MESOPOTAMIA NEWS SYRIA – TRUMP’S TROOPS CONTINUE – U.S. Resumes Counterterrorism Operations in Syria’s North

26 Nov 2019 – U.S. troops and allied Kurdish fighters have restarted joint operations (NYT) against the self-proclaimed Islamic State in the country’s north after a partial U.S. troop withdrawal in recent weeks, according to the head of the U.S. Central Command.

In Foreign Affairs, Frances Z. Brown discusses the limits of the Trump administration’s Syria strategy.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2019-11-13/why-trumps-shapeshifting-syria-policy-worked-until-it-didnt?sp_mid=61627914&sp_rid=YnJhbnNjaGVpZHRAZXV0Y2MuZGUS1&spMailingID=61627914&spUserID=MjQxNzY5MTM4NjIxS0&spJobID=1764185991&spReportId=MTc2NDE4NTk5MQS2

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : RUSSIA LET KURDS DOWN STATEMENT – SYRIA

 

SDF: Russia’s disregard for the attack raises doubts for playing role of guarantor in political solution The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said that Russian forces ignoring the attacks targeting the town of Ain Issa raises many doubts and is not commensurate with the role of Russia and what it aspires to play the role of guarantor in the political solution throughout Syria.

 

NEWS 24 Nov 2019, Sun – 12:23 2019-11-24T12:23:00 NEWS DESK – Regarding the attacks of the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries yesterday on the town of Ain Issa, the SDF issued a statement to the public opinion.

The text of the statement reads:

The Turkish invasion army and the factions loyal to it from the so-called National Army launched a fierce attack targeting the town of Ain Issa from three axes with the support of artillery and aerial bombardment, where our forces responded to this attack, and the most violent clashes erupted in the outskirt of Ain Issa.

This attack was in the sight of the unmoved Russian forces to stop this barbaric invasion, supposedly on the ground as the guarantor of the ceasefire.

The disregard for these attacks by the Russian forces and their failure to play their role of guarantor raises many doubts among our forces disproportionate to the role of Russia and what it aspires to play the role of guarantor in the political solution throughout Syria.

More via www.mesop.de

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : LAURA H. FROM GIESSEN (GERMANY) & OTHER ISIS PEOPLE HANDED OVER TO GERMAN AMBASSADOR

Syrian Kurds say repatriated Islamic State U.S. child, German and children

24 Nov 2019 – MESOP – QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan,— Syria’s Kurds have handed over an American toddler and three German children and their mother to their respective governments, a Kurdish official and a Kurdish source said on Saturday.After years of leading the battle against the Islamic State group in Syria, the Kurds hold hundreds of foreign men, and thousands of related women and children suspected of links to the extremists.Abdelkarim Omar, a senior official with the Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria, said the handover went ahead on Friday.

“An American child and three German children with their mother were handed over to their governments,” he said in a statement on Twitter.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS BACKGROUNDER :Russia faces dilemmas in northeastern Syria

Kirill Semenov November 21, 2019 – AL MONITOR – Article Summary  – While it has added some fortifications, Moscow is challenged with new political and military uncertainty over Syria’s northeast.

On Nov. 15, Russian military police were reported to have taken control of the Metras military airfield in the vicinity of Sarrin, 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Kobani, officially known as Ain al-Arab. The air base is located far to the west of the oilfields that the United States had promised to shield from Islamic State, Russian and Assad forces. Until recently the airfield was used by American troops who could monitor and keep track of ground lines of communications stretching to the Syrian-Turkish border, which supply pro-Assad and Russian forces, deployed between Ain al-Arab and Tell Abyad. Hence, the takeover of the base vacated by the United States was painted by Russia’s mass media as a significant achievement. A more critical assessment, however, suggests the Russian operation is still fraught with many new risks.

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The Structure of the Syrian National Army

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  • 

Who exactly are the factions of the Turkish-backed ‘Syrian National Army’ (SNA)? Which of those factions are the most important in the SNA? These questions are important to consider in light of the deluge of polemics about the SNA on account of the campaign that Turkey and the SNA have waged against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). As I have emphasised before, it is important to document the SNA and its factions in an objective manner to enable better public understanding.

Previous descriptions of the SNA have tended to list the names of factions that operate under its banner but without giving real detail on the SNA’s structure or accounting for the different sizes and levels of influence of the factions. See, for example, this analysis from the Turkish think-tank SETA, which gives a list of 41 factions that purportedly operate under the SNA.

For this outline of the SNA’s structure, I detail the components of the original three legions/corps (Arabic: fayaliq) of the SNA. Officially speaking, there are now supposed to be seven legions of the SNA following the merger of the ‘National Front for Liberation’ (NFL)- a collection of non-jihadist factions in Idlib and its environs- into the SNA. However, on the ground, the NFL continues to function as though it were independent of the SNA, and thus there is no concrete information yet on the organisation of the NFL factions in the four new supposed legions.

By contrast, the factions in the original three legions of the SNA coordinate closely with the Turkish armed forces and are properly organised as brigades within divisions of each of the three legions. It is those groups that constitute the Syrian fighting force against the SDF within the ‘Peace Spring’ Operations.

I note the following observations with regard to the structure of the SNA I document below:

. None of the factions here can be characterised as ‘jihadist’, contrary to the claims of the SDF and its supporters. All of these factions operate within a Syrian national framework. For more on this wider issue, see my translation and analysis of the SNA’s ‘code of conduct‘.

. There is a tendency for disproportionate media focus on Ahrar al-Sharqiya, even though it only constitutes one brigade in the SNA.

. If we judge by number of affiliate brigades, the most important SNA factions are (in no particular order):

– Shami Front
– Jaysh al-Islam
– Sultan Murad Division
– Faylaq al-Rahman
– al-Hamza Division
– al-Mu’atasim Division

. The factions as a whole are of diverse origins and memberships. Some reflect origins from distinct areas, For example, Ahrar al-Sharqiya and Jaysh al-Sharqiya, as their names suggest, have origins in eastern Syria. Jaysh al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman are familiar to observers as being the two main rebel groups in East Ghouta prior to the Syrian government’s recapture of the area in 2018. Some factions are long-standing names in the Syrian insurgency (e.g. the Shami Front and the Sultan Murad Division of Aleppo province), while others like Division 20 are newer creations. Note also that older factions newer recruits as well, including people displaced from other parts of Syria.

. Some of these factions received Western support in the past (e.g. Shami Front and al-Hamza Division), others did not.

. Finally, a cautionary note on numbering of divisions. If you take Division 34 of the Third Legion as an example, you may see references to it elsewhere the ‘fourth division’: the meaning being that it is the fourth division within the Third Legion, and not Division 4 within the SNA as a whole.

Below is the structure of the SNA. Any comments and suggestions most welcome. Please ask for permission and give appropriate credit for reprints etc.

First Legion

Division 11

Brigade 111: Liwa al-Shamal (cf. here)
Brigade 112: Jaysh al-Ahfad (cf. here for some background on Jaysh al-Ahfad, and here on Brigade 112 and Division 11).
Brigade 113: Jaysh al-Ahfad

Division 12

Brigade 121: Liwa Samarkand
Brigade 122: Liwa al-Muntasir Billah
Brigade 123: Tajammu’ Ahrar al-Sharqiya

Division 13

Brigade 131: Liwa al-Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih
Brigade 132: Ghazal base
Brigade 133: Liwa al-Waqqas

Division 14

Brigade 141: Faylaq al-Sham (north Aleppo contingent)
Brigade 142: Liwa al-Sultan Suleiman Shah
Brigade 143: Ninth Division
Brigade 144: Division 20
Brigade 145: Jaysh al-Nukhba
Brigade 146: Jaysh al-Sharqiya

Second Legion

Division 21: Sultan Murad Division (cf. Twitter account of the group describing itself as the ‘first division’ of the Second Legion).

Brigade 211 (cf. here)
Brigade 212
Brigade 213

Division 22: al-Hamza Division (cf. statements and social media output of al-Hamza Division under the label of the ‘second division’ of the Second Legion).

Brigade 221
Brigade 222
Brigade 223

Division 23: al-Mu’atasim Division (cf. social media output of al-Mu’atasim Division under the label of the ‘third division’ of the Second Legion).

Brigade 231
Brigade 232
Brigade 233

Division 24: Sultan Murad Division

Brigade 241
Brigade 242 (cf. here)
Brigade 243

Division 25: Jaysh al-Islam

Brigade 251
Brigade 252
Brigade 253
Brigade 254
Brigade 255
Brigade 256
Brigade 257 (cf. here)

Division 26: Faylaq al-Rahman

Brigade 261
Brigade 262
Brigade 263

Third Legion

Division 31

Brigade 311: Northern Storm Brigade
Brigade 312: Ahrar Mennagh (part of Northern Storm Brigade)
Brigade 313: Emergency Force

(NB: these are Shami Front affiliates).

Division 32

Brigade 320
Brigade 321
Brigade 322
Brigade 323

(NB: these brigades constitute battalions that were part of Ahrar al-Sham and Suqur al-Sham in north Aleppo countryside and merged into the Shami Front. They maintain no real organisational link with Ahrar al-Sham or Suqur al-Sham in Idlib and its environs).

Division 33

Brigade 331: factions of Mare’a. Liwa Fursan al-Shamal.
Brigade 332: Force 55 of Tel Ref’at
Brigade 333: group of factions led by Abu Dujana al-Azizi, including Liwa Jund al-Islam, Suyuf al-Sham, Sajidun and Liwa al-Fatah.

(NB: these factions are tied to the Shami Front).

Division 34

Brigade 341: Division 51
Brigade 342: Fawj al-Mustafa (cf. here on Third Legion affiliation) and al-Fawj al-Awal
Brigade 343: Liwa al-Sultan Osman and Thuwar al-Jazeera
Brigade 344: Liwa al-Salam (cf. here), Division 23 (cf. here on connection to Third Legion) and Tajammu’ Fastaqim Kama Umirta.

(NB: Faylaq al-Majd operating within Division 34 but no assigned brigade number known yet).

Russia’s Dead-End Diplomacy in Syria –  By Jennifer Cafarella with Jason Zhou

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS GENERAL COMMENTARY BY JENNIFR CAFARELLA

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   23 Nov 2019 (ISW)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains the primary obstacle to peace in Syria. He has consistently spoiled any diplomatic process. His actions show that he will accept only the full defeat of his opponents. Even then, he will punish those who previously defied him, as he has done in former pro-opposition communities including in Aleppo and Dera’a Provinces. Yet he cannot win the war, so the West cannot resign itself to accepting his “victory” for the sake of stability. He does not have the resources to reconquer and reintegrate all of Syria.

U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump mistakenly expected Russia to compel Assad to accept a diplomatic process. The Kremlin seeks to thwart any Western effort to replace Assad and to instead reach a superficial political settlement that legitimizes his regime and neutralizes his opposition. Buying into Russian-driven efforts thus empowers Russia to undermine American interests. Russia cannot deliver Assad to the negotiating table, moreover. Assad depends on Russian (and Iranian) military help but is not controlled by them. A fragile power balance exists between them in which Assad often gains an upper hand. Russia has limited bandwidth and resources to commit to Syria, which Assad knows and exploits.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS INTEL BY MEIR AMIT INTELLIGENCE & TERRORISM INFORMTION CENTER / ISRAEL – Spotlight on Global Jihad (November 14 – 20, 2019)

Main events
  • ISIS continues focusing its activity on the Syrian arena, especially in the al-Mayadeen region in the Euphrates Valley, carrying out IED attacks, shooting attacks, and targeted killings. The organization continued its attacks on tankers carrying crude oil from the Kurdish-controlled areas to regions under Syrian control. In addition, a Syrian army convoy was attacked in the Palmyra-al-Sukhnah desert and a number of Syrian soldiers were hit (two were taken captive and executed). ISIS documented the event.
  • This past week the activity of the ISIS province in Iraq returned to full-scale attacks after a significant decline in the intensity of its activity during the past month. ISIS’s modus operandi included IED attacks against vehicles on roads and shooting attacks at the Iraqi security forces. The Iraqi regime continued its preventive activities against ISIS despite the fact that it is focusing most of its attention on the wave of protests in Baghdad and in the southern provinces.
  • The ISIS provinces outside of Syria and Iraq continue their ongoing attacks. In the northern Sinai Peninsula ISIS continued targeting Egyptian army vehicles and patrols; in northeast Nigeria ISIS attacks continued while the Nigerian air force hit ISIS operatives near the border with Chad; in northeast Mozambique ISIS operatives attacked so-called “agents” of the army; in Somalia an ISIS attempt to assassinate the police chief with an IED failed. In Afghanistan ISIS continues its attacks on security forces affiliated with the regime and in Yemen ISIS finished two courses, one in preparing IEDs and the other in carrying out sniper fire.
  • Almost a month after the targeted killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by an American elite force, ISIS apparently functions as usual, both on the military-operational level and on the media level (which focuses on a campaign for swearing allegiance to the new ISIS leader). ISIS’s military activity continues to focus on Syria and Iraq, its two core provinces, but its provinces in Africa and Asia continue their ongoing activities.
Idlib Region
Overview

In the Idlib region unilateral ceasefires continue, declared by the Syrian army. However, sporadic exchanges of fire between the Syrian army and the jihadist rebel organizations continued, accompanied by Syrian and Russian airstrikes. This past week the main events were an attempt to detonate a car bomb near Syrian army posts at the northern entrance of Khan Sheikhoun (south of Idlib) and a series of attacks carried out by organizations affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Detonating a car bomb in Khan Sheikhoun prevented
  • On November 13, 2019, a terrorist operative attempted to detonate a car bomb in front of Syrian posts at the northern entrance to Khan Sheikhoun (on the Damascus-Aleppo road). The car was destroyed by the Syrian army. The terrorist belonged to the Headquarters for the Liberation of al-Sham (Sana and Syrian TV, November 13, 2019). Syrian soldiers shot at the car and destroyed it. The terrorist tried to escape but was killed (Sama TV from Damascus, November 13, 2019).
Other clashes in the Idlib region
  • The “Awake the Faithful” operations room, a framework of several organizations affiliated with al-Qaeda, among them the “Guardians of the Faith,” fired artillery and mortar shells at bases and positions of the Syrian army south and southwest of Idlib (Telegram, November 14, 2019). In addition the Headquarters for the Liberation of al-Sham announced that its operatives had fired rockets and mortar shells at the Syrian army in the rural area east and southeast of Idlib (Abaa, November 17, 2019). On November 19, 2019, rebel organizations fired rockets at the Syrian army in the rural area east of Idlib (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 19, 2019).
Airstrikes
  • This past week Russian fighter jets and Syrian army helicopters carried out several airstrikes. On November 15, 2019, the Headquarters for the Liberation of al-Sham announced that Russian fighter jets had carried out attacks on the village of Arinbah, about 30 miles south of Idlib. On November 16, 2019, the Headquarters for the Liberation of al-Sham announced that Syrian helicopters had dropped barrel bombs on the region of Kabanah (Abaa, November 15 and 16, 2019). On November 19, 2019, Syrian fighter jets attacked targets in the rural area south and east of Idlib (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 20, 2019).
A Syrian helicopter drops a barrel bomb on hills in the Kabanah region (Abaa, November 16, 2019).   Dust cloud rises after Russian fighter jets attack in Arinbah, south of Idlib (Abaa, November 15, 2019).
Right: Dust cloud rises after Russian fighter jets attack in Arinbah, south of Idlib (Abaa, November 15, 2019). Left: A Syrian helicopter drops a barrel bomb on hills in the Kabanah region (Abaa, November 16, 2019).
Summary of the losses
  • Since the beginning of the Syrian army’s ground attack in May 2019, 4,503 people have been killed in the Idlib region. Among them were 1,799 rebel organization operatives, 1,173 who belonged to jihadist organizations. In addition, 1,552 Syrian army soldiers and their supporting forces and 1,152 civilians were killed (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 16, 2019).
The Euphrates Valley

ISIS continues carrying out intensive attacks in the Euphrates Valley, focusing on the al-Mayadeen region. Most of the attacks were directed against SDF fighters and their supporters. The main modus operandi of the attacks were detonating IEDs, shooting attacks and targeted killings. Attacks also continued on oil tankers transferring crude oil from the regions controlled by the Kurds to the regions under Syrian regime control.

  • November 13, 2019: An intelligence agent of the SDF forces was shot and killed in the village of al-Hawayej, about 2.5 miles northeast of al-Mayadeen (Telegram, November 13, 2019).
  • November 13, 2019: A rocket was fired at a concentration of SDF forces in the region of Dibian, about 3 miles east of al-Mayadeen. Three SDF fighters were killed (Telegram, November 13, 2019).
  • November 14, 2019: Machineguns and rockets were fired at an SDF roadblock in Dibian, about 3 miles east of al-Mayadeen. Several SDF fighters were wounded (Telegram, November 15, 2019).
  • November 14, 2019: Two SDF fighters were taken prisoner in the region of Darnaj, about 9 miles southeast of al-Mayadeen. One fighter was executed (November 14, 2019).
  • November 14, 2019: Two Syrian army soldiers were taken prisoner in the region of Darnaj, about 9 miles southeast of al-Mayadeen. One was executed (Telegram, November 15, 2019; Akhbar al-Muslimin, November 16, 2019).
  • November 16, 2019: Two IEDs were detonated to attack a crude oil tanker and SDF vehicles on the al-Omar oil field road, about 30 miles southeast of Deir al-Zor. The tanker and vehicles were damaged and passengers were wounded (Telegram, November 17, 2019. The attack was carried out in a region different from where previous attacks were carried out (on the road east of al-Raqqa).
  • November 16, 2019: An SDF intelligence agent was shot and killed in the village of al-Hawayej, about 2.5 miles northeast of al-Mayadeen (Telegram, November 16, 2019).
  • November 16, 2019: An IED was detonated to attack a Syrian army vehicle in the al-Mayadeen region. An officer and three soldiers were killed (Telegram, November 17, 2019).
  • November 17, 2019: An SDF truck was set on fire in al-Raqqa (Telegram, November 18, 2019).
  • November 18, 2019: An SDF intelligence agent was shot and killed in the village of Dibian, about 3 miles east of al-Mayadeen (Telegram, November 19, 2019).
  • November 18, 2019: Shots were fired at a Kurdish woman who heads a commune in al-Hariji, about 30 miles northeast of Deir al-Zor. She was seriously wounded (Telegram, November 19, 2019).
Eastern Syria (the Palmyra-al-Sukhnah region)
Syrian army convoy attacked
  • ISIS reported that on November 16, 2019, its operatives ambushed a Syrian army convoy of ten vehicles west of al-Sukhnah. An IED was also detonated nearby. Two soldiers were taken prisoner and executed, and several other soldiers were wounded. Syrian fighter jets attacked ISIS operatives at the site of the ambush (Telegram, November 17, 2019. The media affiliated with the Syrian regime did not report the attack.
An ISIS operative fires an anti-aircraft gun at the convoy (Telegram, November 17, 2019).   An ISIS sniper shoots at the Syrian army convoy.
Right: An ISIS sniper shoots at the Syrian army convoy. Left: An ISIS operative fires an anti-aircraft gun at the convoy (Telegram, November 17, 2019).
Northeastern Syria (deep within the area of Kurdish control)
  • This past week ISIS continued intensive activity deep within the area controlled by the Kurds. The modus operandi of the attacks was detonating IEDs, shooting attacks and targeted killings. Their main activities were the following (according to ISIS reports):
    • November 12, 2019: An IED was detonated to attack SDF vehicles about 37 miles northeast of al-Hasakeh. The passengers were either killed or wounded (Telegram, November 13, 2019).
    • November 13, 2019: Two SDF fighters were shot and killed about 2.5 miles south of al-Hasakeh (Telegram, November 13, 2019).
    • November 14, 2019: An SDF commander and fighter were shot and killed south of al-Hasakeh (Telegram, November 15, 2019).
    • November 16, 2019: An IED was detonated to attack SDF vehicles about 9 miles south of al-Hasakeh. The passengers were killed or wounded (Telegram, November 17, 2019).
    • November 16, 2019: Two SDF fighters were shot and killed south of al-Hasakeh (Telegram, November 17, 2019).
    • November 17, 2019: A motorcycle bomb was denotated to attack two SDF vehicles east of al-Hasakeh. The passengers were killed or wounded (Telegram and A’maq, November 17, 2019).
Release of ISIS operatives’ families from the al-Houl DP camp
  • SDF forces released 77 family members of ISIS operatives from the al-Houl DP camp, where the wives and children of ISIS operatives are being held. They were released after the receipt of a guarantee from one of the tribal dignitaries apparently from in the region east of the Euphrates River (Twitter account of 3bo_m3zn, November 18, 2019).

The release of ISIS operatives through guarantees from tribal leaders is familiar from the past.[1] From the Kurdish perspective it was meant to improve relations with the local Sunni Arab tribes, which are a strong source of local influence. The guarantees provided by the dignitaries for the release of the operatives were a kind of “pledge” that the operatives or their families would not return to operating for ISIS.

Southern Syria
  • November 15, 2019: A IED was detonated to attack a concentration of Syrian army forces near a roadblock in al-Sahawah, about 12 miles east of Daraa. A number of soldiers were killed or wounded (Telegram, November 13-15, 2019).
Main Events in Iraq
ISIS’s terrorist and guerrilla activity

This past week the activity of the ISIS province in Iraq was fully restored after a significant decline in the scope of its attacks during the past month. Its attacks focused on detonating IEDs and shooting attacks. The main activities for which ISIS claimed responsibility were the following:

The Kirkuk Province
  • November 11, 2019: An IED was detonated to attack an Iraqi federal police vehicle about 25 miles southwest of Kirkuk. The passengers were killed or wounded. In addition, an IED was detonated to attack a force arriving to support the policemen who had been attacked (Telegram, November 13, 2019).
The Diyala Province
  • November 13, 2019: An IED was detonated to attack a vehicle carrying a joint patrol of fighters of the popular mobilization and tribal mobilization about nine miles northeast of Baqubah. Five fighters were wounded (Telegram, November 15, 2019).
  • November 14, 2019: A concentration of Iraqi fighters was attacked by small arms fire about 30 miles east of Baqubah. At least two soldiers were killed and others were wounded (Telegram, November 16, 2019).
The Nineveh Province
  • November 11, 2019: ISIS claimed that an American reconnaissance UAV was downed northeast of the Makhoul region, about 45 miles southeast of Mosul (Telegram, November 13, 2019).

Pieces of the UAV which ISIS claimed to have downed southeast of Mosul (Telegram, November 13, 2019).
Pieces of the UAV which ISIS claimed to have downed southeast of Mosul
(Telegram, November 13, 2019).

  • November 15, 2019: Two vehicles of a tribal mobilization fighter were set on fire about 25 miles south of Mosul (Telegram, November 16, 2019).
The Salah al-Din Province
  • November 13, 2019: An IED was detonated to attack a vehicle of popular mobilization operatives about 35 miles south of Kirkuk. The passengers were wounded (Telegram, November 15, 2019).
  • November 14, 2019: Two Iraqi soldiers were shot and killed about 18 miles north of Baghdad (Telegram, November 15, 2019).
Swearing allegiance to ISIS’s new leader in various regions in Iraq
ISIS operatives in the Dijla (Tigris) region swear allegiance.     ISIS operatives in the north Baghdad area swear allegiance (Telegram, November 14, 2019).
Left: ISIS operatives in the Dijla (Tigris) region swear allegiance. Right: ISIS operatives in the north Baghdad area swear allegiance (Telegram, November 14, 2019).
ISIS operatives in the Diyala region swear allegiance (Telegram, November 17, 2019).   ISIS operatives in the Salah al-Din region swear allegiance.
Right: ISIS operatives in the Salah al-Din region swear allegiance. Left: ISIS operatives in the Diyala region swear allegiance (Telegram, November 17, 2019).
Preventive and counterterrorist activities of the Iraqi security forces

Despite the fact that the Iraqi regime is focusing most of its attention on the wave of protests in Baghdad and the southern provinces, the Iraqi security forces continue carrying out preventive and counterterrorist activities against ISIS operatives in northern Iraq (especially the Kirkuk Province), in western Iraq and in the area north of Baghdad. Their main activities were the following:

Kirkuk Province
  • November 16, 2019: About 35 miles west of Kirkuk a force of Iraqi police located a cache of IEDs and various other weapons, which they destroyed (Iraqi News Agency, November 16, 2018).

Weapons located west of Kirkuk (Iraqi News Agency, November 16, 2018)
Weapons located west of Kirkuk
(Iraqi News Agency, November 16, 2018)

  • November 16, 2019: A force of the Iraqi ministry of the interior killed two ISIS commanders southwest of Kirkuk. Large amounts of weapons were also seized (Iraqi News Agency, November 16, 2018)
The al-Anbar Province
  • November 17, 2019: Popular mobilization forces securing the al-Qa’im-Akashat road, which leads to the Iraq-Syria border, recently prevented infiltrations of ISIS operatives whose objective was to take control of that important road (al-hashed.net, November 17, 2019).
  • November 18, 2019: A force of the Iraqi anti-terrorism apparatus operating in the region of the Makhoul mountains (about 9 miles north of Baiji) located and destroyed six ISIS hiding places, where they found weapons, equipment and documents (al-Sumaria, November 18, 2019).
The Nineveh Province
  • November 18, 2019: A popular mobilization force trapped a number of ISIS families who escaped from the al-Houl DP camp in Syria. They crossed the border into Iraq with the help of smugglers. The families were transferred to the Iraqi security forces (al-hashed.net, November 18, 2019).
  • November 18, 2019: Iraqi security forces operating in the western part of the al-Anbar Province located and destroyed about 90 IEDs that belonged to ISIS (Iraqi News Agency, November 18, 2018).
  • November 19, 2019: Iraqi security forces operating in the southern Sinjar region (about 60 miles west of Mosul) located IEDs and rockets belonging to ISIS (al-Sumaria, November 19, 2019).
The Salah al-Din Province
  • November 18, 2019: The popular mobilization began a security operation north of al-Baqubah. ISIS hiding places and several IEDs were located (al-hashed.net, November 18, 2019).

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS

After ISIS’ review at Zman by Ksenia Svetlova

by Seth Frantzman

A review of ‘After ISIS’ at Zman in Hebrew.

A review of my book #AfterISIS in Hebrew by @KseniaSvetlova https://t.co/9EFJ5tm0LM

— Seth Frantzman (@sfrantzman) November 21, 2019

The link is here.

https://www.zman.co.il/57528/

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS “ROJAVA – SYRIA – LATEST!” : PKK/PYD-CONTROLLED SDF TROOPS ACT TOGETHER WITH ASSAD’S ARMY Syrian Army, SDF Advance 10 KM West of Assyrian Town in Northeast Syria

Al-Masdar News  Posted 2019-11-21 04:28 GMT

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) advanced west of the Assyrian town of Tal Tamr in the northwestern countryside of the Al-Hasakah Governorate on Tuesday.

According to reports, the Syrian Arab Army, alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), regained the initiative west of Tal Tamr, resulting in the their expansion westward. The reports specified that the Syrian Army and SDF established control over four new points near Tal Tamr, giving them about a 10-kilometer-long buffer zone west of Tal Tamr. At the same time, the Syrian Army, supported by the SDF, clashed with the Turkish-backed militants near the towns of Qassimiyah and Rashidiyah; these firefights are still ongoing at this time.

A field source near the front-lines said the SAA and SDF have held strong at these two towns north Tal Tamr, despite repeated attacks by the Turkish-backed forces. The Turkish-backed “Syrian National Army” (SNA), which is a coalition of militant factions from all over Syria, has been trying to advance at the northern flank of Tal Tamr for two weeks now. The SNA has been unable to capture Qassimiyah and Rashidiyah from the SAA and SDF due to the heavy resistance given by the aforementioned forces north of Tal Tamr.

 

www.mesop.de

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : HARD HIT – 23 killed as Israel strikes over 20 Iranian, Syrian regime targets

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett to Iran: You are no longer immune. Wherever you stretch your tentacles-we will hack them off.

By ANNA AHRONHEIM, IDAN ZONSHINE    NOVEMBER 20, 2019  JERUSALEM POST 

Israel warned Iran from carrying out further attacks against the Jewish State after Israeli Air Force fighter jets carried out a wave of retaliatory air strikes against dozens of military targets belonging to the Iranian Quds Force (IRGC) and the Syrian army on Tuesday night in Syria.

Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said following the strikes that “the rules have changed: Anyone who shoots at the State of Israel during the day will not sleep at night. Like last week and now this week.  Our message to Iran’s leaders is simple: You are no longer immune. Wherever you stretch your tentacles-we will hack them off. The IDF will continue to protect Israeli citizens ”

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