​​ US troops​​ out of Syria. McGurk was previously planning to leave in​​ February; his resignation​​ is​​ effective December 31. [NBCNews]

 

Both Trump and Trump’s incoming Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, said over the weekend that they did not know who Brett McGurk was.​​ Former Security Advisor and Ambassador to the UN,​​ Susan Rice,​​ as well as​​ unnamed senior defense officials,​​ criticized Trump for apparently not knowing McGurk.​​ [WashingtonTimes]​​ [WaPo]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ McGurk was the central diplomatic figure in US efforts in both Syria and Iraq, serving officially as Envoy to the International Coalition, starting in 2015 in the Obama Administration and extending into the Trump Administration. He was tireless in his efforts and was frequently in both​​ countries. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has made such a major difference the fight against Daesh in Syria, was created mainly on his initiative.

 

EUROPE

Spain

The US State Department warned its citizens of a possible terrorist attack on tourist or​​ other​​ crowded areas in Barcelona, Spain. ​​ Spanish police are also on full alert, in search of a possible terrorist. [Sumaria]

 

Germany

German police seized publications in Arabic promoting Daesh near a damaged cable in Berlin. Investigations were also begun to​​ determine whether​​ the damage to the cable was a terrorist act. [Sumaria]

 

AFRICA

Somalia

Daesh said on Wednesday it killed a member of the Somali “taxes police” with a silenced gun at Sinai intersection, in Mogadishu. [A3maq] [ICDNDec26]

 

Daesh said on Wednesday it shot and killed a policeman near the municipality building in Bosaso city. [A3maq]

 

Nigeria

Daesh issued on Saturday a video of a Nigerian soldier it said it had captured on the 17th​​ in Bonari village. [ICDNDec22]

Daesh had said that it killed three Nigerian Army soldiers, captured one, wounded others, damaged a tank, and captured ammunition in an attack on a military position in Bonari, near Monguno town in southeast Nigeria, on Monday the 17th. [ICDNDec18] [A3maq]

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded several Nigerian Army members in an attack​​ Friday​​ on a military position in Gajiram town, in Borno​​ State. [ICDNDec22]​​ 

 

Daesh said it killed a Nigerian Army soldier, wounded others, set a tank on fire, and stole an SUV and weapons and ammunition in an ambush on the road between Sabon​​ Gari and Damboa, in Borno​​ State, on Friday. [A3maq] [ICDNDec22]

 

Daesh said it killed a Nigerian Army soldiers, wounded others, and stole an SUV and ammunition in an attack on a military position in Cross, on Sunday. [A3maq] [ICDNDec24]

 

Daesh said it killed two Nigerian Army members and wounded others after targeting their military positions near the Gambor area in Borno, with light weapons, on Tuesday. [ICDNDec26] [A3maq]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Daesh said it killed the mukhtar of the “Bikha” area, in Achin district in Nangarhar, when its terrorists attacked his house on Sunday. Daesh said the mukhtar was “pro-government.” [A3maq] [ICDNDec24]

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

Daesh issued on Tuesday a propaganda video about its attacks in Salahuddin. [ICDNDec25]

 

*****

 

READER COMMENTS WELCOME

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

 

December 21, 2018

 

 

 

Note to readers: Due to the Christmas holiday starting Monday night, our next issue will be on Wednesday the 26th. We wish you all a wonderful holiday.

 

 

A picture containing ground, person, outdoor, building

Description automatically generated

Daesh Explosives Found in Gwer (DD Dec 21)

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Ninewa PC chairman wants to treat Daesh widows as victims. [..]

Another Daesh mass grave found, in Hammam Al-Alil, with 50 victims. [..]

Yazidi PMFs burn down houses​​ of 16 Arabs​​ in Sinjar​​ who have no Daesh connection. [..]

155 new transformers from UNDP arrive in Sinjar to upgrade electricity. [..]

PKK delegation may visit Syrian government in wake of Trump’s Syria decision. [..]

 

Turkey

Erdogan postpones northeastern Syria incursion after call from Trump.​​ [..]

 

Syria

SDF political council warns that SDF troops may have to leave Albu Kamal to fight the Turks. [..]

SDF & Coalition campaign against Daesh shifts toward towns near Iraq border. [..]

Coalition airstrike kills 27 Daesh fighters & family members. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Libya: ​​​​ Libya has an issue over Turkey’s weapons shipments to Libyan militias. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-Daesh campaign

Captain Najm Abd Al-Latif, Jazeera Operations​​ Commander, said on Friday that Iraqi “joint forces” had strengthened their presence in the areas bordering Syria, following the US decision to withdraw from Syria. [Rudaw]

 

Foreign policy

The first group of 16 Iraqi Yazidi women​​ who were victims of Daesh​​ arrived in Paris,​​ as part of a program expected to receive 100 of them by 2019. A delegation of 83​​ people, including the 16 women, traveled from Erbil to Paris, and were received at the airport by Nadia Murad, the​​ 2018​​ Nobel Peace Prize​​ laureate. The women will​​ visit with​​ President Emanuel Macron. [Sumaria]​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

BAGHDAD

No reports

 

ANBAR

Falluja

The Directorate of Military Intelligence says its units operating in the 14th​​ Army Division arrested a Daesh “activist” who fought Army units in Nuaimiya, just south of​​ Falluja. [Sumaria]

 

The Security Media Center said on Friday that Ministry of the Interior detachments had found 18 120mm mortar rounds, 6 SPG9 rockets, and 3 rocket launchers in Albu Ali Al-Jassem. [Ghad]​​ 

 

Al-Qa’im

The Security Media Center says 37 families have returned from Ameriyat Al-Falluja and Habbaniya to their homes in Al-Qa’im. [Sumaria]​​ [MoD Website]​​ 

 

The Directorate of Military Intelligence said on Friday that its units had seized a cache of equipment and explosives in the village of Daghaima, Al-Qa’im. The cache contained 37 60mm mortar rounds and 14 120mm mortar rounds, as well as 4 rocket launchers and materials used in IED construction. [Rudaw]​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that tribal PMF units set trees and bushes on fire near Shabali village, where Daesh terrorists were hiding. The source said two PMF members were wounded when the terrorists shot at the PMFs and forced them to retreat.

 

Tikrit

The PMF media office said that units from the 88th​​ PMF Brigade had rescued farmers who were trapped by Daesh fighters in​​ a portion of​​ the Himrin Hills​​ in northern Salahuddin. The statement​​ said that the Daesh terrorists fled after a fight.​​ [Buratha]​​ 

 

DIYALA

No reports

 

KIRKUK

Hawija (Riyadh)

The Security Media Center said on Friday that IFP units had carried out a search operation in Sharifiya, Al-Khuzaifi, and Al-Shlaghmah​​ (spelling approx.) in​​ Riyadh subdistrict, during which they found an IED and a terrorist “camp” with various supplies. [Ghad]​​ 

 

NINEWA

A​​ published​​ piece on the widows of Mosul and Ninewa said that while there​​ are an estimated 20,000 widowed women in Ninewa Province, as well as an additional 4,000 whose husbands were Daesh members or family of Daesh members. The Director of the Women’s​​ Committee in​​ the Ninewa Provincial Council, Sakina Mohammed Ali, said that these women should be considered victims, as they were living in difficult circumstances without identity papers. She said that her department had organized workshops to help integrate these women into society. She added that without help, these women may turn to criminal behavior out of desperation to feed their children. [Rudaw]​​ 

 

Makhmur

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that local police and PMF units found a Daesh safehouse in the Gwer area and confiscated locally-made rockets and IEDs. The source said 15 Daesh terrorists had fled the area before the arrival of the security units. The source said Daesh was planning to attack Christian and Shabak areas in Hamdaniya. The source sent us photos of the confiscated items.​​ 

 

Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya,​​ Bashiqa)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that the Ninewa Directorate of Education will reopen 19 schools in the Ninewa Plain area in January. The source said the directorate had reopened 10 schools within the month of December.​​ 

 

The Security Media​​ Center says that EOD teams under Ninewa Ops Command destroyed 5 mines and defused 5 others in the Bashiqa area. [Sumaria]

 

Mosul​​ city

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that tribal PMF units captured a Daesh terrorist who was planting an IED on the road between the Baisan neighborhood and the tribal PMF office in the Al-Arabi neighborhood in north Mosul. The source said that the terrorist admitted he had been captured previously but was released after paying a bribe.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that Ninewa Operations Command units released a jeweler who had been kidnapped by the AAH in Al-Arabi neighborhood on Thursday. The source said the AAH​​ had demanded $50,000 from the man’s family. The source sent us photos of the jeweler after his release.​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Pardon our reaction, but what idiot would assign the AAH, virtually an Iranian front, to Mosul?

 

Ministry of the Interior spokesman Sa’ad Ma’an said on Friday that 13 wanted persons had been arrested in various areas of both east and west Mosul, among whom​​ were 2 wanted on kidnapping charges.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Mosul District

South (Hammam Al-Alil)

A source in​​ the​​ Ninewa police says​​ that​​ security​​ personnel​​ found a mass grave,​​ containing​​ the bodies of​​ 50 civilians​​ and police personnel,​​ in​​ Al-Adhba village​​ in Hammam Al-Alil, 12 miles south of the Mosul city border. 29​​ of the​​ bodies​​ were​​ police personnel. [BasNews]

 

The Security Media Center said that units under Ninewa Ops Command arrested 1 person on terrorism charges in Hammam Al-Alil. [Sumaria]

 

West (Hamidat)

The Coalition said on Friday that it carried out an airstrike in support of ISF personnel taking small arms fire in the Al-Atshana Mountains, near Badoush, on December 15. The statement said that Ninewa Ops Command had coordinated an airstrike which destroyed the entrance to a Daesh tunnel, killing 4 Daesh fighters.​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Sinjar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that Yazidi PMF fighters set 16 houses on fire that belong to Arab people in Sinjar who have no links to Daesh. The source said Yazidi PMFs say they won’t allow Arabs to return to Sinjar until all Yazidi kidnapped women return. The source sent us photos of one of the houses.​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ No excuses can be accepted for this, and those responsible should be fired and prosecuted. Yazidis in Sinjar have deep issues with Arab neighbors who set them up for Daesh’s attack on them, but treating all Arabs as Daesh members is not an acceptable response. Yazidi PMFs in Sinjar are being paid to protect all the people in their area, not to punish some of them to please others.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that UNDP delivered 155 electricity transformers to the Directorate of Electricity in Sinjar. The manager of the Directorate told our source that electricity will be restored in Sinjar District and its villages within the next few days.

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Sinjar has limited electricity service, due largely to Daesh destruction during its period of control. Its electricity situation is worse than elsewhere in Ninewa.

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that PMF units captured 2 Daesh terrorists and confiscated weapons and IEDs in a tunnel near Baaj.​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Baaj

The director-general of the Baaj Education Directorate told​​ DaeshDaily​​ that more than 50 schools have been reopened in the district so far. However, he said that there is still need for furniture, supplies, and staff. He said that many teachers are working for free, awaiting allocations from the government to hire them.​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

SULEIMANIYA

Kurdish media reported that a delegation representing PKK leadership arrived in Suleimaniya from the Qandil Mountains. The delegation is reportedly preparing to visit Damascus to talk to the Syrian government regarding the situation in northern Syria and the area east of the Euphrates, following the abrupt US decision to withdraw from the country. [Qasioun]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Foreign policy

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Friday​​ that​​ the​​ planned​​ Turkish military operation in the area east of the Euphrates in Syria​​ would be postponed, following a telephone conversation with President Trump. He says that the operation will be delayed until Turkey sees the results of the US withdrawal plan on the ground.​​ Erdogan also said that Turkey would mobilize to fight the remaining Daesh forces in Syria.​​ [ElDorar]​​ [Reuters]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ No, we don’t know what this means either. ​​ However, the most immediate bad result of the President’s withdrawal decision​​ would be the withdrawal of at least the Kurdish components of the SDF from the​​ closeout campaign against Daesh in Deir Ez-Zor. (See the stories just below under Syria) This​​ could have seriously bad consequences for the war against Daesh, which is not over despite the President’s premature announcement. Possibly Trump urged Erdogan to hold off on attacking the YPG in northeastern Syria until the SDF has fully defeated Daesh.​​ 

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Political developments

Elham Ahmed, the Co-Chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (the political wing of the SDF), says that the SDF may be forced to stop fighting Daesh and re-deploy to border areas in case of a Turkish attack. She says that the SDF will continue fighting terrorists, but that the task would be more difficult in view of the US withdrawal. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

Elham Ahmed also said that the SDF may not be able to keep Daesh prisoners if there is a Turkish attack and the situation gets out of control. She says any Turkish attack may allow radical groups to resume​​ their​​ activities,​​ as they are supported by Turkey. She requested​​ that​​ the EU impose a no-fly zone in northeast Syria. She was holding a press conference in Paris, where​​ she is visiting to discuss Turkish threats and stability in northeast Syria.​​ [Hawar]

 

Jihan Ahmed, an SDF spokeswoman, said on Friday that the SDF was willing to “raise the flag of the Al-Assad regime” over official institutions in Manbij city. Ahmed added that Syrian Democratic Council representatives had sat with government representatives several times before, and said that the SDF wanted self-government rather than separation from Syria. [ElDorar]

 

Major Yousif Hamoud, spokesman of the pro-Turkish​​ “National​​ Army​​ militia,​​ says​​ that the​​ PYD has​​ collapsed. He says they are meeting with the​​ Al-Assad government, the Russians, and the French to​​ find​​ a way out of their crisis. He says​​ that the​​ PYD are unable to form states and institutions,​​ and are only able​​ to serve foreign interests. [Qasioun]

 

Foreign policy

France

A source in the French Presidency​​ had announced earlier​​ that an SDF delegation​​ would be​​ arriving in Paris to discuss​​ next​​ steps following US withdrawal from Syria. The source says the US is incurring huge consequences from its withdrawal, being the backbone of the coalition. France says it is keeping its forces in Syria in the meantime. [BasNews]

 

United States

The Russian news agency​​ INTERFAX​​ says that the US is intending to close down the Al-Tanaf base in​​ southeastern Syria. It says that the Americans trained the Maghawir Al-Thawra militia​​ at​​ that base. [Qasioun]

 

European Union

The EU says it approached Egypt regarding efforts​​ being made​​ to return Syria to its Arab league membership. The EU says, “The time is still not suitable to normalize relations with Syria and return it to international organizations.” Tunisia is playing a major role in efforts aiming to return Syria to the Arab league. [ElDorar]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

INTERPOL warned of a second wave of terror attacks following the release of Daesh prisoners from prisons and the return of Daesh fighters to their Western​​ home​​ countries. Many who were imprisoned for 5 to 15 years are going to leave prison soon. [Hawar]

 

Northwest

No reports

 

Northeast​​ 

No reports

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib

The SOHR reports an IED explosion in Afes village, eastern Idlib, near the local council building, wounding 3 persons. The SOHR says that the security situation in the area is highly unstable, amid continue assassinations and kidnapping operations. [SyriaHR]​​ 

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

Daesh said it killed four SDF members and destroyed an SUV with an IED in Mashikh village, in Al-Busayrah subdistrict, on Thursday. [A3maq]​​ 

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

The SOHR says fighting between the SDF and Daesh is intensifying in Al-Susah,​​ Al-Baghouz,​​ Al-Sha’afa, and Kashma,​​ accompanied by heavy artillery shelling and​​ Coalition air support.​​ [SyriaHR]

Daesh is counter-attacking in Al-Susah and Al-Sha’afa. The SDF is blocking these attacks. [Hawar]

Daesh said on Friday that SDF members escaped after it attacked their positions northeast of Al-Sha’afa and Al-Kashma. [ICDNDec21]​​ 

 

The SOHR says that Coalition airstrikes killed 27 people in Al-Sha’afa, among them 14 family members of Daesh fighters, including 8 children, and 13 Daesh fighters. This bring the number of persons killed in airstrikes to 356, including 125 children and 80 women. 969 Daesh fighters have been killed in bombings since September 2018.​​ Qasioun​​ estimated the casualties at “at least 27.” [SyriaHR] [Qasioun]

 

Daesh is trying to make use of the bad weather conditions to regain control over Hajin,​​ which​​ it​​ lost to​​ the​​ SDF earlier. [SyriaHR]​​ An SDF spokesman was quoted by​​ Reuters​​ as saying that Daesh had launched an attack on Hajin on Friday.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

Daesh said​​ only that​​ on Friday it targeted SDF positions in the Hajin area with 150 120mm mortar shells and 7 SPG9 rockets. [ICDNDec21]

 

The SDF advanced against Daesh in Albu Khater village​​ near Hajin. The SDF​​ also​​ carried out an offensive against Daesh near Al-Sha’afa, backed by heavy Coalition air support. [Qasioun]

Local sources said that Daesh attacked a mosque near Albu Khater and sent car bombs and suicide bombers to attack SDF positions in Al-Sha’afa and Al-Susah. The sources also said that Daesh attacked Syrian Army positions on the outskirts of Albu Kamal city, killing 3 people. [Qasioun]

Daesh published on Friday photos of clashes with the SDF in the Albu Kamal area. [ICDNDEc21]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Friday that Coalition planes killed several Daesh terrorists, including Sinan Mutaib, a senior Iraqi​​ military​​ commander originally from Hit, in an airstrike​​ on their vehicle in the Albu Kamal area. The source said that the terrorist, who had been a senior Baathist official in Anbar, was one of the founders of the AQI and had worked closely with Syrian intelligence in 2005.​​ He​​ later​​ became​​ the Daesh military commander of the Albu Kamal area.​​ 

 

South

No reports​​ 

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

North Africa

Libya

Libya expressed concern over continued Turkish support to “terrorist” groups, saying the world is overlooking Turkish weapons supplying to militia groups in Libya. Customs authorities captured 3,120 pistols and 400 rifles, in addition to 4 million bullets, shipped from Turkey​​ to​​ the port of Tripoli. [Hawar]

 

Libya deported 12 Egyptian children of Daesh members to Egypt. They arrived in Cairo on Thursday. The action was undertaken with the support of the Libyan and Egyptian authorities and Red Cross/Red Crescent organizations.​​ [Libya24]

 

The Minister of the Interior​​ in​​ the Interim Government, Ibrahim Bushnaf, declared on Thursday that Benghazi would be under a 3-month-long state of emergency, during which new security plans would be implemented.​​ [AfriGate]

 

*****

 

READER COMMENTS WELCOME

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

 

December 20, 2018

 

A group of people on a beach

Description automatically generated

A Daesh Terrorist​​ in​​ the Makhmur Mountains Area (DD Dec​​ 19)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Al-Abadi offers concise summary of Iraq’s three current​​ political​​ challenges. [..]

US gives Iraq another 3 months to end dependence on Iranian gas. [..]

Former Ninewa Governor decries​​ increasing​​ Iranian influence​​ in Iraq. [..]

Coalition airstrikes, artillery pound Makhmur mountain area. [..]

11 Daesh captured near Baaj-Syria border. [..]

 

Syria

SDF Command criticizes Trump’s withdrawal decision.​​ [..]

Washington Post calls Trump’s Syria statements misleading. [..]

Pentagon says 2,130 US soldiers will leave Syria within days.​​ [..]

British, French troops will stay in Syria. [..]

Anti-SDF protests break out in two Mayadin towns. [..]

SDF kills 32 Daesh fighters near Hajin. [..]

SDF ready to leave Deir Ez-Zor if Turkey attacks NE Syria.​​ [..]

 

Other​​ countries

United States:​​ ​​ Secretary of Defense Mattis resigns in protest over Syria decision.​​ [..]

Afghanistan: ​​​​ President Trump intends to withdraw thousands of US troops from Afghanistan.​​ [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

New​​ government

The Saudi daily​​ Asharq Al-Awsat​​ wrote that Haider Al-Abadi, head of the Victory coalition and the former Prime Minister, says that the first challenge facing the political process in Iraq is to deal with​​ 
“external influences” that have reached a level such that they can exert pressure to appoint certain ministers. He says that the second challenge is the spread of unlicensed weapons in hands of groups that falsely claim to be part of the PMF, but have different perspectives from that of the state and the government. The third challenge is the economic situation, in view of the decline of oil prices, the unsafe investment environment in Iraq, and its increased expenditure. [
Sumaria]

 

Also see related story under Foreign policy,​​ below

 

Reconstruction

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the new UN Representative in Iraq, met former PM Haider Al-Abadi in his office on Thursday. She guaranteed the continued support of the UN to Iraq and its people. Al-Abadi says Iraq is stable now, after the defeat of terrorism, and he is looking forward to UN support in the field of reconstruction.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Council of Representatives

The First Deputy for the CoR, Hassan Al-Kaabi, signed an MOU with the UNDP to establish the Parliamentary Development Institute. The Institute will work on developing the legislative and monitoring role of the CoR, and develop the capacities of the MPs and CoR staff. [Ghad]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Why didn’t they think of this before?

 

The Iraqi Council of Ministers announced on Thursday that the 3 days from December 30, 2018, to January 1, 2019 would be taken as legal holidays to celebrate the new year. [Rudaw]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

Michael Knights, a fellow at the think-tank Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote a 1-year retrospective on the referendum for Kurdistan’s independence. Knights​​ says​​ the referendum and its aftermath provided Daesh with divisions to exploit, as it put the KDP and the PUK at odds and made Iraqi Kurds and the Washington security establishment more wary of one another. Knights wrote that the US should have applied more pressure on the Kurdish leadership earlier in order to delay the referendum, and made its position clearer, and that the US did not have a well-defined fallback plan when the referendum went forward.​​ [SotIraq] [WINEP]

 

Foreign policy

The US allowed Iraq an additional grace period of 3 months to end its dependence on​​ Iranian power and gas supplies. The original 45-day period of exemption from sanctions ended​​ on Thursday. An Iraqi delegation was in Washington to discuss this extension. [Rudaw]

 

Atheel Al-Nujaifi, the former Governor of Mosul and a​​ now a​​ member of the Al-Qarar (Decision) Sunni bloc, says that the US withdrawal from eastern Syria will reflect directly on Ninewa. He says that the PKK and other forces are mobilizing in Sinjar, where he expects the crisis to start. He says Iraq should avoid conflicts and start dialogue among Kurds, Sunnis, and Shia to avoid falling into any regional conflict. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We have reported in the past that Mr. Nujaifi is a long-time political ally of Turkey.

 

Al-Nujaifi​​ also​​ says there is an Iraqi will to confront Iranian influence, but the effort is not organized or structured, unlike the project​​ to increase​​ Iranian influence, which is planned. He says that Arab and US influence is almost absent, which also goes for Turkey, which is mainly concerned about its security. [Arabi21]

 

BAGHDAD

No reports

 

ANBAR

Falluja

Daesh said it blew up the house of an Iraqi Army​​ soldier​​ in Al-Shiti village, in the Zoba’a area, on Tuesday. [ICDNDec20]​​ 

 

Hit/Haditha

Daesh said on Thursday it killed or wounded eight Iraqi Army members and destroyed their bus with an IED in Sakran village, Haditha. [A3maq]

 

Al-Qa’im

A security source in Anbar says an IED explosion wounded two civilians in the Rummana subdistrict of Al-Qa’im. [BasNews]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

Daesh said it targeted a PMF “gathering” in the Hajjaj area with a Katyusha rocket on Wednesday. [ICDNDec20]

 

Tikrit

Daesh said it targeted​​ an​​ Iraqi Army and a PMF “gathering” in Tikrit city with 2 Katyusha rockets. [ICDNDec20]

 

The following related coverage was published in DaeshDaily on Wednesday:

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that several Oil Protection Facilities policemen were killed or wounded in a​​ “major”​​ Daesh attack on Allas oilfield. The source said that 2 Daesh terrorists were also killed in the attack.​​ 

The media office for the North Oil​​ Protection Facilities​​ said on Wednesday that 1​​ of its​​ policemen​​ had been killed in a Daesh attack on the Allas oilfield. [Shafaaq]

Daesh said it killed two Oil Protection Facilities policemen, set on fire 2 vehicles and a military position, and stole ammunition in an attack on Allas oilfield, early morning Wednesday. [ICDNDec20]​​ Daesh published photos of the attack. [ICDNDec20]

General Jum’a Enad, Salahuddin Ops Commander, said on Wednesday that Army units engaged a group of Daesh fighters who sneaked from the Himrin Hills into an area close to Allas oilfield,​​ taking advantage​​ of bad weather conditions. 3 of the infiltrators were killed;​​ fighting continued​​ where fires broke out​​ on the western side of the​​ oilfield. [Baghdadia]

 

DIYALA

No reports

 

KIRKUK

No reports

 

NINEWA

Makhmur

The Commander of the Gwer “axis” for the Peshmerga, Serwan Barzani, said on Thursday that the Coalition had been carrying out both airstrikes and artillery strikes against​​ Daesh on​​ Mount Qarachogh. He said that the Coalition had launched 45 airstrikes over the previous 24 hours. [Rudaw]​​ 

A security source had said on Wednesday that the Coalition was shelling areas of Mount Qarachogh with artillery. Daesh was suspected to be hiding in caves in the areas in question. [Sumaria]

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source had said on Wednesday that Coalition planes killed more than 10 Daesh terrorists in an airstrike near Mount Qarachogh. The source said the terrorists were preparing to launch an attack north of Makhmur. ​​ 

 

 

Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya, Tel Keif)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that the 30th​​ PMF Brigade (Shabak) withdrew from Christian areas in Tel Keif and handed over its positions to Babelyoun, a Christian PMF,​​ and​​ to​​ local police. ​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that Ministry of Interior EOD units defused 800 Daesh IEDs, which had been left behind in several areas in Hamdaniya​​ District, during the last 20 days. The source said the IEDs were planted on the streets and inside the​​ unoccupied​​ houses of displaced Christians.​​ 

 

Mosul District

South (Hammam Al-Alil/Qayara)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that Iraqi Army units in the 20th​​ Division captured a Daesh commander in Qayara who had just returned from the Al-Hawl Camp in Syria. The source said that the terrorist, who had a forged passport, admitted there was an officer in the Directorate of Passports in Ninewa who provided Daesh with fake IDs.​​ 

 

The Directorate of Military Intelligence says that its units, operating in the 20th​​ Army Division, arrested one of the “most dangerous female terrorists” in Hammam Al-Alil. It says that the woman is a member of the Daesh security body, and that her husband, brother, and son are all Daesh members. [Sumaria]

 

Daesh published on Thursday photos of its terrorists capturing, then murdering, the​​ mukhtar​​ of Amrini village, in Hammam Al-Alil. [ICDNDec20]

Daesh had reported the murder on December 3. [A3maq]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The photos show the terrorists dressed in Iraqi military uniforms.

A​​​​​​ DaeshDaily​​​​ source had said on December 3 that 3 Daesh terrorists captured​​ and​​ then killed the​​ mukhtar​​ of Al-Amrini village. The source said the terrorists kidnapped the​​​​ mukhtar​​ from his house and took him on foot outside the village, then tortured and killed him.

 

 

West (Muhalabiya)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that Kata’eb Al-Imam Ali, a Shia PMF, withdrew from Tal Abta town, Muhalabiya subdistrict, and handed over its positions to local police units and tribal PMFs. The source said that the MoI rehired 225 policemen a week ago, raising the total number of policemen in Tal Abta to 300. The policemen had previously been fired because they didn’t fight Daesh​​ in 2014.

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that the Hussein PMF, from Tal Afar, withdrew from villages in​​ Tal Afar District to Tal Afar city and Tal Afar airport. The source said that Iraqi Army 16th​​ Division units were given the responsibility to secure the​​ village​​ areas. The source also said that several police stations were reopened in Ayadhiya, Abu Mariya, and other areas.​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This is the third redeployment story in this issue. (See Tal Abta story just above and Tel Keif story earlier.) In each case, the military has moved Army and/or PMF troops to places where the units’ religious and/or sectarian orientation more closely matches the orientation of the residents. (Christians for Shabaks in Tel Keif, Sunnis for Shia in Tal Abta; Shia for Sunnis in Shia Turkmen-majority Tal Afar city). Twice is perhaps a coincidence but three times seems more like a strategy for increasing public confidence in security.

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that Iraqi Army 15th​​ Division units reopened the Suhaila​​ Road between Tal Afar and Dahuk. The source said the road had been cut off for the last 4 years. The source said the road is an important trade route between the Kurdistan Region and western Ninewa.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that National Security Service units captured a tanker truck loaded with different kinds of medicine (including drugs) in the Kasik area. The source said the truck was coming from Erbil, and was supposed to be delivered to Daesh terrorists hiding in the desert near Tal Afar. The source sent us photos of the confiscated items.​​ 

 

Sinjar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that Iraqi Army 16th​​ Division and Yazidi PMF units captured a Daesh commander in Qayrawan subdistrict. The source said the terrorist had been captured months earlier, but was released after paying a bribe.​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Baaj

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Thursday that National Security Service units captured 11 Daesh terrorists and confiscated large quantities of IEDs and explosives near the Syrian border in Baaj. The source said the terrorists had brought the explosives from Syria recently. The source sent us photos of the explosives.

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

Nechirvan Barzani, the PM of the KRG, says that the Kurdistan Region is ready to cooperate with the team investigating Daesh crimes in Iraq. The statement followed his meeting in Erbil with Karim Asaad Ahmed Khan, the head of the team, who is operating under the mandate of the UN Security Council. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Military & security developments

Turkish Defense Minister​​ Hulusi Akar​​ said on Thursday that Turkey was “always following terrorist movements in northern Iraq,” referring to recent Turkish airstrikes.​​ Akar also said​​ that the​​ priority​​ of the​​ Turkish Armed Forces​​ is​​ to​​ concentrate​​ on Manbij and the areas east of the Euphrates, adding that the trenches dug in these areas will not stop Turkey from “eliminating terrorism” there.​​ [ElDorar]​​ [Forat]

 

Foreign policy

President Erdogan said that Turkey, Russia, and Iran needed to work together on regional security, and that following the 3 summits previously held in Moscow, Tehran, and Ankara, they would hold the 4th​​ such summit in Syria. He made the remarks in a speech at the Turkish-Iranian Business Forum in Ankara on Thursday. [ElDorar]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Political developments

The SDF Command said that the US decision to withdraw from Syria would cause instability, disturb security, create a military and political vacuum, and would have dire consequences on regional and international stability. [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We can’t criticize any of that. An interesting unanswered question is what happens to the Albu Kamal campaign designed to close out Daesh. Secretary Mattis will be on the job for two more months. Whether the SDF stays on the job is the big question.

 

Also see story under Albu Kamal below

 

The SOHR reported that there was a meeting between SDF Commanders and Syrian government officials in Qamishli to discuss the situation in the country following the US decision to withdraw and recent Turkish threats. Handing over the oilfields held by SDF to the government was one subject discussed. [SyriaHR]

 

United Nations

The UN Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, gave a briefing to the UN Security Council on Thursday, at which he said that both the Al-Assad regime and the Syrian opposition had objected to the UN-proposed list for forming a constitutional committee. [ElDorar]

 

The US told the UN Security Council on Thursday that it remained committed to the “complete destruction” of Daesh, and to a political solution to the Syria crisis. Rodney Hunter, a diplomat with the US Mission to the UN, added that the US would not grant any funds for Syria’s reconstruction or “even talk about” the return of refugees until progress on the political solution was made. [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We are sure the gentleman is sincere about not funding Syria reconstruction costs. However, the “complete destruction” of Daesh policy was essentially ended by yesterday’s presidential withdrawal statement, making​​ Hunter’s​​ statement something less than sincere.

 

Foreign policy

United States

The​​ Washington Post​​ wrote that Daesh is still a threat, despite President Trump’s claims that Daesh is defeated​​ in order​​ to justify his forces’ withdrawal from Syria. The paper referred to the number​​ of Daesh attacks in Iraq, which it wrote supports the view of many US intelligence and Army officers that Daesh is still a “lethal force” in Iraq and Syria, despite the decline in territory it controls. It quoted Masrour Barzani as saying that Daesh is regrouping and reactivating itself. It noted Mosul, Anbar, and Syria as places where Daesh is returning. The article described Trump’s statements as misleading. [Sumaria] [WaPo]

 

A Pentagon source says that 2,130 US soldiers are leaving Syria​​ for​​ Erbil in the coming few days, following​​ Trump’s announcement of withdrawal. The source says​​ that the Al-Tanaf base and​​ Area 55​​ will be​​ included in the withdrawal in a later stage. [BasNews]

 

A US official told​​ Reuters​​ that all US State Department staff will be withdrawn from Syria within 24 hours. This comes following Trump’s announcement of withdrawing all US forces from Syria. [SyriaNow]

 

A US official told​​ Reuters​​ that US withdrawal from Syria came following the agreement reached by​​ the​​ Turkish and US​​ Presidents last week. ​​ [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It was reported that Trump and Erdogan spoke by phone last Friday.

 

Also see related stories under​​ Foreign policy –​​ Europe,​​ Anti-Daesh campaign,​​ and United States,​​ following

 

Europe

German Foreign Minister​​ Heiko​​ Maas says the sudden US decision to withdraw from Syria will adversely affect the war against Daesh. He is surprised at the US decision, he told​​ Reuters. The threat from Daesh has been minimized but not eliminated, he says.​​ 

In the same context, the UK says it will continue fighting Daesh in Syria until the threat is over.​​ [Hawar]

 

Nathalie Loiseau,​​ the​​ French Minister​​ for European Affairs, says France will keep its military presence in Syria. She told​​ CNEWS​​ that Daesh lost 90% of its territories but it is not defeated yet.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Turkey

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey’s​​ Foreign Minister, called on the international community to support the ceasefire in Idlib, saying his country is extending its utmost efforts to preserve it. He says that Idlib is the last place remaining for the Syrian opposition, and that Turkey had agreed with Russia to preserve it in order to keep open the possibility of a political solution, to which Iran also agreed.​​ [Qasioun]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The SOHR says that the SDF is contemplating freeing 2,080 foreign Daesh prisoners from 44 different nationalities, who are currently held by the SDF in eastern Deir Ez-Zor. The figure includes women and children related to Daesh fighters. The decision is due to the fact that almost none of their home countries are willing to repatriate them. [SyriaHR]

 

The US Department of Defense said on Thursday that US airstrikes in Syria would continue “as long as there are US soldiers on the ground.” Pentagon spokeswoman Rebecca Rebarich made the remarks to​​ CNN​​ on Thursday. [Anadolu]

 

Northwest

No reports

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

Daesh said it wounded SDF members and damaged their vehicle when it set off a parked motorcycle bomb near Azzawi village, south of Shaddadi, on Wednesday. [ICDNDec20]​​ 

 

Daesh said it wounded two SDF members and damaged their vehicle with a sticky IED in West Nashwa neighborhood, in Hasaka city, on Wednesday. [ICDNDec20]

 

Ayn Al-Arab

Thousands of Kurds from northeast Syria gathered in south Kobane to demonstrate in front of a Coalition base in Kharab Ashiq village, demanding that the US and the Coalition take a firm stance against Turkish threats. [Hawar]

 

Raqqa

Raqqa city​​ & district

Daesh said it killed one SDF member, wounded another, and damaged their vehicle with an IED in Jazrat Albu Hamid, on Wednesday. [ICDNDec20]

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib

The SOHR reported that instability and assassination operations in Idlib were ongoing in north Hama and west Aleppo. An IED targeted a vehicle of the pro-Turkey National Front militia in Atarib. Attacks in the area have killed 413 militia fighters since April, in addition to 106 civilians. [SyriaHR]

 

The SOHR reported sporadic fighting among unidentified armed groups north of Aleppo that left casualties. It is not clear whether the groups were pro-government, or Kurdish groups engaging Syrian opposition militias. Mare’ and Tadif were reported specifically as battlefields. [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

Daesh said it shot and killed two SDF members in Al-Takihi village, in Busayrah​​ subdistrict. [ICDNDec20]

 

Daesh said it killed three SDF members and wounded four others with machine guns in Abu Nital village, in Al-Suwar​​ subdistrict, on Wednesday. [ICDNDec20]

 

Daesh said it shot and killed two SDF members and wounded another in Hawayej Bu Mas’a village, in Al-Kasrah subdistrict​​ in far northern Deir Ez-Zor, on Tuesday. [A3maq]​​ 

 

Mayadin​​ District

Local sources in Dhiban and Suwaidan say that people from both towns demonstrated against poor living conditions and arbitrary arrests made by the SDF. They demanded that the SDF free all arrestees. The sources say that the SDF opened fire to disperse the demonstrators, and that people in Dhiban engaged the SDF with their hands and light weapons. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh said it shot and killed two SDF members and wounded another in the Al-Hawayej area, near Mayadin, on Tuesday. [ICDNDec20] [A3maq]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This report looks strangely similar to the report above in Al-Kasrah.​​ 

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

The media office of the SDF said that SDF fighters had killed 32 Daesh fighters and destroyed “several” military positions on the outskirts of Hajin. [Hawar]

 

The SDF is talking about withdrawing all its forces from the area in case of a Turkish attack in northeastern Syria. Meanwhile, according to the SOHR,​​ the Coalition is establishing a new military base in Hajin.​​ [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh issued on Thursday a video​​ of​​ the results of a Coalition airstrike on a house in Al-Sha’afa. [A3maq]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We are sure that in Daesh’s story, as in all such Daesh stories, there were no Daesh members in the house and that the victims were innocent civilians cruelly targeted by the Coalition.

 

South​​ 

No reports

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Yemen

Daesh said its snipers wounded an Al-Qaeda member in the Za’aj area, in Qifa, on Wednesday. [ICDNDec20]

 

North Africa

Egypt

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said on Thursday that Egypt was seeking to advance​​ its​​ security partnership with the EU, and that the EU had re-affirmed its support for Egypt’s efforts to achieve economic growth. Hafez made the remarks on the occasion of the Egyptian-EU Partnership Council holding its 8th​​ session. [AhlMisr]

 

The Egyptian MoI says that security personnel killed 8 terrorists from the Hasm Movement, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. It says that the detainees were preparing to carry out terrorist operations during the upcoming Christmas and New Year festivities. [Ghad]

 

Daesh said on Thursday it destroyed an Egyptian Army bulldozer with an IED in the Muhajara area, in Bal’a village in Rafah. [ICDNDec20]

 

Tunisia

Tunisian National Guard units killed the terrorist “Ayman bin Al-Muldi bin Yunis Al-Jindubi” during a security operation in Kef Governorate, northwestern Tunisia. Sources said that the killed terrorist was carrying explosives that he planned to use in an operation targeting security personnel. [Tunisien] [Tunisien]

 

Sudan

Protests that started in Atbara city, northern Sudan, to protest high prices and living conditions, have reached the capital Khartoum. Police used tear gas in the capital to disperse demonstrators. [Anadolu]

 

2 demonstrators were killed in Al-Qadarif, eastern Sudan, during demonstrations protesting high prices and difficult living conditions. Sudanese MP​​ Mubarak​​ Al-Nour says that the demonstrators were killed by armed masked men. The Army was deployed in the streets. [Anadolu]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

UNITED STATES

US Defense Secretary James Mattis announced his resignation on Thursday, 1 day after Trump’s surprise announcement that he was pulling US troops out of Syria. A senior White House official​​ said that Mattis’ resignation followed a face-to-face meeting with Trump regarding their policy differences.​​ Mattis issued a firmly worded resignation letter focused on the need to respect allies and face up to malign actors. It said, diplomatically,​​ “… Because you have a right to a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.” An official said that Mattis had opposed the decision to pull out of Syria. [Reuters]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Mattis has been regarded almost from the start of the Trump presidency by media and informed citizens as the Administration’s best and most important Cabinet member, and had steered the President away from bad decisions in the past. Those commenting on the resignation professed to be appalled and worried about this turn of events.

 

EUROPE

Sweden

The Swedish intelligence service said that it had discovered that around 150 Swedish Daesh fighters had returned to Sweden after fighting with Daesh in Syria. This is out of an estimated 300 Swedish nationals who traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with Daesh. [Qasioun]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

President Trump has directed the Pentagon to come up with a plan to withdraw nearly half of the more than 14,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan, U.S. officials said Thursday, a move that many of Trump’s senior advisers and military officials have warned will plunge the country further into chaos.

The order comes on the heels of Trump’s announcement that he will be withdrawing all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, a surprise decision that the president made against the counsel of his top advisers and without warning any of the allies who have fought alongside American forces in the battle there against​​ Daesh.

The Afghanistan directive also comes as the United States attempts to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban, potentially undercutting leverage that American diplomats have. It marks a significant departure from Trump’s August 2017 decision to slightly increase the number of U.S. troops there and keep them in place with conditions on the ground dictating withdrawal.​​ [WashingtonPost]​​ 

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, said on Thursday that he had met with President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Wednesday, after his return from the talks with the Taliban in Abu Dhabi. [Khaama]

 

Daesh said it shot and killed an Afghan intelligence member in the Maqam​​ Khan​​ area, in Jalalabad, on Wednesday. [A3maq]

 

Indonesia

An Indonesian Police Commander says that police arrested 20 “hardcore” suspects under the extended security measures in place during the holiday season. He described these steps as “proactive,” after past terror attacks killed over 30 civilians in Surabaya. [Ghad]

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

Daesh published on Thursday the 161st​​ issue of its​​ Naba’​​ magazine, including​​ an infographic about its operations in Iraqi, Syria, Egypt, west Africa, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan during the last week. It said it conducted 76 attacks, killing or wounding more than 186 people and destroying 31 vehicles. It also published an infographic about its attacks in Sinai during the last 3 months, claiming it killed or wounded 107 people and destroyed or damaged 54 vehicles. In this report, Daesh also published more info about its clashes with Al-Shabaab in Bur Meirale in Somalia on Saturday. Daesh had said it killed 14 Al-Shabaab members in the clashes.​​ Naba’s first report in its miscellaneous section was about the US withdrawing from Syria. [ICDNDec20] ​​ 

 

*****

 

READER COMMENTS WELCOME

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

December 19, 2018

 

A person walking down the street

Description automatically generated

US Troops in the Kurdish Region in Northern Syria (Telegraph)

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

114 refugees return from Turkey [..]

… but OCHA says there are still 2 million refugees left [..]

DaeshDaily​​ source says 400 Daesh fighters still in Makhoul Mountains.​​ [..]

Daesh attacks Allas oilfield.​​ [..]

Integrity Commission issues warrant to arrest Kirkuk Governor.​​ [..]

Coalition shells,​​ bombs Mount Qarachogh.​​ [..]

Daesh still active around Al-Atshana Hills.​​ [..]

DaeshDaily​​ source​​ reports​​ over 1,000 Daesh fighters in Hatra​​ Desert.​​ [..]

Najaf PC fires the Governor. [..]

 

Syria

Bid to form constitutional committee fails.​​ [..]

Russian plan to return refugees from Lebanon and Jordan stalled.​​ [..]

Trump announces US troop withdrawal from Syria [..]

… SDF in shock, AAH gloats.​​ [..]

Syrian Army attacked north of Hama.​​ [..]

Fighting outside Hajin continues.​​ [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Africa:​​ Russian security aide warns Daesh fighters fleeing to Africa.​​ [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Reconstruction

The Ministry of Displacement and Migration says 114 Iraqi refugees have returned from Turkey to their home areas liberated from Daesh. Jiwan Mahmoud, of the Kurdistan section of the Ministry, says the refugees entered Iraq through the Ibrahim Al-Khalil border point in Dahuk. [Baghdadia]

 

OCHA published a report saying that 4 million Iraqi refugees and IDPs have returned home in 2018, but there are still 2 million to go. It recommended continued support to the remaining refugees and to returnees alike during 2019. It concluded that 6.7 million Iraqis are still in need of humanitarian support, and that 11 million Iraqis are living in conflict areas. [Baghdadia]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC)​​ warned the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)​​ against​​ closing​​ the offices of the Hurriya party.​​ It​​ sent a letter to the KRG, saying this party is legitimate and licensed by the central authorities, and can operate anywhere in Iraq. [Hawar]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The former Governor of Mosul,​​ Atheel Al-Nujaifi, says that Mosul’s​​ occupation by Daesh followed a set plan. Daesh was supposed to enter the east side of Mosul first,​​ as​​ Iraqi forces deployed heavy artillery on the west side to shell them. He says he refused the shelling due to​​ the​​ possibility of high civilian casualties. They planned to have Daesh encircled in the east side and bomb them with artillery and explosive barrels. He added that some divisions collapsed,​​ but some military units stayed intact and withdrew with all their equipment. He said he would not​​ have​​ approved of​​ destroying the whole city due to military mistakes. [Arabi21]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It’s an interesting defense, but somewhat late. The CoR was so incensed at Nujaifi’s actions at the time that it removed him from office. This set off a long string of verbal and other interactions between the troublesome Nujaifi and the Iraqi leadership, during which he organized a militia disdained by the Iraqi military, collaborated with the Turks and Masoud Barzani to introduce Turkish troops into Ninewa, and set up a lobbying office in Washington.​​ 

 

The Coalition issued its weekly strike report; notably, all airstrikes between December 9 and 15 took place in Syria, with none in Iraq. [InherentResolve]

 

Foreign policy

The US State Department outreach team showed a video of Iran’s​​ Ambassador to Iraq withdrawing from a session organized by the Bina’ (Construction) bloc. The​​ Ambassador withdrew when attendees were asked to stand for a minute to pay respect to Iraqi martyrs that fell in the war on Daesh. The US outreach team described this withdrawal in its social media as showing a lack of respect to the Iraqi people and the host country. The Iranian Embassy says that the​​ Ambassador believed that it was the end of the meeting, rather than a time to stand to pay respects. [Baghdadia]

 

PM Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi received the PM of Australia, Scott Morrison, and his delegation on Wednesday. During the visit, Abd Ul-Mahdi said that Iraq could not be a “pathway” through which to attack any other country. [Rudaw]

 

BAGHDAD

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)​​ 

Daesh published on Wednesday photos of beheading a man and setting his vehicle on fire in the Al-Tabi area. [ICDNDec19]​​ 

Daesh had said it captured, then beheaded a “spy” and set his vehicle on fire in the Al-Tabi area​​ in Tarmiya, last Wednesday. [ICDNDec13]

 

ANBAR

Hit/Haditha

The Security Media Center says that Army units under Anbar Ops Command arrested a man wanted on terrorism charges and found 7 IEDs, 5 of which were connected to explode. All the IEDs were destroyed in Suwaib, in Hit. [Ghad]

 

The Security Media Center said on Wednesday that a joint group under Jazeera Ops Command carried out a search operation in the area of Alus, in the Haqlaniyah subdistrict of Haditha, and found and destroyed a Daesh tunnel and 4 IEDs. [Mawazin]

 

Anah​​ (including Rawa)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that more than 500 Daesh terrorists are hiding in the desert​​ of​​ western​​ Rawa. The source said Daesh made “significant” changes in its command structure in the area recently. ​​ 

 

Al-Qa’im

The Security Media Center says that units under Jazeera Ops Command found 3 rocket launching pads and several rockets in Zawiya village, and arrested 3 terrorists and defused 15 IEDs in Al-Qa’im. [Ghad]

 

SALAHUDDIN

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that Iraqi forces stopped their military operations in the Makhoul Mountains area for unknown reasons. The source said there are around 400 Daesh terrorists, mostly locals, hiding on the mountains,​​ and​​ they​​ conduct attacks from time to time in addition to planting IEDs in the nearby areas. The terrorists mostly use motorcycles to move around. The source said that the terrorists still depend on local smugglers to get food and other supplies. The source said there​​ are​​ also more than 350 Daesh terrorists hiding in the desert between northern Salahuddin and southern Ninewa.​​ (Shirqat District is on the border with Ninewa.)

 

Shirqat

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that a young man was severely wounded and several houses damaged when Daesh shelled Khanuqa village on Friday. ​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that 4 PMF members were severely wounded when their vehicle was destroyed by an IED on the road between Shirqat and Baghdad near Al-Naml village, on Sunday.​​ 

​​ 

Baiji

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that tribal PMFs and residents of Baiji village, east Baiji, stopped a Daesh attack, killing 2 terrorists and forcing the rest to flee. The source said 18 terrorists on motorcycles participated in the “unprecedented” attack on the village on Friday.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that a civilian was killed when his vehicle was destroyed by an IED on the road between Baiji and Makhoul subdistrict, on Friday.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that 2 AAH members were killed when Daesh attacked a checkpoint in the Al-Fatha area. The source said the terrorists stole a heavy machine gun before fleeing.  ​​​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that Coalition planes destroyed a Daesh machine gunmounted vehicle in the Makhoul Mountains area, killing the terrorists inside. The source said the terrorists were shooting at Oil Facilities Protection Police when they were hit.

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded PMF members and destroyed their vehicle with an IED near the Al-Mazraa area, south of Baiji, on Tuesday. [ICDNDec19]

 

Tikrit

General Juma Enad, Salahuddin Ops Commander, says Army units engaged a group of Daesh fighters who sneaked from the Himrin Hills into an area close to Allas oilfield,​​ taking advantage​​ of bad weather conditions. 3 of the infiltrators were killed;​​ fighting continued​​ where fires broke out​​ on the western side of the​​ oilfield. [Baghdadia]

The media office for the North Oil​​ Protection Facilities​​ said on Wednesday that 1​​ of its​​ policemen​​ had been killed in a Daesh attack on the Allas oilfield. [Shafaaq]

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that several Oil Protection Facilities policemen were killed or wounded in a​​ “major”​​ Daesh attack on Allas oilfield on Tuesday evening. The source said that 2 Daesh terrorists were also killed in the attack.​​ 

 

The Security Media Center said on Wednesday that security personnel under Salahuddin Ops Command were searching for terrorists who had fired 2 mortars in Tikrit. The Center added that​​ one​​ shell had fallen near Salahuddin city and the other near a cemetery, neither of which caused casualties. [Sumaria]

 

DIYALA

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

A security source in Diyala Province said on Wednesday that PMF units had killed a Daesh fighter near the Himrin area. [FaceIraq]

 

KIRKUK

The Integrity Commission issued a warrant for the arrest of the acting Governor of Kirkuk, Rakan Al-Jubouri, on corruption charges. The Integrity Commission accused Al-Jubouri of involvement in 8 corruption​​ cases related to the events of October 16, 2017. A member of the Kirkuk Provincial Council said that the accusations covered the improper disbursement of 46 billion dinars during the war with Daesh, and 71 billion dinars for projects in Kirkuk afterward. [Rudaw]

 

The Security Media Center said on Wednesday that IFP units had arrested a wanted terrorist and found and destroyed 5 IEDs in various locations in Kirkuk. [Sumaria]

 

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

IFP Command says in a statement that IFP units found a mass grave in Hawija. The mass grave contains the bodies of civilians executed by Daesh during its control of the city. [Ghad]​​ [Sumaria]

 

The Security Media Center said on Wednesday that IFP units had destroyed a workshop for manufacturing IEDs and arrested 2 suspects in Hawija.​​ [Forat]

 

NINEWA

Makhmur

A security source said on Wednesday that the Coalition was shelling areas of Mount Qarachogh with artillery. Daesh was suspected to be hiding in caves in the areas in question. [Sumaria]

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that Coalition planes killed more than 10 Daesh terrorists in an airstrike near Mount Qarachogh. The source said the terrorists were preparing to launch an attack north of Makhmur. ​​ 

 

Kurdish media said the Coalition was bombing the villages of Qala Sur, in Makhmur, and Ali Rash, in Hamdaniya. It said that Daesh movements had been observed prior to the bombings. [Hawar]

 

Mosul District

South (Hammam Al-Alil)

The Directorate of Military Intelligence says its units, operating in the 20th​​ Army Division, arrested 2 Daesh fighters in Hammam Al-Alil. It says the 2 were collecting information on the security and civilian situation in the area. [Ghad]

 

West (Hamidat/Muhalabiya)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that 2 Iraqi Army 20th​​ division members, including a captain, were wounded while stopping a Daesh attack on their military position near Tilul Al-Atshana (Al-Atshana Hills) around dawn on Sunday. The source said that around 40 terrorists participated in the attack.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that around 80 Daesh terrorists are hiding in the Al-Atshana Hills area. The source said that Iraqi forces had cleared the area more than once, but the terrorists returned every time. The source said the terrorists pose a “serious threat” to the west side of Mosul city and nearby villages. The source also said that Coalition planes killed 2 Daesh commanders in the area recently. ​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Sinjar

The Directorate of Military Intelligence says its units, operating in the 15th​​ Army Division, found a large explosives and ammunition cache in Kharab Juhaish. Division EODs destroyed all contents of the cache​​ onsite. [Ghad]

 

Southern Ninewa

Hatra

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that there more than 1,000 Daesh terrorists in the Hatra desert. The source said that some of the areas in the desert have been under Daesh control, and​​ under​​ the AQI before that, since 2007, and no military campaign has been able to dislodge Daesh from there. The source said that Daesh’s plan is to lure Iraqi forces to the area where the difficult terrain gives a better advantage to the terrorists. The source said that Iraqi forces have stopped their military operations in the area for several weeks now.​​ 

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Najaf

The Najaf Provincial council voted on Wednesday to dismiss Governor Luay Al-Yasiri from office. The dismissal passed with a majority of 18 votes in favor. [Ghad]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

(No reports)

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

No reports

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Political developments

Russia, Turkey and Iran failed to reach an agreement on formation of the constitutional committee in Syria, supported by the UN, but they called for a meeting at the beginning of next year to start a peace process that will be characterized by “accepting compromises and constructive dialogue.” [Qasioun]

 

Russia

The Emirati newspaper​​ The National​​ says that the Russian plan to return the Syrian refugees from Lebanon and Jordan back to Syria has vanished due to a lack of Western funding. The newspaper says Russia can provide logistics but cannot provide the funding. The US and European countries have set the condition that there must be a political settlement in Syria before contributing to the plan, but Russia believes it can force the Al-Assad government to apply reforms but cannot do anything regarding security control over people’s lives. [Hawar]

 

Foreign policy

United States

The​​ Wall Street Journal​​ says the US is starting a complete withdrawal from northeast Syria. The newspaper quoted US officials saying it informed its partners of the withdrawal. It says this decision was made following a telephone conversation between Presidents Trump and Erdogan on the​​ eve​​ of the anticipated Turkish attack on the PYD in northeast Syria. [Rudaw]​​ [WSJ]​​ 

 

The Pentagon confirmed on Wednesday that it had started the process of withdrawing all 2,000 US troops from Syria following Trump’s decision. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Daesh had been defeated in Syria, but that this did not “signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign.”​​ Meanwhile, US commanders expressed concern about what this sudden withdrawal would mean for the SDF.​​ [ElDorar]​​ [Reuters]​​ [GMA]

 

A senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the US counter-terrorism mission would not change after its military withdrawal from Syria. [IKH]

 

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White also said that the US would continue to work with “local partners” in Syria after withdrawing troops, and that the US would continue to work with partners and allies anywhere that Daesh was active. [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment. ​​​​ “Spin” won’t change the fact that this is a​​ seriously bad and​​ ill-timed​​ decision that sells out a lot of people and gives aid and comfort to all the wrong people. The decision as announced appears to contradict the statements of high US officials that we have reported here even within the past several days. The lack of proper response to Erdogan’s bluster over northeastern Syria was perhaps a clue that something was about to happen. Unfortunately, the premise of the decision, that Daesh has been defeated, is at best premature, and if the US troops leave precipitously, Daesh won’t be defeated for a very long time.

 

The SOHR says that senior US sources informed the SDF of the withdrawal of all its forces from Manbij and areas east of the Euphrates, which was received by the SDF with shock, given the fact that recent reinforcements arrived to eastern Deir Ez-Zor and Manbij. The SDF considered the US action to be a “stab in the back” and a betrayal of the thousands of SDF fighters killed in their war against Daesh. [SyriaHR]

 

Qais Al-Khazali, the Secretary-General of the Iraqi pro-Iranian militia Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq (AAH), responded to Trump’s announcement by saying that Trump was “defeated” in Syria, and this is why the troops were withdrawing. [FaceIraq]

 

Europe

The Russian news agency​​ Sputnik​​ said on Wednesday that France had begun to withdraw​​ its​​ troops from Syria, following the US announcement of withdrawal. [ElDorar]

 

Middle East

The pro-Turkey opposition National Army militia says that the​​ [KRG-trained]​​ Syrian Peshmerga cannot control security on the Syrian-Turkish border. Their spokesman, Yousef Hamoud, says they are few in number and cannot stop terrorist attacks. [EnabBaladi]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Coalition said that it had conducted 208 airstrikes in Syria between December 9 and 15.​​ All but 1​​ of these took place “near Hajin;” 1 airstrike was conducted “near Albu Kamal.” [InherentResolve]

 

Northwest

Azaz

Kurdish media reported fighting between Syrian Army units and pro-Turkish militia fighters in Harbal and Sheikh Eissa,​​ in​​ Azaz. [Hawar]

 

Northeast​​ 

Raqqa

Raqqa city​​ & district

The SOHR reported a motorcycle bomb explosion near a Daesh “sleeper cell” house in Raqqa, believed to be prepared by the cell for future operations. 1 member of the cell was killed and 2 others wounded. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh said it killed an SDF “intelligence member,” wounded two others, and damaged their vehicle with an IED in Al-Karama town, on Tuesday. [ICDNDec19]

 

Central and West​​ 

Hama

The Russian news agency​​ Sputnik​​ says that the Syrian Army stopped an “intense” attack​​ by​​ “Al-Nusra” fighters on Syrian Army positions north of Hama. The agency described the attack as the most violent in months. A 5 hour-long battle took place, ending with the killing of 15 attackers and the wounding of several others. [Hawar]

 

However, the SOHR says that the attack on Syrian Army positions north of Hama was carried out by Jaish Al-Izza, who the Russians referred to as Al-Nusra. It says that 9 Syrian Army soldiers were killed and 19 wounded in the attack. [SyriaHR]

 

Homs

The SOHR reported that 2 persons were killed and others wounded by a land​​ mine explosion near Qaryatayn village, southeast of Homs.​​ It noted that​​ mines took the lives of many civilians this month. [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

The SOHR reported intense airstrikes by the Coalition on Daesh positions in eastern Deir Ez-Zor, in addition to over 60 rocket strikes in western Deir Ez-Zor, amid continued fighting between SDF and Daesh units. [SyriaHR]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

The SOHR reported continued intense fighting in the eastern outskirts of Hajin between the SDF and Daesh, accompanied by heavy artillery shelling and Coalition airstrikes. [SyriaHR]

 

The SDF media center said that they had killed 61 Daesh fighters, as well as finding several laptops and documents belonging to Daesh. [Hawar]

 

The SOHR reported that Daesh executed 3 of its​​ own​​ members in eastern Deir Ez-Zor on charges of helping civilians and Daesh deserters escape. The last group of escapees was 200 civilians from various parts of Syria and Iraq, including women and children, and some Iraqi Daesh fighters, who reached SDF-held areas. The total number of civilians escaping Daesh-held areas during recent war operations reached 2400. [SyriaHR]

 

The SOHR also says Daesh shifted from individual executions, counted in the thousands since 2014, to mass executions, which have recently been reported in eastern Deir Ez-Zor and the Syrian desert north of Sukhnah, in Homs. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh published on Wednesday photos of targeting SDF “gatherings” in Hajin with mortar shells. [ICDNDec19]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ One of the photos shows that the terrorists were using the garden of a house to shoot the mortars.​​ 

 

South​​ (No reports)

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

North Africa

Egypt

Iraqi personnel found Daesh documents related to its operations in the Sinai Peninsula. The documents reportedly included a set of dates during which Daesh targeted Egyptian Army vehicles in the Sheikh Zuweid area, and described the detonation of IEDs targeting Egyptian Army soldiers. [Mawazin]

 

The Egyptian​​ takfiri​​ and​​ fatwa​​ monitoring group Dar Al-Iftaa’ released the outline of a study on Daesh, in which they divided Daesh’s speeches, letters, and mass communication into​​ two​​ phases:

  • The first phase, from 2014 to 2016, saw the release of a prolific amount of material, focused on issues of​​ jihad​​ and expansion, and sought to show off their growing military strength.

  • The second phase, 2017 to 2018, saw a decline in the volume of Daesh media output, accompanied by Daesh faltering on the battlefield, and the messaging shifted to a focus on patience and steadfastness. [AhlMisr]

 

Ibrahim Rabie, a dissident Brotherhood leader and researcher on Islamist movements, said that the Muslim Brotherhood was targeting churches in Egypt in order to “send a message” to the Christians that they could not live there safely. He said that targeting of Muslims was done in order to “shake up” the regime and turn Egypt into a failed state. [AhlMisr]

Rabie also said that the Brotherhood attracted young people by focusing on introverted people who were “not aware of reality.” [AhlMisr]

Finally, Rabie claimed that​​ the​​ terrorist organizations in the Sinai were an “integral part” of the Muslim Brotherhood.​​ [AhlMisr]

 

Daesh published on Wednesday photos of Egyptian military vehicles it said it destroyed in an ambush in the Al-Maghara area, in central Sinai. [ICDNDec19]

Egyptian security officials had said on Monday that 2 roadside bombs hit a police convoy just west of Rafah, northern Sinai, killing 2 conscripts and wounding 6 others. They said that the bombs struck 2 armored vehicles that were part of a convoy on a search-and-destroy mission in the area.​​ [AP]

Daesh had previously said that it “lured” an Egyptian Army convoy to an ambush in the Al-Maghara area, in central Sinai, on Sunday. Daesh said it set off several IEDs on the convoy, then clashed with the soldiers using heavy and medium weapons, killing or wounding 20 of them, destroying a Humvee and 2 SUVs, and damaging an SUV. [ICDNDec17] [A3maq]

 

Libya

On Wednesday, the Central Military Zone declared a state of alert in Sirte. [Libya24]

 

Libyan media reported fighting between the Army and fighters allied with militia leader Ibrahim Jadhran around​​ Saddada Castle, between Misrata and Bani Walid, central to northwest Libya.​​ [AfriGate]

 

A military source later said that the Libyan​​ National​​ Army now controlled​​ Saddada Castle, having taken it from Ibrahim Jadhran’s fighters. They said the area was previously controlled by Sayara Benghazi​​ (aka Benghazi Defense Brigades)​​ and other extremist groups.​​ [AfriGate]

 

Tunisia

The Tunisian Ministry of the Interior says it uncovered a “structured” terrorist group in Sidi Bouzid Governate, central Tunisia. The group was formed under the name “Jihad and​​ Tawhid​​ Battalion,” and is connected to terror groups abroad, according to the Ministry. All members were arrested and their weapons and equipment confiscated. [Anadolu]​​ [Tunisien]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

EUROPE

Great Britain

The UK police arrested Sudesh​​ Amman​​ (18), a college student who supported​​ Daesh,​​ on charges of encouraging his girlfriend to kill and behead her parents. Several weapons and bombmaking materials were found in his apartment,​​ in addition to instructions​​ on how to​​ carry out​​ terrorist attacks. The court sentenced him to 3 years and 4 months​​ imprisonment. [Sumaria]

 

The​​ British police​​ said that​​ a stabbing attack in a medical center in London wounded​​ 3​​ persons. [Ghad]

 

AFRICA

Alexander Venediktov, an​​ aide​​ to the​​ Russian Security Council​​ secretary,​​ says that Iraqi and Syrian Daesh fighters have formed new groups of Daesh, Al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram after escaping to Africa. He says they form a major terrorist threat to African countries.​​ [Sumaria]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

The Taliban said that its talks with the US in Abu Dhabi were focused on the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, and that it had not discussed a ceasefire, an interim government, or elections.​​ [Khaama]​​ 

The US Special Representative, Zalmay Khalilzad, described the talks as “productive.” [Khaama]

US officials said that the US military presence in Afghanistan remains “conditions-based.” [Khaama]

 

The Afghan military said that “at least 4” Taliban fighters were killed and 2 others wounded by a premature IED detonation in Faryab Province, northern Afghanistan. [Khaama]

 

Daesh said on Wednesday it killed an Afghan Special Forces officer with a silenced gun in District 1, in Kabul city. [ICDNDec19]

 

Daesh said on Wednesday it stopped a Taliban attack on “Karizokali” village, in Chaparhar in Nangarhar province, killing 2 fighters, wounding 2 others, and capturing weapons and ammunition. [ICDNDec19]

Daesh published a photo of 2 machine guns, hand grenades, and ammunition it said it got in the attack. [ICDNDec19]

 

 

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