Syrian War Daily – 20th of July 2017

Hello and welcome to the 158th installment of the SWD.

Military events/news are listed below by the governorates:

Raqqa:

Syrian Democratic Forces made small advances inside of Shahada district against the Islamic State. Two Islamic State’s improvised explosive devices directly targeted SDF‘s forces in Raqqa city. Yesterday, an explosion near Al-Jizra junction reportedly killed six and wounded four SDF‘s fighters. Another IS’ explosive device exploded near the Panorama roundabout, killing two and wounding three SDF‘s fighters, according to Amaq Agency.

Situation in Raqqa. Source: Syrian Civil War Map

Idlib:

Harakat Nour al-Deen al-Zenki released a statement announcing its separation from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Reasons for separations are not arbitrating to the Sharia court and the recent fighting with Ahrar al-Sham. Shortly after the announcement, around 350 Caucasus fighters from Al-Zenki allegedly defected to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Another day of the widespread clashes across the Idlib governorate between Ahrar al-Sham and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, with the latter, once again, gaining the upper hand in clashes. Some of the localities Hayat Tahrir al-Sham captured today are Kafr Lusin and Aqrabat, close to the Bab al-Hawa border crossing. The aforementioned border crossing is close to being isolated by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

After two days of anti-HTS demonstrations in Saraqib, the group decided to withdraw from the city to the outskirts. However, before withdrawing from the locality, HTS arrested two military officials of AAS, Abdo al-Zaim and Abu Obeida al-Hamawi.

In the newly-captured Salqin, HTS arrested over a dozen of Ahrar al-Sham’s fighters and burned the Sharia court in the city. HTS also arrested media activist from Salqin, Abd al-Ghani al-Arian, his status and location are currently unknown.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham also clashed in Jabal Shashabo, Marayan and Deir Hasan areas.

Approximate situation in Idlib.(Blue = HTS, Green = other rebel groups). Original source unknown, found on Al-Akhbar.

Hama:

Islamic State repelled SAA‘s attack on Hassou al-Albawi village, east of Al-Salamiyah. IS’ Amaq Agency reported death of four soldiers and injury of six others, due to failed attack on the village.

Damascus:

Faylaq al-Rahman repelled Syrian Arab Army’s attempt to advance on Ain Terma front, the former also reported destruction of the latter’s Gvozdika with an anti-tank guided missile. SAA‘s assault was supported by the Syrian Arab Air Force, which carried out five raids over Ain Terma and Jobar.

Jaysh al-Islam released final SAA‘s losses during the yesterday’s failed attack on Al-Rayhan front. According to the group, 35 SAA‘s soldiers were killed, two T-72 tanks and a BMP damaged. Among the killed SAA‘s soldiers is the First Lieutenant and commander in the armored forces which supported the yesterday’s assault, Mustafa al-Saeed. Al-Rayhan area was hit by two Syrian Arab Air Force’s raids.

Syrian Arab Army conducted two raids over Douma, and one over Harasta. SAA‘s artillery shelling of Douma resulted in death of two people, including a member of the Syria Civil Defence (White Helmets).

Daraa:

Last night, four improvised explosive devices targeted rebel Al-Bunyan al-Marsous operations room’s garage in Dara al-Balad district. Explosions resulted in destruction of several vehicles, including a BMP and a tank.

Iraq

Nineveh:

Iraq Joint Operations officially announced recapture of Imam Gharbi village by the Iraqi Army, backed by Al-Hashd al-Shaabi’s (Popular Mobilization Units) units from Nineveh and Salah al-Deen governorates, and Salah al-Deen police units. Recapture of Imam Gharbi village, resulted in the reopening of the road between Al-Shirqat and Al-Qayarah.

Iraq Joint Operations also released civilian casualty numbers from the battle of Mosul, criticizing the western media outlets for inflating the casualty numbers. According to the Iraq Joint Operations, the official casualty numbers released by the Directorate of Civil Defense, are 1429 killed civilians, nowhere near the claimed 40,000 casualties.

Iraqi Air Force’s F-16 warplanes conducted several airstrikes over IS-held Tal Afar. Sizeable IS’ weapons depot was destroyed in Al-Askari district, while in Al-Ayadiyah area in the northern Tal Afar, airstrikes destroyed two IS’ HQs and killed six fighters.

Salah al-Deen:

Islamic State’s sniper reportedly killed two Al-Hashd al-Shaabi’s fighters at the outskirts of Jabal Makhoul, north of Baiji.

Baghdad:

Last night, Iraqi security forces discovered and safely defused a VBIED in Al-Nahrawan area.

Iraqi Federal Police’s 7th Brigade arrested an individual reportedly connected to Islamic State’s sleeper cells and the recent assassinations in Abu Ghraib area, west of Baghdad. Furthermore, the 1st Regiment of the 7th Brigade, arrested two wanted individuals as they were trying to steal a wheel from a civilian car, in Al-Dora area.

Diyala:

Islamic State detonated two explosive devices in Diyala governorate over the past 24 hours. Two Al-Hashd al-Shaabi’s fighters were injured by explosion in the Albu Mubarak village, Al-Eazim area, northeast of Baqubah. Iraqi Army’s Humvee was destroyed in Al-Jalbi village, vicinity of Al-Waqf, also northeast of Baqubah.

CJTF-OIR:

On the 19th of July 2017 CJTF-OIR has conducted 20 strikes in Syria. CJTF-OIR‘s main focus in Syria at the moment is Raqqa region where they did eight strikes supporting SDF‘s operations against IS destroying six fighting positions, a supply cache, and a tunnel; and suppressing a mortar team.

Other areas where 12 airstrikes occurred are Abu Kamal (Al-Bukamal), Al-Shaddadi and Deir al-Zour, destroying 17 oil storage tanks, two well-heads, two vehicles, an IS-held building, an IS mortar system, a mortar position, three front-end loaders, five IS oil separator tanks, and two vehicles. Full report on CJTF-OIR strikes conducted in both Syria & Iraq can be found here.

Other:

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

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For those of you interested, you can follow us on an official Twitter account @SyrianWarDaily, or me personally on my biased twitter @joskobaric where I occasionally tweet some things.

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