Syrian War Daily – 20th of January 2018

Hello and welcome to the 312th installment of the SWD.

Military events/news are listed below by the governorates:

Aleppo:

Turkish Armed Forces officially announced the start of the operation against the Syrian Democratic Forces in Afrin. The operation is officially named as ‘Olive Branch’ (AR: Ghasin al-Zaytun, TR: Zeytin Dalı), and not Saif al-Furat (Sword of Euphrates) as previously thought. Leader of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Firqat al-Tasea (9th Division), Anas Hajji (Abu Laith) also confirmed the start of the joint Free Syrian Army-Turkish Armed Forces operation.

Turkish Armed Forces started operation Olive Branch by striking 108 Syrian Democratic Forces’ targets in Afrin. The strikes were conducted by 72 Turkish Air Force’s warplanes. Video evidence surfaced showing one group of Syrian Democratic Forces’ elements directly hit by an airstrike. Reports suggest that at least 25 civilians were wounded in the air raids conducted by the Turkish Air Force over a number of Syrian Democratic Forces-held areas.

President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that the ground forces of the Turkish Armed Forces will join operation Olive Branch tomorrow. Turkish Armed Forces’ tanks continue to cross in the northern Aleppo’s Azaz area, in the preparations for the Turkish Land Forces’s attack tomorrow.

Three elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces surrendered to the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army in Marea, northern Aleppo.

Russian soldiers withdrew from their base in Syrian Democratic Forces-held village of Kafr Janna in Afrin region. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the soldiers were transferred to Tell Ajar area, near Tell Rifaat. Ministry states that the reasons for the transfer are to prevent possible provocations and ensure the safety of the Russian servicemen.

Syrian Arab Army captured Umm Tinah, Al-Muzaywinah, Al-Aliyah, Rasm al-Ghazal, Wadi al-Samaniyah, Al-Jafra, Musheirfah al-Haj, Musheirfah al-Sharbatji, Anadan al-Sheikh, Tarfawi, Abu Majahar, Al-Hayyaniyah, Rabia al-Hayaya, and Abu Joura from the rebel factions in the southern Aleppo. After these advances, Syrian Arab Army created a pocket in the southern Aleppo – southern Idlib – northeastern Hama region, which consists of the localities held by the Islamic State and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Improvised explosive device reportedly targeted Syrian Democratic Forces’ vehicle in the city of Manbij, killing three elements of the group.

Approximate situation in the southern Aleppo – southern Idlib region, after Syrian Arab Army created a pocket in the aforementioned region. Source: Syrian Civil War Map

Al-Hasakah:

Syrian Democratic Forces reportedly announced a new spokesman for the group, after the previous spokesman Talal Silo defected from the group and fled towards the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army’s territory in the Northern Aleppo. According to the reports, commander in the Syrian Military Council, Horo Kino Gabriel is the new spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Idlib:

Syrian Arab Army made a new push against the rebel factions in the southern Idlib and captured Abu al-Duhur airbase, as well as several localities close to it. The localities that Syrian Arab Army reportedly captured are Tell Salmu, Rasm Abed, Buwayta, Al-Dabashiyah, Zifr Kabira, and Zifr Saghira. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s Ibaa News Agency reported that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham recaptured Suruj and Rubayah villages from the Syrian Arab Army. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham conducted an SVBIED attack in Suruj, before taking control of it.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham captured several elements of a cell that tried to detonated a VBIED in the city of Kafr Nabl (Kafranbel).

Deir al-Zour:

Islamic State conducted an SVBIED attack against the Syrian Democratic Forces, north of Al-Bahra village in the eastern Deir al-Zour. According to the Islamic State’s Amaq Agency, 30 elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in the attack, as well as five vehicles destroyed.

Islamic State’s Amaq Agency reported that Islamic State’s snipers killed an element of the Syrian Arab Army and wounded another one in the city of Al-Sukariya, north of Al-Bukamal (Albu Kamal).

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

Damascus:

Syrian Arab Army’s artillery and Syrian Arab Air Force targeted Arbeen, Hammouriyah, Harasta, Mesraba, and Saqba in the East Ghouta. Reports suggest that four civilians were killed by the shelling of Hammouriyah.

Rebel forces in the East Ghouta shelled Damascus Central Prison and Al-Wafideen camp in Al-Adra area. The shelling of Al-Wafideen wounded three civilians and caused material damage, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency. The shelling of Damascus Central Prison only caused material damage.

Faylaq al-Rahman’s spokesman Wael Alwan stated that Syrian Arab Army’s elements were ambushed by two improvised explosive device near the city of Arbeen in the East Ghouta. According to Alwan, over a dozen of Syrian Arab Army’s elements infiltrated Faylaq al-Rahman-held area in Arbeen, in order to retrieve a bulldozer, which was damaged in the previous battles. The two improvised explosive devices exploded when the Syrian Arab Army’s elements approached the bulldozer, and reportedly killed most of them, according to Alwan.

Jaysh al-Islam released a statement denying connections with the cell that was arrested yesterday by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham 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.

Islamic State launched a new attack against Jaysh al-Islam in Al-Zayn neighborhood south of Damascus. Islamic State captured the strategic Al-Bina al-Abyad and several other buildings from Jaysh al-Islam. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Islamic State took full control of Al-Zayn neighborhood, however, those reports should be taken with a huge grain of salt for now. Islamic State’s Amaq Agency reported that three fighters of Jaysh al-Islam were killed and four wounded in the clashes. At least two Islamic State’s fighters were killed in the clashes and several wounded.

Daraa:

Two Free Syrian Army’s factions, Jaysh al-Thawra and Quwa Shabab al-Sunnah sporadically clashed in the village of Kharba, as the tensions between the two group’s rose, after Quwa Shabab al-Sunnah killed Jaysh al-Thawra’s element at one of its checkpoints in Bosra al-Sham. Jaysh al-Thawra released a statement giving Quwa Shabab al-Sunnah six hours to hand over the fighters that killed their element, who was identified as Osama Bashar al-Miqdad. Quwa Shabab al-Sunnah released a statement of their own, stating that Jaysh al-Thawra’s element was killed because he tried to escape from the checkpoint.

Syrian Arab Army’s Al-Firqat al-Tasea (9th Division) surrounded Free Syrian Army-held Al-Sanamayn and closed all roads and checkpoints leading in and out of locality. Free Syrian Army’s Liwa al-Fajr stated that the Syrian Arab Army surrounded the locality and demanded the hand over of the officer who was captured last night in the vicinity of the town, and also demanded the surrender of the individuals that kidnapped the officer. Syrian Arab Army mobilized at Qita checkpoint near Al-Sanamayn Military Hospital and gave the rebels a deadline to fulfill the demands.

Iraq

Salah al-Deen:

Islamic State’s snipers killed three elements of Al-Hashd al-Shaabi’s (Popular Mobilization Units) Saraya al-Salam (Peace Companies) in Al-Tuyub area of the city of Samarra, according to the Amaq Agency.

Baghdad:

Iraqi Security Forces surrounded and killed a suicide bomber in agricultural area north of Baghdad.

Afghanistan

Faryab Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban) ambushed and killed an element of the Afghan Local Police in Pashtun Kot district.

Jowzjan Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and Islamic State continued to clash in Derzab district, as the former made advances against the latter in the province. The recent tensions between the two groups started in the province after the Islamic State assassinated Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s commander in Sar-e Pol district, who was also the brother of Mullah Nader. Tensions then increased when Islamic State’s prominent commander Mullah Ghazanfar defected to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Islamic State reportedly lost control of several localities in the province, and was forced to retreat to the villages of Bibi Maryam, Sardar, and Khaturblagh. Eight Islamic State’s elements were killed in the clashes and five captured, including Haji Zini.

Kunduz Province:

Afghan National Security Forces conducted large-scale operations against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Chardara district, killing 18, wounding five and arresting three elements of the group. Furthermore, Afghan National Security Forces destroyed a vehicle, seven improvised explosive devices, and several weapons depots and ammunition caches in the operations.

National Directorate of Security foiled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s lone wolf attack in the province, by arresting the perpetrator before he reached his target. The perpetrator was identified as Qari Mohammad Sadegh and planned to cause panic among the civilians by using improvised explosive devices

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

Nuristan Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan raided Afghan National Police’s police station in Sherpit area of Kamdesh district. At least one element of the Afghan National Police was reported as killed and over a dozen as wounded.

Nangarhar Province:

Afghan Local Police’s element defected to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with his weapon in Khogyani 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

Logar Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed eight elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and destroyed two camps, a vehicle, three improvised explosive devices, and seven explosive vests during the operations in Charkh district. Afghan National Security Forces also seized 30 grenades and an ammunition cache during the operation. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan reported that it launched major attacks against the Afghan National Security Forces in Pengar, Noshahr, Benghout, and Qaleh Naw Wargan areas of Charkh district. According to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, 11 elements of the Afghan National Security Forces were killed, 19 wounded and two tanks destroyed in the attacks.

Paktia Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s mine destroyed Afghan Local Police’s motorcycle, killing one and wounding another policeman in Gulyi Khel area of the city of Gardez, capital of the Paktia Province.

Badghis Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan attacked Afghan National Security Forces’ convoy, which arrived in Mirghayat area of Qadis district, in order to assist in the operations. Clashes between the two lasted for an hour. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan reportedly forced the convoy to retreat from the aforementioned area.

Herat Province:

Afghan National Security Forces wounded an element of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Shindand district. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wounded an element of the Afghan Local Police in Kalis area of Shindand district.

Ghazni Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan launched an attack against the Afghan National Army, reportedly killing three soldiers and destroying a tank in Ghobran area.

Afghan Local Police’s element defected to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with his weapon in Gelan district.

Paktika Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan assassinated prominent National Directorate of Security’s commander Zahir Shah in Sharana district.

Farah Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan raided Afghan National Police’s headquarters in the northern Farah district. The raid reportedly killed Afghan National Police’s commander Abdul Ghaffar and another element, as well as wounded three policemen. Three elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan were also wounded in the raid.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s improvised explosive device destroyed Afghan National Army’s tank in Shian area of Bala Buluk district. The explosion killed Afghan National Army’s commander Abdul Ali along with three other soldiers. Two soldiers were wounded in the explosion.

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

Zabul Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed an element of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Shah Joy district.

Helmand Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed 14 fighters of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and destroyed three vehicles in Musa Qala and Nawzad districts.

Afghan National Security Forces and National Directorate of Security in Urozgan province conducted a special operation against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Baghran district. Joint forces raided two Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s prisons in the province and freed 67 elements of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan captured Afghan National Police’s checkpoint in Tajard area of Jerashk district, killing five policemen in the process. One element of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was also killed. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan seized two assault rifles from the checkpoint.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s improvised explosive device destroyed Afghan National Police’s tank in Khazrabad area of Nawa district. Similarly, Afghan National Army’s tank was destroyed by an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s improvised explosive device in Kaqili area of Kajaki district.

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

Kandahar Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed seven and wounded five elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Shah Wali Kot district.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan captured Afghan National Police’s checkpoint in Shah Ghondan area of Khakrez district. Six elements of the Afghan National Police were reported as killed, while one element of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was wounded in the encounter.

CJTF-OIR:

CJTF-OIR announced a change in their publishing policy. Now two strikes reports will be published each week, on Mondays and Fridays.

FireShot Capture 18 - - http___www.inherentresolve.mil_Portals_14_11Nov2017_20171106CJTF-OIR%

Amaq Agency:

Egypt:

Two Islamic State’s improvised explosive devices destroyed two Egyptian Army’s vehicles southwest of Al-Arish.

Other:

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

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