March 24, 2016
Today’s Major Developments
Ninewa liberation campaign begins, has early success, US Marines support.
Al-Abadi will submit cabinet candidates to parliament next week.
Army, Counter Terrorism troops move in on Kubaisa.
Jazeera Operations Commander survives IED assassination attempt.
Daesh supply route from Raqqa to western Anbar reportedly cut off.
Iraqi helicopters attack Daesh in Bashir village.
Turkey insists it warned Belgium, Netherlands about Brussels bombers.
Syrian Army moves into Palmyra.
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
Prime Minister Al-Abadi issued a statement congratulating the Iraqi people on the start of Ninewa liberation operations and its success in liberating several villages already. [Sumaria]
Abadi’s office issued a statement saying Abadi received the technocrat candidates list provided by the Sadrists and will “deal with it positively” alongside other nominations. Abadi will submit his cabinet candidates list to the CoR next week. [Mada]
Moqtada Al-Sadr says the committee he formed to choose technocrat candidates should also prepare names for other high ranking offices (including independent commissions and embassies) after its “huge success”. [Sumaria]
A member of the Citizen Coalition (ISCI) says the ISCI’s 3 ministers (Oil, Transportation and Sport & Youth) submitted their resignations to PM Abadi. He also says the ISCI refuses to be part of the “mess” created by Abadi regarding the new cabinet. CoR sources say the leader of ISCI, Ammar Al-Hakim, is trying to form a majority Coalition in the CoR that doesn’t include the PM’s State of Law bloc. [Mada] [Mada]
Prime Minister Al-Abadi met with Baghdad Operations Command (BOC) top officers at its headquarters in Baghdad. He discussed with them terrorism threats and security developments, as well as Friday’s expected sit-in, and the necessity to treat demonstrators according to the law and constitution. [Ghad]
The Military Intelligence Service is broadcasting confessions of a “very dangerous Daesh group” arrested in Baghdad. A press conference will be held on Saturday at its headquarters in Khadimiya. [AIN]
Iskander Witwit, member of the CoR Security Committee, expressed surprise at the non-participation of Iraqi F16s in the war effort against Daesh, calling on the government to turn to Russian weapons suppliers to build the air force. [Mawqif]
Security-related incidents reported
An IED in Al-Siba’ killed one civilian and wounded 4 others. [Mada]
Two bodies of men shot to death were found in an empty yard in Shula. [Maalomah]
A sticky bomb attached to the car of a cosmetics shop owner killed him as he was driving in Adhamiya. [Mada]
The body of a policeman was found in his house in the Al-Amari neighborhood of Ma’amel. [Sumaria]
A civilian was shot dead in Mashtal by unidentified armed men. [Ghad]
Armed men threw a hand grenade at a house in Baladiyat, causing material damage without any human casualties. [Ghad]
An IED exploded in a Baladiyat neighborhood, wounding 4 civilians. [AIN]
An IED placed near a popular coffee shop in Sadr City wounded two civilians. [Ghad]
A policeman was shot dead in Jisr Diyala. [Ghad]
Armed men in a 4-wheel drive car kidnapped a child as he left his school in Zafaraniya. [Ghad]
An IED placed near a coffee shop in Mada’in killed a civilian and wounded four others. [Maalomah]
According to the BOC, 42nd army brigade found a hideout in Bawi, containing one IED, five mortar shells, and several detonators.
An IED exploded in a commercial area in Wihda, killing one person and wounding seven. [Mada]
A roadside IED targeting a police patrol in Yusufiyah killed one policeman and wounded five others. [Mada]
An IED that exploded near car dealerships in Bayya’ killed one civilian and wounded five others. [Mada]
An IED killed one civilian and wounded six others in Iskan. [Mada]
Total Baghdad incidents reported: 16 (Not an overall total)
The Coalition conducted 26 airstrikes in Iraq and 8 in Syria. Iraq raids were aimed at Daesh targets in Hit, Mosul, Qayara, and Sinjar, destroying several vehicles, mortars, and weapons storage houses. Attacks in Syria were in Manbij, Mare’, Palmyra, and Al-Hawl, destroying seven Daesh positions, and 3 tactical units. [Mawazin]
More details on the airstrikes [CJTF]
The summary on Coalition air attacks from March 15-21 in Iraq and Syria was 223 airstrikes that either destroyed their targets completely or seriously damaged them, according to the Coalition command. The statement mentioned Mosul University buildings that had been turned into Daesh command centers since late 2014. (photo) [AIN]
Sabah Karhout, Chairman of Anbar Provincial Council called on the government to expedite the Falluja liberation operation, while Sa’ud Jassem , another PC member, called for the participation of US forces, saying the Anbar government welcomes such participation. [Mawqif]
COR Speaker Al-Jubouri issued a statement after meeting with UNAMI’s chief, Ján Kubiš, saying that Falluja should be liberated as soon as possible to save the families trapped in the city. [Sumaria]
The Anbar Governor issued a statement asking that humanitarian assistance to Falluja be sent by air for now. He says Daesh has booby-trapped the roads around the city, preventing supplies from reaching citizens. [Sumaria]
The Chairman of the Security Committee in Anbar PC warns of a famine in Falluja and asks PM Abadi to intervene or resign. [Mada]
PMF media said that Saraya Ashura of the PMFs started an operation to clear north and east of Saqlawiya in cooperation with army units. It said that this will continue until the area is fully cleared. [Harbi] Army and PMF units also recovered the Qarma Bridge east of Falluja in the course of the attack. [Maalomah]
Col. Khamis Al-Halbousi, commander of Qarma Tribal Mobilization, said that his forces killed 4 suicide terrorists who tried to attack them in the technical institute in Saqlawiya. [BasNews]
Daesh’s version says Iraqi Army units and PMFs, supported by Coalition planes, attacked its positions near the technical institute, but it stopped the attack, destroying a vehicle and forcing the troops to flee. [JustPaste]
The BOC said that the 14th army division killed 4 terrorists and wounded 3 others in Albu Shijil, Qarma, and Taqsim, while 30 IEDs were destroyed by the 1st division engineering units in Subaihat in Qarma. [Mawazin]
Daesh publishes photos of battles near Albu Shijil. [JustPaste]
The PMF media said that Al-Tayar Al-Risali regiments of the PMF destroyed a fuel tanker near Bawaba Al-Qarma. [Harbi]
Waleed Khalid Hamid, a wanted terrorist, was arrested by Anbar Operations Command (AOC) units, according to General Ismail Al-Mahalawi, its commander. He said that the terrorist was hiding among civilians in Jaraishi. He added that 73rd army brigade defused 61 IEDs and destroyed two Jahannam rockets and one explosive belt in Sajariya and Albu Risha. In Zangoura, a weapon cache containing Jahannam rockets and mortar shells and 45 IEDs were destroyed, while two booby-trapped houses were defused. [Sumaria]
Unfortunately, Major Ahmed Al-Alwani of Anbar Police was killed while trying to defuse an IED on the road leading from Ramadi to Zera’a. [Maalomah]
A video of 2 Daesh terrorists captured by Iraqi forces in Ramadi District [YouTube]
A video of Daesh vehicles and weapons captured by Iraqi forces in Zangoura [YouTube]
General Al-Mahalawi said 26 terrorists were killed, three vehicle bombs destroyed, and 40 IEDs defused in the Basatin area east of Hit. He said that the next few hours will witness the arrival of more reinforcements and Coalition air attacks to finalize the liberation of Hit and Kubaisa. [BasNews]
A Coalition airstrike destroyed 9 Daesh vehicles carrying rocket launching platforms in Hijjiya Valley west of the Kubaisa cement factory. The airstrike was based on intelligence provided by the National Security Agency, IWMC said. [Mawazin]
The IWMC said that army and security units have not entered Kubaisa yet, denying some news reports. It said that army units are proceeding according to the plan set, and asked everybody who seeks truth to refer to competent parties for information. [Sumaria]
However, army units have captured two neighborhoods west of Kubaisa, south of Hit, say sources at Jazeera Operations Command. The two neighborhoods are the industrial area and Hay Al-Timman. [Sumaria]
Mohammed Al-Hiti, Chairman of Hit District Council, says Iraqi forces liberated Al-Khidhir and Wadi Al-Hijjiya near Kubaisa after heavy clashes, killing “tens” of Daesh terrorists. He says Iraqi forces are preparing to liberate Kubaisa in the coming hours. [Mada]
The Chairman also says the 7th army division found three tunnels extending from the Kubaisa cement factory to the center of Kubaisa city. These have been used by Daesh to elude airstrikes. The tunnels were of 1 km, 500 meters, and 5 km in length; all were destroyed by the army units. [Sumaria]
General Sami Al-Aridhi, commander of special operations in the Counter Terrorism Service, said that Kubaisa will be liberated in the coming few hours, and that Iraqi forces are in full control of Mhamdi. Troops are busy evacuating civilians towards safer areas. [Mawazin]
Daesh issues the story of one of its top leaders, a terrorist from Jubba called Abu Farouq, who participated in many AQI and Daesh activities and was captured then released after the second Falluja battle. He later became Daesh’s military commander in west Anbar. Daesh says he was killed by a Coalition airstrike while he was leading an attack on Saqqar base in western Anbar. [Isdarat]
A video of Iraqi forces securing families in Hit district [ISOF]
Army helicopters destroyed construction shovel and vehicle bombs before they could reach the security barrier in Rzeyej east of Baghdadi, a source in Anbar Police said. [Maalomah]
General Ali Ibrahim Daba’oun, Commander of Jazeera Operations, survived an assassination attempt by IED, which targeted his convoy on the road connecting Baghdadi to Haditha. Daba’oun said in a statement that he is safe and well, but five of his escorts were wounded, including Lt. Col. Waleed Khalid, his office director. [Sumaria]
Daesh’s version says a group of its fighters sneaked into the Haqlaniya railroad area and planted several IEDs. When Daba’oun’s convoy arrived, they detonated the IEDs, destroying 3 vehicles, then attacked the convoy with light and midsize weapons, killing 12 soldiers and wounding others and forcing the rest to flee. As usual in such Daesh reports, all Daesh terrorists returned safely after the attack. [JustPaste]
Mohammed Al-Hiti, Chairman of Hit District Council, said army units backed by Coalition air attacks have cut off the Daesh supply route from Raqqa, Syria to western Anbar, by destroying the connection points in Al-Qa’im and other border locations. He says the land road is under control of the army now and that Daesh cannot provide supplies to Hit and Kubaisa anymore. [Mada]
DaeshDaily comment. This shows one reason why US military strategists have placed so much emphasis on knocking Daesh out of its headquarters city of Raqqa: to disrupt the flow of men and supplies into Iraq. The occasional bombs dropped on Al-Qa’im, by the Syrian border, seemed at the time to be disconnected from ongoing battles in Iraq, but were part of a larger plan.
Daesh publishes a photo of some of its terrorists in Salahuddin. [JustPaste]
DaeshDaily comment. The photo is most likely of a sleeper cell hiding in a “guesthouse” in some area in Salahuddin.
Iraqi Air Force (IAF) destroyed four vehicle bomb-rigging workshops in Shirqat, based on intelligence from the National Security Organization. The workshops were located in Shakra fields in Shirqat, the IWMC said. [Ghad]
A security source says Shirqat is now under siege by Army and PMF units, in a step towards liberating it. The siege also aims to restrict Daesh’s movement and thus its ability to move fighters towards Mosul. [ Maalomah ]
A video of PMFs stopping a Daesh attack in the Makhoul Mountains area [Harbi]
Daesh says its terrorists shot down an Iraqi Army drone near Ajeel oilfield. [A3maq]
The BOC said 59th army brigade found and defused 6 explosive belts in Al-Niba’i, in the Kasarat area. [Mawazin]
The Tooz police chief says Peshmerga special forces units arrived to the city to “calm the security situation”. [Rudaw]
10 Daesh mortar shells fell within the perimeter of the agricultural Nahr Al-Imam village northeast of Baquba late Wednesday night, local sources said. The shelling did not cause any human casualties. [Sumaria]
IAA helicopters attacked Daesh targets in Bashir village near Taza, the IWMC said. [Buratha]
Karim Al-Husseini, spokesman of the PMFs, said the IAA made 6 attacks on Daesh targets in Bashir Wednesday night, destroying tactical units used to attack Taza, and killing and wounding several terrorists. [Harbi]
Ali Al-Akbar brigade of the PMFs is preparing to participate in the liberation of Bashir village, the PMF media said. Kareem Al-Hasnawi, deputy commander, said that his brigade will join the Imam Ali and Al-Abbas regiments in this operation. [AIN]
An Iraqi airstrike on a rocket factory in Hawija and two adjacent hangars killed 35 Daesh experts and engineers, IWMC said. The attack was based on intelligence provided by the National Security Service. [AynIraq ]
Daesh issues a video of the destruction of Abbasi hospital in Hawija after it was attacked by Iraqi planes. [A3maq]
DaeshDaily comment. Daesh would have published any human casualties resulted from the airstrike, and there should have been civilian casualties because it is a hospital, but there aren’t any in this video. So what was this “hospital” used for?
A security source in Kirkuk said that the Ninewa-Hawija road is now under the full control of army units. [Maalomah] That seems to be especially important, because . . .
The IWMC announced that the first stage of the Ninewa liberation operation has started with the liberation of several villages and raising the Iraqi flag therein. The operations were started by Ninewa Operations units under the supervision of Joint Operations Forces. The operation is called “Al-Fath” (conquest). [Sumaria]
Within the first phase of the Ninewa liberation operation, the army’s 15th division recovered the villages of Kodila and Kermerdi, southwest of Makhmur without resistance. Aerial, artillery, and rocket bombardment preceded the attack, local sources said. [Sumaria] The army, tribal mobilization units, and Peshmerga then moved towards Salahiya, Tel Al-Sha’ir, and Sultan Abdullah near Qayara, under heavy artillery bombardment. [Mada]
Ninewa Ops Command (NOC) later said that the liberated villages are now eight, after liberating Matantar, Khattab, and Tel Al-Sha’ir. It also said 15th army division artillery destroyed an observation tower equipped with modern cameras in Qayara. [Mada] [Mada]
The joint forces crossed the Tigris River from Makhmur to Qayara using a floating bridge, under artillery cover from the US Marines, after Daesh had destroyed the bridge connecting the two areas, a security source said. [Mada ] The villages of Al-Nassr, Mahana , Kharbardan, Nathra, and Haj Ali, near Qayara were then all liberated. [Mada] Joint operations command called on the population to keep away from Daesh command centers and gatherings, as the troops are advancing from three directions. [Mada]
20 Daesh terrorists were killed during the recapture of Al-Nassr village. [Mawazin]
NOC announced the killing of “Al-Yamani”, the Daesh military commander in southern Ninewa, in a battle near Al-Nassr village. [Maalomah] The Command said in a statement that Daesh is withdrawing but are placing IEDs all over the area to slow down advancing troops. [Maalomah]
DaeshDaily comment. We want to recommend whoever teaches the Daesh creative writing class for an international award.
In a confirming statement after the day’s hectic events, the Ninewa Operations Commander says Iraqi forces liberated 8 villages near Qayara, including Nassr and Kodila. [Mada]
One Iraqi soldier was killed and three wounded, while tens of Daesh terrorists were killed in the initial operations to liberate areas south of Mosul, a security source said. The source also said army units are surrounding Sultan Abdullah, a strategically located town at the southern end of Hamdaniya province, northeast of Qayara. Six US Apache and Chinook helicopters are assisting in the operations. [Mada]
Husam Al-Abbar, a Ninewa PC member, said that the first phase of the Al-Fath operation had stopped temporarily, and will be resumed as soon as the IEDs in the villages are cleared. [Mawazin]
The ground operation was heavily supported by airstrikes.
Coalition warplanes destroyed five “secret” communications towers in Qayara, killing five terrorists guarding them, a Ninewa Police source said. [BasNews]
The Coalition destroyed two Daesh command centers in Qayara, before destroying another three in Shirqat, on the east side of the Tigris, Salahuddin Operations Command said. [Ghad]
Tens of Daesh terrorists were killed and wounded when Coalition warplanes attacked their positions in Qayara and in Hammam Al-Alil north of Qayara, a security source in Ninewa said. The planes fired nine missiles on a fuel tank, a machine gun, and four armored personnel carriers, destroying them, causing Daesh to evacuate their command centers and positions in fear of further strikes. The attack coincided with heavy artillery shelling by Iraqi Army on Daesh targets in Qayara. [Mada]
15 Daesh terrorists were killed in an operation that targeted the Qayara post office, used by Daesh as a command center, a source in Ninewa said. [Mada]
Col. Steve Warren, operation spokesman, said that the Coalition warplanes are supporting Iraqi army attacks in and around Makhmur, which are aimed at isolating the city of Mosul. [Mada]
Daesh executed five of its members for escaping the battlefield.
It is burning tankers to create a smoke camouflage against air attacks. [Mada]
Daesh issues a video showing the “suffering” of the people of Qayara while trying to cross the river after Coalition planes destroyed the main bridge recently. [A3maq]
Tribes in the Al-Shura subdistrict south of Mosul revolted against Daesh. They attacked three command centers and Daesh-occupied houses, killing 5 Daesh members and capturing 11 as prisoners, local sources said. [Maalomah]
Daesh leaders were reported by local sources to be in a tizzy after the Iraqi flag was raised over the Faculty of Arts building, the tallest building at the University of Mosul. [Mawazin]
A source in Ninewa Ops Command said 15th army division is just over 30 km (19 miles) away from the center of Mosul. [Mada]
Photos show Iraqi forces heading to Qayara. One photo shows Iraqi soldiers near a sign saying they are 30 km (19 miles) away from Mosul. [AIN]
Karim Al-Nouri, a PMF Commission member, said that the aim of the current operation in Ninewa is aimed to keep the danger away from Iraqi units in Makhmur, and is not aimed at liberating Mosul. [Mawazin]
Ninewa Provincial Council said that over 1,000 tribal mobilization fighters, mainly from Saba’wiyeen and Jubour tribes, are actively participating in the Ninewa liberation battles. It emphasized that these fighters are under the command of the PMF Commission in Baghdad and are paid by it. [Sumaria]
Yusuf Al-Kalabi, security spokesman of the PMFs, said that PMFs are not participating in “Al-Fath’ Operations by the Iraqi army that started early today, saying that the PMFs were not invited by the Joint Operations Command. But he said, that “we are nearby, and whenever they need us, we will be there”. [AynIraq]
DaeshDaily comment. The contradiction in the preceding two stories would seem to come down to this: Sunni tribe PMFs are participating; Shia PMFs are not participating. We get the reasons, and don’t support the constant whining, but it would be a good thing for Iraq if a meaningful role in Ninewa can be found for some Shia PMFs.
Rudaw, a Kurdish news agency, reported that four of Atheel Al-Nujaifi’s National Mobilization fighters were wounded in the battles. [Rudaw]
However, Nawfal Hammadi Al-Sultan, the Governor of Ninewa, denied in a press statement the participation of the National Mobilization in the war operations started today, saying that “Juhaish tribe fighters” (Nujaifi’s) are still being trained and are not ready yet to participate. The Saba’wiyeen, Lahib, and Jubour tribes are fighting alongside the 15th army division, Ninewa Police, and Peshmerga, supported by Coalition aircraft. [IraqPress]
Daesh executed five persons in Dorat Qassem Al-Khayat, on the right (west) side of Mosul for “disobeying orders”. Their families were banned from taking their corpses, a source in Ninewa said. Guards of their building and several others were arrested. [Mada] [Maalomah]
Nouraldin Qablan, deputy chairman of the Ninewa PC, said that the PC has no idea of the presence of a US base in Makhmur. He said that what we know is that there are US experts at Iraqi bases. [Karemlash]
Coalition warplanes attacked an extensive Daesh meeting in the dairy factory, in the Al-Arabi neighborhood on the east side of Mosul, a security source in Mosul said. [Mada]
Daesh issues a video of Coalition airstrikes on the dairy factory. [A3maq]
Naif Al-Shimmari, CoR member for Mosul, called Ninewa tribes to cooperate with the advancing Iraqi forces and provide them with all necessary information to expel Daesh from their areas. [Mada]
A security source said that Mosul residents have provided Iraqi army units with important information and coordinates of Daesh locations in the city. [AIN]
A local source has also reported that people from Mosul are providing information about Daesh locations and terrorists in the city. The source also says youth from the city have formed combat groups to help Iraqi forces liberate the city. [Buratha]
A security source said that Iraq had received two batches of modern drones and tanks to participate in the Mosul liberation operation. The source did not specify the origins. [Sumaria]
Daesh publishes photos of normal life in Tel Keif. [JustPaste]
DaeshDaily comment. When all the Christians and other residents return to Tel Keif, someone should send Daesh some photos of what normal life is really like there.
Daesh publishes photos of shelling Peshmerga military positions on Fadhiliya Mountain, 20 km north of Mosul. [JustPaste]
Northwest Ninewa (Tal Afar, Sinjar)
Sources said US Apache helicopters were seen flying towards Nawaran near Sinjar. [Mada]
Daesh issues a video showing a “Peshmerga” vehicle being attacked by its terrorists west of Tal Afar. [A3maq]
DaeshDaily comment. The vehicle in the video looks like a normal civilian pickup attacked.
Eyewitnesses said Turkish warplanes attacked the villages of Nirwa, Rekan, and Nuhail in Amedi District in northern Dahuk, targeting PKK positions. The bombardment lasted for one hour; no account of casualties was mentioned. [Sumaria]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
The Turkish courts reportedly released “Khalis Bayanjouk” known as “Abu Handhala” who had been arrested with six others last year on allegations of forming a Daesh cell in Istanbul. The pro-PYD Hawar expresses surprise that the freed man was not handed a ten-year sentence on terrorism charges. [Hawar]
Military developments (all about who said what to whom when the Brussels suicide bomber was previously deported from Turkey)
“We informed the Brussels embassy of the deportation process of the attacker with a note on July 14, 2015. However, the Belgians released the attacker despite his deportation,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said March 23, adding that one of the perpetrators of the Brussels attack had been detained by Turkish authorities in June 2015 in the southeastern province of Gaziantep and deported.
Hours after Erdoğan’s remarks, Belgium’s Justice Minister Koen Geens said he was aware one of the Brussels attackers had been sent to the Netherlands from Turkey, but denied that he had been flagged as a possible terrorist.
Meanwhile, two Turkish officials speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters that one of the attackers in the suicide bombings was deported from Turkey not only once but twice last year and that authorities warned their European counterparts that they suspected him of being a militant fighter.
The first official said Ibrahim El Bakraoui’s initial deportation in July 2015 had been based on police suspicions that he was a militant fighter, but no crime was committed in Turkey, describing his expulsion as an “administrative deportation.” “The police were looking at him and came to the conclusion that he may be a foreign fighter. He was picked up in the southeastern city of Gaziantep,” said the official, declining to be named because of the sensitivities of the case.
The second Turkish government official told Reuters that El Bakraoui had entered Turkey for a second time on Aug. 11, 2015, through the Antalya airport on the Mediterranean coast, and was again deported two weeks later, on Aug. 25, 2015.
The official did not specify where he was deported to on the second occasion. [Hurriyet]
However, Dutch Justice Minister Ard van der Steur said on Thursday the terrorist who blew himself up at Brussels airport this week was not on any Dutch or international wanted lists.
“We checked with our Belgian, German and Turkish colleagues and in all cases he was not registered in our systems,” Van der Steur told a news conference called 24 hours after Turkey announced that Ibrahim El Bakraoui was a known suspect whom it had twice deported.
Van der Steur also said that El Bakraoui had been deported from Turkey to the Netherlands only once, contradicting assertions by Turkey’s government. [Reuters]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
The Ahrar Al-Sham militia, which is presently allied to the Nusra Front in various theaters in Syria, has stated that it does not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood but that it “coordinates” with them. The statement came in a media interview which was subsequently shared on social media by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. [IslamMemo]
Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa)
The Shaitat tribal council has announced in a statement that it will coordinate with opposition militias and that it refuses to cooperate with the Syria Democratic Forces, saying that the SDF’s “atheist Kurds” are linked to the federal project in northern Syria and that the Shaitat refuse any project that calls for the partition of Syria. The Shaitat will continue to battle against the Assad regime, against Daesh, and against any other group who seeks to apply any project “contrary to the Syrian revolution.” [Qasioun]
In a sign of ongoing tension between Kurdish factions in Syria, the pro-PYD Hawar agency published a story describing a petition reportedly bearing the signatures of 500 families in Qamishli calling for the prosecution of some of the leadership of the rival KDP-oriented Kurdish National Council, also known by its Kurdish-language initials “ENKS”. The specific allegations are unclear from the Hawar report but they appear to relate to the KDP’s cooperation with Turkey, which has rejected the PYD. Hawar also published text and video alleging that the KDP is collaborating with the Turkish AKP government to besiege what it calls the Rojava area of northwestern Syria. [Hawar] [Hawar]
Daesh attacked YPG units with mortars in Makman near Shaddadi on Wednesday, the YPG announced. [Hawar]
A child died in a land mine explosion near Jabal Abd Al-Aziz west of Hasaka, according to residents. Mine-clearing operations in the area are ongoing according to the Syria Democratic Forces spokesman. [ARA]
Daesh publishes photos of shelling YPG units with mortars east of Ain Eissa. [JustPaste]
A video of a Daesh terrorist captured by the YPG [RT]
Northwest (Aleppo, Idlib)
Daesh attacked the city of Mare’ north of Aleppo on Thursday in renewed battles between Daesh and opposition militias, a “Sham Corps” fighter said. The fighting erupted as Daesh attempted to infiltrate militia-held territory on the outskirts of the city, the source added. Two Daesh fighters were killed in the battle before Daesh was forced to withdraw, he said. The militias also mortared the city of Harbal in response to the attacks, the militiaman added, saying that there were reports of Daesh casualties amid the shelling. [ARA]
Opposition militias launched an arrest campaign targeting Daesh members and sympathizers in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city under militia control. The statement also said that the militias had arrested a preacher in one of the mosques in Aleppo after he had made several sermons praising Daesh and calling for attacks on the Free Syrian Army. [ARA]
Syrian units attacked Daesh positions near the city of Tadif east of Aleppo on Thursday morning with artillery fire and ground assault, an activist said. The Syrian shelling killed three civilians and injured five others, while causing a large flight of residents towards Azaz, north of Aleppo. Syrian aircraft struck multiple Daesh-held areas east of Aleppo Thursday, but casualty figures were not available from the aerial attacks. [ARA] [Qasioun]
From its positions near Jarabulus, Daesh attacked YPG units across the Euphrates River in the Kobane countryside with heavy weapons on Wednesday, the YPG announced. [Hawar]
A field military source says YPG fighters stopped a Daesh infiltration and killed 5 terrorists and wounded others. One YPG fighter was killed and another wounded in the clashes. The source also says Coalition planes launched heavy airstrikes on Daesh locations in the Hamam Mountain area across the Euphrates. [BasNews]
Daesh publishes photos of executing five men publicly, accusing them of being drug dealers. [JustPaste]
Central and West (Homs, Hama, etc.)
As has been widely reported, the Syrian Army has again made advances in the city of Tadmur (Palmyra) east of Homs. In what will be an important coup for the Syrian government if confirmed, the Army announced that it is now in control of the city after entering earlier in the day under Russian air cover.
An official Syrian news video appears in the report by Qasioun.
Syrian Army troops, supported by militias, cleared the last Daesh controlled areas west and southwest of Tadmur (video). [SANA]
Daesh says its terrorists destroyed 3 Syrian Army SUVs with one rocket in Dowa west of Tadmur. [A3maq]
Daesh issues a video showing Tadmur city. [A3maq]
A video shows Syrian troops near Tadmur. [syriaalikhbaria1]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Daesh issues a video of clashes between its terrorists and Syrian Army troops in Deir Ez-Zor city. [A3maq]
A video of Syrian troops damaging a Daesh vehicle bomb before it reaches its target in Deir Ez-Zor [YouTube]
Opposition militias in Daraa conducted raid and arrest operations against Daesh-affiliated groups in the cities of Inkhal and Jasim. The arrests targeted the “Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade” and the “Muthanna Islamic Movement.” Opposition groups also submitted “all members” and the commander of the “Beloved Muhammad Brigade” in the city of Tafas to the “Dar Al-Ifta,“ which makes Islamic legal rulings, in the village of Gharz. [Qasioun]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
An IED exploded Thursday on an Army patrol near the northeastern Lebanese city of Arsal near the Syrian border where Daesh is known to operate, killing a soldier and wounding three others, a Lebanese security source said. [Arabi21]
The Al-Majd TV channel conducted a phone interview with Farouq Al-Dhifairi, the spokesman of the “Sunni Movement.” the entity that started the anti-government protests in Iraqi Sunni governorates. The first question from its presenter is “How do you see the sectarian war led by the American-Iranian-Iraqi government coalition to kneel Sunni people in Iraq?” Dhifairi replies that what is happening in Falluja is a starvation crime, and they face random bombing by the Iraqi government, because Falluja opposed the American-Iranian project. [Al-Majd]
DaeshDaily comment. Al-Majd is a Salafi channel owned by a private business and but sponsored by the Saudi government and religious establishment. The channel not only spews sectarian hatred but also anti-West hatred. If we want to know how Daesh and Al-Qaeda are able to recruit so many young people, we can just study the rhetoric of this channel supported by a country that always presents itself as a US ally.
Military helicopters intensified their search operation south and east of Arish as the hunt goes on for both the perpetrators of the deadly attack on Safa five days ago and for an officer and two policemen who have been missing since, according to witnesses and a security source. [ElWatan]
An IED exploded on an armored security vehicle in the Sadout area west of Rafah city on Thursday, killing two conscripts and wounding three others, according to security sources. [ElWatan]
Daesh publishes photos of destroying an Egyptian Army vehicle near Sadout on the international road between Rafah and Arish. [JustPaste]
Two policemen were injured when an IED exploded on a police detachment as it traveled by foot while conducting clearing operations in the village of Al-Mansoura south of Rafah on Thursday, a security source said. Another IED was discovered nearby later in the day, inside a cardboard box. [ElWatan] [ElWatan]
An IED exploded late Wednesday evening on an armored security vehicle on the coastal road in Arish without any casualties, according to eyewitnesses, security sources and medical sources. Eyewitnesses also reported the sound of gunfire after the blast. [ElWatan] [VetoGate]
Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis released Thursday a member of the Al-Riyashat tribe that it had abducted three days before in the village of Abu Tawila south of Sheikh Zuweid, and abducted another man from the same family who was present when the first prisoner was being released, according to a member of the tribe. [ElWatan]
The Egyptian Armed Forces announced the seizure of 380 kg (838 lbs) of explosives as well as bomb-making cylinders and a motorcycle in the Al-Mahajir area of North Sinai. [EgyArmySpoxFB]
Daesh says 4 Israeli drones are flying over villages south of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah in north Sinai. [A3maq]
Sporadic fighting has erupted on Benghazi’s western front between Daesh on the one side and the Libyan Army and local militia allies on the other. Fighting also continued in the Al-Hawari area around the sprawling cement plant, Daesh’s last Benghazi stronghold, where its fighters remain besieged on three sides. One Libyan soldier died in the fighting and two others were injured according to a medical source. [Wasat]
A video of Daesh terrorists, mostly teenagers, in Benghazi [YouTube]
A suspected Daesh member, Mousa Al-Tarkawi, was arrested in the coastal city of Al-Kubba on Wednesday, according to local sources, who also said that Al-Tarkawi had been detained by the Mujahidin Derna Shoura Council in Derna but escaped and fled to Al-Kubba, where he was recaptured. [AfriGate]
The former Libyan media minister Omar Al-Qawayri claimed on his Facebook page that an American battle group made up of two American aircraft carriers and 16 warships and five submarines are operating clandestinely off the coast of Sirte. Al-Qawayri added that this alleged presence was against UN Security Council resolutions and a violation of Libyan sovereignty. He also claimed that Daesh boats operated in front of the alleged US ships and “in coordination” with them. [AfriGate]
DaeshDaily comment. In the long history of the US Navy, this may be the first time aircraft carrier operations have been described as “clandestine.”
Daesh publishes photos of public punishments, including executions, in Sirte. [JustPaste]
Daesh publishes photos of its terrorists distributing candies in Sirte, celebrating the terrorist attacks in Brussels. [JustPaste]
A video of the confessions of a Daesh terrorist captured in Zawiya in Libya [YouTube]
A captured Tunisian student who was part of the Daesh sleeper cell that participated in the aftermath of the Daesh assault on Ben Guerdane said that Daesh decided to expedite the attack on Ben Guerdane to March 7 after a Daesh leader was captured and Daesh feared that the plan would be exposed. The student reportedly said that the original plan was to launch a second attack on March 20 at another point on the Tunisian border with Algeria to compel Tunis to divert troops and leave Ben Guerdane exposed to the planned attack. [Wasat]
Moroccan authorities broke up a cell connected to Daesh in Libya, according to the Interior Ministry on Thursday. The cell was reportedly made up of individuals in Marrakesh in central Morocco, Smara in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, two villages in the Sidi Bennour province in western Morocco, and Had Soualem southwest of Casablanca. The cell had been planning attacks inside Morocco, according to the ministry. [Tunisien]
Daesh issues a video about the Brussels terrorist attacks. The video praised the attacks and included footage of a statement by Donald Trump to Fox news saying Brussels used to be a beautiful and safe city 20 years ago and became a horror show. The video also has songs calling for young people to join Daesh. The video also shows the training of one of the terrorists from Belgium on suicide attacks. [Isdarat]
Daesh issues another propaganda video about the Brussels terrorist attacks. [VideoWood]
Russia’s military has reportedly acknowledged for the first time that it has special forces troops on the ground in Syria. In remarks to the Interfax news agency a Russian officer said the troops’ role was limited to reconnaissance and target guidance for Russian warplanes. [IslamMemo]
The Russian commanding officer in Syria said Wednesday that Russia had provided training for Kurdish fighters in Syria, as well as providing weapons and materials to the Syrian armed forces. [Welati] [ARA]
Daesh issues a video message to the people of Indonesia, asking them to join Daesh. [AKI]
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