December 26, 2018
Daesh Explosives Confiscated in Al-Qa’im (DD Dec 24)
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. [..]
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. [..]
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
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.
A report by the Coalition says that Daesh has lost all of its territory in Iraq and 99% of its territory in Syria. [SotAlIraq]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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.
Daesh said on Monday it killed or wounded nine Iraqi soldiers and destroyed 2 vehicles with 2 IEDs in the Kilo 120 area. [A3maq]
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.
Daesh said it wounded four PMF members, captured four others, and damaged their vehicle in an ambush west of Siniya on Tuesday. [ICDNDec26]
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]
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
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
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.
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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 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]
North Raqqa (Ayn Eissa)
Central and West
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]
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]
The Islamist militia coalition Harridh Al-Mu’minin 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.
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]
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 wide–scale 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]
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
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]
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]
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]
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
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.
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]
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]
Daesh said on Wednesday it shot and killed a policeman near the municipality building in Bosaso city. [A3maq]
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 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 issued on Tuesday a propaganda video about its attacks in Salahuddin. [ICDNDec25]
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