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Welcome to A Closer Look On Syria

For a word on our approach and how you can contribute to the project, continue here. On the Main Page below are general news and some select incidents studied at ACLOS since its creation in 2012. For more current analysis, check "Recent changes" or "New Pages" in the menu to the left, or use the search box.

Syria News

24 Apr. A pocket cut off by the SDF north of Raqqa the days before is quickly cleared of remaining ISIS fighters. This officially concludes phase four of Wrath of Euphrates. Tabqa city and parts of the dam remain under siege but in ISIS hands, with heavy clashes going on.

23 Apr. According to media reports citing proverbial unnamed US officials, ISIS has moved its "government" from Raqqa to Deir ez-Zor.

According to SOHR, the US-led coalition has killed 7,631 people in Syria since it intervened, among them 1,256 civilians including 275 children.

Situation in northern Hama province

Militants flee Halfaya and a couple of villages in northern Hama countryside, leaving them for the SAA to overtake.

Patrick Henningsen publishes part one of his reportage about his recent visit to Aleppo.

22 Apr. The SAA continues to advance in northern Hama countryside.

21 Apr. Assad is interviewed by Russian news agencies (transcript)(video). On al-Baghdadi arrest: 'that's not true' (around 3:25). OPCW: they were invited to investigate Khan Sheikhoun and previous attacks, but the arrival was blocked by the West.

The first stage (evacuation of civilians) of the four towns agreement is completed.

Situation around Raqqa

20 Apr. Since the beginning of the fourth phase of Wrath of Euphrates, more than ten thousand civilians have fled ISIS-controlled northern Raqqa countryside towards the advancing SDF.

19 Apr. Planes of the Us-led coalition destroy all bridges in Hazimah town in northern Raqqa countryside.

The Russian Air Force destroys a Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham training camp in sothern Idlib and an underground base northern Hama. White Helmets later release footage of rescue work at what they claim was an underground hospital south of Idlib.

18 Apr. The constituent congress of the Raqqa Civil Council takes place in Ain Issa to the north of Raqqa. With over 100 attendents of important social functions, among them clan leaders, a sort of exile government is formed to which the SDF will hand over power once Raqqa is liberated from ISIS. After the congress, a statement is released.

17 Apr. A fifth batch of almost 2,000 green bus travellers leaves Al-Waer.

According to German Damascus-based correspondent Karin Leukefeld, the Saudi-sponsored Army of Islam group has claimed the attack on the buses from Fou'aa and Kafraya immediately after the event, but quickly deleted the statement from their website when it became known that the victims are mostly children.

14 Apr. Thousands of civilians take a bus out of both Madaya and Al-Zabadani and Al-Fou'aa and Kafraya. The latter are then attacked, RT reports, by a suicide bomber, wounding many and killing at least 39 (first reports), later at least 126 (Reuters, and over 150 (including 68 children) by some sources. Ahrar al-Sham at least denies responsibility, claiming it was a "regime" attack (tweet). (Red Crescent workers seen fleeing before the blast?)

13 Apr. The beginning of the fourth stage of Wrath of Euphrates is announced by SDF command. Aim is to take over the northern countryside of Raqqa and tighten the siege of the city.

The Pentagon announces that two days ago, they killed 18 SDF fighters near Tabqa in a "friendly fire" accident.

Assad is interviewed by AFP (transcript).

12 Apr. A revised version of the Western draft resolution for the investigation of the Khan Sheikhoun incident circulates in the UNSC. Unlike the first version, it contains no blame of Damascus and speaks of a "reported" CW use. Yet it still demands unlimited access to SAA sites at threat of military action and gets vetoed by Russia later that day.

Prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr calls on Assad to step down, warning that otherwise he will share the fate of Gaddafi. It's the second time in recent days that Sadr makes that call.

Trump asserts that the US will not invade Syria.

According to the SAA command, a US-led coalition airstrike between 17:30 and 17:50 h in Hatla village east of Deir ez-Zor blows up an ISIS warehouse which contained toxic substances. The resulting white-yellow cloud allegedly killed "hundreds" including civilians. Reactions: US called these claims "incorrect" and Russia said it had no information, would send drones to take a look.

Russia's UN rep attacks British representative--gross. Video, Engl, Russ. (full)

11 Apr. Buses arrive to Madaya and Al-Zabadani in preparation for the execution of an unusual deal brokered by Qatar and Iran.

10 Apr. Iraqi Kurdistan: Due to a technical issue on the Turkish side, the oil flow to Ceyhan will be interrupted for three days, causing $23 million damage per day.

9 Apr. "Euphrates Shield" command orders to close all roads from Turkish-controlled Jarablus border post into SDF-controlled Manbij area.

8 Apr. In the fourth batch of proverbial green bus rides, 480 gunmen plus family members leave al-Waer, the last militant-controlled neigbourhood in Homs city.

A large market called "Silk Road Souk" with 211 shops opens in New Aleppo part of Aleppo city, temporarily replacing the historical souks in the old town that were left in different stages of destruction by the militants.

7 Apr. Russian MoD official statement -Engl. captions (footage at the end suggests low effectiveness).

TASS: frigate of the Black Sea Fleet 'Admiral Grigorovich' will enter the port of Tartus. Said to pass Bosporus(@YorukIsik); equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles, +modern naval version of 'Buk' (SA-N-7C Gollum).

After US airstrike, Russia calls it an aggression against sovereign country, suspended memorandum on safe flights in Syria, calls for an urgent -TASS (Russ.)(Engl.)

  • At least 6 people were killed. Military source: six MIG-23 planes undergoing repairs, decommissioned AN-26 , and several small foreign transport planes destroyed; damage estimated at 1-2 mln $, strike cost, at 90 mln $.
  • UNSC meeting live feed, Engl'; Russ.

6 Apr. US media reports that two US warships fired 50 Tomahawk missiles at a single target - Shayrat military airbase in Homs province, "the airfield from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired the banned weapons [on Khan Sheikhoun]".

  • Amateur strike footage
  • Video from the airbase after the strike (an old air defense system is seen). More photos, videos 1 ,2 showing damage. video claims that Russian MoD was notified and parts of airport where Russian military could be located was not hit; Herbert McMaster quoted to make similar statement; while Russian MP Vladimir Dzhabarov believes there was no notification. More photo/visuals -Cassad 1, 2.
  • ACLOS page

The Turkish Health Ministry says that autopsies they conducted of victims of the alleged chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun point to exposure to Sarin.

"US ground forces kill 'Islamic State' (IS) militant linked to Turkey nightclub attack" - occurred on 6 Apr. and announced around 21 Apr.

Assad was interviewed by Croatian newspaper Vecernji List (transcript).

5 Apr. Tabqa is under siege and the SDF are moving towards the city center. Violent clashes are taking place.

The "municipality of people" governing the regions liberated by the SDF have given out 600 licences for stores to be opened while the residents are returning.

The US army expands the runway of a military airfield near Kobane to make it capable of handling large cargo airplanes.

4 Apr. Reports of a chemical attack with many victims, including children emerge from southern Idlib province (ACLOS page).

3 Apr. Turkey announces to not attend the EU conference about the future of Syria to be held on 4-5 April. Meanwhile Erdogan promises "very good surprises for all terror groups" in new military operations under new names.

1 Apr. The third batch of militants leaves al-Waer district of Homs city in green buses to Idlib.

The "successful completion" of Euphrates Shield doesn't mean that Turkey plans to end their occupation of Syrian land anytime soon, says Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu, while also reporting about his meeting with US counterpart Tillerson which seems to have mostly consisted of C.'s complains about the YPG.

According to Al Masdar, in the late evening three Russian jets crossed into Turkey while targeting Islamist positions around the border in Idlib province.

31 Mar. The US-led coalition announces the death of ISIS propaganda chief Ibrahim al-Ansari. He was allegedly killed by an air strike in Iraq.

The fifth round of talks in Geneva concludes with statements by De Mistura and al-Jaafari (video).

30 Mar. According to US ambassador to the UN Haley, it is no longer a priority of the US to make Assad leave his office.

29 Mar. After a meeting chaired by Erdogan, the Turkish National Security Council issues a statement declaring that Operation Euphrates Shield has been "successfully completed".

Kurdish sources report that a maintenance team led by the Syrian Red Crescent got attacked by ISIS artillery while inspecting the Tabqa Dam. Excess water is being released into a watering channel through a gate at the northern end of the dam that is controlled by Kurds.

Clearing up confusing reports of last week, Al Masdar reports that the SAA enters Deir Hafer for the first time after ISIS had left it heavily mined. Later the army announces that the city is now completely under their control.

28 Mar. ISIS withdraws from a larger area in southern As-Suweida province, which is then taken over partly by both "rebel" and loyalist forces without a fight.

A Wrath of Euphrates spokesperson states that they found that no damage to Tabqa dam has happened. But analysis of footage released by ISIS, the US and satellite images seems to show that there is at least some damage to the control rooms, which must have happened between 24 and 26 Mar. A Russian General Staff statement critizises the US-led coalition for apparently deliberate destruction of Syrian infrastructure, including the dam where "the latest such air strike was delivered on March 26".

The statement also claims that against pronouncements that the border is sealed, more than 800 ISIS militants have been allowed to leave Mosul in the direction of Deir Ez-Zor.

27 Mar. Amed Dicle interviews PYD co-chair Salih Muslim about Raqqa, Manbij, Afrin and the current relationship of the US and Russia to the Kurds, Turkey and each other.

26 Mar. While the SDF has taken control of the northern end of Tabqa dam, ISIS media claims that the dam is damaged and out of service due to bombing of the US-led coalition. Reports that ISIS tells civilians in Raqqa to flee due to the danger of the dam collapsing are picked up by news agencies.

The SDF takes over Tabqa airbase from ISIS.

25 Mar. Iranian president Rouhani announces that Iran will build a railway from Teheran through Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish regions to the mediterranean coast.

23 Mar. According to some reports, the SDF with US help captured the Tabqa dam following yesterday's airdrop operation. The quoted statement by CENTCOM speaks in future tense, though, but affirms that the dam is the target of the operation. A Wrath of Euphrates statement the next day clarifies that the liberation has yet to happen.

The Turkish Army continues to shell Kurdish villages in Afrin canton across the border.

Situation in eastern Aleppo countryside

While the SAA was about to close the surrounding of Deir Hafer in the morning, the same loyalist sources report in the afternoon that ISIS agreed to an offer to withdraw from the city and has already left. The next day it turns out that this was a misinformation and the city is still in ISIS hands.

22 Mar. The US airdrops SDF and own special forces onto the Shurfa peninsula on the southern side of Lake Assad, south-west of Al-Tabqa. They liberate several villages and reportedly block the highway that runs north-west to Maskanah and Deir Hafer, where on the latter part it is blocked by the SAA.

21 Mar. The Kurds celebrate Newroz, the beginning of spring and the new year (report and pictures from Rojava).

The Idlib "rebels" led by Al-Qaeda start their annual Hama offensive.

20 Mar. According to a Reuters report citing YPG spokesperson Redur Xelil, yesterday they made a deal with Russia who will help to train them and set up a base in Kafr Jina in Afrin canton. Troops have already arrived, he says, which seems to be corrobated by video evidence. Reacting to the Reuters report, the Russian Defense Ministry denies plans for new bases in Syria and describes the troops as part of the Reconcilation Center's operation to "prevent ceasefire breaches".

19 Mar. The SAA continues to advance in eastern Homs province to the north and east of Palmyra.

Iraq: The head of Badr organization states that all escape routes for ISIS to Syria are closed.

18 Mar. According to several sources, the offensive to take Raqqa city, which is isolated by now, will start no later than early April.

The SAA is closing in on Deir Hafer from north, west and south.

The Manbij Military Council releases a statement offering locals fighting in Euphrates Shield a safe return home and participation in Wrath of Euphrates. The offer is valid for one month.

17 Mar. Four Israeli jets enter Syrian airspace and strike military targets around Palmyra. The Syrian side answers by firing anti-aircraft missiles, claiming that one jet was shot down and another one damaged. The Israelis deny that any of their jets were hit and claim the target of the attacks was Hezbollah. Russia summons the Israeli ambassador over the incident.

Russian Defense Ministry's spokesperson Konashenkov states that if the money spend by western countries on producing a "mountain of garbage of their own fakes and open lies" would be spend for humanitarian aid instead, Aleppo "would be a blooming garden city".

Following a reconcilation agreement, a first batch of 1,500 militants, of a total of 10,000 persons including family members, leave al-Waer, the last militant-controlled neighbourhood in Homs city, taking a proverbial green bus ride north.

16 Mar. Damascus urges U.N to stop US air raids on Syrian infrastructure, Euphrates bridges.

A US airstrike first falsely attributed to Russia by several media outlets strikes what opposition activists say was a mosque near Idlib, reportedly killing dozens of people (ACLOS page).

15 Mar. At a hotel in Turkey, 50 Syrian tribe leaders found "a new army" with the goal to fight everybody else in northern Syria on behalf of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Sightings of unicorns have not been reported.

14 Mar. For the first time in 74 days, water from Lake Assad reaches Aleppo city through the pipelines.

A report by the UN Syria Commission claims that the water supply from Wadi Barada had not been poisoned, and that the damage to the spring resulted from SyAF bombing, not actions of "rebels".

The third round of talks in Astana begins.

13 Mar. Convoy of Russian MOD lightly armored vehicles arrived to a Kurdish village of Arima near Manbij and delivered humanitarian assistance (report and video). Russian sources credit the convoy with a role in separating Turkish and Kurdish forces.

12 Mar. The Manbij Executive Council with 13 committees is formed and sworn in.

Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham claims responsibility for a twin bomb attack on Iraqi Shi'ite pilgrims in Damascus a day earlier, which killed 74 and wounded 120. Syrian Perspective wants to know that the group only provided the suicide bombers while the attack was planned by Saudis and Brits operating out of Jordan.

11 Mar. Assad is interviewed by Chinese TV (transcript).

The US declares the latest ecdysis of Al Qaeda in Syria, Hayyat Tahrir Al-Sham, a terrorist organization.

10 Mar. The Syrian government urges the UN to make Turkey withdraw from Syria.

Accompanied by a strong delegation, Erdogan visits Moscow and meets Putin.

The prominent Turkish Middle East analyst Fehim Tastekin speaks at a conference in Cologne, Germany, about Turkey's role in the Syria crisis (summary).

There are conflicting reports about the status of the fight over Jirah airbase, with Syrian Perspective claiming that it is already completely liberated.

9 Mar. According to information obtained by SouthFront, the Turkish government plans to build a new city for 80,000 people north of Al-Bab in six months time.

8 Mar. After reaching Lake Assad, the SAA takes the water pumping station and several villages, moving south towards Jirah airbase. These parts of Syria had been in various militant hands since 2012.

The first five villages in western Manbij countryside are handed over from the SDF to the SAA.

The Washington Post reports that "Marines have arrived in Syria to fire artillery in the fight for Raqqa".

De Mistura: Next (fifth) round of Geneva talks set to begin on 23 Mar.

7 Mar. The SAA advances almost to Lake Assad, takes Al-Khafsah town and enters the water pumping station to the south of it. It also clears the pocket between their and SDF territory bordering north. ISIS seems to retreat south without much a fight to a defense line between Deir Hafer and Jirah airbase.

The military chiefs of staff of Turkey, US and Russia meet in Antalya, Turkey to discuss Syria. According to an Al-Monitor report Russia and the US agree that Ahrar Al-Sham is a terrorist organization and the YPG is not, while Turkey takes the opposite stance.

6 Mar. Wrath of Euphrates cuts off the main road and reaches the Euphrates half-way between Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zor.

A statement by the Manbij Military Council clarifies that Manbij city is not part of the agreement with Russia. Only regions south-west of it at the contact line with Euphrates Shield are supposed to be taken over by the SAA, while the SDF and the "international coalition" will keep military control over the city. Surfacing of footage of US special forces near the city is called a "deliberate action" by a US army spokesperson. A list published later by Al-Masdar of twenty villages to be given to the SAA contains names going north all the way of the western front up to Arab Hassan Kabir. Meanwhile, attacks by Euphrates Shield forces on the villages bordering their control are going on.

The second school semester begins. 34 schools in eastern Aleppo are reopened, according to UNICEF.

5 Mar. The SAA continues its advance towards Lake Assad and is around 6 km away from the ISIS-controlled Al Khafsah water pumping station, which still doesn't deliver water to Aleppo.

4 Mar. The Turkish PM states that the SAA moving into Manbij "is not a negative development for us".

3 Mar. The Russian defense ministry says that Manbij city is part of the agreement with the SDF to hand over power to the SAA. Convoys are already on the way and basic government services are to be provided as of today. The US seems to be fine with this agreement, although not directly involved, as it fulfills the main demand of Turkey that the YPG leaves the area west of the Euphrates. It remains to be seen if these developments mark the end of Operation Euphrates Shield and how any further occupation of Syrian land by Turkey could be justified.

A press conference by De Mistura concludes the fourth round of the inter-Syrian dialogue in Geneva.

2 Mar. Following attacks of the Turkish army and its proxies on SDF-held villages in Manbij countryside, the Manbij Millitary Council releases a statement announcing that as part of "an alliance we made with Russia" they are handing over a buffer zone at the contact line to Syrian state forces.

The US military estimates that there are between 12 and 15 thousand ISIS fighters left in Syria and Iraq, which is around half of their estimates in 2015.

After ISIS retreats, the Russian defence ministry announces the complete liberation of Palmyra.

1 Mar. After a rapid advance, the SAA takes Palmyra citadel back from ISIS and stands in front of the city.

Archive 2017
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Archive 2016
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Aleppo Aid Convoy Attack (September 19, 2016)

Main article: Attack on Red Crescent convoy in Urm al-Kubra
OFAB-250 bomb in Urm al-Kubra warehouse.jpg

Around 20 or perhaps 30 civilians are killed in in an attack on an aid convoy near Aleppo, destroying more than a dozen trucks hauling medical aid. This is another disputed incident; the West and its sponsored activists alleges a Russian or Syrian air attack is to blame, while Russia and Syria don't seem to know exactly what happened. ACLOS investigates.

And not to be distracted: this came just two days after the US airstrike on SAA in Deir ez-Zor that killed at least 60 Syrian soldiers in a well-known position of theirs, in a rather implausible "accident."

Chemical Weapons (starting late 2012)

Main article: Category:Chemical Weapons
Chem 4-9 A.png

A running theme in Syria news is claims about the use of chemical weapons and the red lines they would cross, if confirmed. Our category on this topic covers most reported incidents, especially all high-profile ones like the one that almost started a world war. In 2013, the allegations mostly involved the use of the nerve agent sarin. Since Syria surrendered its stocks to avert war, the allegations from 2014 to present shifted to use of chlorine gas. In both phases, ACLOS has discovered many problems with the accusation of government CW use, as well as much evidence that opposition forces are the ones actually guilty for many incidents.

Houla (May 25, 2012)

Main article: The Houla massacre
Ali-Al-Sayed 1.jpg

The murder of around 108 civilians, among them up to 49 children, in the town of Taldou belonging to Houla in Homs province, is maybe the most famous event that happened in Syria in 2012. It was immediately blamed on the government and led to several countries expelling their Syrian ambassadors. Initially attributed to the use of heavy weapons, it quickly turned out that most of the victims were killed by short-distance violence. This led to the blaming of Alawite "Shabiha" militias loyal to Assad. While the UNHRC closed their investigation in mid August stating to be reasonably certain that indeed government loyalists were the perpetrators, a lot of the conflicting evidence collected in our research was either washed away or not considered at all, while contradictions in the testimonies of witnesses backing their conclusion were denied. A central question is who was in control over the area at the time - our attempt to answer this based on all collected evidence can be found here.

Homs Massacres (2011-present)

Main article: Homs Massacres
Homs Districts all labels.png

Although relatively secure by now, the city districts and rural surroundings of Homs were home to some of the most shocking massacres of the Syrian war, especially in early 2012 when rebels had control over most of the city (that was following a short-lived Syrian military withdrawal brokered by the U.N. and Arab Laague). The ongoing ACLOS effort to list and analyze as many massacres as possible, so far includes more than 40, accounting for at least 1,400-1,900 deaths of almost strictly civilians victims. Alleged details are compared with common family names, district demographics, and the usual ACLOS techniques, to establish useable insights. Consider the Khalidiya Massacre of February, 2012, with 138 people killed, rebels said, as family homes were shelled. But the victims were 100% male and 94% adult, pre-segregated just like the prisoners of rebels the other side claimed the victims were. And this one's no fluke; strangely similar patterns repeat over and over in what makes for chilling reading.

Situation in Syria.png

Ukraine News

23 Apr. A civilian was wounded by Ukrainian shelling in Zaitsevo near Gorlovka, DPR.

LPR. OSCE observer was killed when OSCE marked car was hit by IED explosion on a road from Slavyanoserbsk to Sokolniki near village of Prishib (map). Another observer was wounded. LPR blamed Ukrainian RSG, stated that they recently warned about provocations planned against international observers. LPR leader expressed condolences.

Basurin -DAN news: OSCE car hit anti-tank mine; according to available information one of the cars was travelling on back roads, which is prohibited by OSCE SMM mandate.
OSCE SMM report. (Driving on a secondary road previously used by the SMM).

21 Apr. DPR weekly update: in the past week, 235 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 1445 banned shells and mortar shells were fired (Rus.)(Eng.) DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 8 DPR soldiers were killed, 15 soldiers were wounded (no civilian casualties mentioned for this week).

LPR: in the past week, Ukraine fired 320 banned shells and mortar shells.

Fort Russ publishes an English language translation of a long interview with post-putsch interim president Oleksandr Turchynov conducted by BBC Russian Service a week earlier.

20 Apr. Basurin: "As it became known from the source in the command of the military unit A0456 (Odessa city), on the eve of the May holidays, the Ukrainian Armed Forces, specifically the Ukrainian Navy units as part of one combined brigade of marines, are preparing a plan for active military operations in the Volnovakhsky and the Novoazovsky districts " ... "According to the (Kiev's) command's plan, on April 23-24, two mobile subversive groups are planned to be deployed to the area of the village of Shirokino..." (Eng.)

DPR: in the past day, 25 ceasefire violations by Ukraine- mortars, grenade launchers, small firearms used. One DPR soldier was killed.

Almost nothing is written about it - but during this "armistice" the funerals of DPR soldiers are held almost every second day ... Yesterday there was a funeral of an officer, who was killed three days ago in the Avdeevskaya industrial zone, Alexander Zhizhka. He was just appointed platoon commander after the death of the officer who held this post ... Alexander had a wife and daughter ... He was buried with honors, as he should be... (opolchenie VK post, with photos by Alexander Khodakovsky).

18 Apr. Normandy-4 leaders had a phone conversation, with another call to follow Minsk agreements, implement all-for-all prisoners exchange. Joint press-release was issued (Poroshenko);(Kremlin).

14 Apr. Zakharchenko: We expect another round of attacks (lit. 'sharpening') in the very near future. Let's put it like that, softly. Our intelligence reports that the opposite side is fully prepared to move to full-scale combat operations.

DPR: In the past week, 380 violations, 2672 banned shells and mortar rounds fired by Ukraine, 27 houses wer damaged or destroyed. (Russ.)(Engl). Ombudsman: 10 DPR soldiers were killed, 12 people ( 2 civilian women, 2 civilian men, 8 soldiers) were wounded.

LPR: in the past week, 25 violations, 464 banned shells and mortar shells fired by Ukraine. 1 civilian was wounded, 3 houses damaged.

13 Apr. Ukrainian branch of the Russian Alfa Bank (wiki): :Alfa-Bank Ukraine has nothing to do with the placement of advertising with images of ORDLO militants and sharply condemns the dirty provocations that unidentified persons resort to in an attempt to undermine the credibility of the international bank in Ukraine. Alfa-Bank was one of the first international banks to stop working in the occupied territories in full accordance with the legislation of Ukraine: both in the Crimea and in the Donbas. Strelkov/patriotic opposition: this is a cause of serious concern... Alpha bank structures are very close to the authorities... It is symptomatic that it appears shortly after (Sec. State) Tillerson visit to Moscow.

9 Apr. HUGE crater, 10 m. diameter and 3 m deep, from Ukrainian shelling by Uragan MLRS hitting 300 m short of Dzerzhinkloe settlement.

8 Apr. One DPR soldier was killed and 1 wounded today; two civilian women wounded yesterday in Donetsk.

7 Apr. DPR MOD weekly report (Russ.), (Engl). 277 violations by Ukraine, 2,292 shells and mortar shells banned by Minsk agreements fired (despite ceasefire agreement to start on 1 Apr.) 36 houses were damaged Reservists called for training. there are 27 thousand reservists in total.

DPR ombudsman: 4 soldiers and 1 civilian was killed, 21 people (7 civilian women, 4 civilian men, and 10 soldiers) were wounded (ombudsman figures are different, and typically higher, than MOD).

LPR MOD weekly report (Engl.) (Russ.-video). 82 shells and mortar shells fired. 1 soldier was wounded.

Third year anniversary of DPR declaring independence; historic photos videos -Cassad.

6 Apr. DPR MoD: reservists with military experience will be given weapons to keep.

DPR. It is supposed to be ceasefire, however 55 violations by Ukraine incidents were reported, including mortars and tank fire in Petrovskii, Kirovskii regions of Donetsk. One house was damaged.

European parliament voted for visa-free regime with Ukraine-- Poroshenko celebration video.

2 Apr. According to DPR MOD report, Ukraine used white phosphorous munitions (video).

1 Apr. Repair crews working at Donetsk water filtering station came under Ukrainian fire from 120 mm mortars. Is is said that Russian JCCC representatives are at the station, and evacuation of personnel is under way.

In the past day, 1 DPR soldier was killed and 1 wounded. 8 violations were reported after midnight when a new ceasefire was supposed to start. (Russ.), (Engl.) 30 Mar. Another ceasefire agreed from Apr. 1, prior to approaching Easter. Poroshenko: I gave all the necessary instructions to the main headquarters and the MOD.

Basurin: prior to ceasefire, security situation sharply deteriorated. In the past day, 1 DPR soldier was wounded. 18 houses were damaged. (Russ.)(Engl). Later report: 2 civilians in Yasinovataya were killed by Ukrainian shelling (Engl). 90 years old woman suffered shrapnel wounds in Petrovskiy district of Donetsk.

Video report: a house on Sako and Vantseti street , Donetsk (map) was hit by Ukrainian shelling from Peski around midnight, civilian woman was killed.

30 Mar. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 6 people were killed (1 civilian woman, 2 civilian men, and 3 soldiers), 20 were wounded (2 civilian woman, 4 civilian men, and 14 soldiers).

29 Mar. DPR (Basurin): 1 DPR soldier was killed and 1 wounded. A civilian woman was killed in Kievskii district of Donetsk.

28 Mar. Donetsk-Severnyi, Donetsk outskirts, (map, approx.) is under heavy Ukrainian shelling for a while, with houses damaged or destroyed. Civilian man whose apartment was destroyed by a tank shell interviewed (Engl. subs) . Earlier video, Mar. 18, another house hit.

Some reports claim hotspots with elevated radiation levels in the area of Balakleya munition storage explosions (below, Mar. 23 entry). It is speculated that it may come form radiography devices such as БГИ-60 (gamma radiation source), which could be used for military hardware testing/maintenance. (Chief Ukraine's military prosecutor Anatoliy Matios stated that he cannot comment on what exactly was stored there as this information is secret, but 'what they write in blogoshpere, those from a neighboring country, or those who definitely do not like Ukraine--about radiation level--is total nonsense).

'Sberbank in Ukraine was bought by the son of the owner of “RussNeft” ' , Said Gutseriyev. This takes Sberbank Ukrainian branches out of Ukrainian sanctions, perhaps. (FT) , (ukropnews), (Sputnik).

27 Mar. DPR: in the pas day, 9 houses were damaged, 1 DPR soldier wounded. Preliminary Ukrainian reports: 3 Ukrainian soldiers were killed.

26 Mar. According to DPR MOD source, in the past day Ukraine fired 900 artillery and mortar shells, and over 1,500 shots from grenade launchers, BMP and BTR weapons. Official reports (Russ.)(Engl) no longer provide those figures. 7 houses were damaged; no casualties were reported.

Ukrainian Mi-2 crashed near Malinovka, in the vicinity of Kramatorsk, all 5 on board were killed. Crash video show small debris in a field. Official version is collision with power line; while L/DPR sources allege that Balakleya munition depot investigators were on board and there was an on-board explosion as part of a cover-up (report, videos).

24 Mar. Unofficial reports and photo of an attack on a military detachment in Donetsk, grenade launcher fired at a multi-storey building hitting 4th floor. Said to be DPR MOD building. (According to Strelkov social media post, also repeated in Ukrainian sources, 'by preliminary information' it was fired from a launcher set on timer; there were wounded).

DPR MOD (Basurin): in the past week, 467 violations by Ukraine incidents, 4950 banned by Minsk heavy weapons fired, 41 houses damaged (Russ.)(Engl).

DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 8 DPR soldiers killed (2 Ukrainian soldiers killed mentioned here too, 5 soldiers and 12 civilians wounded (MOD data: 3 DPR soldiers killed, 3 wounded, and 10 civilians (earlier, 8) wounded). From the start of the year, 83 soldiers and 6 civilians killed.

LPR: 56 violations by Ukraine, 2,084 shells and mortar rounds fired, 1 LPR soldier wounded. Ukrainian losses estimated as 15 dead, including non-combat losses and weapons incidents (Russ. video)(Engl text).

23. Mar. Russian Duma ex-deputy Voronenkov (wiki: charged with racketeering; escaped and emigrated to Ukraine) was killed in Kiev while on his way to meet another controversial/opposition Russian Duma ex -deputy Ponomarev (who disputes charges against Voronenkov). Attacker was wounded and is in hospital. Ukrainian sources: contract killing, investigation ongoing. Zorian Skyriak: can be provocation by Russian services. Russian sources report, no version promoted. Assassination video emerged; another video seconds after.

  • Killer died of his wounds in hospital, named as Ukrainian citizen Pavel Parshov, 28, from Dnepropetrovsk, wanted on fraud charges in Ukraine. He served in Ukrainian National guard for 1 year, according to Anton Gerashenko. Was fired for not fulfilling conditions of the contract, according to National Guard.
  • Elena Krechetnikova, an attorney, denied that she claimed that Parshov is alive, she represents Andrey Mandryka, not Parshov.
  • Flashback: Voronenkov wife, opera singer Maria Maksakova and ex-Duma deputy herself, sings quality duets with Sergei Naryshkin, Duma speaker at the time: "Bandits' Petersburg", year end 2015 Duma concert; and in 2014, HD.
  • In May '16, Maksakova lost Duma primaries. In Feb.'17, she was expelled from the ruling 'United Russia' party after it emerged that she has German double citizenship.
  • In Oct.' 16, Voronenkov and Maksakova suddenly relocated to Ukraine, amid sudden talk of Voronenkov testimony in Ukraine on Yanukovich case, criminal charges against him in Russia (filed awhile back, but as he was not reelected, his Duma deputy immunity was cleanly gone), his suddenly made public Ukrainian policy disagreements, as well as his interview hints of internal conflict within security services--he had a rank of colonel, and was involved in high profile narcotics investigations.
  • After the murder, it emerged that Maksakova is pregnant with her 4th child. She also has two children with Vladimir Tyurin, listed as a 'thief-in-law'.

Balakleya, Kharkov region: major fire and explosions at munitions depot (report, map, videos); later video with munitions, missiles flying out, big explosions; more video fragments from a close distance.

22 Mar. In response to Ukraine sanctioning branches of Russian banks, Russian Duma adopted a law banning money transfers from Russia via foreign payment systems, to any country sanctioning Russian systems. Russian payment systems, apart from banks, includes recently opened money services by social media vkontacte and odnoklassniki

20 Mar. Updated: Basurin report(Engl.): 3 DPR soldiers were killed and 2 wounded. 12 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 14 wounded in failed Kominternovo attack , 2 BMP and 1 tank were damaged. DPR evacuated bodies of 1 killed and 1 wounded Ukrainian soldier (who later died of his wounds). Bodies were recovered near DPR positions, indicating Ukrainian attack. Ukraine shelled front lines after attack failed, hitting some of their own soldiers. To distract attention, UAF shelled Vodyanoe village nearby (map) with 'Grads', filmed the attack in such a way that determining direction is difficult, and blamed opolchenie. Apparently refers to this video, showing serious shelling of a village.

Earlier: DPR sources: Ukrainian sabotage group loses ten fighters killed, five wounded in a breakthrough attempt near Kominternovo; 3 DPR soldiers were wounded. Not in official news but here: (Engl)(Russ.) (soc. media).
Official Ukrainian report claims that 3 UAF soldiers were killed, 9 wounded; give higher estimate for DPR losses; and blames DPR for the attacks...

Economy: Branches of Russian banks were sanctioned by Ukraine, prohibiting money transfers to Russia. Those banks started negotiating their sale. In February, Gazprom was imposed a fine of 172 bln hryvna (around $6.4 blns USD) for 'violating Ukrainian anti-monopoly law'; appealing the decision. Meanwhile, Ukrainian PM Groysman announced plans to buy coal in USA, Australia or South Africa (despite Ukrainian power plants designed for anthracite coal, available in Donbass but not from just anywhere; some earlier purchases were wasted). There is anthracite in Pennsylvania; but likely not cheap delivered.

19 Mar. DPR: 74 incidents of ceasefire violations by Ukraine ; number of shots not provided. 1 civilian wounded, 4 houses damaged.

IMF postponed discussion of the next 1 bln USD disbursement to Ukraine following Ukrainian blockade of rebel areas. Kiev vowed to conclude negotiations quickly.

18 Mar. DPR: 88 incidents of ceasefire violations by Ukraine; number of shots not provided. 3 civilians wounded, 8 houses damaged.

DPR: provocation similar to the one on 16 Feb. was repeated by Ukraine: houses in Avdeevka were shelled from tanks, 4 houses were damaged; an attempt to blame DPR was made.

17 Mar. Russian JCCC representatives came under Ukrainian fire in the area of Donetsk water filtering station where repair work was done (no word on injuries).

Plotniskii calls for a referendum on accession to Russia 'at an appropriate time', says if such referendum is held, results will be like in Crimea. (No indication of what time would be right was provided).

DPR weekly update(Engl.): 5,842 shots fired by Ukraine from banned under Minsk weapons (that will include heavy weapons but not small firearms; exact breakdown not given). 4 DPR soldiers and 1 civilian killed, 2 soldiers and 9 civilians wounded. 49 houses damaged. By official data, Ukrainian losses were 5 killed and 42 wounded, but DPR estimate is 24 killed and 79 wounded (based in part on information posted on social networks; details not really spelled out).

LPR weekly update(Engl). 121 ceasefire violations; total number of 'shells and mortar shells' is given as 'about 2600', however total on the graph is around 103 shots (possibly heavy weapons on the graph and all arms in the larger count, but not spelled out clearly). 1 LPR soldier wounded. According to LPR information, 10 known cases of UAF soldiers killed (including non-combat and 'Molot' mortar accident losses), and 30 wounded.

16 Mar. DPR 80 ceasefire violations (number of shots fired no longer given), 1 DPR soldier killed, 10 houses damaged.

Zakharchenko and Plotniskii attended celebrations of 3 year anniversary of Crimea reunification with Russia. In celebration speech, Zakharchenko vowed that Donbass will be 'Russian', and 'we by a land corridor will travel to Crimea' (to applause of those present and no clarification of how that is supposed to happen).

Ukrainian journalists arriving to Avdeevka came under shelling, and were invited to a hideout cellar by locals. Locals angrily told Ukrainian journalists that their reports misrepresent the events. 'Just live here for 3 years, and you will know who is shelling' (video).

Another video by Ukrainian TSN from Avdeevka; two locals interviewed blame Ukraine for shelling; while TSN plays a clip of high-rise house shelled (DPR called it a provocation staged by Ukraine).

15 Mar. Ukrainian national security and defense council announced that all roads and railroads leading to separation line will be blocked, and 'no provocations or sabotage will be allowed' -report + Turchinov on video. (Full blockade? Clearly goes directly against Minsk agreements. But according to MOI adviser Shkiryak, it is still possible to cross separation line on foot or in private vehicles after checks. So, monetizing border control?).

DPR: 82 violation incidents in the past day, 3058 shots fired, including 1057 from heavy weapons. 1 DPR soldier was killed. 1 civilian was killed and 1 wounded while repairing house roof, when shots were fired from the Ukrainian side.

14 Mar. Ukraine and Turkey sign several bilateral agreements, among them about free trade and about passport-free travel of citizens to the other country.

Basurin: in the past day, Ukraine fired 1710 shots, including 851 from heavy weapons, in 72 violation incidents. 13 houses were damaged.

12 Mar. Basurin: 65 incidents in the past day; DPR was shot at 1444 times, most of it (1273) from heavy weapons. 1 DPR soldier was killed and 1 wounded, 4 houses were damaged.

Also: 2 Ukrainian boats attempted reconnaissance in force from the sea, near Bezymennoe (map), entering DPR territorial waters and firing on DPR positions. DPR opened return fire, damaging one of the boats. According to DPR information, 2 UAF soldiers were killed and 3 wounded.

11 Mar. Basurin: in the past day, 88 violation incidents; 1456 shots fired, including 729 from heavy weapons (10 of those is MLRS). 1 DPR soldier was killed, 2 civilians wounded, 7 houses damaged.

Video emerged of a civilian high-rise, said to be in Avdeevka, repeatedly shelled from a close distance (short time interval from firing sound to impact) . Said to be done by Ukraine in front of the cameras of Ukrainian journalists. Address suggested is Vorobieva 15, Avdeevka (map). Appears to be coming from the south; there is also green/empty area to the east.

10 Mar. DPR was shelled 850 times (including 327 times from heavy weapons).

For the past week, the count is 13,192, including 4,556 from heavy weapons. 3 DPR soldiers were killed, 1 soldier and 2 civilians wounded.

It is said that Ukraine announced that 1 was killed, '9 wounded, and 10 injured' as a result of today's clashes- Rusvesna; 2 killed, 16 wounded or injured-- the official 'ATO' presentation.

LPR security services claimed to uncover organizers of assassinations of Givi and LPR police HQ chief Anashenko, blaming fighters, commander, and reconnaissance chief of Ukrainian 8th Special Purpose Regiment of the Special Operations Forces deployed in Khmelnytsky, Ukraine. It is said that training is provided by NATO instructors, and sabotage groups are formed to operate in L/DPR. (Independent confirmation of the claims is not available, and likely impossible). It is said that some Anashenko killing suspects were arrested. Further, interrogation video was posted where arrested suspect tells about attempted assassination of Bezler in Crimea, around Spring 2016, "by a soldier from our detachment with call name 'Odessa', who was "a right hand man" of the reconnaissance chief of the 8-th Regiment. Another suspect on a different video tells that he overheard the recon chief bragging about his role in Motorola murder. (So, Givi, Motorola, and an attempt on Bezler, all by the same Ukrainian assassins group? )

  • On longer videos same and additional suspects tell about their roles in Anashenko assassination, with detailed and fairly believable accounts given; also a car engulfed in flames is shown, said to be filmed by suspect after the assassination. No direct role of those in Givi/Motorola or Bezler attempt can be seen.
  • Anashenko assassination: 4 Feb'17 news; video.
  • Ukrainian HQ of special operations of UAF confirmed that on 11 February contact with a reconnaissance group operating in LPR was lost, and that LPR videos show them captured; however claimed that their task was reconnaissance only with no explosives or danger to population involved; and that admissions were forced.

8 Mar. In the past day, DPR was shelled 2,927 times, 2 civilians were wounded, in Krutaya Balka near Ysinovataya and in Kominternovo.

MH17 comments of a lawyer representing Russia in Hague court case brought by Ukraine were picked on in the West (though not much happened).

7 Mar. Gryzlov blames Kiev for failure of disengagement of forces in Stanitsa Luganskaya, LPR -TASS.

Klimkin in US Congress: 'the only way to talk to Russia is from a position of force' 'No agreements with Russia until it fulfills all items of Minsk agreements'--with most of the items for Ukraine to implement and no progress or even intention to do so (softer Engl. version tells about US support of Ukrainian positions).

Separation of forces in Stanitsa Luganskaya, LPR planned; Deinego doubts it will materialize...

6 Mar. Ukraine shelled DPR 2015 times, no military casualties; 8 houses were damaged, Donetsk water filtering station lost power and stopped. (Engl. version).

LPR shelled 19 times, one LPR soldier was killed (Marochko briefing video -Rus.)

5 Mar. Ukraine shelled DPR 2,483 times, 2 DPR soldiers were killed, 1 wounded. 28 houses were damaged, 20 of them in Gorlovka, 4 in Donetsk, 3 in Yasinovataya, 1 in Dokuchaevsk. (Engl. version).

4 Mar. Ukrainian 'ATO volunteers' blocked railroad traffic on one of the major lines connecting Russia and Ukraine in Konotop. Meanwhile, railroad traffic resumed in LPR.

A civilian seriously wounded in LPR.

3 Mar. Zakharchenko announced trade blockade of Ukraine. (Anthracite coal mined in Donbass is widely used in Ukraine; other possible suppliers include Russia and Kazakhstan).

In the past week, Ukraine shelled DPR 11,480 times, 3,994 from heavy weapons. 1 DPR soldier was killed, 2 wounded.

1 Mar. Contact group reached agreements on disengagement of forces near Stanitsa Luganskaya (LPR) and on situation at the Donetsk filtering station.

Ukraine shelled DPR 1774 times in the past day. 1 DPR soldier was killed and 1 wounded. (Engl.)


DPR Sakhanka: life goes on under shelling, 11 Oct. 2016

'Suburbia of life', about the effect of the war on life in small villages and towns. Shelling, destruction, economic hardship. Slow running, in Russian. Sept. 29, 2016.

More videos on talk page


Aftermaths of Ukrainian shelling of the village Zheltoe (Yellow), LPR, 29 Nov. 2016 lug-info.


Note on sources. At present, pro -Ukrainian and pro-Russian sources more often than not offer opposing claims on events, and a choice needs to be made. Currently factual part of reporting by pro-Russian sources appear more accurate, complete, and closer to truth, out of the two available alternatives. It is also less known, as the other side has greater support by the Western mass media. For that reason, a lot of reporting here is based on Russian sources. It is not done for the sake of supporting any pre-determined narrative. If and when Ukrainian sources appear more accurate, they will be used without a reservation.

Some Ukrainian source reporting is very good, for example Tatyana Montyan numerous videos, some of them translated, are spot-on and at times appear closer to reality than any pro-this or that narratives. However the bulk of Ukrainian media is unreliable, and often just unbelievable, not passing cross checks (e.g. as was illustrated numerous times by well-read on both sides Ukrainian journalist Anatoly Sharii); or else, is filled with hate and may cheer more people harmed or killed (any of such sort, from any side, is totally unsupported here).


Official Ukrainian sources

Ukrainian media


Minsk Agreements

Safety zone (no heavy weapons) agreed at Normandy format meeting in Minsk, 12.02.2015. Black: current front line; red-19 September line. At the bottom it says: source: the web site of the President of Russia


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Ukraine (2014 - Today)

ACLOS has covered events in Ukraine since the 2014 regime change and through the ensuing conflict. Three most important subjects among many considered:

  • Maidan snipers February, 2014 Analyzing the mysterious February, 2014 shootings that helped demonize Ukraine's government at just the right time.
  • Odessa Trade Union massacre May 2, 2014 Analyzing the killing of dozens of pro-federalism activists in Odessa, which the civilized world shrugged at and ignored. (based on numerous videos of the event, documented authorities response, and witness interviews; still mostly on talk pages).
  • MH17 (2014, July - Today)
Followed from the very beginning. However still remains mostly on talk page, sub-pages, and sub-page talk pages.

Kobane (2014, July, September - Today)

Main article: Assault on Kobane
Kobane water cannon.jpg

A very similar chain of events like years before in Ras Al-Ayn (see below), only this time it made the news (months after we started the article). Not least because this time, the attackers call themselves part of ISIS, the "newly arrived" enemy of all that's good and decent.

Ras Al-Ayn (November 8, 2012 - Today)

Main article: Assault on Ras Al-Ayn
Sere kaniye burial.jpg

Ras Al-Ayn, directly at the Turkish border in the north-east, early November 2012: The Kurdish dominated and mostly self-governed town gets assaulted by hundreds of Islamist fighters coming across the border from Turkey, under the eyes and with help of the Turkish military. After typical sectarian assaults on the civilian population, Kurdish militia takes up the fight against the foreigners. In the process of the following weeks, the town sees shelling by both the Syrian and the Turkish army, several defeats of the Islamists with retreat behind the Turkish border, and finally a fragile truce. On January 16, again large groups of foreign fighters with tanks cross the Turkish border and heavy clashes break out. After a month of heavy fighting, another peace agreement is signed on February 17. Five months later, following an Islamist attack on female Kurdish fighters, heavy clashes lead to the final conquer of the border station by the Kurds, which leads to increasing tensions in other parts of the region. As of mid September 2013, hundreds of Islamist fighters are trying to besiege the city while the Kurds are fully mobilizing.

Tremseh (July 12, 2012)

Main article: Tremseh massacre
Confiscated tunisian passports.jpg

When news of this alleged massacre reached the media, it came with alarming numbers of up to 300 civilians murdered in the small village of Tremseh northwest of Hama. In the following hours and days, both pro- and anti-government sources helped to clear the picture of what is now mostly called the "Battle of Tremseh" between the army and anti-government fighters who had used the village as their base for operations in the region. The real death toll seems to be some civilians caught in the crossfire and a couple of dozen killed anti-government fighters. In addition, many including foreigners were arrested and their arms and equipment confiscated.

Other research...