September 27, 2018
Christian waqf says all Ninewa churches to be rebuilt [..]
Daesh activity in Diyala could foreshadow attacks on Iraq-Iran border [..]
2,000 Daesh fighters reported in Makhoul Mountains, 400 km2 unsecured [..]
HRW says Iraqi forces, PMFs responsible for forced disappearances [..]
… and Center for Security Information responds by slamming HRW [..]
US House passes resolution to sanction Iran-backed militias [..]
Iraqi fashion icon slain in Baghdad [..]
Anbar PMF Commander says 40 Daesh members arrested [..]
291 refugees return from Turkey to Ninewa [..]
18 Daesh members killed on Mount Qarachogh [..]
Russian, Iranian, Turkish FMs meet on sidelines of UN General Assembly [..]
Rouhani says Al-Assad’s fate will depend on elections [..]
Spokesman says Coalition will stay in Syria indefinitely [..]
US representative to Syria says Al-Assad could be removed constitutionally [..]
SDF takes Al-Baghouz, advances toward Al-Susah [..]
Iran: Trump, Bolton, Hook step up US rhetoric against Iran [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
The head of the Christian waqf (charitable religious endowment), Raed Jarjis, announced on Thursday that the waqf would help rebuild all the churches and monasteries in Ninewa that were destroyed by Daesh in 2014 and following. Jarjis said that this work had already begin, with the support of the local government in Ninewa and in cooperation with humanitarian organizations. [BasNews]
Leader of the KDP Masoud Barzani said that he hopes the new Iraqi government will solve the outstanding issues between Baghdad and Erbil. He was speaking to a group of his supporters in Zakho. He added that he hoped to see a good turnout in the September 30th Kurdistan elections. [SotIraq]
A security source said on Thursday that the re-emergence of Daesh activity in the Khanaqin countryside and the attacks on villages in the desert of Mandali, southern Diyala Province, showed that Daesh would focus next on reaching the Iraq-Iran border. The source said that Daesh had begun to implement this goal by pushing families living in villages near the border into being displaced, especially in Khanaqin and the village of Humairat, in Mandali. The source concluded that the security services had stopped what he said were the last 5 Daesh attempts to get close to the Iraq-Iran border, but that Daesh’s goal was to open a front between Diyala Province and Iran. [BaghdadToday]
On Thursday, SotIraq carried a report on the progress of anti-Daesh operations around the Himrin Hills and the Makhoul Mountains, largely in Diyala and Salahuddin Provinces but also extending into the neighboring provinces. The report said that there were estimated to be around 2,000 Daesh fighters hiding in the Makhoul Mountains, where they still had prison facilities and ran “Islamic courts.” The reported quoted Marwan Al-Jabara, a tribal PMF leader in Salahuddin, as saying that there was a “complex” network of roads between the mountain ranges and the Al-Jazeera desert area, which allowed Daesh fighters to move between Diyala, Makhoul, and Mosul to Syria. Al-Jabara said that there was an area of about 400 km2 that was not controlled by security, and called for operations with Coalition air support to clear the area. [SotIraq]
On Thursday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report saying that the Iraqi Army, security forces, and PMF groups had forcibly disappeared people between 2014 and 2017. The HRW report documented the forced disappearance of 74 men and 4 boys since the start of operations against Daesh. HRW added that the victims were mostly Sunni, and that the Iraqi authorities had not responded to any requests from the victims’ families or from HRW regarding the locations of the disappeared. [Rudaw] [HRW]
The Center for Security Information issued a response on Thursday to the HRW report. The Center’s statement said that HRW’s report was “neither professional nor credible,” and accused HRW of “sectarianism” because the HRW report claimed that forced disappearances mostly affected Sunni Arabs. The Center’s statement further criticized HRW for failing to condemn terrorism, and said that the HRW claim that children as young as 9 had been forcibly disappeared was false. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. HRW is not above criticism, but an official response saying, “What about the terrorists?” is weak at best, particularly given that HRW has issued reports on Daesh atrocities before.
The Coalition issued its monthly report on civilian casualties. They wrote that in August, they carried over 219 open cases of reported casualties, received 151 new reports, and assessed 60 reports of civilian casualties. Of those 60, 8 were determined to be “credible” and new, 2 were duplicates of previous reports, and 50 were assessed as “non-credible.” The 8 “credible” reports totaled 42 civilians killed in Iraq and 11 civilians killed in Syria. The reports dismissed as “non-credible” were overwhelmingly assessed as having “insufficient evidence.” There are 310 reports still open. The report noted that at least 1,114 total civilians have been inadvertently killed in Coalition strikes since August 2014. [InherentResolve] [Qasioun]
DaeshDaily comment. 42 civilians killed in Iraq is particularly high given that recent Coalition airstrikes have focused almost exclusively on Daesh’s remaining territory in Syria.
The Rusafa Central Criminal Court sentenced a person convicted of working for Daesh to life imprisonment. The convict reportedly confessed to belonging to Daesh in 2015 and working to treat wounded Daesh members during their control of Ninewa Province. [Sumaria]
The US House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a draft resolution to sanction Iranian-backed militias for “threatening the peace or stability of Iraq.” The bill does not name specific militias, but gives the US President the power to impose sanctions on militias found to be “threatening” or “undermining … the democratic process in Iraq.” [BasNews] [ForeignAffairsCommittee] [Congress.gov]
The Secretary-General of the Iraqi Ummah Party (part of the minor Civil Democratic Alliance aka Al-Madani alliance), Mithal Al-Alusi, said on Thursday that Iran is seeking to fight the US on Iraqi soil. Al-Alusi alleged that Iran controlled “mercenary militias” within Iraq that would target US interests irrespective of Iraqi law.
Al-Alusi’s remarks come following statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his deputy Brian Hook saying that the US would retaliate directly against Iran in the case of attacks on US interests by groups deemed to be Iranian proxies. [BasNews]
Also see related stories below under Neighboring Countries – Iran
Iraqi media reported on Thursday that Tara Fares, a model who was formerly Miss Baghdad and Miss Iraq runner up, had been shot dead in Baghdad. The model was known for her social media presence and for representing many brands in their advertisements. [CNNArabic]
A source at the Interior Ministry said that the investigation into Tara Fares’ death was underway. The source said that she had been killed by being shot with 3 bullets. [Sumaria]
A DaeshDaily source said that several people were assassinated in Baghdad today including Iraqi Christian model and the former Miss Baghdad Tara Fares, a massage center owner, and a hairdresser in different areas in Baghdad. The killings created anger on social media, with many people accusing pro-Iran militias.
DaeshDaily comment. These murders are not separate from the killings of Dr. Suad Al-Hilli and other activists recently. To put things in perspective, during his “faith campaign,” Saddam used his Fedayeen to kill people, publicly and without a trial, after accusing them of different charges like treason or immoral behavior, etc. The goal was to intimidate people into submission. What happens now is no different. Armed militias are using the same tactic. They attack defenseless targets to muddy the waters when a political distraction is needed. And, by the way, many of Saddam’s Fedayeen and their commanders have joined these armed militias, whether Sunni or Shia (see the report below under Daesh Media). Saddam died, but his methods are still alive. And these criminals, whether they claim to be protecting country, religion, or ethics, ignore the fact that killing a human being is the biggest crime anyone can commit against country, religion, or ethics.
Qatari Al-Obeidi, the PMF Commander for Anbar Province, said on Thursday that the operation to sweep the western desert areas of Anbar Province, bordering Ninewa and Salahuddin Provinces, had resulted in the arrest of 40 Daesh members. [FaceIraq]
A DaeshDaily source said local authorities shut down the Khalidiya Camp for IDP families after the last group of families returned to their houses in west Anbar.
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that Iraqi Army units found a Daesh safehouse in the Kilo 160 area and destroyed rockets and ammunition within.
Daesh said on Wednesday it killed two IFP members, wounded another, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in the Mtaibija area. [A3maq]
Eastern Salahuddin (Al-Daur, Tooz)
The Center for Security Information said on Thursday that the Iraqi Air Force had destroyed several Daesh safehouses in the Suleiman Beg area. [Sumaria]
Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)
The Center for Security Information said on Thursday that the Federal Police had found 3 Daesh safehouses in the Himrin Hills, which contained explosive belts, foodstuffs, and documents including lists of terrorists’ names. [PUKMedia]
Northern Diyala (Khanaqin)
The Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday that a suicide bomber had been thwarted in Jalawla district. The Ministry’s statement said that the bomber was carrying 3 explosive devices in total and had attempted to target a military position. [Sumaria]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that guards of an IFP office in Riyadh shot and killed a suicide bomber who was trying to enter the office. The source said the terrorist wore an IFP uniform. The source sent us a photo of the terrorist.
On Thursday, an IED detonated in Hawija, killing a policeman. [Roj]
Southwest (Daquq, Rashad, Taza, etc.)
On Thursday, an IED detonated in Daquq, injuring three policemen. [Roj]
291 Iraqi refugees returned from various camps in Turkey to their home areas in Ninewa, according to the Ministry of Displacement and Migration. [IraqPress]
Federal Police said on Thursday that their 3rd Division had killed 18 Daesh terrorists during a clearing operation in Mount Qarachogh, in Makhmur. The IFP statement added that the division had also found and detonated 13 IEDs, destroyed several Daesh tunnels, and seized other IEDs made with glycerin and C4. [PUKMedia] [Roj]
The British newspaper I, a sister publication to the Independent, published on Thursday a report about the suffering of two girls, 9 and 11, whose parents were Daesh leaders killed in an airstrike on Mosul. The report said that the girls are now rejected by their extended families due to their parents’ association with Daesh. [Sumaria]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that Ninewa Police units captured a Daesh terrorist in the Sumer neighborhood of east Mosul. The source said the police received testimonies from citizens that the terrorist had killed a civilian in the village of Ijhala (Qayara subdistrict) when Daesh was in charge.
General Jamil Al-Shammari was transferred from Basra Ops Command to head the Defense University, according to a press release from PM Haider Al-Abadi’s office on Thursday. [Sumaria]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
Military & security developments
Turkey’s opposition BirGün newspaper carried a brief report from Doğan News Agency on an anti-Daesh police operation in the city of Eskişehir. It states that Provincial Police Counterterrorism, Intelligence and Special Operations branch teams staged an anti-Daesh operation this morning. Five people were arrested and taken to the Counterterrorism Branch for interrogation. [BirGün]
DaeshDaily comment. We thank our friend in Turkey for summarizing this report.
The HPG reported that on Wednesday, it killed 2 Turkish soldiers in an outpost in Van Province in southeast Turkey with sniper fire. In response, Turkish forces hit the area with rockets and mortar shells. Thursday morning, the HPG attacked a military position in Silopi district, Şırnak Province. [Hawar]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
The Russian, Iranian, and Turkish Foreign Ministers met in New York in the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. The Russian Foreign Ministry reported that all 3 parties were pleased with the recent Russia-Turkey deal to establish a “buffer zone” in Idlib. The Russian statement claimed that the Idlib deal meant the prospect of a “really sustainable process [for a] political settlement” was possible. [PressTV]
In a press conference that occurred alongside the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Rouhani stated that the fate of Bashar Al-Assad would be decided by “the Syrian people” in elections. [Dorar]
DaeshDaily comment. This is noteworthy in that it marks a more conditional support for Al-Assad than Iran has previously expressed.
Coalition spokesman Sean Ryan repeated US Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement that Coalition forces would stay in Syria after the end of the civil war and continue to support the SDF. Ryan said after fighting ends, Coalition forces would stay to provide support and training to SDF fighters, and to keep Daesh from returning to the region. [Rudaw]
On Wednesday, assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Story Karem said, during a House Armed Services Committee subcommittee hearing in Washington, that if US forces in Syria were attacked, then the US would be ready to defend itself. He also said that Iran’s behavior in Syria made a political solution “slim.” [Dorar] [Dvids]
The new US Special Representative on Syria, James Jeffery, said in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad could be removed from power through a constitutional process. He compared this with Nouri Al-Maliki’s removal from power in Iraq, noting that Al-Maliki’s political isolation happened after he failed to keep Daesh from growing, and saying that the same had happened to Al-Assad. [Dorar]
On Thursday, Zaman Alwasl reported that Defense Secretary James Mattis blamed Iran for the continuation of the war in Syria, stating that Iran had caused Bashar Al-Assad to remain. [ZamanAlwasl]
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said in an interview with Sputnik News on Thursday that the agreement in Sochi between Russia and Turkey over Idlib was “excellent” and a “positive development.” [Dorar]
On Thursday, the YPG reported that it launched 2 attacks, each killing a Turkish soldier in Afrin and Rajo. [Hawar]
Daesh said it killed an SDF commander, wounded five other fighters, and damaged a vehicle in an attack in Shaddadi city, on Wednesday. [A3maq]
Daesh said it set an SDF military position in Al-Nashwa neighborhood, in Hasaka city, on fire, on Tuesday. [A3maq]
Raqqa city & district
On Thursday, Hawar reported that a civilian was killed and three others were injured in an explosion caused by an IED in the Al-Dar’iya neighborhood of southwest Raqqa. [Hawar]
Central and West
“Escalating” political violence in Idlib Province and surrounding areas has reached its 5th consecutive month, the SOHR noted. The violence began in late April with assassinations, and has claimed many lives in the forms of artillery fire, murder, kidnapping, and IED detonations. [SyriaHR]
See also stories above under National News
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that government forces asked the mukhtars of villages in Mayadin and Albu Kamal to provide them with the names of Daesh victims and names of Daesh members. The source said the government would cut salaries and aid from Daesh families, and provide aid to the families of Daesh victims.
Albu Kamal District
The SDF on Thursday took control of the town of Al-Baghouz following fighting with Daesh, aided by Coalition support. The Turkish news agency Anadolu quoted local sources as saying that fighting in Al-Baghouz lasted over 20 hours the day before. Local sources also reportedly said that the town had been shelled to the point of being “very much” destroyed, and that about 25 civilians had been killed in the fighting. [Qasioun] [Anadolu]
SDF fighters told Rudaw on Thursday that they had advanced after liberating Al-Baghouz, and that only the village of Al-Susah now remained under Daesh control. They said they were now 1 km from Al-Susah. [Rudaw]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that Coalition planes killed 9 Daesh terrorists in an airstrike near Al-Baghouz. The source also confirmed that SDF units have advanced toward the town of Al-Susah.
Daesh said on Wednesday it conducted a suicide attack on SDF units in Al-Baghouz.
Daesh said on Wednesday it killed or wounded SDF members and destroyed a vehicle with several IEDs in Al-Baghouz. [A3maq]
On Thursday, Qasioun reported that there has been a large wave of IDPs from Deir Ez-Zor, as a result of the ongoing conflict between Daesh and the Syrian Army and its allied militias in the area. A source said that most IDPs originate from the villages near Al-Baghouz. [Qasioun]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that two SDF members were killed and four civilians wounded in a Daesh suicide attack with a vehicle bomb that targeted a checkpoint near Gharanij. The source said Daesh used a vehicle it had stolen earlier in the ongoing battles near Al-Baghouz.
On Wednesday evening, 5 Daesh fighters were killed, dozens injured, and a headquarters destroyed in airstrikes by the US-led Coalition near the city of Al-Sha’afa. The strikes also resulted in “destroying the targeted area entirely.” [Qasioun]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that 4 Syrian Army members were killed, others wounded, and 5 vehicles destroyed in a Daesh ambush near the town of Al-Salihiya.
A branch of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence in Daraa sent notices to 16 youths in Tasil village, saying that they had 10 days before being conscripted into the Army. [Dorar]
On Thursday, the SOHR reported that late at night, Daesh killed 1 Syrian Army soldier and injured others in Tal Al-Harra, Daraa Province, in the first confrontation since July. [SyriaHR]
On Thursday, the Syrian state-owned media outlet SANA reported that the Syrian Army made a new advance in the Tilul Al-Safa area (aka Al-Safa Hills, the last Daesh bastion in Suwayda), killing “many” Daesh fighters in the advance. [SyriaNow] [SANA] [SyriaHR]
Daesh said on Thursday that its snipers killed 2 Syrian soldiers near Al-Safa Hills. [A3maq]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
President Trump addressed the UN General Assembly and accused Iran of sowing “chaos, death, and destruction.” He went on to ask the UN Security Council on Wednesday to help keep Iran from pursuing nuclear capabilities. [USAToday] [BBC]
The United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) conference met in New York on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir called for regime change in Iran, while UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al-Otaiba called for more external pressure on Iran. Brian Hook, the US State Department special representative on Iran, accused the Iranians of supplying the Houthis in Yemen with the missiles fired at Saudi Arabia and the UAE. US National Security Advisor John Bolton said that the Iranian regime would “face significant consequences” if they did not change their behavior, adding “… we will come after you.” [USAToday]
The US House of Representatives passed amendments to the existing law sanctioning the Lebanese Hezbollah, allowing Lebanese MPs who are Hezbollah members to be individually targeted for sanctions. The amendments are awaiting a Senate vote. [AnNahar]
Daesh said on Thursday it destroyed 3 Egyptian Army bulldozers and damaged another with IEDs south of Abu Obeid Farm, west of the El Arish Airport. [ICDNSep27]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
Dutch police said that they had foiled a “major terrorist attack” on Thursday evening, and that they had arrested 7 suspects in connection with the planned attack. The police statement said that the arrestees were planning to use explosive belts, Kalashnikov rifles, and a car bomb to carry out the attack. The arrests took place in Arnhem and Weert, southern Netherlands. [Anadolu]
On Thursday, SyriaNow reported that the security in Kyrgyzstan arrested a citizen for recruiting 100 people to join terrorist groups, especially Daesh, in Syria. [SyriaNow]
A Daesh social media account published on Thursday photos of Ibrahim Sab’awi Ibrahim, a Daesh commander in Salahuddin. The account gives a brief about Ibrahim’s operations with Daesh and claim his was killed in the Baiji battles in 2015. [ICDNSep27]
DaeshDaily comment. Ibrahim is Saddam’s nephew. His father is Sab’awi Ibrahim Al-Hassan, Saddam’s half–brother and the director of the infamous Directorate of General Security. Ibrahim’s brother is Omar Sab’awi, the deputy commander of Saddam’s Fedayeen organization. Regardless of the account’s claim, there is a social media video showing Ibrahim being beaten to death by PMFs somewhere in Salahuddin.
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