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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.

Situation in Syria.png

Syria News

Battle of Aleppo

1 Dec. After Russia demanded an explanation and Putin and Erdogan had the third phonecall in one week, the Turkish president pretends that he was misunderstood and the target of the Turkish operation is not "a country or person, but only terror organizations". Meanwhile at a meeting with the Turkish foreign minister, Lavrov clarifies that neither Russia nor Syria was responsible for the attack on Turkish soldiers on Thanksgiving day. The information that Russia said it was a Syrian plane resulted from a mistranslation. According to Lavrov, it's "essential to discuss this issue with the United States and other institutions" in order to prevent such things from happening again.

29 Nov. Erdogan says that the Turkish army entered Syria to end Assad's rule, contradicting previous claims of the goal being to create a "safe zone" at the border by fighting ISIS and the YPG.

28 Nov. The SAA continues its speedy Aleppo offensive and captures the whole northern half of the "rebel" held pocket, making the southern border of former stronghold Sakour the new frontline.

After long negotiations, the "rebels" in one of the last pockets in the West Ghouta agreed to hand over the city of Khan al-Sheih in return for amnesty or a green bus trip to Idlib.

27 Nov. Aleppo: SAA captured Jabal Badro district, and is close to cutting rebel defenses in half. During the advances, 2,500 (Al Manar) to 10,000 (SOHR) civilians flee to government- and YPG-held areas. Drone footage emerges showing the captured districts of Hanano and Jabal Badro.

Russian MoD: The total number of inhabited areas, the leaders of which had signed reconciliation agreements, has reached 1000 [in all of Syria].

Independent journalist Rania Khalek also attended the conference for journalists in Damascus and reports about why she resigned from the board of Electronic Intifada after having been attacked by the likes of Qatar-financed "expert" Charles Lister.

26 Nov. KenFM publishes video of English language lecture by Tim Anderson held in Berlin for the publication of the German language edition of his book "The Dirty War on Syria", which summarizes among many other things some core findings of ACLOS research.

25 Nov. A map by @deSyracuse covers this week's turbulent events around Al-Bab.

Russia assures Turkey that the plane that killed the Turkish soldiers on the anniversary of the SU-24 shootdown was not Russian, but a Syrian Albatros (the latter was apparently the result of a mistranslation and later retracted, see 1 Dec). Three strikes were reported quoting Turkish sources and social media; some photos after 2-nd strike.

24 Nov. Three Turkish soldiers were killed and 10 wounded near Al-Bab. According to Anadolu Agency the origin was an air strike by the SAA, while Reuters claims it has been an ISIS attack. It happened exactly one year after the Turkish Downing of Russian Su-24. (note: The Reuters item likely dealt with an event that happened the day before)

After days of ongoing attacks by the Turkish army on SDF positions west of Manbij, Rojava officials write a letter to the Arab Union asking for condemnation of the "actions against international law" and pressure on Turkey to stop them. Meanwhile Erdogan declares that Manbij will be the next goal after Al-Bab is taken, and the Turkish state issues an arrest warrant against PYD co-chair Salih Muslim over alleged participation in the preparation of a bomb attack in Ankara in February.

Rusvesna: football friendly between Syrian army and moderate opposition players from Eastern Aleppo took place. The match ended in a 5:5 draw.

22 Nov. Rusvesna: details of White Helmets staged rescue were released on this video, for unknown reason.

In an article for Foreign Policy, Sam Heller shares more details from the conference that was also attended by Aron Lund and apparently a larger crowd of western journalists. Heller mentions UK's Channel 4, the New Yorker magazine and the New York Times. He characterizes the stance of the presenting Syrian government as "unrepentant".

21 Nov. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D), one of the US's most vocal critics of the illegal regime change policies towards Syria, visits the Trump Tower on request of the president-elect to share her view on these issues.

20 Nov. Finnish orientalist and Syrian "opposition" expert Aron Lund reports about meeting Assad on his first visit to Syria since the start of the crisis.

The first university of Rojava opens in Qamishlo.

Several sources report that Turkish fighter jets bombard SDF positions west of Manbij after the latter took some villages from ISIS (map).

18 Nov. Al Masdar: According to the Russian ministry of defense, around 300 people demonstrated in east Aleppo against the looting of aid goods by militants. The militants opened fire and killed 17, wounded over 40. Ten men who were deemed to be leaders of the unrest were executed.

17 Nov. A 41-year-old man from Aleppo will have to stand trial in Germany for war crimes and human trafficking. As the leader of a local militia he is said to have abducted and personally tortured several people, at least one of them with deadly consequences.

The SAA attacks ISIS defense lines in the eastern Aleppo countryside village of al Mazburah, 10 km north of Deir Hafer and 20 km south-east of Al-Bab.

16 Nov. Iraq: The Hashd al-Sha'abi (PMU) have cut the ISIS supply line between Mosul and Syria by taking over the Tel Afar airbase 60 km to the west of Mosul. They plan on moving towards the Syrian border now (map). According to a statement by Iraqi Army General Command, 2,800 ISIS fighters have been killed since the operation to liberate Mosul was launched a month ago.

Scott Horton interviews UK paper The Independent's Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn, currently near Mosul, about the different aspects of the fight against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria (audio).

US Army Colonel John Dorrian, Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman, states at a press briefing that Turkey decided independently to move on Al-Bab and that the US has stopped the (air and ground) support it had given to Operation Euphrates Shield while it was taking areas close to the border.

15 Nov. Al Masdar: Operation Euphrates Shield enters Al-Bab outskirts but has to retreat again. Two Turkish army tanks destroyed by ISIS.

Assad is interviewed by Portuguese State TV Channel RTP (transcript).

Russia launches "a large-scale operation against the positions of Islamic State and Al-Nusra in the provinces of Idlib and Homs" (Shoigu) with participation of the Admiral Kuznetsov group.

The US House of Representatives passes a bill named after alleged torture whistleblower Caesar imposing new sanctions on anyone who provides the Syrian government with financial, material or technological support.

14 Nov. According to sources close to the respective operations, "Operation Wrath of Euphrates" during its first ten days has liberated 550 km² of land with 34 villages, killing 167 ISIS fighters without own losses while closing in from the north towards Al-Raqqa. "Operation Euphrates Shield" meanwhile is standing 2 km north of Al-Bab after liberating several villages.

13 Nov. A huge explosion at a YPG checkpoint in Sherewa district of Efrin city leaves a dozen dead and over 50 wounded, mostly internally displaced people. Turkey or Russia are suspected of being behind the apparent airstrike (Al-Masdar, Rudaw). Others claim it was a ballistic missile and show remains of what seems to be an old Tochka-U.

A MiG-29K crashes into the Mediterranean with a technical defect after an exercise starting from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier. The pilot is rescued alive.

12 Nov. The Russian navy group led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier arrives at the Syrian coast.

11 Nov. The Syrian Social Nationalist Party marks the 84th anniversary of its foundation.

10 Nov. Austria: A 27-year-old Syrian was charged with mass murder and war crimes after he bragged in a refugee camp about having shot dead 20 Syrian soldiers in or around Homs as a member of the Farouk Brigade.

Lavrov accuses the US of seeking to prevent striking the al-Nusra Front to take advantage of it.

The US Treasury targets key leaders of the al-Nusra Front, among them infamous Saudi-supported Idlib province leader al-Muhaysini.

7 Nov. Syrian Army gains ground in western Aleppo (more videos).

According to a YPG statement, Jihadi groups tried to infiltrate Rojava from Turkey at two seperate points, protected by Turkish artillery fire. Both groups retreated after fights with YPG units.

American freelance journalist Sam Heller reports about a week spent in Damascus on invitation of the government, during which he attended a conference and met Assad.

6 Nov. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announce that the operation "Wrath of Euphrates" (Xezeba Firatê) to liberate Raqqa from ISIS has started.

3 Nov. Assad was interviewed by the Serbian newspaper Politika (transcript).

Russian helicopter Mi-35 was destroyed on the ground by IS anti-tank fire, apparently after landing due to mechanical problem. Russian rescue squad brought the crew to safety using Mi-8 helicopter and armored vehicles (report, video).

Russian volunteer Sergei Morozov (an assistant to Duma MP, and former Donbas volunteer) was killed in Syria 8 months ago-TASS. (That first became known after a publication by Reuters).

2 Nov. The leader of the more than 50,000 fighters strong Iraqi Shiite militia Hashd al-Sha'abi (wikipedia), Hadi al-Ameri, tells German journalist Alfred Hackensberger that they will go to Syria to fight ISIS and al-Qaida after Mosul is liberated.

Al Masdar, SOHR: Infighting between major militias inside encircled east Aleppo kills one and injures 25.

In his first audio message since December 2015, ISIS-leader al-Baghdadi calls for terror attacks in Turkey and Saudi Arabia (summary).

1 Nov. Robert Fisk interviews one of the few families who made it out of east Aleppo via the corridors and they essentially tell him that they were held hostage.

31 Oct. AKP-connected Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak claims that there's a deal between Russia and Turkey that would allow the Turkish army and proxy "FSA" militias to "liberate" northern territory four times the size it already did, including the city of Aleppo from which the SAA should withdraw. In Russian media, fresh publications on Turkey apology and planned prosecution for downing of the Russian SU-24 plane.

Joulani (center)

30 Oct. Al-Nusra Front publishes photographs of its leader Joulani planning the attack on west Aleppo with FSA leaders.

29 Oct. Update + ANNA news video from Aleppo.

28 Oct. Aleppo. Islamists captured Dahiyat Al-Assad district, and 1070 Apartment Complex. Elsewhere attacks were thwarted.

BBC: Syrian rebels 'start Aleppo offensive' (with Grads).

TASS: Putin declined request by military to renew air strikes on Aleppo. Russian aviation did not perform strikes on Aleppo in the past 10 days. Further actions will depend on situation on the ground. Russia reserves the right to use all means at its disposal to support Syrian armed forces.

Kerry & Lavrov discussed Aleppo

27 Oct. Russian FM published Comparative Analysis- Russia-US Agreement Implementation (pp 4-6 Eng.)

School in Syria’s Idlib province not hit by airstrike, drone photos show – Russian MoD, RT report including RU MoD response, and interview with former Pentagon official Michael Maloof. UN urges inquiry-BBC.

Prof. Tim Anderson is extensively interviewed on Germany's most prominent alternative political TV channel KenFM about his book "The Dirty War on Syria" (video, English language with German subtitles).

26 Oct. The Ron Paul Liberty Report interviews Virginia State Senator Richard Black about what he learned from his recent visit to Syria (video).

At least twentytwo children and six teachers are said to have died in an attack on a school in the village of Hass in Idlib province (ACLOS page).

24 Oct. Russia24 documentary made around their interview and meetings with Asma al-Assad released (by the Syrian Presidency) in Russian with English subtitles (video).

23 Oct. ARA News: Syrian Kurds call for international support to deal with Mosul refugee influx, after thousands of civilians have already crossed the border and arrived mainly in the al-Hawl and Newroz camps in Hasakah province.

22 Oct. Turkish Armed Forces: Turkey-backed FSA soldiers have established control in 156 residential areas since the beginning of Operation Euphrates Shield.

Syrian Arab Army: Any presence of the Turkish army units across the border into Syria, under whatever excuses, is rejected and condemned and will be considered an “occupation force” and confronted with all the means available.

21 Oct. Turkish Army and their proxies attack SDF forces inside Syria "to prevent them reaching al-Bab", according to Turkish statements that claim to have killed 200 fighters. From Kurdish side the casualties are claimed to be much lower but attacks by artillery and warplanes are documented. The three-way fighting between Turkish-backed FSA, Kurdish-dominated SDF and ISIS is documented in detail on the maps by Cristian Ionita (today's map).

20 Oct. Russian Military sets up publicly viewable livecams monitoring the evacuation efforts in eastern Aleppo.

In Germany the first trial against a Syrian refugee for war crimes starts. The 25 year-old Suliman al-S. is accused of having taken part in the abduction of a Canadian UN worker in 2013 organized by the al-Nusra Front.

ISIS claims to have shot down an American A10 military jet in Margada at the border between Hasakah and Deir Ezzor provinces.

19 Oct. ARA news: Sources report several convoys of ISIS fighters plus families leaving Mosul towards Raqqa taking the unofficial Ba'aj roadway.

SANA: Fighter jets of the US-led coalition destroy two more bridges in Deir Ezzor province, one of them over the Euphrates in al-Bsira. This (see previous reports) makes it at least nine bridges over the Euphrates recently destroyed.

Russian MoD map of Aleppo on October 18th. Evacuation routes shown.

18 Oct. Russia suspends airstrikes in Aleppo prior to a humanitarian pause on 20 Oct., describing it as a goodwill gesture. First rebels are seen being evacuated from east Aleppo in a UN convoy. (video)

According to Russian Center for Reconciliation, on October 18 at about 3 am there was an air strike on the village Hassadzhek, near the city of Afrin, Aleppo province. As a result of the bombing, two houses were destroyed, killing 6 and wounding 4 people. Russian or Syrin air force did not perform strikes in that area. Air situation monitoring recorded presence of two international coalition F-16 planes this specific time and location; said to be of the Air Force of Belgium--however Belgium denied that its planes were involved.

Syria's first lady Asma al-Assad gives her first interview since the beginning of the crisis (video).

17 Oct. A day after the beginning of the operation to liberate Mosul from ISIS, which will likely cause a flood of fighters and/or civilians into Syria, Rudaw has a handy Mosul factsheet.

16 Oct. RT's Oksana Boyko interviews Mokhtar Lamani, representative of the UN-Arab League mission in Damascus from 2012 to 2014, who resigned over a lack of political will towards a national reconciliation he saw back then and still sees today (video).

Turkish-backed militias take over the symbolic village of Dabiq in northern Aleppo province from ISIS. The Turkish foreign minister declares that they intend to go south and take Al-Bab next.

13 Oct. Al Masdar: 4 children killed and 5 wounded in "rebel" shelling of Al-Ta'ai Grammar School in Suleimaniyeh District of western Aleppo city.

Rudaw/Raqqa_SL: 10 Buses and 35 SUV Chevrolet with Iraqi Plates arrived in Raqqa full with ISIS fighters and their families.

Assad was interviewed by Komsomolskaya Pravda (transcript).

12 Oct. US and Russia to resume talks on Syria-BBC.

Kerry, Lavrov to meet in Switzerland on 15 Oct. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran are also expected to attend.
...'despite war crimes row'...no longer in the context of ...U.S. military cooperation with Russia ... (Reuters).

11 Oct. Jawad Abu Hatab, the "prime minister" of the "Syrian Interim Government" of the western-created external opposition construct "Syrian National Coalition" is interviewed by Al Monitor.

SANA: Among other things, the Cabinet discusses the reasons behind the rising prices of eggs and the decreasing prices of chicken meat.

10 Oct. Putin and Erdogan meet on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in Istanbul. According to public statements by both, Operation Euphrates Shield was discussed and on Aleppo it was agreed to do everything needed to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of the city. According to Putin, he informed Erdogan that the US refused to use their influence for a plan to make both the Syrian Army and "rebel" forces withdraw from Castello Road to make it a save path for aid to inhabitants of both parts of Aleppo.

9 Oct. Basma Qadamani, Member of the delegation of the Syrian Supreme Commission for negotiations calls for unilateral American intervention to save Aleppo (alhadath.net, Arabic), (TASS, Russian). Western sources report (aa.com.tr, English) a call to impose EU sanctions.

7 Oct. SANA: Fighter jets of the US-led coalition destroy the al-Syasia Bridge, the largest one in Deir Ezzor, which makes it a total of eight Euphrates bridges in the province recently destroyed by that coalition founded to fight ISIS.

6 Oct. TASS source: Russia (rolling UNSC chair) calls for UNSC meeting to discuss Staffan de Mistura initiative on withdrawal of militants from Aleppo. The meeting occurred on 8 Oct.

  • Russia and France proposed alternative UNSC resolutions. French resolution calls for a halt of strikes in Aleppo. Russian resolution calls to support de Mistura initiative on withdrawal of militants from Aleppo. Those UNSC permanent members were poised to block each other's alternative resolutions.
  • Russia vetoes French-Spanish UNSC resolution. Russian version of the resolution is rejected as well. Live stream (Russian). Western delegation leaders left the room when the floor was given to SAA representative.
  • SAA representative stated that 'we conduct(ed) an investigation' of the Red Crescent convoy bombing at Urm al-Kubra, and results will be provided when the investigation is completed.
  • According to media reports, 'Jihadist rebels reject UN offer of safe pass from east Aleppo'.

Reuters reports Syrian army promises to ease airstrikes in Aleppo after criticism.

"Edward Dark", inhabitant of Aleppo: Rebel shelling of Jamilieh market in west Aleppo leaves 10s dead & wounded today. [pics]

A high-ranking member of the government of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) states in an interview that for them to march on Raqqa as the USA wants, they demand political support for their model of democratic federalism and representation in full delegation strength at the negotiations in Geneva (against the will of the Turks, Saudis etc).

Assad was interviewed by Denmark's TV2 (transcript).

5 Oct. SANA: 100 kg (600,000 pills) of Captagon confiscated in Damascus.

4 Oct. "Secret operation in Aleppo - Turkish special forces are preparing to de-block the surrounded militants", Rusvesna, (robo-translation) .

3 Oct. U.S. suspends talks with Russia on Syria ceasefire, Reuters.

John Kerry Consults with Russians on Syria Less Than 48 Hours After Suspending Ties, Foreign Policy, 5 Oct. 2016

2 Oct. Firat News: Democratic Syria Debate Platform in Girkê Legê with 160 representatives of opposition groups ends with calls for a federal system and a solution without international powers.

Obama Warned to Defuse Tensions with Russia-"Consortium News"

A group of ex-U.S. intelligence officials is warning President Obama to defuse growing tensions with Russia over Syria (discussion)

FARS News: In attacks on two separate days fighter jets of the US coalition destroyed a total of four bridges over the Euphrates in Deir Ez-Zour province: al-Shihan Bridge, Tarif Bridge, al-Asharah Bridge and al-Mayadin Bridge. (Statement by al-Ja'afari at the UN)

basnews: According to SOHR statistics, 3,686 people, among them 1,228 civilians died in hostilities in Syria in September 2016. For Iraq, their number is 1,003, the majority of them civilians (609).

1 Oct. 'Fierce fights in historic Aleppo', report and video, Kurdistan-Insider.com.

"US Bases in Syria"? Are there any? What says congress? And international law? Check the new ACLOS article.

In this video, Virginia State senator and a retired marine colonel Richard Black provides a brief and clear explanation of the situation in Aleppo in recent months (consistent but easier to grasp than our more cryptic presentation here). He points out that created by media impression that regime forces are fighting civilians and little dusty boys is wrong, and it is in fact up against up a large, motivated, and well armed rebel military force, which is essentially al Qaeda. Further he points out that regime has offered free exit to civilians and rebels laying down arms, and has a history of such sort of arrangements in the past. This is in fact the rebels preventing such exit, and pressure has to be applied to rebels, not the regime.

Note. In a recent interview, Bashar al-Assad has stated that full amnesty is given to rebels laying down arms. In automatic translation, it says for the second question about the possibility of dialogue with the armed groups to give up their arms, the answer is, yes, this is what we have applied, "both decided to lay down its arms we made them a full pardon, we were flexible to the point that we surpassed even the law, the law does not absolve the terrorists from their business, however, and in the interest of the people and to stop the bloodshed, we provide amnesty.

Chlorine use accusation was made by rebels, Oct. 2, 2016 at 5:45 AM report.

Syrian military intelligence source to Rusvesna: "terrorists are preparing a bloody provocation -a chemical attack to accuse Russia" (robo-translated here), Oct. 1, 2016 at 21:49 report.

Archive 2016
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05 06 07 08
04

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.


Featured Article

January 15, 2013, At least 87 killed and hundreds wounded by the twin missile/rocket blasts at Aleppo University, many of them being some of the 60,000 displaced people housed in the dorms there. Both sides blamed each other. Were the missiles fired by the fighter jet reported by opposition witnesses? Or by rebel "terrorists" to the north, as the government said? Video evidence and expert opinions suggest surface-fired missiles/rockets - which both sides have and only one side cited - were responsible.

Ukraine News

3 Dec. DPR: number of ceasfire violations by Ukraine continue to increase, 1205 violations reported in the past day.

Flash-mobs in Ukraine, Russia, and DPR-people singing popular Soviet-era songs at railway stations - Zaporozhie (song from a popular 1950's movie, 15 Nov), Kharkov (a song from a popular 1961 movie, 20 Nov), Odessa (Smuglianka-Moldovanka song, around 27 Nov), LPR- Stanitsa Luganskaya (1939 movie song , 1 Dec.), Donetsk (WW2 song, around 3 Dec). And in Moscow (Ukrainian song, 27 Nov).

2 Dec. DPR ombudsman: 6 DPR soldiers were killed in the past week. 6 people were wounded, 2 soldiers, and 4 civilians (3 men, 1 woman).

Ukrainian ATO Nurses-Kharkiv report that MANY wounded arrived from ATO zone, but they are no longer able to provide exact figures. They report that they are in need of many basic personal items. Previously this site reported numbers of wounded at times possibly surpassing the total official count. Their latest numbers for just that Khrakiv hospital(s) admissions from the ATO zone: 25.11.2016 - 12 people, 26.11 - 13 people, 27.11 - 3 people, 28.11 - 26 people (including 6 'trauma', 1 'wounded', and the rest 'diseases, contusions, psychiatry'). Official ATO zone report for 25.11 - one killed (number of wounded not given), 27.11-3 soldiers and one civilian wounded, 28.11- 6 wounded, On 29.11, 5 wounded.

Weekly updates from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, by Alexander Hug (video, Engl.), given at UCMC, 'Ukrainian crisis management center'. (Sounds serious, notes increased shelling numbers, continued civilian casualties, difficult humanitarian situation -- yet not offers much in terms of a solution...)

1 Dec. Ukraine stopped water supply to LPR, from one of the two water supply pipes from Petrovskoe. Approximately half of Lugansk city was supplied from that source. According to Vladislav Deinego, it will cause serious interruptions of water supply but 'situation is under control'. Denying water is akin to starvation and is a war crime, (explicitly banned in 54.2 of the additional protocol, Geneva conventions). Ukraine blamed it on nonpayment of electricity bills and Red Cross stopping paying for water supplies.

Ukrainian provocative missile launches today were outside area claimed by Russia -report, maps and photos. It is believed that Russia took steps to defend the airspace.

29 Nov. DPR: Ukraine violated ceasefire 1882 times in the past day; 2059 the day earlier (big increase on both days). One DPR soldier was killed.

Normandy-4 FM meeting ended. 'Roadmap' was on agenda, but there were reduced expectations before the meeting and no breakthrough was reported after it.

28 Nov. DPR: 3 UAF soldiers were killed and 2 wounded when they tried to attack near Kominternovo in the south.

Yanukovich now testifies in Ukrainian court by video conference (112.ua, video in Ukrainian). (text broadcast in English here). He reads prepared remarks, blaming Right Sector, Svoboda, and Maidan Defense for violence. The judge tries to change format so that he answers questions and sends prepared remarks for them to read later. He continued his reading for a while; followed by questions, first about Euro Integration.

16:09 Yanukovych: I did not order to open fire on anybody
Rusvesna text report, in Russian; and Ukrainian with Russian translation, Russia 24 (shaky translation though)
14:56 Yanukovych: Shooting on the Maidan was a planned special operation aimed at overthrowing the government in the country (I think he said false pseudo-operation, which was rationally (?) planned and executed; up to terminology it's possibly the same).
Ukrainian 112.ua has the same transcription as Rusvesna above, planned special operation; repeated in English version
14:51 Yanukovych: Ultra-right organisations sponsored by oligarchs were involved in the murder of "Maidan" activists and law enforcement officials, with the purpose to overthrow the government.
14:49: Yanukovich: I have collected three volumes of evidence about the events on the Maidan, is preparing the fourth

In view of the recent scheduled testimony by Yanukovich, former Ukrainian MP Oleg Tsarev makes several significant comments about Maidan 2014 events, saying that (1) the judge--current authorities--is to blame; the witness (Yanukovich) could have stopped the violence but have not done so; while those accused (Berkut) are not guilty, and have been following the laws (2) proofs are well documented by now, despite attempts of authorities to hide the truth (he does not explain how and by whom), and (3) that one of sniper groups had a Western connection (again, without explaining the factual basis of his claims). All that really should be said as part of investigation, not as statements to media; --but the investigation is essentially stuck.

27 Nov. Mikhail Saakashvilli organised protest meeting on Maidan, Grushevskaya Street in Kiev, and made an agitated rambling speech about high level of corruption, where a small group captured all financial streams and power. He demanded urgent anti-corruption reforms (as he has done in Georgia) and early parliamentary elections (video). Crowd was not large; but Saakashvilli told them more and more will be coming for future meetings, "we are many who fear loosing their country, against few who fear loosing their financial streams." Crowd cheered, shouted банду геть! (down with the gang), sang Ukrainian anthem (twice). His earlier interview here (Engl).

Journalist trying to make video recording of a group of people maintaining/updating pro-Saakashvili participants list was attacked (video). Such list could be maintained for payments to participants, but circumstances unclear.
Ukrainian missile test plans; Russia protested

26 Nov. Ukrainian forces launched an attack today near Sakhanka, Vodianoe villages in the south (map), up to three UAF and volunteer 'natsbat' platoons, with the support of armored vehicles, and under the cover of fire from mortars of 82 mm caliber and 122 artillery. DPR forces repelled the attack, at least 5 attackers were killed and 8 wounded, and Ukrainian BTR was hit -Rusvesna. Ukraine: nobody killed and 5 wounded in the past day.

  • Noted: Ukrainian official ATO press releases are linked at the bottom of the page; we take a look at sources and discuss our approach on Discussion page.

25 Nov. DPR was fired on 6049 times by Ukraine in the past week. According to DPR ombudsman, in the past week 5 people were killed (4 soldiers and 1 civilian), 8 were wounded (6 soldiers and 2 civilian).

Ukraine announced plans to conduct missile launches in an area of Black Sea to the West of Crimea. According to Russia this violates Russian sea border; Russian MOD issued a formal protest.

Yanukovich was scheduled to testify via videoconferencing from Rostov as a witness in Kiev court considering a case against 5 "Berkut" officers accused of crimes on Maidan in 2014. Hearing was delayed by request of Kiev court (it is said that not all the accused were delivered to court to hear the testimony; -as that was blocked by Right Sector). Live feed here.

DPR reports 960 ceasefire violations by Ukraine. OSCE report gives 500 violations 'in Donetsk region', without specifics who fired on whom or who fired first.

24 Nov. DPR: number of ceasefire violations in the past day was 1161, a 2-fold increase. A civilian in Krutaya Balka, near Yasinovataya (map), was wounded.

According to DPR ombudsman (here and here), Kiev again tries to achieve only selective release of their prisoners, despite Minsk agreement to exchange 'all for all'. (Ukraine keeps many L/DPR prisoners; while large number of Ukrainians were released unilaterally, and more on few-at-a-time basis. Ukraine now has to release large numbers, official count is about 900 POWs, with another nearly 500 missing).

An officer of the Russian Black sea fleet was arrested by FSB in Sevastopol, accused of spying for Ukraine.

23 Nov. DPR: 5 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, 7 wounded when they attempted to break through DPR defenses in the buffer zone near a village of Vodyanoe in the south (map). 3 DPR soldiers were wounded. (Ukraine report clashes but not casualties).

22 Nov. DPR was fired on 519 times by Ukraine in the past day; 500 in the day before.

21 Nov. Russia says that two servicemen, Maksim Odintsov and Aleksander Baranov, were kidnapped by Ukraine in Crimea. It is said that they were lured to border crossing point "Dzhankoy" by a promise to give them certificates on higher education. Russian MPs demanded their release. Video of kidnapping emerged showing that they were kidnapped at the crossing point, on the Russian side. It is said that they were serving in UAF in Ukrainian-controlled Crimea, and later changed sides to serve in RAF (under contract). On the video, Baranov said that after 2014 he signed a contract and pledged allegiance to Russia.

Masterclass from Ukrainian pilot (comment heard on video: there is no such maneuver as joint landing, only joint take-off).

20 Nov. Graham Phillips interviews on video (in Russ.) a woman in Styla, DPR. House built by her parents (now deceased) was damaged by Ukrainian Grad shelling. She is saying that things are not improving, they have to live in cellars, and OSCE visits do not help. She blames Ukraine for the situation. Graham then interviews OSCE guys on whether they are actually blind (in Engl.)

18 Nov. DPR: there were 6467 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past week. According to DPR ombudsman, in the past week 5 people were killed (4 soldiers and 1 young civilian, born 2000), and 5 people were wounded (also 4 soldiers and 1 civilian, a man) (DAN).

IMF concludes a visit to Ukraine without a new loan promise, issues a statement indicating that Ukraine needs more time to implement reforms, including fighting corruption.

17 Nov. DPR: 894 ceasefire violations (Engl.) by Ukraine in the past day, including heavy weapons. 2 mortar shells landed in the area of hospital number 21 in Donetsk (map), facade and windows damage was reported. Villages in the south were shelled by Ukraine for over two hours.

Mikhail Saakashvili claims to have information that Poroshenko seeks to deprive him of Ukrainian citizenship. As the former Georgian president has no other citizenship anymore, he says this would be illegal under international law.

16 Nov. The conservative US-Think Tank Heritage Foundation publishes a long interview with Mikhail Saakashvili about the political situation in Ukraine and his new party "Wave". (From this and other interviews, it is clear that he understands that moneys will not be given to Ukraine as such, however he consistently makes the case for getting funded to fight off Russia. That means that if he is supported, the war in the East is quit likely to continue--unless it is demanded not to).

15 Nov. DPR officials and opolchenie report that recently (from right before the US elections and after Trump win) shelling by Ukraine increased multiple times compared to few weeks ago. DPR was shelled 876 times in the past day, all over the separation line, including heavy weapons, artillery and mortars.

Some protesters on Maidan in Kiev, photos and videos. Ukrainian sources estimate the number of protesters at 2-3 thousand people; and about 5 thousand law enforcement.

Maidan protesters on Nov. 15 included people who lost their savings as a result of fraudulent banking schemes. Poroshenko and Rada quickly adopted a law changing banking regulations and extending deposit guarantees to moneys given to banks as loans or deposits to non-banking third parties with bank serving as an intermediate (apparently scheme used such a loophole to avoid paying back certain deposits of their clients after bank bankruptcy).

14 Nov. Timosheno on video calls for public protests starting tomorrow against corruption, drastic fall in hryvna exchange rate, high utility costs. Timoshenko on video: this is not a hand of the Kremlin.

Ukraine makes preparations for the 3rd Maidan? Rusvesna, the head of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko, representatives of the Security Service and intelligence, and MP Sergey Pashinsky. Interfax: Avakov demanded that police and national guard make sure that any protests are peaceful, and security is maintained. According to Ukrainian media reports (korrespondent.net), Georgian-born police chief of Ukrainian national police Hatiya Dekanoydze resigned. Earlier it was reported (Rusvesna) that some nationalistic groups called to gather on Maidan on 21 Nov. Apart from Daknoydze announcement, Maidan news and graphics tend to be hosted by pro-Russian sources.

12 Nov. Rusvesna (translation): according to DPR ministry of security, "six neo-Nazis from the 'Misanthropic Division' were arrested". Leaders of that group earlier claimed responsibility in Motorola assassination case (with some skepticism expressed towards their claim at the time). It is said that those arrested "admitted to their terrorist and extremist crimes" and gave evidence on the circumstances; it is said that they maintained connections with SBU. Misanthropic division denied that those arrested are their members (after earlier denying responsibility for the assassination). This follows Zakharchenko announcing names of some alleged organizers of Motorola assassination (10 Nov.); and an arrest of "three Ukrainian saboteurs" in Sevastopol (also 10 Nov.) Details provided on all those developments appear quite sketchy.

Two detained in Crimea Ukrainian 'diversants' (saboteurs) video testimonies emerged, where they both say that they work for Ukrainian intelligence (GUR, MOD Ukraine) in the rank of colonel. (In Ukrainian media it is noted that reading glasses seen on the first video change position after a jump cut on the video.)

11 Nov. Weekly update. According to DPR, there were 5118 ceasefire violations by Ukraine; including 3244 using heavy weapons. According to DPR ombudsman, 2 soldiers were killed, and 3 civilians wounded; updated number of people detained by Ukraine is 901.

8 Nov. DPR was shelled 1072 times in the past day. In the evening, Ukraine started shelling residential areas of Petrovskii district of Donetsk and Zaitsevo near Gorlovka.

7 Nov. 3 houses were damaged by Ukrainian shelling on Gorlovka, one house was set on fire

Saakashvili resigns as governor of Odessa, accusing Poroshenko of "personally supporting two clans" against attempts to fight corruption. On his resignation video, Saakashvili flanked by Yuia Marushevskaya and young people winning competition to work in Odessa customs, tells that port repairs scheduled for the beginning of the year were not finished, money stolen, and those young people still not at work. Poroshenko promised support in April, but have not moved a finger to support the project. Odessa customs was part of pilot anti-corruption project supported and funded by USAID and European Union. (Odessa is difficult to govern, for outsiders especially ...).

Another Georgian beauty, Khatia Dekanoidze Ukrainian national police chief, had a TV press conference on results of her work shorty after, with no groundbreaking announcements.

5 Nov. Civilian is wounded in Petrovskii district of Donetsk`.

4 Nov. DPR was shelled 3810 times in the past week by Ukraine, 53 houses were damaged.

According to DPR ombudsman, in the past week 5 people were killed (4 soldiers and 1 civilian), and 9 wounded (6 civilians and 3 soldiers). 900 people are held by Ukraine (despite Minsk agreements to exchange all for all); another 488 people are missing. Detentions of Kiev regime opponent Egor Logvinov from Kharkov, and of Russian volunteer Andrey Sokolov (released by court, but than taken to unknown destination) are discussed in the report.

1 Nov. DPR was shelled 755 times in the past day, a woman was wounded, 3 houses damaged. According to LPR MoD representative Andrey Marochko, Ukraine attempts to occupy buffer zone and conducts provocative shelling of 'people's militia'.

Videos

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

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

Archive 2016
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Archive 2015
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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...