An Update On ISIS Activities

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]

 

 

*****

 

READER COMMENTS WELCOME

 

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

December 18, 2018

 

A group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera

Description automatically generated

Daesh Members Captured Near Hajin (DD Dec 17)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Three minister nominees approved; others still unsettled. [..]

New Yorker article slams rushed trial process for Daesh defendants.​​ [..]

46 Daesh families ordered to leave Tal Afar city. [..]

Daesh commander implicated in Yazidi massacre killed by Yazidi PMFs in Sinjar. [..]

Coalition airstrike kills 2 Daesh leaders, 6 others in Hatra. [..]

Multiple reports show Daesh fighters fleeing back into Iraq. [..]

 

Turkey

Turks, US maneuver in advance of threatened Turkish invasion of NE Syria.​​ [..]

 

Syria

Jeffery says US will not contribute to Syrian reconstruction while Assad is in power.​​ [..]

Daesh fights on east of Hajin as leaders start move toward Iraq. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Nigeria: ​​ Nigerian military in tiff with Amnesty International over allegations. [..]

Afghanistan:​​ Taliban leaders meet US officials in Abu Dhabi. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

New​​ government

The CoR approved the nominations of Qusay Al-Suhail, Abdul Amir Al-Hamdani, and Nouri Al-Karbouli as Ministers of Higher Education, Culture, and Planning, respectively. The CoR did not approve​​ Saba Al-Ta’i as Minister of Education or Hana Amanuel as Minister of​​ Displacement and Migration.​​ The​​ Islah​​ (Reform)​​ bloc then broke the quorum by withdrawing from the hall to avoid​​ holding a​​ vote​​ on​​ the​​ remaining ministries. [Rudaw]

 

Reconstruction

The Guardian​​ says the opening of the Green Zone is a source of worry for Iraqi politician. It says the​​ Green​​ Zone has been a symbol of US influence and​​ of​​ political disconnect since 2003. It added that the partial opening of the Green Zone did not affect the traffic jam in Baghdad. ​​ [Baghdadia] [Guardian]

 

The US Embassy issued the second warning of its kind to its citizens on the occasion of re-opening the Green Zone. The embassy stressed that Americans should keep a low profile, keep others informed of their location, and exercise caution while passing through the zone. [PUKMedia]

 

The​​ World Health Organization (WHO)​​ announced that the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation had donated 1 million Euros to support physical and mental rehabilitation for people affected by conflict in Ninewa Province. UNAMI said that this contribution would help ensure that war victims suffering from mental and physical disabilities received high-quality services. [PUKMedia]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

On Tuesday, the Iraqi Supreme Court heard a case filed by the​​ former​​ Governor of Kirkuk Najmaldin Karim, Provincial Council​​ Chairman​​ Rebwar Al-Talabani, and 5 members of the Council against former Iraqi Prime​​ Minister​​ Haider Al-Abadi, regarding the events of October 16, 2017. The lawsuit alleged that Al-Abadi’s use of Iraqi Armed Forces and PMF groups to carry out a military operation in Kirkuk was unconstitutional with respect to Article 140. The Court found that the case was outside of​​ its​​ jurisdiction, as​​ it did​​ not have the power to compel Al-Abadi to perform or not perform a specific act with respect to his constitutional obligations. [Rudaw]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

In its December 24-31 issue, the​​ New Yorker​​ carried an in-depth article on the current state of Iraq’s anti-Daesh campaign. The article noted that trials leading to a guilty verdict lasted between 3 and 8 minutes, including trials of defendants who alleged that their confessions had been forced under torture by the security services. It alleged that security personnel and PMF units who beat, tortured, or killed suspects faced no meaningful investigations​​ or consequences.​​ 

The article also​​ said​​ that Mosul’s​​ Old​​ City was still in ruins, and had received little reconstruction aid; the reporter wrote, “Reconstruction in the Old City will cost billions of dollars ….​​ Aside from the exorbitant cost, I had the impression that the Iraqi government has been content to leave it in ruins, as a kind of punishment.”​​ [NewYorker]

 

The Karkh Criminal Court sentenced 1 Daesh fighter to death and another to life imprisonment. [PUKMedia]​​ [Sumaria]

 

Foreign policy

Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim met on Tuesday with US Envoy to the Coalition Brett McGurk and US Ambassador to Baghdad Douglas Silliman. Al-Hakim said that Daesh could not be allowed to return to Iraq. [Sumaria]

 

The Arab League denounced the Turkish “aggression” against Sinjar inside Iraqi territory, which killed several Syrian workers. It considered the Turkish actions to be a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. ​​ Mahmoud Afifi, spokesman for the Arab League, says Turkey has ignored similar denouncements in the past, which shows its disrespect to its relationship with the Arab world. [Hawar]

 

Also see below, under Turkey – Foreign policy

 

BAGHDAD

Center​​ (Rusafa, Karkh, etc.)

IFP Command said on Tuesday that engineering units had cleared an IED planted near the Ibn Al-Nafis hospital in downtown Baghdad. [Sumaria]

 

ANBAR

No reports

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

The Security Media Center says that​​ EOD​​ units​​ in​​ the 31st​​ PMF​​ Brigade defused and removed 800 IEDs and shells in Siniya. This comes in preparation​​ for​​ IDPs to​​ return to​​ their home areas. [Baghdadia]

 

Samarra

The PMF media office said on Tuesday that the 313th​​ PMF Brigade carried out a search operation in 3 villages in western Samarra. [Ghad]

 

DIYALA

No reports

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Daesh said it killed three IFP members and damaged their vehicle with an IED near Nader Awa village, in Dibis, on Sunday. [ICDNDec18]​​ 

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad,​​ Taza,​​ etc.)

The Security Media Center said on Tuesday that IFP units had found and disarmed 52 IEDs and 26 detonators found​​ on farmland in the village of Albu Mohammed, Daquq subdistrict. [Sumaria]

 

NINEWA

Mosul​​ city

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that the MoI issued an amnesty for dozens of police officers from Ninewa. The source said some of these officers had pledged allegiance to Daesh and had given information to Daesh that led to the murders of many police and security members. The source​​ said​​ some local politicians intervened and included these Daesh officers in the amnesty. ​​ 

 

The Security Media Center says that terrorists shot and killed 3 civilians on the Mosul-Sahaji road, just west of Mosul city. [Sumaria]​​ [BasNews]

 

Daesh said it killed two Iraqi Army “intelligence members” and a PMF member when it raided two houses in Al-Abar, west Mosul, on Monday. Daesh published photos of the murders. [ICDNDec18]

 

Mosul District

South (Qayara)

A police source in Ninewa says that security personnel stopped a Daesh attack in Mahane village in Qayara, killing 4 attackers. Security personnel also found the body of a policeman, who had been shot in the chest and whose body had signs of torture. [BasNews]

 

The Directorate of Military Intelligence says that its units in the 20th​​ Army Division arrested a terrorist hiding among IDPs in the Jada’a camp, Qayara subdistrict, on Tuesday. [Ghad]​​ [Sumaria]

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that PMF units told 46 families of Daesh members to leave Tal Afar within 24 hours.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that PMF units attacked a group of Daesh terrorists near Abu Mariya village, killing a terrorist and forcing the rest to flee.​​ 

 

Sinjar

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Yazidi PMFs ambushed and killed a Daesh commander near the Syrian border. The source said the terrorist had fled from Syria. The source said the terrorist participated in the massacres against Yazidi people in Sinjar, and killed more than 30 civilians who were trying to escape from the district during the liberation battles. The source said that several terrorists who accompanied the commander fled back to the Hasaka area.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Yazidi PMFs started a campaign to clear Sinjar city from IEDs,​​ preparing for the return of displaced people. The source said the units found 59 IEDs and 40 mortar shells, in addition to heavy machine gun ammunition, hidden in​​ 1​​ of the houses.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Yazidi YPG fighters captured then killed a Daesh member in the Khana Sor area; the Daesh member had just returned from the Al-Hawl refugee camp in Hasaka.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that the road between Sinjar and Tal Afar was cut off after the collapse of the bridge between the​​ two​​ districts​​ caused by​​ the floods.

 

Southern Ninewa

Hatra

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that Coalition planes killed 8 Daesh terrorists, including Amer Marhoun, aka Abu Ha’el Al-Suri, and Abu Omar Al-Libi, in an airstrike on a tunnel in Hatra district. The source said that Marhoun was a senior commander, originally from Mayadin in Syria, and had held several senior positions with Daesh including military commander of Raqqa.​​ 

 

Baaj

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that 40 Daesh terrorists, including commanders, who have fled the fighting in eastern Deir Ez-Zor, arrived in the Baaj desert area. The source said that 1 of the terrorists is Abu Qa’ed Al-Hiti, a senior military commander from Anbar, who had escaped from Abu Ghraib prison in 2010.​​ 

​​ 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that PMF units captured a Daesh terrorist, originally from Anbar, near the Syrian border in Baaj. The source said the terrorist had fled the Deir Ez-Zor battles. The source said a PMF member from Mosul shot and killed the man after he was captured. The PMFs arrested their​​ fighter after the shooting.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that Daesh appointed a new military commander for the west Ninewa area. The source said Daesh is planning more attacks on​​ mukhtars​​ and tribal PMF members.

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Basra

The UN issued a document recognizing the right of dark-skinned Iraqis to have representation in the CoR. Ghanim Al-Basri, a member of the Association of Dark-Skinned Persons in Iraq, says this document will preserve the rights of dark-skinned people in the country. The document confirmed the presence of racism and lack of equality against the dark-skinned persons in Iraq, including lack of political representation and employment. They are estimated at 200,000 in Iraq, most of whom are concentrated in Basra, but the actual figure might be larger. [Sumaria]

 

A security source said that unidentified gunmen “stormed” the South Refineries Company in Basra on Tuesday. The source, who asked not to be identified, said that the intrusion was aimed at winning a contracting bid of 3 billion dinars, without specifying further. A member of the Basra Provincial Council denied that the incident had taken place. [Rudaw]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

The Turkish Ministry of Defense said on Monday that it had killed 7 PKK members in an airstrike in the Gare-Hakurk area.​​ [SotIraq]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Military & security developments

A senior Kurdish Syrian source said on Tuesday that the US was seeking to deploy both Arab and Kurdish forces on the border with Turkey rather than​​ just​​ the YPG. [BasNews]

 

James Jeffery, the US Special Representative to Syria, confirmed the deployment of thousands of Kurdish fighters near the Turkish borders. This deployment was made​​ through​​ coordination​​ between​​ the US and SDF. Jeffery says this is a compromise to ease the tension with Turkey, given​​ concern over​​ the possibility that​​ the​​ SDF would stop its operations against Daesh in case of a Turkish invasion. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Deploying fighters could be effective as deterrence, but it doesn’t sound much like “easing tensions.”

 

The Turkish daily​​ Yeni Safak​​ says that the Turkish Army is on “full alert” on the Syrian borders and is closely observing the situation. It says that the Turkish Army is awaiting orders to hit PYD observation posts on the border. It also says the US handed over its observation posts to the PYD. It says that PYD units are using advanced, US-supplied, radar and observation equipment. [Qasioun]

 

Yeni Safak​​ also wrote that the commander of the Turkish operation east of the Euphrates would be General Ismail Metin Temel, who previously led the “Olive Branch” operation. The newspaper said that 24,000 fighters from both the Turkish Army and the pro-Turkish “Syrian Free Army” were expected to participate in the operation. [ElDorar]

 

On Monday, the Syrian pro-government newspaper​​ Al-Watan​​ published an interview with​​ Omar Osi, head of the National Initiative of the Syrian Kurds, in which Osi said that he considered the​​ situation “dangerous.” He added that he believed the US had secretly approved the operation, and that in so doing, America had “sold the Kurds to Turkey.” [Watan]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ If the US did not​​ approve, it should make a public statement to that effect before this becomes an embarrassment.

 

David L. Philips, a previous senior adviser to the US State Department, says that Congress should prevent Turkey from attacking civilians in northeast Syria. He called for the establishment of a no-fly zone in the area. [Hawar]

 

Foreign policy

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a speech to the Turkish Parliament that Turkey could not allow Sinjar to become a haven for terrorists, like the Qandil Mountains had become, he said. He said that Turkey respected the territorial integrity of its neighbors, including Iraq and Syria, but that these operations would continue until all such “dens of terrorists” were cleared.​​ [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

United Nations

The Foreign Ministers of Iran, Russia, and Turkey met in Geneva on Tuesday to discuss the constitutional committee for Syria. Iranian Foreign Minister​​ Mohammad Javad Zarif​​ expressed hope that the meeting will finish with positive results. The 3 ministers are meeting the UN Envoy at a banquet before the official meeting, which is​​ intended​​ to reach a solution for the issue. [Anadolu]

 

Iran

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards withdrew​​ their​​ units from eastern Deir Ez-Zor towards Homs. Military sources say dozens of vehicles of pro-Iranian militias were seen moving on the Deir Ez-Zor-Palmyra road. The sources say the reason for the withdrawal is unknown. [ElDorar]

 

Foreign policy

United States

James Jeffery, the US Special​​ Representative​​ to Syria, says President​​ Al-Assad is not a target​​ of​​ the US, but it will not contribute to reconstruction as long as​​ he​​ stays in power. He says​​ Al-Assad should agree to a settlement,​​ given the presence of over 100,000 armed men opposing his rule in the country. He estimated​​ the cost of reconstruction in​​ Syria $300 to​​ $400​​ billion. [Rudaw]

 

Europe

The French Foreign Ministry says it is not realistic to see Bashar Al-Assad as President following the Syrian reconciliation. This came in a statement from the Ministry. [Sumaria]

 

Middle East

Bashar Jaafari, the Syrian Ambassador to the UN, warned Saudi Arabia against taking measures against Syria, following the presentation of a Saudi proposal to the UN General Assembly regarding human rights in Syria. He says Saudi Arabia is not legally ethically, qualified to present such a proposal. [ElDorar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Representatives of​​ neither​​ the Syrian government nor Saudi Arabia have a great leg to stand on when discussing human rights issues.

 

Lebanon​​ Foreign​​ Minister Gebran​​ Bassil says his country does not approve​​ of the​​ settlement of refugees​​ in​​ its territories. This came in a letter addressed by the​​ Minister to the UN​​ Secretary-General,​​ the Head of the​​ General​​ Assembly, and the UNHCR. He says this large number of Syrian refugees forms a huge economic, social, security, and demographic burden on Lebanon.​​ [Anadolu]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

Iran

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards withdrew their units from eastern Deir Ez-Zor towards Homs. Military sources say dozens of vehicles of pro-Iranian militias were seen moving on the Deir Ez-Zor-Palmyra road. The sources say the reason for the withdrawal is unknown. [ElDorar]

 

Northwest

Afrin.​​ Kurdish media reported that a “powerful” explosion took place in front of a building used as a headquarters by the “Turkish occupation army” in Afrin city. [Hawar]

 

Manbij /Ayn Al-Arab

Anadolu​​ said that it had received footage showing “PKK” members digging trenches and tunnels around Ayn Al-Arab, in preparation for the anticipated Turkish military operation. [Anadolu]

 

Kurdish media reported fighting between the “Turkish occupation army” and fighters from the Ahfad Al-Rasul (Descendants of the Prophet) militia in Sukkariya village, west of Manbij. [Hawar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Ahfad Al-Rasul has supposedly been defunct for years, so it is unclear who was fighting who.

 

Northeast​​ 

Raqqa

Raqqa city​​ & district

Local sources said that 3 Syrian Air Force intelligence units and an​​ Iranian​​ soldier were wounded by a land mine near Maadan, east​​ of​​ Raqqa, on Monday. [ElDorar]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that 3 SDF members were killed and 4 civilians wounded when a Daesh vehicle bomb exploded in a market in Al-Shuhail.

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Saturday that 2 SDF members were killed and 3 others wounded when a roadside IED exploded on their vehicle in Al-Shuhail. The source said that after the explosion, a group of terrorists attacked the vehicle with hand grenades.​​ 

 

Mayadin​​ District

Local activists say unidentified armed men attacked an SDF checkpoint in Al-Jardhi village, killing 1 and wounding 7. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded seven SDF members after targeting their SUV with an IED in the Dernaj area, on Monday. [ICDNDec18]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that Daesh terrorists were still fighting on the eastern outskirts of Hajin city, while many commanders fled toward Al-Sha’afa and Al-Susah.​​ 

 

The SOHR says that fighting is continuing between Daesh and SDF units east of Hajin, and Coalition planes were seen in the skies. On Monday, the SDF encircled 11 Daesh fighters in Hajin before a Coalition airstrike killed all of them. [SyriaHR]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that SDF units captured 18 Daesh terrorists who were trying to flee Hajin city with civilians. The source said that many of the captured were from Iraq and other Arab countries. One of them is Abu Talha Al-Anbari, the Daesh security official of Hajin, who was responsible for murdering dozens of civilians in Hajin. The source sent us photos of some of the captured. ​​ 

 

The SDF thwarted a Daesh attack north of Al-Sha’afa, near Hajin. The SDF says it killed dozens of fighters in the attack, and that Daesh used armored vehicles. [Hawar]

 

The SOHR reported intense Daesh shelling​​ in Albu Kamal, held by the Syrian Amy and its Iranian allies. It says mutual shelling​​ has​​ been​​ underway since Monday, and that Daesh fighters are trying to flee eastern Deir Ez-Zor to the western desert using rubber boats. ​​ [SyriaHR]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that 4 civilians, including a woman and child, were killed in Syrian Army artillery shelling on Al-Susah. The source said the shelling was arbitrary and didn’t target Daesh positions.​​ 

 

Daesh said on Tuesday it targeted SDF “gatherings” in Hajin city with 35 mortar shells. [ICDNDec18]

 

South​​ 

No reports

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

A US Congressional report​​ says that Iran is trying to revive the “old Persian empire,” driven by its feeling of superiority. It says it is supporting 5 entities in the Middle East to achieve this goal. These entities are the Syrian government, Lebanese Hezbollah,​​ the​​ Houthis in Yemen, and Shia​​ militias​​ in Iraq and Bahrain. The Iranian support includes arms and funds as well, the report​​ claims. [Baghdadia]

 

Saudi Arabia/Yemen

The Saudi-owned​​ Asharq Al-Awsat​​ wrote on Tuesday that the “legitimate” (i.e. Hadi-led) Yemeni government criticized a briefing by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Yamani claimed that Griffiths had deliberately not mentioned the Houthi rejection of economic initiatives to pay the salaries of civil servants and reopen the Sana’a airport to flights via Aden. [Aawsat]

 

UAE

Arabi21​​ says that the UAE demanded that the UK hand over Emirati political opposition members living in the UK, in exchange for releasing​​ Matthew Hedges, who was sentenced to life in the UAE. As the UK rejected the UAE’s demand, they freed Hedges unconditionally. British officials reportedly told the UAE that British laws do not allow extraditing persons who have obtained political asylum, and that such​​ a​​ procedure is a very complicated process, and not a matter of​​ taking​​ a government position.​​ [Arabi21]

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh said on Tuesday it damaged an Egyptian Army bulldozer with an IED in the Bal’a area, east of Rafah. [ICDNDec18]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

AFRICA

Somalia

Daesh issued on a Monday a short video of the battles with Al-Shabab in the Bur Meirale area. [A3maq]

Daesh had​​ previously​​ said that​​ a group of Al-Qaeda in Somalia members was​​ gathering near Bur​​​​ Meirale,​​ Puntland, southwest of Qandala city, on Saturday to attack Daesh positions, when a group of Daesh​​ fighters attacked them,​​ killing 14, wounding others, and capturing weapons and ammunition. [ICDNDec16]

 

Daesh said on Tuesday it shot and killed a Somali Ministry of Finance employee in Bakaara market, in Mogadishu city. [ICDNDec18]

​​ 

Nigeria

The Nigerian military called​​ for​​ expelling​​ Amnesty International from the country, saying that Amnesty was “damaging the morale of troops fighting Boko Haram.” On Twitter, the army said that Amnesty was siding with Boko Haram. This follows Amnesty’s report on Monday, in which the organization said that the Nigerian authorities failed to​​ investigate ethnic fighting, that this had led to an escalation in conflict between farmers and herders, and that at least 3,641 people had been killed in such fighting over the last 3 years. On Friday, the Nigerian​​ Army also accused UNICEF of training Boko Haram “spies” and briefly suspended UNICEF operations before reversing the decision. [DW]

 

Boko Haram terrorists killed 1 soldier and injured another in an attack on a military base in Nigeria’s northeast Borno​​ State, military sources said Tuesday. Terrorists in 4 trucks fitted with anti-aircraft guns stormed the base in Mairari village, close to the garrison town of Monguno, on Monday briefly seizing it. The base was recaptured after reinforcements arrived from Monguno, 10 kilometers (6 miles) away. [Vanguard]​​ 

Daesh said it killed three Nigerian Army members, captured one, wounded others, damaged a tank, and captured ammunition in an attack on a military position in “Bonari” village, near Monguno town in southeast Nigeria, on Monday. [ICDNDec18] [A3maq]

 

Daesh said it captured a Nigerian Army member, set 3 vehicles on fire, and captured ammunitions in an attack on an army military positions in “Cross” town (spelling unclear), near Lake Chad, on Monday. [ICDNDec18]

 

On Monday, a Boko Haram faction loyal to long-time leader Abubakar Shekau released pictures of an attack on a village near the Borno​​ State capital Maiduguri, according to SITE intelligence, which monitors jihadist activities. The village was burned down, sending residents fleeing into the city. The military said Monday that troops repelled the attack, in which a soldier and 4 insurgents were killed. [Vanguard]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Taliban political leaders met with US officials in Abu Dhabi on Monday. The Taliban issued a statement saying that talks​​ had concerned the “withdrawal of occupation forces from Afghanistan.”​​ Pakistani PM Imran Khan said that Pakistan had facilitated this​​ round of talks.​​ [Khaama]​​ [Khaama]

 

The Afghan police rescued an Afghan-German woman who had been abducted in Kabul 2 years ago. [Khaama]

 

US and Afghan​​ military units killed “at least 9” Daesh Khurusan (ISIS-K) members in separate operations in Kunar and Nangarhar Provinces, eastern Afghanistan. [Khaama]

 

Daesh said on Tuesday it shot and killed an Afghan intelligence​​ officer​​ in District 16, in Kabul. [A3maq]

 

 

*****

 

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December 17, 2018

 

Smoke coming from it

Description automatically generated

Hajin

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Abd Ul-Madhi gives CoR four alternatives for ending cabinet selection crisis.​​ [..]

Court orders Al-Fayyad reinstated to positions from which Al-Abadi fired him. [..]

CoR member decries past persecution of Jews in Iraq. [..]

New UNAMI director arrives in Baghdad. [..]

Kurdistan still has 1,250,000​​ million IDPs.​​ [..]

 

Turkey

Erdogan says invasion of NE Syria will begin at any moment; says Trump approves.​​ [..]

 

Syria

Sudan’s President pays Assad a supportive visit. [..]

Fighting continues in Hajin area, as Coalition airstrikes kill 17. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Yemen:​​ Yemen ceasefire scheduled to start today.​​ [..]

Somalia:​​ US airstrikes kill 62 Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.​​ [..]

Nigeria: ​​​​ Major gun battle kills at least 12 Nigerian soldiers & 28 Boko Haram terrorists. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

New​​ government

PM Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi proposed 4 solutions to complete the ministerial cabinet:​​ 

  • Vote on​​ the remaining names as they are, and if they are rejected, then put forth alternatives within 2 days.

  • Vote on 5-6 ministries and postpone the rest to be resolved by voting or consensus.

  • Let the 2 main blocs present new names to the Prime Minister.

  • The 2 main parties leave the names to the Prime Minister and the CoR.​​ ​​ [BasNews]

 

Rebwar Taha, a​​ PUK member of​​ the CoR for the PUK, says his bloc will boycott the CoR session on Tuesday if voting on​​ the​​