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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

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

Situation in northern Hama province

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

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

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

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

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

Situation in eastern Aleppo countryside

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The third round of talks in Astana begins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28 Feb. Russia and China veto a UN resolution sanctioning Syrian goverment for alleged chemical attacks.

27 Feb. The SAA cuts Turkish-occupied Al-Bab from ISIS by connecting with SDF/YPG-controlled territory around Manbij.

25 Feb. The second congress of the Syrian Democratic Council (MSD), the political wing of the SDF, takes place in Derik under the motto “Together Towards a Federal Democratic Syria” (opening remarks).

A powerful VBIED kills 8 Turkish soldiers and 60 FSA mercenaries and wounds around a hundred more in Sousian village 9 km north-west of Al-Bab.

The SAA continues its advancement east between Al-Bab and Deir Hafer and has taken several towns and villages from ISIS in the last week.

24 Feb. The Pentagon declares that it will from now on call ISIS ISIS.

General Joseph Votel, the head of CENTCOM, visits the frontlines of Wrath of Euphrates.

The Iraqi Airforce for the first time bombs ISIS targets in Syria, namely near Abukamal where the Euphrates enters Iraq.

Turkey cuts off the water supply to the Euphrates to a level where the electricity generation at Tishrin Dam stops working, leaving parts of Manbij and Kobane cantons without power.

Situation around Raqqa

23 Feb. The Wrath of Euphrates command announces that the operation has liberated 664 km² between Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor in the 8 days the second step of the third phase is running.

The next round of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva starts.

Turkish media declares Al-Bab "liberated" again. Al Masdar reports that the "FSA" proxies claim the same, and that a deal with ISIS to retreat to Deir Hafer was made - although ISIS has so far been silent on the supposed development. Later in the day news comes in that ISIS has also abandoned Bza'a and Qabasin, therefore finally allowing Euphrates Shield to take over what has been a besieged almost-pocket for months.

22 Feb. According to an analyst of the influential Washington think-tank CNAS, insider circles refer to the Turkish-promised force that will liberate Raqqa as the "Unicorn force". Euphrates Shield has in total only recruited 2-3 thousand "FSA" fighters, according to him, while the SDF has 23,000 Arab fighters in addition to its main force, the Kurdish YPG.

21 Feb. Reuters reports that CIA-supported "rebels" in Idlib province have suffered from a freeze of cash and weapon supply for a month. Proverbial anonymous US officials cited in the report say that this has nothing to do with the change of administration.

20 Feb. The SAA command calls on the citizens of 44 liberated towns and villages in eastern Aleppo province to return home.

While "rebels" continue their offensive on Deraa, a surprise move by an ISIS affiliate takes over several of their home villages and towns which were left ill defended.

A YPG statement details attacks by the Turkish army and its proxies in the previous days, mostly shelling of towns and villages in Afrin canton.

19 Feb. After a Turkish delegation to Washington trying to make the US drop SDF support and support a Turkish plan to go to Raqqa was met with a "frosty response", PM Yildirim says in Munich that Turkey would be "at the back" of attempts to capture Raqqa from ISIS, with other forces at the front.

18 Feb. The US-led coalition destroys yet another Euphrates bridge, this time the al-Meghle Bridge west of Maadan village, located 60 km east of Raqqa city.

At an event in Damascus, two new car models produced at a factory near Hama with Chinese cooperation are presented.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry writes a letter to the UN detailing and complaining about the illegal actions of Turkey on their soil, revealing a military base Turkey is said to have build in Jtrar village north of Tel Rifaat as HQ of operation Euphrates Shield.

17 Feb. Wrath of Euphrates command announces the second step of the third phase of the operation, with the goal to take over the region immediatly east of Raqqa and cut off the connection between the city and Deir Ez-Zor in the south-east. The Deir ez-Zor military council (of mostly tribal local militias) will participate.

While the SAA is advancing further east in the Deir Hafer plains, SAA sources report that ISIS has opened the pumps at Lake Assad and is flooding the Al Jer canal located in the same plains. If this has something to do with the UN warning about the Tabqa Dam and what it means for the water supply of Aleppo is unclear. A statement by the Aleppo Governor in the evening makes it sound like the only effect is flooding of villages and farmlands, while the water supply to Aleppo city (through pipelines?) is still cut off.

With Euphrates Shield retreating again against an ISIS counter-offensive in Al-Bab, Fehim Taştekin takes up the difficult task of making sense of Erdogan's ever-changing statements and his real goal in an op-ed for Al Monitor.

16 Feb. Reports in Turkish media that according to a high-ranking military source the Al-Bab operation "is over" and the city taken are met with scepticism as they contradict all information from the ground. Later, Turkish media seems to backpedal (Hürriyet changes headline, original source Daily Sabah blames their reporter).

Another meeting in Astana takes place. Syrian delegation head Al-Jaafari complains about lack of seriousness of the Turkish side.

In Sweden a Syrian refugee is sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the execution of Syrian soldiers in Idlib province in 2012.

Assad is interviewed by French television (transcript).

15 Feb. A pan-Kurdish conference takes place in Moscow (ARA, Rudaw). It isn't officially supported by the Russian government. The Barzani clan doesn't attend. It coincides with the 18th anniversary of the arrest of Abdullah Öcalan, known and commemorated as "the black day".

ISIS restores the water supply to Aleppo city from the pumping stations at the Euphrates, then cuts it off again after 20 hours.

The UN warns that the ISIS-controlled and partly damaged Tabqa Dam is in danger of flooding due to rising water levels. Raqqa is 25 km downstream of the building, which is the largest dam in Syria. The SDF stands immediately north of it.

The "civil war" between "rebel" factions in Idlib province continues.

14 Feb. After an al-Qaeda-led offensive in the southern city of Deraa directly at the Jordanian border, reports surface that wounded militants are not allowed anymore to cross into Jordan to the field hospitals located there. A Syrian military source cited by Al-Masdar states that this follows a Russian-Jordanian agreement to tighten border security.

Foreign Policy reports that the US has - against given promise - used depleted Uranium ammunition in Syria. The horrible side effects of this type of ammunition are well documented.

13 Feb. Erdogan is back to claiming that Turkey and its proxies will go to Manbij and finally Raqqa after they've taken over Al-Bab. The "ultimate goal" he says is to create a "safe zone" of 5,000 km², which is 2.5 times the area they occupy now.

12 Feb. According to a press statement, the third phase of Wrath of Euphrates has liberated 700 km² including 98 villages in the nine days it is running and is about to reach its goal.

ISIS is engaged in blowing up gas pipelines in Palmyra countryside, and in an at least partly successful counter-offensive against the SDF in western Raqqa province, and in successful defense of repeated attacks of Euphrates Shield east of and in Al-Bab.

Kurdish sources accuse the Turkish army (again) of committing massacres against civilians in Al-Bab instead of fighting ISIS.

11 Feb. Al-Bab: While the SAA takes over ISIS' last supply road and stands 2 km south of the city, Euphrates Shield captures some important points inside the western part of it, with the Russian, Turkish and US airforces all flying raids.

A "safe corridor" was opened on Thursday at al-Samalil village south-east of Taldou in the Houla plains, for citizens and militants who want to use the prolongued amnesty. It will be open for a month and saw already "scores" of people using it during the first three days, according to SANA. Hezbollah outlet Al Manar reports that 82 militants have layed down their weapons there.

Two fronts of Wrath of Euphrates meet, enclosing a large land area. The SDF stands 9 km north of Raqqa.

At a conference in Riyadh a single delegation of the Saudi-supported "opposition", led by Mohammed Sabra, is formed for the Geneva talks.

10 Feb. Kremlin spokesperson Peskov states that the coordinates for the air strike that hit Turkish army forces were delivered by the Turks themselves.

Assad is interviewed by Yahoo News (transcript).

9 Feb. After around a dozen Turkish soldiers had been wounded and 3 killed by air strikes near Al-Bab the day before, which Turkish officials accused the SAAF of having done, the Kremlin announces that it was a Russian plane that accidently carried out the attack and expresses condolences to Erdogan. Meanwhile, rumors say that SAA and Euphrates Shield forces clashed for the first time near Al-Bab.

7 Feb. Invitations to the Geneva talks starting on 20 Feb are about to be send.

The YPG releases a balance sheet detailing several serious border violations by the Turkish army in the first week of February.

The SAA stands 3 kms south of Al-Bab and has cut the main supply road between the city and Deir Hafer in the south-east towards Raqqa.

Assad is interviewed by Belgian media (transcript).

6 Feb. At a meeting in Astana on expert level, delegations from Russia, Turkey, Iran and the UN discuss specific measures to implement the ceasefire monitoring. Another meeting will take place on 15-16 Feb.

Members of the self-titled Syrian Elite Forces tribal militia join the 3rd phase of Wrath of Euphrates.

According to Al-Bab citizens who fled to Afrin canton, both ISIS and Euphrates Shield "mercenaries" are engaged in "a play" trying to clean the city of its inhabitants.

5 Feb. Assad extends the Amnesty decree till 30 June, 2017.

4 Feb. The Wrath of Euphrates operation room declares the beginning of the third phase of the operation, with the aim to liberate the eastern countryside of Raqqa province (frontline).

The SAA has reached the gas fields in north-western Palmyra countryside and takes the strategic Hayyan field from ISIS.

3 Feb. According to both SANA and the SOHR, US-Coalition planes destroy two bridges in Raqqa province, two bridges in Raqqa city and the main water line to the city, leaving it completely without drinking water supply.

2 Feb. RT's Oksana Boyko interviews Dilek Öcalan, a niece of Abdullah Öcalan and member of the Turkish parliament, about the role of the Kurds in the Syrian crisis.

ISIS uses captured Turkish Army equipment against Syrian Army in Aleppo.

1 Feb. External Syrian opposition voices criticize De Mistura for his proposal to pick representatives for the Geneva meeting if they fail to do so themselves.

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

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

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

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

Chemical Weapons (starting late 2012)

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

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

Houla (May 25, 2012)

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

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

Homs Massacres (2011-present)

Main article: Homs Massacres
Homs Districts all labels.png

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

Situation in Syria.png

Ukraine News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A civilian seriously wounded in LPR.

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

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

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

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

28 Feb. Ukraine shelled DPR 2,373 times in the past day, a sharp increase; about half (1,116) is by heavy weapons. 2 houses were damaged in Kominternovo, 9 in Yasinovataya, one of them burned down.; civilian casualties are being verified. Banned heavy artillery presence near separation line is noted.

13 ceasefire violations in LPR.

Clashes reported between Ukrainian nats. battalions members blocking railway traffic with L/DPR and 'titushki' said to be hired by Akhmetov; first attacks said to be repelled, there are injured but nobody was killed.

EU negotiators agreed to grant visa-free regime to Ukraine (for visa free travel of up to 90 days per 1/2 year and without right to work (rules). Further formal approval steps are expected to be completed soon.

27 Feb. DPR adopted a law on de-facto nationalization of Ukrainian enterprises operating on their territory, including Akhmetov plants. It is said that it was done because of Ukrainian blockade, and steps will be taken to restore supplies, sales, and jobs.

26 Feb. Basurin: Ukraine forced radical nationalists away from Donetsk water filtering station (Engl.). Also in the report: Ukraine shelled DPR 761 times in the past day, one civilian was wounded (Engl.)

25 Feb. Security situation sharply deteriorated, Ukraine shelled DPR 2161 times in the past day, 846 from heavy weapons. One DPR soldier was wounded. (This coincides with Savchenko and Ruban visiting DPR on the issue of prisoners exchange).

Basurin:Ukrainian militants captured Donetsk filtering station overnight , and used it to shell DPR territory, knowing that DPR will not return fire. (Full report talks about activization of nationalists in particular- Engl. ; (video). Cassad posts announcement of filtering station personnel deciding to stop work and evacuate, and photos of damage at the station.

It is said that filtering station was earlier left by DPR forces, to prevent shelling. The result was, more shelling, followed by capture by Ukrainian militants (said to be 'Azov' in Cassad post).

24 Feb. Donetsk filtering station received 6 hits in Ukrainian shelling overnight, buildings, including the one housing chlorine, were damaged (DAN News -Engl)

In the past week, Ukraine shelled DPR 9,360 times, including 3,354 times from heavy weapons. Two DPR soldiers were killed and five were wounded.

23 Feb. On traditional Red Army holiday, little change on the ground. Ukraine shelled DPR 706 times, including by heavy weapons. 11 ceasefire violations in LPR.

Notorious MP Alexey Goncharenko (Poroshenko block) is said to be 'kidnapped' in Odessa by unknowns; Ukraine blamed 'separatists'. (Remembered for photographing defender corpse after Odessa Massacre, 2014).

But soon after, 'saved', and Kushnarenko father blamed for 'ordering kidnapping' (possibly staged; they say it's not).
Timer-Odessa confirms that kidnapping was staged by law enforcement; but keeps accusing Kucherenko father of plotting to do it with a group of accomplices.

22 Feb. DPR shelled by Ukraine 674 times in the past day (supposed ceasefire), 2 DPR soldiers were wounded.

According to DPR, Ukraine does not plan in the near future to withdraw heavy weapons.

Ukrainian minister of Defense Poltorak: reports on combat readiness, 37,000 UAF soldiers are deployed 'on the contact line'. (Noted: tomorrow is the Soviet 'Red Army' holiday).

21 Feb. Scheduled for today heavy weapons withdrawal did not materialize; DPR blamed Ukraine. Firefights resumed in the evening (Yasinovataya checkpoint, +Novoazov region).

Yelenovka checkpoint came under Ukrainian fire (despite the ceasefire).

20 Feb. The latest ceasefire started at midnight. As of this afternoon, it was observed, according to Basurin. Ukraine resumed shelling in the evening, Yasinovataya- Gorlokvka-Svetdlodarsk.

Withdrawal of heavy weapons is planned for 21 Feb.

19 Feb. Some clashes on Maidan, police and national guard in control, Semen Semchenko (now MP) present and makes some commotion (report, photos, video). Arrests, injuries reported, including 'OUN' battalion commander Kohanovskii.

DPR reports worsening security situation for the past day, shelling count is 2453, with about half from heavy weapons. Donetsk water filtering station lost power, DPR says as a result of intentional shelling. (Russ.)(Engl)

18 Feb. Putin signs an executive order recognizing documents and vehicle registration plates issued by the DPR and LPR. The move was cheered in L/DPR, and criticized by Ukraine and by US Embassy in Kiev.

17 Feb. DPR was shelled 1048 times in the past day. Two DPR soldiers were killed (Russ.)(Engl.)

Two years and a bit after Minsk-2 agreements, Zakharchenko and Plotniskii scheduled a joint press conference in Lugansk, with the topic not revealed in advance.

'DPR, LPR announce start of humanitarian programme for occupied Donbass', DAN news (Engl.) (Russ.)
ДНР и ЛНР готовы освободить подконтрольные Киеву районы Донбасса военным путём (+ВИДЕО), Rusvesna (if peaceful means will not work than ...) - Zakharchenko and Plotniskii

16 Feb. 'Kiev plans bloody provocation involving Finnish journalists'-DPR.

Ukraine shelled Yasinovataya outskirts with Grads.

Energy blockade was started by Ukrainian nats bats (Semchenko et al) at the end of January, 2017, preventing shipments of anthracites coal from L/DPR republics to Ukraine. That blockade led to energy crisis and energy emergency situation in Ukraine, as power stations were designed to use anthracites type of coal. Blockade was criticized by Poroshenko.

15 Feb. Protesters prompt OSCE observers to carry out reinspection in western Donetsk (not commented on OSCE site yet).

14 Feb. One DPR soldier was killed in the past day.

Big explosion at at Donetsk state chemical plant is reported, as a result of Ukrainian shelling (video). Plant is producing explosives for mining and military. Blast is similar to earlier ones (here). There are casualties; 1 civilian is reported killed. Windows in a hospital and 11 houses nearby were shattered. DPR video shows big crater and quick chemical weapons tests (iprit test shown) they decided to run after seeing unusual cloud; they came back negative.

DPR: Failed UAF attacked on Kominternovo, 5 UAF soldiers were killed.

Opolchenie report on continued shelling, including heavy weapons, MLRS. Donetsk water treatment plant containing 4 tonnes of chlorine is in the area of Ukrainian shelling in particular.

13 Feb. 1 DPR soldier was killed in the past day, DPR shelled 509 times (sit-rep).

12 Feb. In the past day, DPR was shelled 1302 times (431 by heavy weapons: mortars + BMP guns) , 2 DPR soldiers were killed, 1 seriously wounded, at least 4 houses damaged (Engl.).

OSCE, Hug: number of ceasefire violations is "unacceptably high" (+earlier in Kiev.)

11 Feb. DPR was shelled 438 times, at least 2 houses damaged, banned weapons used and more spotted, 1 DPR soldier wounded.

OSCE calls for withdrawal of heavy weapons from separation line; DPR already agreed (TASS).

10 Feb. DPR and LPR (finally) are preparing laws requiring operating there 'non-resident' companies, like Akhmetov plants, to pay them taxes. Currently taxes are paid to Ukraine, and as LPR public council chairman Zaporoztsev put it, 'some of that profit returns to us, but in the form of artillery and mortar shells and other means of destruction. Those plants have been built by our fathers and grandfathers, but now not only they do not receive their pensions, but have to suffer from shelling and destruction of their homes'.

9 Feb. Givi funeral photo, video stream report, many thousands, and Zakharchenko attending in central Donetsk.

"DPR offers truce, Ukraine answers with shells and OSCE just don't care" -DoNi (Engl.) report and Engl. -captioned video.

DPR, LPR people's councils chairmen issued joint appeal to world leaders, Russia, USA, Germany, to stop genocide in Donbass. At present the appeal was signed by over 62 thousand people in DPR, 56.6 thousand in LPR (Regular shelling, targeting water supplines, industrial objects with potentially catastrophic consequences described in the appeal).

DPR deputy commander Basurin: DPR was shelled 711 times in the past day, 3 DPR soldiers were killed and 1 wounded.

Poroshenko rejected 'holding elections under presence of foreign troops' , in response to comments by German ambassador. This is despite Minsk agreements to have elections before Ukraine gains border control.

Givi office

8 Feb. Prominent commander of DPR "Somali" batallion Mikhail "Givi" Tolstykh is assassinated in his office, said to be by a shot from "Shmel' portable thermobaric rocket. DPR blamed Ukraine for the assassination. Givi supported DPR leadership; had ascetic lifestyle.

  • Photo gallery-MK.
  • Life news interview with Givi on 3 Feb, after Ukrainian attack on Avdeevka was repelled, including by "Sparta" (Motorola) and "Somali" (Givi). 'Somali' lost several fighters and Givi was lightly wounded, but was back the next day. Givi says that Ukrainian side had higher losses and was resorting to shelling civilian areas; and that his side did not extend a counter-attack further as he was following Minsk agreements.
  • Interview with 'Somali' HQ chief (refutes fakes, like 'opolchenie member claiming responsibility', earlier one on Givi planning to leave, etc)
  • DPR investigators confirmed that IED is considered as a possibility (while some outsiders say, definitely not Shmel).

DPR was shelled by Ukraine 775 times in the past day. DPR accused Ukraine of preparing to mine and prepare to explode Avdeevka coke plant; such explosion can lead to ecological catastrophe.

Report and video from the south, near Mariupol, Shirokino. Regular shelling at night, Ukraine deploying more forces, Ukrainian attack plans rumored.

7 Feb. Basurin sitrep, Eng; video, Russ.. Situation remains to be difficult, little change. 2 DPR soldiers killed and 1 wounded in the past day.

  • Weather. In the last 2 weeks, night temperatures were hitting near -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit). Heating in large residential areas is central, one boiler plant per several multi-storey houses; those heating plants were often knocked off by damaged electric power supply and by direct hits. This created difficult conditions for civilian population. There were reports on interrupted supply; a recent report that a DPR soldier guarding repair workers fixing power grid was killed by Ukrainian sniper, repairs had to stop; etc.

6 Feb. Radical Party leader Oleg Lyashko has his 10-year US visa issued in December 2016 revoked.

4 Feb. President Poroshenko has his first phone call with Trump.

LPR. Chief of the People's Militia Department Oleg Anashenko killed in a car explosion. Ukraine is blamed, an Ukrainian officer later said to be arrested (Russian sources here, quoting LPR ministry of security sources).

3 Feb. DPR ombudsman (press conference video--Russ., on civilian casualties and damage)(text, Russ.).

  • From 1 Jan. 2017 to 2 Feb, 31 people killed (27 soldiers, 4 civilians), 87 wounded (40 soldiers, 47 civilians, including 2 children under 18)
  • Last week (27 Jan-2 Feb.): 19 killed (15 soldiers; + 4 civilians killed in shelling of Donetsk and Makeevka); 59 wounded (17 soldiers and 42 civilians, including 2 children).

Lot of destruction after Ukrainian shelling near 'Motel' station, near eastern exit from Donetsk (report and photos). Uragan MLRS said to be used.

2 Feb. DPR was shelled 1617 times in the past day (including 374 times by heavy artillery, 40 by MLRS). 38 houses were damaged. One DPR soldier was killed and one injured. A civilian man in Makeevka had his arm severed (DAN news).

Opposition figure and ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko meets with Trump.

1 Feb. Ukrainian forces attempted 2 attacks near Kominternovo and 4 near Avdeeevka. Attacks were repelled. High casualty count suggested by Basurin (93 UAF killed and several hundred wounded).

In the past day, Ukraine shelled DPR 3016 times (including heavy artillery, 839 times, and MRLS, 490 times). There are destroyed houses and civilian casualties, it is reported that 2 civilians were killed and 2 wounded (some intersection possible with previous day report, and more casualty reports are coming in).

Water supply to Donetsk and parts of Makeevka is completely interrupted as filtering station lost power.

Tail part of Buk missile fell on Makeevka, according to report with photos. It is said that Ukraine tried to shoot down an OSCE drone with it, firing Buk from a vicinity of Avdeevka.

Ambulance was hit in Donetsk by Ukrainian fire, 3 civilians were wounded (report and photos).


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

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

More videos on talk page


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


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

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


Official Ukrainian sources

Ukrainian media


Minsk Agreements

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


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Ukraine (2014 - Today)

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

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

Kobane (2014, July, September - Today)

Main article: Assault on Kobane
Kobane water cannon.jpg

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

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

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

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

Tremseh (July 12, 2012)

Main article: Tremseh massacre
Confiscated tunisian passports.jpg

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

Other research...