Syrian War Daily – 23rd of March 2018

Hello and welcome to the 374th installment of the SWD.

Military events/news are listed below by the governorates:

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Aleppo:

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish Air and Land Forces captured three localities from the Syrian Democratic Forces’ YPG in Afrin region, as a part of the operation ‘Olive Branch’ (AR: Ghasin al-Zaytun, TR: Zeytin Dalı). Free Syrian Army captured Fafratin, Burjka, and Kabashin south of Afrin.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Jabhat Tahrir Suriya (Ahrar al-Sham and Harakat Nour al-Deen al-Zenki) started to clash around Blanta, Maklabis, and Al-Atarib in the western Aleppo. Jabhat Tahrir Suriya destroyed Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s BMP on Blanta front.

Demonstrations were held in Al-Atarib against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s attacks and shelling of the locality. Around 100 demonstrators marched from Al-Atarib towards nearby Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s headquarters and origin of shelling at Al-Fawj 46 (46th Regiment). Hayat Tahrir al-Sham opened fire on the demonstrators and wounded one of them.

Situation in Afrin region, according to the official operation ‘Olive Branch’ account (Pink areas = newly-captured territory). Source: Amaliyat Ghasin al-Zaytun / Zeytin Dalı Harekatı

Raqqa:

Left over Islamic State’s improvised explosive device exploded in Syrian Democratic Forces-held village of Hamra Buwaitiya, east of the city of Raqqa. The explosion reportedly killed two civilians.

Idlib:

Unknown gunmen stormed Faylaq al-Sham’s headquarters in Al-Ghassaniyah village, west of Jisr al-Shughur. Four elements of Faylaq al-Sham and one attacker were killed in the encounter. The attackers looted weapons and vehicles from the headquarters. Several reports suggest that Jund al-Aqsa’s cells conducted the attack.

Damascus:

Syrian Arab Army’s artillery, Syrian Arab Air Force, and Russian Air Force targeted Arbeen and Douma in the East Ghouta. Syrian Civil Defense (The White Helmets) reported that 44 civilians were killed by the targeting of Arbeen, while ten civilians were killed by the targeting of Douma.

Evacuation of civilians from the East Ghouta continued today through Al-Wafideen crossing, north of Douma. Syrian Arab News Agency stated that 4500 civilians went through the corridor towards Syrian Arab Army-held areas.

Evacuation of Ahrar al-Sham’s elements and civilians from Harasta to Idlib reportedly ended today, with reports that the Syrian Arab Army entered previously rebel-held parts of the locality after the evacuation was completed. According to the Syrian Arab News Agency, at least 2618 individuals were evacuated from Harasta to Idlib today.

Faylaq al-Rahman reached an agreement with Russia, regarding the former’s evacuation from the East Ghouta towards Idlib. The agreement includes handing over Ain Terma, Arbeen, Zamalka, and Jobar to the Russian Military Police. Reports suggest that the Syrian Arab Army already established full control over Ain Terma. The agreement between the two sides also includes treatment of sick and wounded individuals from the East Ghouta in the hospitals of Damascus, through Syrian Arab Red Crescent. After the treatment, the individuals will be able to choose between returning to the East Ghouta or be transported towards Idlib. The evacuation is expected to start tomorrow in Arbeen.

Islamic State’s weekly Al-Naba newsletter stated that the group captured 90% of Al-Qadam neighborhood, south of Damascus from the Syrian Arab Army. The newsletter also stated that 175 elements of the Syrian Arab Army and allied militias were killed in the clashes for Al-Qadam neighborhood, as well as five tanks and a BMP destroyed.

Situation in the East Ghouta. Source: Syrian Civil War Map

Iraq

Diyala:

Islamic State launched an attack on Iraqi Army’s barracks in Al-Khazrani area near Mandali. Islamic State’s Amaq Agency stated that four elements of the Iraqi Army were killed and a Humvee destroyed in the attack.

Baghdad:

Iraqi Security Forces conducted operations in Hawrat Albu Fares, Al-Abed, and Awdat al-Shukr areas in the vicinity of Baghdad. Security forces found 20 left over Islamic State’s improvised explosive devices, which were safely detonated in a controlled explosion.

Afghanistan

Faryab Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed 41 and wounded 17 elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban), as well as destroyed several weapons depots and ammunition caches in Pashtun Kot, Kohistan, and Shirin Tagab districts, according to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

Jowzjan Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed six elements of the Islamic State and destroyed two motorcycles in Derzab district.

Two elements of the Afghan National Police and one element of the Afghan Local Police surrendered to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with their weapons in Qargin district.

Kunduz Province:

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

Takhar Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan launched an operation against the Afghan Local Police in Chah Ab district and reportedly seized three villages and four posts. Reports suggest that two elements of the Afghan Local Police were killed in the operation.

Kabul Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s improvised explosive device targeted Afghan Local Police’s vehicle in Shakar Darah district, killing three elements of the local police.

Nangarhar Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed eight elements of the Islamic State in Deh Bala (Haska Meyna) and Rodat districts.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan ambushed and killed an element of the Afghan Local Police, as well as wounded another element 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

Badghis Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan raided Afghan National Army’s checkpoint in Qali Charkh area of Qadis district. The attack wounded Afghan National Army’s commander, Gulab and two other elements of the army. One element of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was also wounded in the encounter.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s snipers killed three and wounded one element of the Afghan National Army in Joy Kar area of Murghab district.

Herat Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s improvised explosive device destroyed Afghan National Army’s tank and killed three soldiers in Karez Safid area of Shindand district.

Ghor Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan arrested five elements of the Afghan Local Police in Band Dari area of Charsada district, as they were on their way towards Chaghcharan (Firuzkoh) district.

Ghazni Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s sniper wounded an element of the Afghan National Army in the city of Ghazni.

Farah Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed nine, wounded nine, and arrested two elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as well as destroyed two motorcycles in Bala Buluk district.

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

Urozgan Province:

Afghan National Security Forces killed seven and wounded six elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as well as destroyed several positions in Khas Urozgan district.

Zabul Province:

Afghan National Security Forces wounded two elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Daychopan district.

Helmand Province:

Vehicle-borne improvised explosive device exploded in the city of Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand Province. Reports suggest that 14 people were killed and more than 50 wounded by the explosion.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan attacked Afghan National Army’s post in Sarkar Vialla area of the city of Lashkar Gah. Five elements of the Afghan National Army were reportedly killed and two wounded in the attack, while the remaining elements withdrew from the area. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan seized four assault rifles and an RPG launcher from the post.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s improvised explosive device destroyed Afghan National Police’s vehicle in Parchaw area of Jerashk district. Similarly, Afghan National Police’s vehicle was destroyed by an improvised explosive device in Nad Ali district.

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

Kandahar Province:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan attacked Afghan National Police’s foot patrol in the 14th Police District of the city of Kandahar. Two elements of the Afghan National Police were killed and one wounded in the encounter.

CJTF-OIR:

Between the 16th and the 22nd of March 2018 CJTF-OIR has conducted nine strikes in Syria. CJTF-OIR‘s main focus in Syria at the moment is Deir al-Zour-Albu Kamal region where they did eight strikes supporting SDF‘s operations against IS destroying an IS-held building, a VBIED factory, an IS staging area, and two weapon caches.

Other area where one strike occurred is Al-Shadaddi, destroying an IS-held building. Full report on CJTF-OIR strikes conducted in both Syria & Iraq can be found here.

Amaq Agency:

France:

Islamic State’s Amaq Agency claimed responsibility for today’s hostage situation in Trèbes. Three people and the attacker were killed in the incident.

Yemen:

Islamic State’s improvised explosive device killed an element of Ansar Allah (Houthis) in Walad Rabie directorate, northwest of Al-Bayda.

Other:

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