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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

12 Nov. Reinforced, the SAA starts a new offensive against ISIS at the al Safa volcanic fields.

Fights between SAA and al Qaeda "rebels" along the Idlib demarcation line continue.

ANHA publishes a report about what they call the "systematic Turkification policy" in Turkish-occupied Afrin canton.

Pro-Erdogan Turkish newspaperYeni Safak claims that the US "is monitoring Turkey from military bases located near border". It claims that the US has three bases in Manbij, 22 over the whole Syrian north, three military runways, a radar system and seven resupply lines from the south(ern oil fields) to the north(ern border region).

Hajin pocket

11 Nov. An SDF statement announces the resumption of the suspended offensive against ISIS in the Hajin pocket. It also announces that a high-ranking leader of the terror cult was arrested during a special operation in Raqqa.

10 Nov. Arab clan elders in Hasakah province issue a statement of support for the SDF in case of any Turkish cross-border aggression.

The military chief of the 6,000 fighters strong FSA "Hamza division" tells Daily Sabah that they completed training by the Turkish military and are ready to fight the US-supported YPG east of the Euphrates now. As Joshua Landis points out, the Hamza Divison was originally vetted and armed by the US to fight Assad.

9 Nov. According to SOHR, coalition airstrikes on the Hajin pocket have again caused many civilian deaths, at one target today "twenty-six IS family members including 14 children and 9 women".

A captured ISIS member tells his interrogators that the ISIS cell in the al Safa volcanic fields gets supply directly and indirectly from the US Army base at al Tanf to the north-east of it.

SANA publishes details on the liberated ISIS hostages.

8 Nov. Based on the controversial so-called Caesar Report, France indicts and issues arrest warrants against three Syrians including Assad intimus Ali Mamlouk for complicity in torture, disappearances and crimes against humanity.

The SAA liberates 19 women abducted months ago in as-Sweida by ISIS in an operation in Homs desert.

A SANA correspondent is sentenced to four years in prison in Turkey for "insulting the state and the Turkish government". According to SANA, his real "crime" is that he exposed Turkish aid to terrorist groups through its border policies.

The Turkish army again shells border villages in Kobane and Tal Abyad countryside.

7 Nov. At a film screening at the European Parliament, the protagonist of the film, a YPJ commander during the defense of Kobane, is present through a video call and urges the EU to "stop the Turkish state" from destroying the progress made in Rojava.

The SAA at Al Safa volcanic fields receives reinforcements from Syrian and Russian special forces after the recent attacks by the surrounded ISIS forces there.

6 Nov. After having arrived there recently with the UN convoy, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent is carrying out a vaccination campaign for the children of Rukban camp.

5 Nov. According to Turkish state news agency Anadolu, YPG and ISIS made a deal earlier this year to hand over seven US soldiers captured by ISIS in exchange for the YPG leaving some oil wells for the terror cult to take over. The US denies the allegations.

According to Novaya Gazeta, six Russian mercenaries of the "Wagner" company are among 11 victims of an explosion in a former police station between Damascus and Deir ez-Zor.

4 Nov. Iraqi PMU forces stand at the border willing to take up the fight against ISIS in the Hajin pocket after the SDF halted its efforts. They are waiting for the Syrian and Iraqi governments to make an agreement.

According to its chief pharmacist, Syria is exporting medicine to 16 countries, down from a pre-crisis number of 56 countries.

The US continues to be accused of using banned white phosphorus ammunition in their air attacks on Hajin pocket.

3 Nov. After several attempts failed due to security reasons, a Russian-escorted UN humanitarian aid convoy finally reaches Al Rukban camp in the illegally US-occupied Al Tanf pocket.

2 Nov. There are continuous skirmishes happening between SAA and Al Qaeda across the Idlib buffer zone.

According to SOHR, Turkish intelligence is mobilizing its proxy forces west of the Euphrates for the expected operation to the east of it.

Turkish military expands its cross-border artillery attacks further east from the previous targets Kobane and Tal Abyad to Ras al-Ayn.

Two young reporters of ANHA agency are attacked and injured by Turkish military while covering the attacks on the Syrian border towns. The agency directs a statement at international human rights organizations.

1 Nov. The surrounded ISIS gangs in Al Safa volcanic fields conduct a number of attacks with considerable SAA casualties.

31 Oct. In a wide ranging press briefing, Konashenkov shares details about new chemical weapon provocations planned in Idlib by the Turkistan Islamic Party gang, and blames ISIS' recent gains in the Euphrates valley on the US' "inability to efficiently fight terrorism" and the fact that the terror cult is still supplied with weapons and equipment through channels the Russians don't name but claim to monitor.

The SDF announces that it will halt the operation in the Hajin pocket because of the need of defense against the Turkish attacks on Rojava in the northern border regions.

30 Oct. Erdogan announces that Turkey has finished preparations for a large scale operation against the YPG east of the Euphrates.

Reuters reports that Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen will replace Staffan de Mistura as United Nations Syria envoy at the end of November, with the approval of all five permanent members of the Security Council and Syria.

29 Oct. Putin appoints a new Russian ambassador to Syria.

After ISIS' recent gains towards the Iraqi border, the PMU sends reinforcements to safeguard their side of the border.

Mark Ames exposes how Bellingcat collaborated with ShamiWitness, the most influential ISIS propagandist on Twitter.

28 Oct. The Turkish army uses the first anniversary of the liberation of Raqqa from ISIS for attacks across the border east of the Euphrates on villages in Kobane countryside. Meanwhile ISIS uses sandstorms as cover for further counterattacks in the Hajin pocket, taking back several villages from the SDF. Sandstorms also hit Rukhban camp in the illegal US protectorate around al Tanf and kill over 20 refugees.

27 Oct. On initiative of Erdogan, a four-way summit about Syria with the leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France is taking place in Istanbul. It is meant as addition to the ongoing Geneva and Astana processes and, judged by the Turkish foreign minister's words, apparently to lure France and Germany away from the "Syria small group" around UKUS and the Arab Kingdoms. (Hürriyet)(TASS)

Firat News Agency interviews a member of the MSD presidential council about the developments in Rojava and why he thinks that all governments of the region are afraid of their model.

26 Oct. Joshua Landis' blog publishes an interview with Lebanon's minister for refugee affairs about the situation of the around 1.5 million Syrians living in the country.

ISIS continues to fiercely resist and even counter the SDF's attempt to progress in the Hajin pocket.

25 Oct. An exchange of bodies and prisoners between ISIS and SAA takes place at the al Safa volcanic fields, which according to reports is part of a larger deal with the goal that the terror cult leaves the south-eastern desert spot and withdraws to the Hajin pocket or to the Hama desert.

24 Oct. Another alleged massacre by US-led "coalition" bombardments of al-Susah is reported by loyalist sources, while Kurdish sources report that almost all of the village has been conquered today after several days of intense fighting.

23 Oct. A mixed US-SDF patrol near Manbij, including US special forces, gets under fire from "unknown" forces, likely Turkish-backed.

22 Oct. As part of a nation-wide campaign for early detection of breast cancer, a march takes place in Qamishli. Syria's first lady has recently been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and pictured with a headscarf, which she doesn't usually wear.

21 Oct. Russian media of unknown reliability report "some US successes in electronic warfare against Russian installations in Syria".

Shoigu says around 88,000 militants were killed by the Russian military during their three years long operation.

20 Oct. According to several sources, the US-led "coalition" has bombed several non-military targets including a mosque in al-Susah village in the Hajin ISIS pocket and killed a total of 62 civilians in recent days. The US command comments that those were legitimate targets used by ISIS. The SDF reports intense fighting over the village.

19 Oct. According to SANA, a large explosion in a plant near the Turkish border in Idlib province was an accident caused by experimentation on the manufacturing of conventional and chemical weapons, with foreign "experts" present.

There are ceasefire violations at several places along the Idlib de-escalation zone, including the western border of Aleppo city.

18 Oct. At Valdai, Putin picks up the remarks of the Reconciliation Center about ISIS taking 700 hostages and moving them to the Hajin pocket last weekend. According to him, the terror cult threatens to kill 10 people a day if demands not specified are not followed, and has started to put their threats into practice the day before yesterday. US officials "rebut" the claims.

A Legal Status Settling Center for returning citizens to use the general amnesty is installed at the freshly-opened Nassib border crossing with Jordan.

17 Oct. At a PYD meeting, the co-chair asks the Syrian government to stop the language of threats and look into ways of implementing the system of Democratic Confederalism envisioned by Öcalan, calling it the only solution for the whole region.

Kurdish sources report that the Manbij defense lines got attacked by Turkish forces and their proxies.

16 Oct. Erdogan again accuses the US of failing to make the YPG leave Manbij and threatens to take military steps if the situation isn't resolved soon.

The Turkish military reinforces its observation points in the Idlib buffer zone on the first day after the deadline to demilitarize it, which al Qaeda/Nusra/HTS refused to do.

15 Oct. The Nassib border crossing to Jordan is re-opened for the first time in over three years. Also, the Quneitra crossing to the occupied Golan Heights is re-opened for the first time in four years.

al Qaeda releases a statement reaffirming that they will not comply with the Russian-Turkish Idlib agreement that asked them to leave the to-be buffer zone until today. It is Turkey's agreed duty to make them leave, and some of the groups they control have done so in recent days.

The Syrian foreign minister and the political wing of the SDF have an indirect exchange of words over their ideas on how to move on with the situation west and east of the Euphrates.

According to the Russian Reconciliation center, on October 13 ISIS has attacked a refugee camp in Deir ez-Zor province, abducted 700 people and taken them back to the Hajin pocket to be used as human shields.

14 Oct. Syria takes the white phosphorus issue to the UN.

13 Oct. There are reports that the US-led "coalition" has used banned white phosphorus weapons in their attacks of the ISIS stronghold Hajin. Russia calls for an investigation.

The public radio and TV infrastructure in Deir ez-Zor province is completely working for the first time in seven years.

Amnesty International's new Secretary General Kuma Naidoo visits Raqqa and shows himself "shocked" by the devastation left by the US-led "coalition"'s bombs. It "defies logic" that anybody is still able to live there, he added.

11 Oct. Ursula Behr is buried in the Latin cemetery of Damascus' al-Tabbaleh neighbourhood.

9 Oct. Terminally ill friend of ACLOS "Urs" dies on her last wish journey to Syria at age 58, after opening an exhibition of her art in Damascus. (German language report by her husband about their last trip to Maaloula). Condolences and may she rest in peace.

Assad issues Decree 18 which grants "general amnesty for military deserters inside and outside the country and the crimes included in the Military Penalties Law", including fugitives from justice if they turn themselves in in four months inside and six months outside the country.

Trump announces that UN ambassador Nikki Haley will leave her post at the end of the year.

An al Watan report finds that Turkey is responsible for deploying up to 7,000 Turkistani Jihadis to Syria over the years.

7 Oct. Assad speaks in front of the Baath party's central committee on latest developments.

6 Oct. Moscow calls on the UNHCR to help to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.

5 Oct. After complaining for some time about the US' delay to implement the Manbij agreement, Turkey now through state-owned Anadolu Agency claims that against the US' wishes, the YPG instead of leaving is digging trenches and preparing for the defense of the town.

4 Oct. ISIS executes another of the Druze women they kidnapped in the villages of as-Sweida in August, threatening to kill them all if the SAA doesn't stop their advance in the al Safa volcanic fields where the cult's gangs are surrounded without access to fresh water.

According to IDF sources, Israel plans to commit its future war crimes against Syria with the F-35i fighter jet to counter the S-300 defense system.

Israel and Syria are in a state of war since the establishment of Israel, 1948, with an armistice agreement. War conventions ban attacking civilians, grossly disproportionate response, etc. Israel is a signatory of Hague convention. Both Israel and Syria are signatories of Geneva conventions, but not all its protocols.

3 Oct. Friend of ACLOS "Urs", terminally ill with cancer, has fulfilled her last wish and seen Syria with her own eyes.

The series of assassinations of high-ranking Nusra leaders in Idlib continues with several victims in recent days, all foreigners from the Caucasus and Central Asia.

The EU parliament withholds 70 million € aid to Turkey because of "violations of human rights and the freedom of the press".

2 Oct. According to ANNA News, a first S-300 system has come into service with the SAA. According to Shoigu, 49 pieces of military equipment have been delivered, including four S-300 launchers. (videos of unloading)

The 4th "Re-Build Syria" expo starts in Damascus.

Both Israel and Syria have expressed their readyness to re-open the Quinetra crossing into the occupied Golan heights.

1 Oct. Peter Korzun takes a look at three years of direct Russian involvement in Syria which started on September 30, 2015.

Iran hits targets in the ISIS pocket at the very east of the Syrian Euphrates with ballistic missiles, claiming that it was in retaliation for the terrorist attack in Ahvaz and killed several ringleaders.

On the International Day for the elderly, 6% of Syria’s population are above 60 years old. For comparison, the global number of people over 60 is 13%, in the US 22%, in Germany 28% and in Japan 33%.

30 Sep. Advancing in the al-Safa volcanic fields, the SAA busts an ISIS hide-out and kills a high-ranking leader and his four bodyguards.

Firat News Agency interviews Salih Muslim about the situation in Idlib, Afrin and the rest of Syria.

Jaysh al-Izza, a large "rebel" fraction in Idlib, counted as "moderate" and Turkish-backed, releases a statement rejecting the to-be-created buffer zone of the Turkish-Russian agreement. Meanwhile, their ally Faylaq al-Sham has started to retreat from the area, as reported by Al Masdar citing SOHR. Later the group issues a statement saying that they are staying where they were and the news is false.

29 Sep. Foreign minister Walid al-Moallem delivers Syria's speech at the UN General Assembly.

Iraq: Adel Abdel Mahdi, known for politics trying to balance the influence of Iran and the US, becomes the country's new prime minister.

28 Sep. Erdogan accuses the US of not keeping its promises regarding the roadmap in Manbij, complaining that the YPG hasn't left the city.

Lavrov says that the S-300 delivery to Syria has already begun.

27 Sep. The Saudi foreign minister calls the Idlib agreement "excellent".

26 Sep. Trump takes credit for stopping the Idlib offensive with a single tweet.

Syria and Jordan are preparing to re-open the strategic Nassib border crossing in the coming weeks.

25 Sep. The Israeli security cabinet orders the IDF to "continue to act against Iran’s military build-up in Syria without stopping coordination on Syria with the Russian military."

24 Sep. Russian Defense Minister Shoigu announces that Syria will get S-300 air defense systems within two weeks and "underscores" that the planned delivery was halted in 2013 by request of Israel in a situation that "has now changed". Russia will equip Syrian air defenses with 'friend-foe' system so far only available to the Russian forces. In Syrian offshore areas, radio -electronic suppression of satellite navigation and airborne radar and communication systems of combat aviation attacking objects on Syrian territory will be deployed (Shoigu statement on video starts with re-stating the Russian version of IL-20 shoot-down). Later, Putin has phone conversations with Assad and Netanyahu.

A German court sentences a Syrian man to life in prison for war crimes he committed in Aleppo as a "rebel" commander, including plundering, kidnapping and torture. The man was identified in Germany by a survivor of his crimes.

At an exhibition for sustainable development in Italy, the organization of the economy in Rojava is presented.

23 Sep. Following a Russian MoD presentation about the details of the downing of their IL-20 plane, in which they stay by their initial assessment that Israel deliberately used it as cover and is therefore to blame for the accidental Syrian downing of the plane, Israel insists that this information is false and they also warned the Russians in time about their actions.

Eva Bartlett publishes an English-language video interview she conducted yesterday with Syrian comedian Treka.

Syrian inventors win 15 medals at int’l exhibition in China.

According to the regional head of the opposition Future of Syria Party, Turkey has started to move Al Nusra (HTS) fighters from the to-be-created Idlib buffer zone into Afrin canton, where the YPG is now fighting a guerilla war against the Turkish army and their proxy "rebels".

22 Sep. Unnamed Turkish officials talking to Middle East Eye share details about the Idlib deal with the Russians and how it came into being.

SANA reports that according to local witnesses, helicopters of the US-led "coalition" have evacuated a number of ISIS commanders from the village of al Marashida in the Euphrates pocket near Hajin.

21 Sep. After three days of battle, the SDF have liberated the village of Al Bagouz and are now heading towards Hajin, the last town on the banks of the very eastern Euphrates occupied by ISIS, thought to be the hide-out of some of their remaining leadership.

The SDF hands over a Sudanese woman and her baby to a diplomat of her home country. The woman was one of over 500 who were captured in the fight against ISIS, in addition to over 1,000 children and over 500 fighters, all foreign nationals from 44 countries. The SDF calls on their home countries to take them back and doesn't see it as their duty or even inside their capabilities to put them on trial/keep them detained.

Rumours about US-Russian negotiations over an evacuation of the Rukban refugee camp inside the artificially created US protectorate around Al Tanf persist and seem to substantiate.

SANA publishes what is said to be 3 slightly different versions of staged chemical attack videos. White helmets emblem is briefly seen on video, in quite poor quality. See Rusvesna report. (Originally published by SMM Syria in July 2017)

20 Sep. According to an CSTO statement, more than 2,500 ISIS fighters have been transferred from Syria to Afghanistan in 2018. The statement does not say how and by whom this movement was organized, but calls Afghanistan the new "principal center" of the terror cult.

Borders of Idlib zone: West
Borders of Idlib zone: South
Borders of Idlib zone: East

19 Sep. Nebenzia tells the UNSC that preparations for chemical weapons provocations in Idlib are still going on.

The hardcore Islamist groups in the Idlib pocket reject the Turkish-Russian agreement which expects them and their heavy weapons to leave the to-be-created demilitarized zone by October 15 (map showing zones in question).

The UAE's The National publishes the full text of the Russian-Turkish memorandum as submitted to the UNSC in Russian and English.

The PYD turns 15 years old.

The SAA seizes ISIS' last water resource in the volcanic field of Al Safa.

The SDF continues to make slow progress against ISIS in the very east of the Euphrates after having taken an important bridge the day before.

18 Sep. Russia has formally complained to Israel about its air raid on Monday, which led to the downing of a Russian IL-20 plane off the Syrian coast. Moscow has laid the blame for the crew’s deaths “squarely on the Israeli side”, which had only given a warning one minute before the attack, so there was no time to get the IL-20 out of the way of the Syrian air defense which seems to have accidentally hit it. 15 Russian soldiers were killed. Russia vows to respond. Russia also accuses France of firing cruise missiles and thus being partly responsible for the crash. France denies any involvement. (Sputnik Newsticker)

Both Syria and Iran welcome the Turkish-Russian Idlib deal.

17 Sep. Following a meeting by the presidents and defense ministers of Russia and Turkey in Sochi, a memorandum is signed expressing the intend to install by October 15 a 15-20 km wide demilitarized zone along the contact line of the Idlib zone, which will be policed by both Russian and Turkish troops. Included in this zone is the crucial M5 highway which shall be reopened by the end of the year. No further military operations are planned (Putin-Erdogan press conference).

In the evening a larger number of missiles apparently coming from the Mediterranean Sea target spots in the coastal regions of Syria. Some are intercepted by air defense while others hit. So far it is unclear who committed these acts of war.

The hacker group Syrian Electronic Army releases footage allegedly showing the planing of a fake chemical attack video by the White Helmets.

Former UK ambassador to Syria Peter Ford issues a Bluffer's guide to bombing Syria countering "talking points" developed by FUKUS "propaganda mills".

16 Sep. In local elections all across government-held Syria, over 40,000 candidates run for over 18,000 seats in local administration councils.

15 Sep. In the evening SANA reports that air defense is shooting down Israeli missiles attacking Damascus International Airport.

Another Russian Reconciliation Center warning says that several canisters of chlorine have been delivered by Nusra fighters to the village of Bsanqul.

14 Sep. According to Ziad Fadel citing Ba'ath party sources, there are a total of around 300,000 people in the Idlib pocket, 33,000 of whom are fighters. According to recent UN statements, "at least" 3 million civilians are endangered by a possible Idlib operation. Wikipedia has the pre-war 2010 population at around 1,5 million people.

SAA sources talking to Al Masdar say that there is no plan to take back the whole Idlib pocket at the moment.

Several convoys of Turkish military are spotted entering Idlib province, apparently to reinforce the 12 observation points.

The US military conducts drills with "rebel" groups in their illegal protectorate around Al Tanf.

13 Sep. The battle between ISIS and the SAA in the volcanic field of Al Safa is still going on.

The battle between ISIS and the SDF in the Euphrates green belt close to the Iraqi border is still going on. In the process the YPG says they have captured a key ISIS figure of Italian citizenship who is providing crucial information for the further fight against the remains of the terror cult.

12 Sep. SANA comes out with its own warning about staged chlorine attacks, according to which the play shall take place at several spots in Jisr al-Shughour, the al-Ghab plains and northern Hama countryside.

11 Sep. Bashar al-Assad turns 53 years old.

The Russian Reconciliation Center in its daily briefing states that today several TV teams including "a regional branch of a leading US news channel" have arrived in Jisr al-Shughour and are filming the anticipated false flag chemical attack. Ziad Fadel describes more alleged details from his sources, including the composition of the US/UK film crew and a wikimapia link to the alleged place of the scene, near the village/suburb Shughour Tahtani just north-east outside of Jisr al-Shughour.

According to Belgian researcher of Jihadi networks Pieter van Ostaeyen, a purge of Idlib "rebels" Telegram accounts occurs.

10 Sep. Research by Dutch media shows that their government has supported "rebel" groups classified as terrorists with 25 million € worth of "non-lethal aid" including pick-up trucks, starting in 2015. The government says they have stopped the program in early 2018 due to their own, similar assessment.

Robert Fisk reports for Independent from Syria and finds no military build-up in the parts of Idlib border region he traveled.

9 Sep. A certain Dion Nissenbaum in The Wallstreet Journal has proverbial anonymous US officials claiming that Assad has approved a chlorine gas attack in Idlib.

8 Sep. RU MoD: after a rebel's meeting on 7 Sep., preparations for a chemical attack provocation are to be finalized by the end of the day today, 8 Sep. (robo-translation)

According to Russian and Syrian pro-government sources (1) rebel's multiple-launch rocket attack on a Christian town of Mahardah left 10 civilians killed, among them 5 children, 23 people were injured. (2) Russian and Syrian forces delivered sustained airstrikes on rebel's positions; those were presented as in response to the rebel attacks. Those strikes are also reported by SOHR and Western media (Rusvesna photos, videos, robo-translation; Southfront; SOHR; BBC).

Iranian rocket attack on Kurdish KDP, PDKI parties headquarters in Iraqi town of Koya killed a number of people-reports (1,2, video, Cassad (names,photos, video)).

7 Sep. The Iranian, Russian and Turkish presidents are meeting in Tehran to discuss the situation in Syria and especially in the de-escalation zone Idlib, including expected chemical provocations. They produce a joint statement.

At the UNSC Ja'afari states that Syria will not bow to FUKUS threats and attempted blackmail.

YouTube terminates the SANA channel.

US Marines start training exercises near al-Tanf, inside Syria (OIR version). This follows media reports that pro-Assad coalition threatened to clear that area.

This 'conveniently-timed' report includes text (Rus) and video of interrogation of a prisoner, said to belong to ISIS, who says he was trained and equipped 'by Americans'; training claimed to occur in Er- Rubkan camp (map), in al-Tanf area. Report cannot be independently confirmed and appeared in Russian sources. Prisoner responds in a weak voice, and does utter 'Americans'. No obvious signs of mistreatment on video.

6 Sep. The new US State Department special adviser on Syria, James Franklin Jeffrey, states that there's lots of evidence that Syria is preparing a chemical attack in Idlib. "I am very sure that we have very, very good grounds to be making these warnings", he claims.

The 60th edition of the Damascus International Fair begins. Eva Bartlett reports.

4 Sep. Reports of Syrian (or Syrian and Russian) airstrikes in Idlib (Almadar, Topwar, Cassad, photos, Rusvesna). Also, Syrian reports on Israeli airstrikes in Syria.

2 Sep. In the early morning hours, several big explosions rock Mezzeh military airport near Damascus. It is first speculated about another Israeli attack, but the SAA says a short circuit led to a fire in one ammunition depot which exploded and caused several others to explode as well. They stored stuff taken from "rebels" marked to be destroyed anyway, it is said.

1 Sep. The activist known as "Syriangirl" publishes part one of a video interview with Peter Ford, UK ambassador to Syria from 2003-2006.

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Chemical Weapons (starting late 2012)

Main article: Category:Chemical Weapons
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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. This trend continued when in early April 2017 the topic hit big news again, just to return once more a full year later.

Aleppo Aid Convoy Attack (September 19, 2016)

Main article: Attack on Red Crescent convoy in Urm al-Kubra
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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."

Houla (May 25, 2012)

Main article: The Houla massacre
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The initial ACLOS investigation. 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
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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.


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Ukraine News

17 Nov. Krivoy Rog, Ukraine. A few dozen strong Ukrainian-speaking group, alternatively described as 'outraged citizen', 'provocateurs', or 'autocephaly supporters' arrive at the residence of Metropolitan of Krivoy Rog and Nikopol Ephraim, to bang on his doors, and to display posters for the cameras ('we need our church, not Putin's', 'leave Moscow, return to Ukraine', etc; video here). Earlier Ephraim has been added to the 'Mirotvorets' list and asked to leave Ukraine, 'before it is too late'.

A civilian man, 1990 DOB, is wounded by Ukrainian shelling of Trudovskaya mine-pit settlement, Donetsk.

16 Nov. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 5 people (4 soldiers and a civilian woman) were wounded; no deaths reported. 4716 killed in DPR since the start of the conflict, according to the ombudsman.

15 Nov. Ukraine shelled Golmovskii settlment near Gorlovka, a civilian woman (1999 DOB) was wounded. DPR issued an appeal to OSCE after the incident.

13 Nov. The Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) decided to stop the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. They adopted a 12 point document (full text), which supports 'in principle' independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, but rejects recent changes announced by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and describe them as being against church rules (non-canonical), and politically driven. The church will use legal means to defend its rights. An appeal to other christian orthodox churches will be prepared.

Poroshenko meeting with bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) was scheduled, but did not occur. (It appears that the place of the meeting, church grounds or 'Ukrainian House' center was not agreed.)

12 Nov. In Krivoy Rog, Ukraine, people captured the building of heating gas provider "Krivorozhgaz" , forced open the valves, started five out of six city's central heating boiler plants. Earlier, Naftogaz of Ukraine refused to supply gas to the Krivoy Rog Heating Plant due to non-payments.

11 Nov. DPR elections: over 80% (1.6 mln. people) reportedly voted, Pushilin wins over the other 4 candidates with 60.85% of the vote. Coming second (14.2%) is Roman Hramenkov, dentist, chief doctor, ex acting head of Enakievo, Gorlovka, and current MP. (Notes in talk).

LPR elections: 77% attendance, 68.3% for the acting head Pasechnik.

On the eve of elections, Ukrainian forces shelled DPR, including suburbs of Donetsk and Gorlovka.

10 Nov. Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two wounded by a landmine explosion. Also according to Ukrainian spokesman 2 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the past day in Lugansk direction 'by shelling'. Both LPR and Ukrainian sources give the number of shelling incidents as four. They do not fully agree on time and place, making those not reliable.

9 Nov. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, one DPR soldier was killed, 2 wounded. According to the ombudsman, 4716 killed since the start of the conflict.

DPR: Ukraine is preparing provocation, shelling during a visit of 'EU Parliament Assembly representative' Rasa Juknevičienė (Wikipedia) + Parubiy (Wikipedia) of the checkpoint Gnutovo (map) today at 13:00 (now).

8 Nov. LPR. As a result of Ukrainian shelling, a civilian man (Valerii Azarenkov, 1955 DOB) was killed. Report includes photo of the body and of the weapon -mortar shell DIY-modified for RPG launch, details on time, place, and the map. It is said that shelling happened during negotiated by JCCC cessation of fire to perform repair work, and it is said that OSCE SMM patrol was present.

Volker -Surkov want to have another meeting (with no signs of change of approach). Volker announced new US sanctions, Donbass-Crimea linked, in the same conference call.

5 Nov. DPR warns that with approaching elections in L/DPR Ukraine is preparing provocations, which may include staged chemical attacks (it is said that CBR protection suits were distributed), or 'photos claiming to show weapons supplied by Russia', possibly 'a drone recently lost by Russian Emergencies Ministry and fished-out by Ukraine' or other equipment, 'as Russian weapons are widely bought internationally.

4 Nov. On the day of a Christian orthodox holiday, UAF is shelling DPR position using firearms, mortars, BMP guns. Firefights in hot-spots (Bakhmutka and others) reported. DPR shot down two 'strike (ударный) drones' near Sakhanka.

3 Nov. DPR. Ukrainian drone dropped incendiary munitions on a residential house in Staromikhailovka, the roof burned. Another drone strike reported while the crew was on the scene for the first incident. It is said that AGS-17, RPG 7, and DIY tennis ball munitions used in such drone strikes. (Report and video from the scene).

Poroshenko wants Turkey to take part in UN peacekeeping mission in Donbass (almost surely a non-starter for Russia, as Turkey is a NATO member, + vocal in non-recognizing Crimea).

1 Nov. UAF shelled Donetsk suburbs, several houses on the same street were damaged; Ukrainian use of tanks, artillery, snipers, drones reported in the south.

Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko calls for peace in Donbass, talks about responsibility, especially of the 3 Slavic nations, to end the conflict, offers to contribute peacekeepers.

Documentary Donbass Post-charismatic period. Special report, post-Zakharchenko assassination, highlights frozen conflict, human suffering, lack of perspective, one sided compliance with Minsk by the pro-Russian side while Ukraine after recent 'all means fair' statements by Poroshenko frequently violates ceasefire, in order to pressure and harass civilian population.

30 Oct. Volunteers from DPR, Russia, and Germany delivered humanitarian aid to residents of Naberezhnoe settlement, DPR, located on the separation line. On the German side, the aide is coming from Bridge for Peace charity. Its president, Liane Kilinc (Facebook), was present and is interviewed at the end of the video. She has a youtube channel with more videos (unfortunately, with low viewership). Getting volunteer help for Donbass is getting harder even in Russia, and very few volunteers internationally. (Noted, in the linked video Liane Kilinc is presented as MP-Brandenburg; it appears that she is not currently a MP ).

Situation in L/DPR, in particular Nov. 11 elections, is to be discussed at the UN, proposed by Ukraine, and supported by FUKUS + Poland, Netherlands and Sweden. Russia objected to the discussion to be closed, insisted on an open discussion, and proposed to invite L/DPR representatives. The UN voted on the proposal to invite Yelena Kravhcenko, LPR elections committee chairwoman. This proposal was rejected as the above Western countries voted against. Russia's UN representative Nebenzya: There are strong reasons to believe that the Ukrainian side has to do with the murder of the head of the DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko.

26 Oct. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 4 DPR soldiers were killed, 5 people (4 soldiers and a civilian man) were wounded. According to ombudsman data, since the start of the conflict 4713 people were killed, among them 614 women, 4099 men, including 81 children.

22 Oct. Four DPR soldiers were killed by Ukrainian fire in the past day, three of them from shelling of Leninskoe settlement in the south. One more soldier was killed in Kominternovo by sniper fire.

20 Oct. Yulia 'Gas Princess' Timoshenko records political-populism-drama filled video following Poroshenko- approved 23.5 % heating gas prices hikes, says that this and subsides slashed will cause severe hardship, tells that in 7 months Poroshenko will be gone following elections, for her to reduce gas prices 2-2.5 times (video, emotional enough to stand without translation).

DPR media has many articles on small economic miracles to be accomplished by Pushilin once he is elected DPR head. His early-days opolchenie-backed opponent Gubarev was refused registration to run in the elections, attributed to some nit-picking about voters signatures on his nomination papers.

A civilian man, a resident of Donetsk, was wounded by a land mine explosion near Trudovskaya mine pit, lost both legs.

17 Oct. In an event at Kerch Polytechnic College on Crimea, involving explosives and shooting, at least 19 people are killed. CCTV shows an armed 18 year old student of the institute (witness reports).

16 Oct. Unconfirmed reports say that a Ukrainian and a US pilot were killed in a crash of Ukrainian SU-27 plane. The flight was part of training exercises involving Ukrainian and NATO soldiers. It was reported that training program was altered to allow for study of Ukrainian S-300 air defense systems and Ukrainian air force operations, as those have similarities with the Russian forces (albeit incomplete, and based on shared Soviet past).

15 Oct. Russian Orthodox Church breaks all ties with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, over the latter moves to establish autocephalous church of Ukraine.

Russian and US politicians, businessmen gather for Fort Ross Dialogue forum in San Francisco.

13 Oct. LPR. A woman and a teenage girl (said to be mother and daughter) are killed by Ukrainian mortar fire.

Ukrainian journo Dmitry Gordon: 'the revolution of dignity' (Maidan'14) is a hoax (наебалово, giant mindfuck), it would be better if it did not happen at all. (video)

12 Oct. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 5 soldiers were killed, 10 people (9 soldiers and a civilian man) were wounded. DPR people's militia weekly report, here.

9 Oct. Ukraine fired 45 mortar shells on DPR in the morning -JCCC.

According to Ukrainian sources, the fire and explosions at the ammunition depot near the town of Ichnya in the Chernihiv region began with a 122 mm Grad missile storage, and then spread to mortar mines, tank and howitzer large-caliber shells -Rusvesna

8 Oct. In the evening Ukrainian forces fired on Petrovsky district of Donetsk, a school and 3 residential houses were damaged.

1 Oct. DPR ombudsman: in the period 21-27 Sept, 4 DPR soldiers were killed, 10 civilians were wounded. According to DPR data, since the start of the conflict 4,693 people were killed, including 614 women and 78 children.

27 Sep. DPR: Ukraine fired on marked ambulance car, killing two DPR soldiers (call names Sirena and Skif; photos) and wounding another soldier. A DPR soldier was wounded in Ukrainian shelling of Kominternovo in the south earlier, the ambulance was evacuating that soldier.

26 Sep. Alexander Hug is set to leave his post of assistant head of OSCE SMM on 31 Oct. (interview). The name of his successor was not released.

25 Sep. Pavel Gubarev is among those running for Head of DPR in 11 Nov.'18 elections. His campaign page is here.

24 Sep. Ukrainian media quoting Ukrainian volunteers: UAF forward position and equipment including infrared vision was destroyed by 120 mm mortar fire (this apparently it occurred near Svobodnoe, which according to Ukrainian sources was freshly captured by Ukraine; LPR responded to the news saying that this village was under Ukrainian control since 2014). 6 Ukrainian soldiers are said to be wounded.

23 Sep. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, today, on Sunday, September 23, by the Church of St. Fokas Meshhorus in the City, in the presence of the Consul General of Ukraine, sent the message in every direction that Ukraine would receive Autocephaly shortly because it is its right.

DPR forces by return fire destroyed Ukrainian military position from which 'disordered fire' was conducted by Ukrainian forces

Two civilians wounded by Ukrainian fire in Sakhanka, south of DPR.

Two Ukrainian Navy ships passed under Crimea bridge, accompanied by Russian border patrol ships (and reportedly an American reconnaissance plane). Their entry in Russian exclusive territorial waters a day earlier was seen as provocative; later a formal request to pass was reported.

20 Sep. The US-American opolchenie fighter Russell "Texas" Bentley publishes his war memories as an eBook.

17 Sep. Poroshenko signed a law on the termination of the "Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia". The bill will be submitted to Rada which has the final word. (Poroshenko: There is a very high level of trust between Kyiv and Washington...)

15 Sep. Acting DPR head Pushilin: our investigators found that Zakharchenko assassination was carried out "with participation of the 5th department of SBU"; one man was arrested and is providing information; analysis of explosive device revealed high technologies not previously used by SBU, which led us to believe that Western special services were involved (report and statement on video).

14 Sep. Ukraine shelled Staromikahilovka in western Donetsk, houses were damaged (details provided). It is recalled that on 14 Sep. 2014 Ukraine intensely shelled Putilovka district of Donetsk for many hours, a market was destroyed where civilians were present; a schoolboy was killed when school 58 was hit (report and video from the scene, 2014) .

10 Sep. DPR MOD: Ukraine continues to violate ceasefire agreements, fires 16 120-mm mortar shells in the evening. Detailed today's record of those and other violations is provided.

According to Russian FSB, they arrested in Smolensk region of Russia a man from Dagestan who was a member of ISIS, and was recruited by SBU to assassinate one of DPR opolchenie leaders (Cassad-videos). (SBU denied the charge).

9 Sep. Car of the pro-Russian president of Moldova Igor Dodon was involved in an accident and overturned (collision video), it is reported that 3 people were injured and some hospitalized; according to TASS Dodon 'was not hurt'.

MLRS 'Uragan' on show on the Russian side near Donbass border crossing -report

8 Sep. At Saur Mogila, the DPR celebrates the 75th anniversary of Donbass liberation from Nazi occupation.

Prime Minister of Abkhazia died in a traffic accident

7 Sep. DPR acting attorney general sent an opinion to DPR People's council pointing out that automatic appointment of Trapeznikov does not follow the law, and asked People's Council to appoint the acting head of the republic. At a session of People's Council, it was decided to appoint Denis Pushilin (Wikipedia) the acting Head of the republic. It was also decided to hold elections of the republic Head and the People's council deputies on 11 November, 2018. Pushilin interviews after his appointment, video, text.

Noted, Denis Pushilin is the leader of Ukrainian party MMM (video) which took part in Ukrainian local elections, 2015. Same MMM as the financial pyramid of Mavrodi. Those facts were highlighted by Russian patriotic opposition discussing the new appointment.

Simultaneously, LPR Council of People's Deputies decided to have elections of the Head of republic and council deputies on 11 November, 2018.

3 Sep. In DPR MoD daily briefing, more evidence of Ukrainian attack preparations in the south were presented, including drone photos, claims of psychological warfare, Ukrainian joint forces document which appeared on social media, intelligence report, etc.

Despite the 'school ceasefire' Ukraine shelled Zaitsevo near Gorlovka with incendiary munitions, destroying 5 houses on Yesenina street.

2 Sep. DPR MoD continues to warn about (allegedly) Ukrainian preparations to attack near Mariupol, (allegedly) with foreign help. Recent video from Kominternovo clearly shows a lot of shelling damage. DPR serviceman is telling on video that there are more drones flights, and noise from heavy equipment arriving and ammunition delivered.

1 Sep. Basurin: Our reconnaissance revealed the deployment of a strike group of Ukrainian invaders in the Mariupol direction under the cover of the "Storm-2018" exercises ...Sept. 14 a possible date of an attack.. (Ukraine has quite small Navy, conducting "Storm-2018" exercises).


Highlights from the past

30 Apr. U.S. Confirms Delivery Of Javelin Antitank Missiles To Ukraine

Poroshenko announced end of ATO and start of 'joint operation of armed forces', which is aimed at 'defending territorial integrity' and will only end 'when the last piece of Ukrainian land is liberated, including Crimea', which is somehow supposed to happen by 'political-diplomatic means'.

Videos

More videos on talk page

Photos

  • Recent history in a nutshell in those photos to the right:
Poroshenko, Kiska - EU entry at Uzhgorod
Alley of Angels, in memory of killed children of Donbass. Ukraine "über alles"?-Donetsk Partisan
Ukrainian AF killed and wounded in 'ATO', Maidan, Kiev
  • Aftermaths of Ukrainian shelling of the village Zheltoe (Yellow), LPR, 29 Nov. 2016 lug-info.

Sources

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).

OSCE

Official Ukrainian sources

Ukrainian media

DPR and LPR

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

Agreements

Archive 2018
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Archive 2017
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Archive 2016
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05 06 07 08
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Archive 2015
09 10 11 12
05 06 07 08
02 03 04

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 - Summer 2015)

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 - Summer 2013)

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.

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...