Syrian War Daily – 19th of January 2018

Hello and welcome to the 311th installment of the SWD.

Military events/news are listed below by the governorates:

Aleppo:

Hundreds of Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army’s elements entered Turkey through Khallas military crossing north of Aleppo, in preparations for Saif al-Furat (Sword of Euphrates) operation against the Syrian Democratic Forces in Afrin region. Most of the fighters belong to Al-Jaysh al-Radif (Reserve Army), which is trained by Turkey and operates under the Syrian Interim Government’s Ministry of Defense. Prominent groups in Al-Jaysh al-Radif are Liwa al-Shamal, Ahrar al-Sharqiya, Liwa Samarqand, Liwa al-Muntasir, Al-Firqat al-Tasea (9th Division), and Suqur al-Shamal.

Before the Turkey-led Saif al-Furat operation against the Syrian Democratic Forces begins, Russian soldiers will withdraw its elements from Afrin region, according to the Turkey’s Minister of National Defense, Nurettin Canikli. Several reports suggested that Russian elements started withdrawing from their base in Kafr Jana, while other reports said that the Russian troops briefly retreated from the base, due to heavy shelling on the surrounding areas by Turkey and Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army.

Syrian Democratic Forces briefly engaged Turkish Armed Forces in Baliya village, as the latter reportedly tried to make advances in the border area.

Turkish Army’s artillery stationed in Turkey’s Hatay province, near the Turkish-Syrian border, heavily targeted Syrian Democratic Forces-held areas in Afrin region. Syrian Democratic Forces’ artillery stationed in Shaalah village shelled TFSA-held city of Al-Bab, killing one and wounding two civilians, near Nabil Haidar school in the city. The wounded individuals were transferred to Al-Hikma hospital in Al-Bab. Syrian Democratic Forces also shelled Hazwan village near Al-Bab and wounded a fighter belonging to the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Jabhat al-Shamiya.

Syrian Democratic Forces shelled the city of Azaz last night and reportedly targeted psychiatric hospital in the city. According to the reports, one of the shells landed and exploded in women’s dormitory, wounding over a dozen of civilians.

Free Syrian Army’s Al-Jabhat al-Shamiya engaged Islamic State’s cell at a checkpoint in the village of Sejou north of Aleppo. Al-Jabhat al-Shamiya searched a truck at the checkpoint, discovering nine IS’ elements in it, who opened fire on the fighters stationed at the checkpoint. Three out of nine elements conducted suicide attacks, two of them were arrested, and the remaining four elements fled from the checkpoint in unknown direction.

Demonstrations were held in the city of Darat al-Izza, in support of the Turkey-led Saif al-Furat operation against the Syrian Democratic Forces in Afrin. Around 2500 people called for the acceleration of the operation and showed their support for the Free Syrian Army and Turkish Armed Forces.

Situation in the northern Aleppo and in the eastern Afrin. (Purple dot on the map is the Russian base in Kafr Janna village). Source: Syrian Civil War Map

Idlib:

Islamic State beheaded three Syrian Arab Army’s elements, who were captured in the southern Idlib, close to Abu al-Duhur airbase.

Deir al-Zour:

Prominent Islamic State’s fighter from Germany, Denis Cuspert (also known as Abu Talha al-Almani and Deso Dogg) was killed on the 17th of January during the clashes with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the city of Gharanij in the eastern Deir al-Zour.

Islamic State launched several attacks/raids against the Syrian Democratic Forces in the eastern Deir al-Zour, according to the Amaq Agency. Islamic State’s raid northeast of Al-Shafa village reportedly killed 10 elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces and burnt two positions. Islamic State also attacked Syrian Democratic Forces’ positions in Gharanij and Al-Bahra, killing and wounding around 20 elements, according to the Amaq Agency. 12 elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces were reportedly killed by an Islamic State attack in Al-Soussa area near the village of Al-Baghouz.

Approximate situation in the eastern Deir al-Zour. Source: Rr016

Damascus:

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham arrested Jaysh al-Islam’s cell in the East Ghouta. The cell reportedly planned to target Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s fighters and commanders by placing improvised explosive devices on the roads and vehicles. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham reported that after the investigation, members of the cell said that Jaysh al-Islam’s official Abu Samir Aton told them to target Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s elements in exchange for a large sum of money.

Daraa:

Prison break took place in the prison of ‘House of Justice in Houran’ in the village of Ghraz, east of the city of Daraa. 25 fugitives reportedly exploited the storm that is currently hitting Syria and fled from the prison. One of the individuals that fled from the prison took refuge with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, but the group handed him over to the court. Three individuals that fled from the prison were previously accused of planting improvised explosive devices, on the behalf of the Islamic State-linked Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Walid.

Afghanistan

Faryab Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban) ambushed Afghan Local Police’s elements, reportedly killing two in Ganji area of Shirin Tagab district.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s improvised explosive device destroyed Afghan National Army’s tank in Chichakto area of Qaysar district.

Jowzjan Province:

Islamic State killed six, wounded three, and captured five elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, during the clashes between the two in the province. Islamic State in Jowzjan province is led by Uzbeki Abdulaziz Yeldash, son of Taher Yaldash, leader of an Uzbeki militia. Under the leadership of Abdulaziz Yeldash, Islamic State captured Ghosh Tapeh, Gourchi, Astaneh Baba, Belcheragh, and Kateh Kellah districts in Jowzan province. Islamic State is reportedly planning to capture Fabrikia district in the province.

Kunduz Province:

Afghan National Security Forces conducted large-scale operations against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Chardara district, killing 16, wounding ten and arresting three elements of the group. Furthermore, Afghan National Security Forces destroyed an IED factory and two improvised explosive devices, as well as seized 86 mines and several weapons depots.

Approximate situation in Kunduz province, HD version of this map can be found here. Source: Afganistan Bülteni

Laghman Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed seven, wounded nine and arrested one element of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as well as destroyed an ammunition cache in Alingar district.

Nangarhar Province:

Afghan National Security Forces wounded an element of the Islamic State in Achin district.

Islamic State assassinated an element of the National Directorate of Security in Surkh Rod district.

Approximate situation in Nangarhar province (red = Afghan National Security Forces, blue = Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and yellow = Islamic State), HD version of this map can be found here. Source: Afganistan Bülteni

Badghis Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed two and wounded three fighters of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Ab Kamari district.

Herat Province:

Two Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s improvised explosive devices targeted Afghan National Security Forces’ convoy in Yaka Sah area of Gulran district. According to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the explosions killed three and wounded five elements of the Afghan National Security Forces, as well as destroyed three tanks.

Ghazni Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed two elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Ab Band district.

Four elements of the Afghan Local Police were killed and another two wounded in the clashes with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Qarabagh district.

Farah Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan ambushed Afghan National Security Forces’ convoy in Bakwa district, reportedly destroying three trucks and four tanks.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan overran Afghan National Army’s checkpoint in Do Rahi area of Farah Rod district.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s snipers killed four elements of the Afghan National Police in Shamalgah area of the city of Farah. Similarly, Afghan National Army’s element was killed by an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s sniper in Kunsak area of Bala Buluk district.

Approximate situation in Farah province, HD version of this map can be found here. Source: Afganistan Bülteni

Urozgan Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s sniper killed three elements of the Afghan National Police in Shish Par area of Khas Urozgan district.

Zabul Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed a dozen and wounded five elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Daychopan and Shamulzayi districts. Furthermore, Afghan National Security Forces also destroyed a vehicle.

Nimruz Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan trapped and attacked Afghan National Security Forces’ convoy in Lakh Shakano area of Delaram district. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan reportedly wounded a local commander and destroyed an armored personnel carrier.

Helmand Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed two and wounded two elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Marjah district.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan attacked Afghan National Security Forces’ positions in Kamparak area of Jerashk district and reportedly destroyed two and damaged one armored personnel carrier.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan raided Afghan National Police’s checkpoint in the 4th Police District of the city of Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand Province. Three elements of the Afghan National Police were reportedly killed in the raid.

Approximate situation in Hemland province, HD version of this map can be found here. Source: Afganistan Bülteni

Kandahar Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan overran Afghan National Police’s checkpoint in Mula Dost area and another one in Sar Khobaib area of Shah Wali Kot district. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan reportedly killed 14 elements of the Afghan National Police in the attacks and destroyed a vehicle and four motorcycles.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan ambushed and killed Ahmad Shah Khan, member of Boldak’s local council with close ties to the chief of Kandahar’s police, Abdul Raziq Achakzai. The ambush occurred in Waish Bazar area of Boldak. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan also reported that they attacked Afghan National Security Forces in the same area, killing 10 elements.

CJTF-OIR:

Between the 12th and the 18th of January 2018 CJTF-OIR has conducted 59 strikes in Syria. CJTF-OIR‘s main focus in Syria at the moment is Deir al-Zour-Albu Kamal region where they did 59 strikes supporting SDF‘s operations against IS destroying four indirect fire weapons, 11 fighting positions, four IS supply routes, two IS motorcycles, four weapons caches, seven IS logistics centers, two pieces of IS engineering equipment, two IS vehicles, three VBIED factories, three UAVs, an explosive hazard, an indirect fire position, four IS headquarters, six IS lines of communication, a heavy machine gun, an IS-held building, and a tunnel.

Full report on CJTF-OIR strikes conducted in both Syria & Iraq can be found here.

Amaq Agency:

Egypt:

Islamic State killed an element of the Egyptian militia and seized a vehicle in the attack south of the city of Rafah.

Islamic State’s improvised explosive device damaged Egyptian Army’s vehicle in Al-Duqsat area, west of Al-Sheikh Zuwaid in the North Sinai Governorate.

Nigeria:

Islamic State launched an attack against the Nigerian Army, reportedly killing around 25 soldiers in the city of Tamour, near Lake Chad.

Pakistan:

Islamic State reportedly assassinated two individuals accused of spying for the government of Pakistan in the city of Quetta, provincial capital of Balochistan.

Other:

Intellectual credited property used may vary from an edition to edition.

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