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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

Flag of Rojava

19 Jul. The Syrian Kurds celebrate the fifth anniversary of the so-called "July 19th-" or "Rojava Revolution" in Kobane, Qamishli, Afrin and many other places. On this day in 2012, many important civil and military bodies, including the YPG, were formed while the Syrian Arab Army was retreating from the region.

Trump ends the "covert" CIA program to arm anti-Assad "rebels" in Syria. Which is a terrible thing according to this Washington Post article.

17 Jul. Asked to comment on a statement by prime minister Netanyahoo that Israel strongly opposes the US-Russia-Jordan-brokered southern ceasefire because it benefits Iran, Kremlin spokesperson Peskov refuses. Meanwhile, Al Masdar reports that Russia has started to deploy military personnel to Izraa in Deraa province to monitor the ceasefire.

Situation in central-eastern Syria

The SAA has been liberating several oil fields in southern Raqqa province and is still advancing.

Reuters reports a Talabani as saying he's "99 percent sure" that ISIS leader al-Baghdadi is still alive.

16 Jul. The Syrian Government and the SDF make a deal to repair the Tabqa Dam together and share the generated electricity.

The SAA command declares Deir Hafer and Maskanah plains in eastern Aleppo province safe and asks its displaced residents to return home.

The "Jihadi civil war" between Ahrar al-Sham and Nusra Front in Idlib province flames up again for the first time since a truce was reached in February.

14 Jul. No Turkish intervention in Afrin canton happens.

13 Jul. At a Trump-Macron press conference in Paris, the French president announces "a new approach" which does "not require Assad's departure, that’s no longer a prerequisite for France", and Trump points out that the US-Russia-Jordan ceasefire is a success and has held five days already.

The SAA led by the Tiger forces starts the operation to liberate Al-Sukanah.

There still have been no direct talks between government and "opposition" delegations at the seventh meeting in Geneva, but De Mistura says they could happen soon, maybe even before the next round of talks starts in late August.

The Tabqa Civil Council is trying to find methods to counter the years of extremist indoctrination the pupils of the region had to endure.

The signing of a US-Qatar agreement to curb terrorist funding is met with skepsis.

11 Jul. SOHR (Osama Suleiman) told AFP that he has information from ISIS leaders that confirm that "Caliph" Baghdadi is dead.

Situation in the desert south-east of Damascus

10 Jul. With the southern ceasefire in place, the SAA starts a two axis operation in the south-eastern desert, quickly cleaning a huge area from US-supported FSA "rebels", and prepares an offensive on the ISIS-held central desert city of al-Sukanah on the way to Deir Ez-Zor (video).

9 Jul. The Syrian delegation headed by al-Jaafari arrives in Geneva for the seventh round of talks which will start tomorrow.

According to several observers, the southern ceasefire announced by the US and Russia at the G20 meeting has taken effect and held the first couple of hours.

8 Jul. Iraq: After eight months of fighting, the security forces announce the complete liberation of Mosul from ISIS.

7 Jul. After the Russian AF hit several ISIS targets along the border between Homs and Hama provinces with KH-101 cruise missiles launched from TU-95 planes, Putin states that they have shown a high reliability.

After Trump and Putin meet the first time in person at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, the foreign ministers of the countries, who both accessed the meeting, announce that as of July 9, a ceasefire guaranteed by their countries plus Jordan will take effect in southwestern Syria and will be monitored by Russian military police.

6 Jul. The SAA extends the ceasefire in the southern provinces two days until July 8.

After "rebels" break the ceasefire in the Rastan pocket "de-escalation zone", the SAA retaliates by hitting targets in Kafr Laha and Taldou in the Houla plains.

Battle for Raqqa

According to SOHR, in the first month of the operation to retake Raqqa city from ISIS, 311 ISIS fighters and 106 SDF fighters have died. Progress has slowed down and is only possible with large destruction happening. 224 civilians died in these attempts, according to the statement.

5 Jul. The talks in Astana end with a joint statement. The head of the Syrian delegation al-Jaafari states that due to the negative attitude of the Turkish delegation, the meeting achieved only "modest results". The Russian chief negotiator agrees that the objectives of the meeting have not been reached, without laying blame. The next meeting will be in late August.

Mass protests against "Turkish occupation" hit the streets in Afrin canton.

Turkey: Police detains without charges ten human rights activists including the head of Amnesty International Turkey. Days later Erdogan accuses AI of plotting a new coup in the country.

Russian military police 'may be deployed' in buffer security zones in Syria - TASS

4 Jul. The Turkish army launches a massive artillery attack against SDF positions in Afrin canton.

The SDF enters the old city of Raqqa after US forces blow gaps into the historic city wall built in the 8th century.

The fifth round of negotiations in Astana starts.

3 Jul. The delegations of Russia, Iran and Turkey are having a working group meeting in Astana the day before the next round of negotiations focusing on the de-escalation zones starts there.

The SAA attacks the US-backed "rebels" at Al-Tanf.

Russia demonstrates fragments of US anti-tank TOW missile, with serial numbers, recovered in an area of combat against Al-Qaeda/al-Nusra/Jebhat Fatah ash-Sham; implies it was used by those.

2 Jul. An unnamed 'military-diplomatic source' informed RIA on possible preparations for (another) fake flag Sarin attack (robo-translated).

The SAA announces a five days ceasefire in the southern provinces of Deraa, Sweida and Quneitra.

1 Jul. ANOTHER chemical weapons use accusation, chlorine, on "Failak ar-Rahman" in Ayn Therma, Eastern Ghouta area in Damascus Countryside. SAA statement-SANA.

The YPG releases a statement summarizing last week's Turkish attacks on Afrin canton.

Situation around Raqqa

30 Jun. Syrian Army encircles ISIS forces in Khanasser region.

According to the UNHCR, almost half a million Syrian refugees, more than 90% of them internally displaced, have returned to their homes in the first half of 2017.

29 Jun. Iran confirms that ISIS leader Baghdadi is dead. (Reuters offers alternatively nuanced claim details).

Rusvesna: subsequently, Iranian IRIB TV published Bagdadi photos, claiming that he was killed. Noted: photo search gives this article in Arabic with the same photo and dated 7 Mar. 2015. Another Russian source published the same photo on 12 October 2015 (and commenting on fake use).

28 Jun. CNN: The US military has ships and aircraft in place to strike Syria if ordered to do so by President Donald Trump...The US recently observed the movement of an aircraft and chemical agents on a base toward possible preparation for an attack...(this?). More on WaPo.

US Defense Minister Mattis states that Assad must have taken Spicer's warning seriously, because "they didn't do it".

Erdogan: Turkey ready for military operation against Syrian Kurds (talk).

27 Jun. Russian sources report that in a White House press briefing Assad government was accused of preparations for 'another chemical attack' , like the one in in Khan Sheikhoun on Apr. 4 (but a transcript not found yet). Frants Klintsevich of The Russian defense committee of the Federation Council accused USA in preparing another attack on Syrian government forces. The Hill reports White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday night the U.S. has “identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime ... similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.” Spicer explained “the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price."

26 Jun. Israeli air strikes are targeting SAA positions for the third day in a row, while al-Qaeda is attacking on the ground.

The month of Ramadan ends.

25 Jun. The SAA is advancing north-east along the Iraqi border and has almost reached the T2 pumping station. The spokesperson for the US-coalition Dillon states that they welcome this development because they are not in the land-grabbing, but the killing-ISIS business and are fine with Syrian and Iranian-backed forces doing the same.

The German daily WELT publishes an article by Seymour Hersh who had contacted its publisher Stefan Aust after his former publisher London Review of Books decided to not publish the already paid for piece, because it basically confirms the positions of the Russian and Syrian government that no Sarin attack happened in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, and states that US military knew it when they attacked a Syrian airbase two days later.

Second day of spillover fire and Israeli strikes - J. Post; Rusvesna.

24 Jun. Israel acts as Al Qaeda's air force again, and more on Moon of Alabama. However, unidentified Russian MoD source told Russian RIA that al-Nusra armored vehicles were hit; while Syrian military source did not mention military casualties or equipment losses (SANA).

'Good neighbor' buffer zone policy offers some support to some rebels, such as Fursan al-Joulan; 4 groups, about 800 fighters in total-WSJ, following UN report, 8 Jun (item 11, etc). Spillover fire blamed and strike video provided here.

23 Jun. Problems with reckless behaviour of officials adressed by Assad on Jun 20 while launching the "National Project for Administrative Reform" are reacted upon today through several arrests done by Damascus traffic police. This comes a day after news of a crackdown on looting pro-Governments militias in Aleppo reaches "Western" "analysts".

The SDF has completed the siege of Raqqa by taking al-Kamb on the southern banks of the Euphrates.

22 Jun. It is said that Russia negotiates with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan on deployment of a police/peacekeeping force to Syria. A day later the Kazakh foreign minister denies any negotiations.

US Defense Minister Mattis tells his Turkish counterpart that the weapons given to the YPG would be taken back once ISIS is defeated.

The Turkish army sends large reinforcements into the Euphrates Shield zone, sparking YPG fears of an attack on Afrin canton.

Russia fires S-300 over Mediterranean Sea from the naval base in Tartus, Syria, on unknown target. Some connect this to reports of a U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk crashing in California. Speculation is that the drone may have actually been a EQ-4 coordinating attacks against "ISIS".

The Russian Foreign Ministry now has verification through various channels and deems the death of Baghdadi "highly likely".

21 Jun. Iraq: ISIS blows up Mosul's historic Al-Nuri mosque with the iconic leaning minaret (built in 1172-73) where Baghdadi proclaimed the "caliphate" in 2014.

In an interview new French president Macron breaks with the position of his predecessors in "that I have not stated that Bashar Assad's departure is a pre-condition for everything because nobody has shown me a legitimate successor".

20 Jun. US F-15 fighter jet shot down armed Iranian-made Shaheed-129 drone after it advanced on Tanf, where US SOF trains rebels

The ceasefire in Deraa ends without the "rebels" showing interest in further negotiations. The SAA goes into offensive and captures a significant base west of the city. Hours later, they lose the base again.

The Russians have not been able to confirm the death of ISIS leader Baghdadi yet.

19 Jun. The SAA liberates Resafa (aka Sergiopolis) from ISIS. At the end of the day SANA reports over twenty towns and an oil field liberated in southern Raqqa province.

Following the downing of the SAA jet, the Russian military de facto implements a no-fly-zone for US-coalition jets west of the Euphrates ('planes will be tracked by air defense as targets'). The US-Coalition prudently re-positions its aircrafts, 'continue target ISIS', Australia halts its air strikes in reaction.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry writes two letters to the UN Secretary General and the president of the Security Council complaining about the repeated US aggressions against the SAA and calls on the UNSC to "break its silence and condemn these cowardly and reckless military actions, particularly as they are carried out by an illegal coalition, adding that this blatant US aggression can only be seen as a violation of Security Council resolutions on combating terrorism, the sovereignty and independence of the Syrian Arab Republic, international law, and the UN Charter."

The joint Syrian-Iraqi Chamber of Commerce and Industry is inaugurated in Baghdad.

18 Jun. US F/A-18 fighter jet shot down Syrian SU-22 attack plane dropping bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqa. Also reported by SDF and Kurdish sources, and Rusvesna. SANA, Almasdar News: the plane was conducting a raid on IS positions. But a US Navy ( statement claims Syrian forces first attacked Kurdish SDF forces, chasing them from the town of Ja'Din ("which sits approximately two kilometers north of an established East-West SDF-Syrian Regime de-confliction area" and per Peto Lucem's latest, just on the ISIS side of the line (Adam Larson tweet)). Then at 6:43 p.m., a Syrian SU-22 "dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah" and "was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet" in accordance with rules to protect coalition partners. There's no claim the bombs were dropped on or aimed at the SDF fighters, as opposed to ISIS. Pilot (Ali Fahd) landed in rebel area and was located; clashes as well as negotiations with SDF were reported. Reports differ on whether he was liberated or still held prisoner by Kurds.

  • CBS: US F18 fired 2 missiles at range of 0.6 miles; 1st missed, 2nd blew rear SU-22 off; chute spotted
  • Majd Fahd: SDF now holding negotiations with the government to get the downed jet pilot back to his family

'A number of mid-range ground-to-ground missiles were fired from the IRGC aerospace force’s bases in Iran’s western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan' on 'terrorist sites in Syria’s Deir Ez-Zor' in retaliation for the June 7 terrorist attacks in Tehran - Tasnim News

17 Jun. A ceasefire of initially two days is implemented in Deraa after negotiations between the SAA and "rebel" forces operating near the Jordanian border. Part of the negotiations is said to be a reopening of Nassib border crossing which is in "rebel" hands since spring 2015.

New rounds of Syria talks in the established formats are scheduled for July 4 in Astana and July 10 in Geneva.

16 Jun. After a new wave of rumours about ISIS leader Baghdadi's death, the Russian Ministry of Defense states that they are in the process of checking whether he was among the "30 commanders and 300 militants eliminated" in a strike on a meeting on the southern outskirts of Raqqa city on May 28.

FP: Two top White House officials push for an offensive in southern Syria, while def. sec. James Mattis, military commanders, and top U.S. diplomats (Brett McGurk) all oppose.

15 Jun. The SAA is advancing along the Palmyra-Deir ez-Zor highway and has liberated the western parts of the Arak oil and gas fields.

14 Jun. U.S. moves HIMARS long-range guided MLRS rocket launchers into al-Tanf on Syria-Iraq border - Reuters. TASS quotes Reuters report, + discusses second US base being established at Al Zakaf--as claimed by a rebel leader Abu al-Atheer, but denied by the official OIR spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon.

13 Jun. It turns out that the damage of the Euphrates Dam is not confined to the control room, but eight turbines have been destroyed and the whole machinery and equipment looted.

A military source told the correspondent of rusvesna, located in Syria, that on June 13, 2017 in the province of Hama in the vicinity of Zellakiyat, which is located on the border of the de-escalation zone, the positions of government troops were attacked by combat unmanned aerial vehicles - "kamikaze". Such drones were ordered in May by US special operations forces to fight ISIS (rusvesna infers those were the same, Switchblade, photos and video from the ground shown).

In a wide-ranging two hour podcast episode, Mark Ames and Gary Brecher interview well-connected Al Rai-correspondent Elijah Magnier.

12 Jun. Large column of IS vehicles is shown (quoting IS media wing) moving in the desert, said to be from Raqqa to Deir-ez Zor (Rusvesna, robo-translated), while it is also reported that ISIS is in mass retreatment from eastern Aleppo/western Raqqa provinces against the advancing SAA. However some of the video fragments were shown back in 2014 (0:21 here is 1:43 above, and everything after 1:43 is at the same location- same foreground white stone, distant structures, etc); see also Paveway on MOA.

The infamous Iranian General Qassem Suleimani visits SAA, PMU, (Afghan) Liwa Fatemiyoun, and Hezbollah at their new meeting point at the Syrian-Iraqi border.

11 Jun. With the beginning of the operation to liberate Raqqa, the Turkish-backed "Euphrates Shield" mercenaries have increased their attacks on Kurdish forces especially in Afrin canton, as a YPG statement summarizes.

ISIS retakes the Division 17 army base north of Raqqa in a surprise counterattack.

10 Jun. YPG fighters drive through a new liberated neighborhood in Raqqa. (In addition to Arabic, Russian text is seen on one of the buildings: институт шариата аиши -institute of Sharia AIShI).

In a phone call between Lavrov and Tillerson, the Russian FM urges his counterpart to prevent further attacks by the US airforce against the SAA.

9 Jun. Despite the illegal US attacks on their forces, loyalists are reported to have reached the outskirts of al-Tanf (town). Later reports say that the SAA has reached the Iraqi border northeast of al-Tanf border crossing and met there with the Iraqi army. (map). Video, said to show pro-government forces at the Syrian-Iraq border north-east of Al-Tanf.

WaPo correspondent: CENTCOM spox unaware of 4th strike on pro-Assad forces. Says there has been 'activity' but no additional strikes.

Commander of Russian Armed Forces in Syria Sergey Surovikin alleges that the pattern of ISIS retreats from sites attacked by the SDF to those where the SAA is fighting is the result of collusion with the US.

"According to available reliable information, in early June ISIL terrorists entered into collusion with the command of the Kurdish armed units ...(and) left the populated localities of Tadia and al-Hamam located 19 kilometers southwest of Raqqa offering no resistance and headed toward Palmyra.

WSJ: 'U.S. in Talks With Moscow on Syria Safe Zone' (free summary-Rus.) It is claimed that at least 2 secret meetings took place in Jordan. No official comment from the US or Russia.

Photos and video show phosphorous munitions use by the Western coalition in Mosul and/or Raqqa. (Coalition claims it is used for smoke screens, masking and marking).

8 Jun. ISIS retreats from the 20 villages on the southern bank of Lake Assad that separated the areas controlled by the SAA to the West and the SDF to the East.

Third US strike on pro-government forces near al-Tanf is reported (OIR spokesman), (Rusvesna),(Almasdar News)

US shot down pro-government armed drone near Al-Tanf.

Q: The drone that was shot down, was that an Iranian Shahid 129?
COL. DILLON: ... had to be pro-regime -- a regime drone. It was an MQ-1-like drone (Predator) and that's as far as I know right now.
Iranian Shahed-129 videos: 1 2; Iranian Chinese-made CH4.

7 Jun. Syrian Army pounds jihadi rebels in Daraa as major offensive begins

6 Jun. The SDF announces that the "Great War" to liberate Raqqa from ISIS has officially begun. It is said that US Apache helicopters and Marines are providing assistance - Sputnik quoting Capt. Jeff Davis Pentagon briefing, which actually says:

"We have there assisting in this battle Marine M777 howitzers, which are providing a significant enabling capability to our special operations forces and partners on the ground," Davis said, adding that U.S. attack helicopters, AH-64 Apaches, are also being used.

Operation Inherent Resolve press release indicates support but is less specific.

Another coalition airstrike on pro-government forces near al-Tanf - (Rusvesna), (TASS-Eng.), (Almasdar News), (video) ,(coalition statement).

It is said that in this airstrike 2 were killed, 15 wounded, 2 self-propelled howitzers 'Gvozdika', one 'Shilka' and several vehicles destroyed -report and photos.

5 Jun. Saudi Arabia along with other GCC countries cuts diplomatic ties, trade and traffic with Qatar, because of the latter's alleged support of "terrorists". Both countries have been training and funding terrorist groups operating in Syria.

In a night offensive in Deir ez-Zor, ISIS managed to break through the SAA's defense lines and is still advancing in the morning with heavy fighting and Russian Airforce bombardment going on.

Heavy fighting in Daraa area with urban and rural fighting continuing.

4 Jun. The US-supported Maghawir al-Thawra "rebels" announce that they have established a new camp in the desert half-way between al-Tanf and Bukamal at the border to Iraq "to combat ISIS".

The SDF takes Azadi Dam 20 km west of Raqqa from ISIS. In Iraq, the PMU takes the important city of Baaj near the border from the terrorist group.

3 Jun. According to military sources talking to Al Masdar, ISIS has withdrawn from Maskanah and the SAA taken over the group's last stronghold in Aleppo province. (video with combat footage).

Meanwhile the SDF takes from ISIS Mansoura town 20 km east of Tabqa.

Assad is interviewed by Indian TV (transcript).

2 Jun. The SAA continues the encirclement of Maskanah and cuts off the main supply road between the city and Raqqa.

After the "success" of Euphrates Shield, and the SAA making it to Lake Assad - are the Kurdish cantons connected or not? Somehow yes, finds this article.

1 Jun. In an interview with Al Monitor Muhannad al-Talaa, the leader of the US-backed Maghawir al-Thawra "rebel" faction, claims that there are 150 US Troops at al-Tanf base, in addition to troops of five unnamed coalition countries including two Arab nations.

Archive 2017
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Archive 2016
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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. This trend continued when in early April 2017 the topic hit big news again.

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."

Houla (May 25, 2012)

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

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

Homs Massacres (2011-present)

Main article: Homs Massacres
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

Poroshenko, Kiska - EU entry at Uzhgorod
Alley of Angels, in memory of killed children of Donbass. Ukraine "über alles"?-Donetsk Partisan

20 Jul. ATO spokesman: in the past day, 4 UAF were killed near Krasnogorovka, 1 near Donetsk, 1 near Mariupol, 3 more killed by IED; 5 wounded (2 in Krasnogorovka, 3 by IED).

DPR: in the past day, 1 soldier was killed, 3 civilians wounded (Rus.) , (Eng).-- Also reports that 4 UAF soldiers were wounded after loading their mortar twice in the state of alcoholic intoxication, then blamed the incident on DPR shelling.

19 Jul. Ukraine shelled Petrovskiy district of Donetsk, 2 houses reported on fire, a civilian is seriously wounded. Dokuchaevsk was shelled earlier in the day. In the past day, 1 DPR soldier was killed.

Contact group meeting was held in Minsk, with prisoners exchange, observing ceasefire, separation of forces in Stanitsa Luganskaya on agenda, but no progress to report. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 2.

18 Jul. Sputnik reports that Alexandr Zakharshenko declared Ukraine a failed state and proposes the creation of a successor state Malorossiya ("little Russia") with a transition period of "up to three years" and the capital Donetsk. According to, the LPR is on board with the plan (others deny that) and the eventual territory shall be all of "former Ukraine" (discussion).

Main document, the political declaration-Engl.; LPR official reaction-Engl.; Peskov-Engl.

14 Jul. DPR MOD: in the past week, Ukaine fired 556 artilery, tank, mortar shells, 12 houses were damaged or destroyed - Rus, Eng. DPR ombudsman:3 people were killed, including 2 soldiers and 1 civilian, a man (apparently the same as the one killed in the grey zone several weeks ago by mine explosion, whose body was recently evacuated; 1962 DoB). 7 people (4 soldiers, a civilian woman, and 2 civilian men) were wounded.

12 Jul. Ukrainian security council lead by Turchinov prepared draft law on 'de-occupation of Donbass'. The law was not adopted (Turchhinov explained it by need to consult 'strategic partners'), and lacks transitional articles normally present in such laws, but published by Ukrainian and Russian sources. The law describes policies of not recognizing rebel republics, especially property acts (art. 2) and calls for 'liberation' and restoring Ukrainian control (art. 4). Yet art. 7 pretends to follow Minsk agreements. Art. 9 gives the president authority to use armed forces (current use of armed forces without a war or emergency rule is illegal). Art. 11 : order of crossing the line of demarcation, and carriage of goods, is determined by the Chief of the Joint Operational Headquarters.

9 Jul. Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations (listed at McCain Institute) arrived to Kiev with Sec. Rex Tillerson and will stay for a few days. Rusvesna: new bloody provocations by UAF may be expected to portray 'aggressiveness' and 'incapacity for peace' of the breakaway republics.

2 cargo NATO planes landed in Odessa for Sea Breeze maneuvers -report, photos

7 Jul. LPR. Two explosions in central Lugansk, near Government House. In the first explosion, a lady captain of medical services of people's militia was killed and 5 people wounded - report, videos. LPR blamed Kiev for the attack, during G 20 meeting, aimed to prevent peaceful settlement in Donbass.

DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 3 people (all soldiers) were killed, 6 (3 soldiers and 3 civilian men) were wounded. DPR MOD: in the past week, Ukraine fired 865 artillery, mortar and tank shells, 17 houses were damaged or destroyed. Provocations planned by Ukraine but prevented, and some of the targets found on captured flash drives are presented. Onn July, 4, a terrorist attack in Donetsk was prevented by vigilant citizen. (Rus);(Eng).

6 Jul. DPR: SBU prepares a terrorist attack during a festival in Mariupol, 7-9 July, coinciding with G-20 meeting dates, to blame the attack on opolchenie and justify renewal of hostilities.

5 Jul. Rada may consider draft law 'on reintegration and de-occupation' of Donbas, in an attempt to legalize/legally define 'ATO'.

4 Jul. Major of UAF separate mountain brigade was captured near Peski. It is said that a thumb drive with orders to use artillery on targets in Donetsk was recovered- report and video. Artillery use is banned by Minsk agreements; also targets, and the whole operation, are near Peski, bordering residential areas of Kuibyshev district of Donetsk; further topographic target details are provided. An order to use 2.5 ammunition kits per day (i.e. quite a lot) is given.

It is said that LPR apprehended Ukrainian RSG planning armed or IED attack on OSCE mission. It is said that a car and a video recording from damaged dashboard camera were recovered, discussing attack plans --that alleged video is included in the report.

Lynn Tracey is quoted to say that US Amb. to Russia John Tefft is to leave his post this fall; believed to be replaced by John Huntsman.

1 Jul. Russian alt rock songster Dolphin was scheduled to perform in Kiev 'Atlas' festival, but was prevented from entering Ukraine because he has visited Crimea. His musicians went ahead with Karaoke version, with audience singing along, in Rus. One of those, 'The Spring' here, and him performing earlier, here.

30 Jun. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 1 soldier and 1 civilian man killed, 20 people (18 soldiers, 1 civilian man and 1 civilian woman) wounded. DPR MOD: in the past week, Ukraine fired 847 missiles, artllery, tank and mortar shells Eng., Rus.

LPR multimedia weekly report, showing shelling areas, with maps; 1089 shells in total. 11 houses damaged, 1 civilian wounded. Another Ukrainian RSG group apprehended, one wounded UAF soldier was abandoned by comrades, died in neutral zone.

29 Jun. Trade University building partially collapsed in central Donetsk, possibly explosion, casualties, but not confirmed. Emergency services so far believe that there are no casualties.

27 Jun. LPR: Ukrainian RSG attacked a group delivering food to contact line, killed 2 and captured 4, including Victor Ageev. Russian MOD: Victor Ageev never served under contract, only under draft, which ended in May, 2016. (Ukrainian HQ claims; documents). Graham Phillips and LPR reports suggest that those killed were first tortured, based on injuries observed.

Head of Ukrainian GRU reserve detachment Maxim Shapoval was killed when his Mercedes car exploded in Kiev; another man was wounded. ( 1,2). 'In Kiev, it was already suggested (by Anton Gerashenko) that Russian services can be behind'.

He was the first Kiborg, had some role in guarding Voronenkov (23 Mar.), probably some business interest too. The attack day coincide with some anniversaries, including his detachment's (1,4 July)...

Ukrainian sources: 'Chernobyl station is monitored in manual regime due to cyber-attacks'

25 Jun. Ukraine will buy 2 mln tons of coal in Pennsylvania, USA, in order to reject Donbass coal. That was negotiated during Poroshenko visit to Washington.

24 Jun. In the first hours of the newest agreed ceasefire, Ukraine violated it 7 times, twice in Mariupol area (small firearms fire), 3 times near Donetsk (tank and mortar fire), 2 times near Gorlovka (small firearms). 'Bread' ceasefire, to gather crops, 24 Jun.- 31 Aug., was negotiated by the contact group on 21 Jun.

23 Jun. DPR MOD: in the past week, 328 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 2840 missiles, artillery, tank and mortar shells fired. (Rus.)(Eng.)Ombudsman: 4 people (2 civilian women and 2 soldiers) were killed, 6 people (5 soldiers and 1 civilian man) wounded (1 soldier critically wounded -MOD).

22 Jun. Macron wants to know what is happening with Minsk agreements ("neither war nor peace"), and so plans to have a Normandy format meeting before G-20.

Preparation for Putin-Trump meeting at G-20 is not conducted in practice, according to both sides

Ukrainian journalist Igor Guzhva, chief editor of Ukrainian site was arrested on charges of 'extortion' (later released on bail). His site sometimes published more accurate information on ATO events (e.g. reported on Ukrainian advance on Zhelobok, contradicting the official line). In his own words: now in each large media channel, a system of curators is being established, from presidential administration, government, and SNBO. They read through the news and say, this material goes, and this does not. This is channeled through owners and made to look nice, not a direct censorship. (Clip starts with him telling that all important policies are controlled 'by Americans', followed by jump cut)

21 Jun. NATO's F-16 (apparently Polish) closely approached Russian DM Shoigu plane flying over neutral waters of Baltic sea, and was steered off by escorting Su -27 -video. Shoigu was heading to Kaliningrad for a meeting on 'security issues from the Western strategic direction'.

DPR: 81 years old woman died from injuries received in Yasinovataya shelling by Ukraine on 19 Jun.

20 Jun. OSCE claimed (in initial twit version, now apparently softened) that their observers were assaulted in Yasinovataya by 'armed DPR men' (nobody was injured). DPR investigates, calls this a provocation (designed to coincide with Poroshenko visit to USA, arrests some suspects, who are said to be not members of DPR armed forces or security services.

19 Jun. DPR. A young woman was killed by Ukrainian shelling of Kominternovo. An old woman was wounded by Ukrainian shelling of Yasinovataya

It is said that Poroshenko administration on the eve of his US visit develops some new plan presented as halting ATO, some 'peaceful reintegration', possibly even change of legal status of rebel areas --and, somehow, emergency military rule in Ukrainian-held Donbass. DPR reaction after 3 years of war is skeptical.

18 Jun. DPR MOD: 1 DPR soldier was killed, at least two houses damaged. New provocations feared prior to Trump meeting with Poroshenko (who visits on 19-20 Jun) , and contact group meeting on 21 Jun.

Ukrainian AF killed and wounded in 'ATO', Maidan, Kiev

16 Jun. DPR MOD: 447 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 3850 missiles, artillery, tank and mortar shells fired. 1 DPR soldier and 3 civilians were killed, 5 civilians were wounded (Rus.)(Eng.)

13 Jun. An old woman, 1939 DOB, was killed by Ukrainian sniper fire in Sakhanka -DAN news (Eng.)

12 Jun. Two civilians were killed in overnight Ukrainian shelling of Petrovskii and Kievskii districts of Donetsk. According to DPR MOD, with a video from the scene, OSCE did not attend the scene due to lack of asphalted road leading there. 'A shot fired from BMP-1 gun in Mar'inka took lives of 2 people, a mother and her son'. (Discussion).

Anna News correspondents recorded from Kalinovo Ukrainian night shelling of LPR (1:49-2:17;2:38), while that same Ukrainian position is shelled by Ukrainians themselves (2:16-2:27; 2:51-3:18; also around 4:00-4:40 from another direction). Lights in Popasnoe, Ukr. held, seen at 4:42. Camera is on a forward LPR position, there are no LPR positions in front of the camera. 5:46-6:02, cameraman is spotted and fired on, 120 mm mortar shell lands nearby. 6:07 -6:21, LPR is shelled some more; 6:23 more shots on LPR from Troitskoe. Ukrainian sources reported that UAF positions were shelled in Popasnoe and Troitskoe by the militants

11 Jun. 'Water of Donbass' pumping station near Yasinovataya lost power again due to Ukrainian shelling, affecting water supply in several large cities in soutwestern Donbass. Russian JCCC reps and plant operators came under Ukrainian fire when visiting the station (casualties were luckily avoided).

10 Jun. LPR weekly report (multimedia, Rus.) Ukraine fired 1506 mortar and artillery shells and grenades. Zhelobok attack: 7 houses destroyed, 2 civilians wounded. LPR claims that 11 UAF were killed and 18 wounded, bodies were left in the grey zone near Zhelobok, some of them could be saved if evacuated in time. On 7 June in the afternoon (Zhelobok attack day), OSCE SMM patrol near Muratovo (Ukrainian-held) heard 30 MLRS missiles. LPR: those were fired from Zolotoye (Ukrainian controlled).

Zhelobok report & photos, by "Prizrak' commissar 'Dobryi'.

DPR MOD: 395 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 3800 missiles, artillery, tank and mortar shells fired (Rus.)(Eng.) DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 7 people (6 soldiers and 1 civilian woman) were killed, 24 people (16 soldiers, 1 civilian woman, 7 civilian men) were wounded. 736 DPR people are in Ukrainian custody (426 confirmed and 303 being verified; + 7 new petitions regarding DPR supporters arrested by Ukraine, dated from Aug. 2015 to June 2017).

8 Jun. In the past day, 1 DPR soldier was killed and 1 wounded.

LPR official report: in the past day, Ukraine fired 413 mortar and artillery shells banned by Minsk agreements. 4 soldiers and 2 civilians wounded, 7 houses destroyed.

Opolchenie report: Zhelobok settlement, LPR (map) is under control of 'Prizrak' (LPR), and partially by Ukraine in the grey zone; before the attack, the situation was similar. Some heights which were captured by Ukraine remain under their control. Fierce artillery duels continue, and extend to Donetsk suburbs. 'Water of Donbass' report that equipment at a pumping station near Yasinovataya were damaged by Ukrainian shelling, and pumping cannot be restarted without repairs and clearing of unexploded munitions. Videos: (1) media, the head of the administration and the representative of LPR militia came under UAF shelling; (2)shells hit residential buildings on the streets of 50 years of the USSR, Michurin and Voikov in the city of Kirovsk.

Ukrainian losses in the past day according to the official report: 2 killed and 11 wounded (including 1 killed and 8 wounded in Zhelobok, in Rusvesna reading of the official data).

Small IED explosion at the US Embassy in Kiev, no damage or injuries.

7 Jun. BREAKING: UAF attacked from two directions near Zhelobok, LPR, on the day of a scheduled meeting in Minsk-Rusvesna report. Opolchenie report: UAF is using heavy artillery and tanks to override first line of defense. When attacks started, LPR defenders were ordered to use light weapons only. Residential areas in Kirovsk city center were shelled, serious destruction is reported. LPR spokesman: 2-3 platoons UAF involved in the attack.

6 Jun. DPR. In the past day, 7 people were wounded, 11 houses damaged by Ukrainian shelling.

3 June. US program of junior leader military training in Ukraine, with photos, and more multimedia on recent US deployment to Eastern Europe -Cassad.

2 June. DPR MOD weekly update (Rus.), (Eng.) 389 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 3632 missiles, artillery, tank and mortar shells fired. DPR ombudsman: 2 DPR soldiers killed, 11 people (5 DPR soldiers, 3 civilian men, 3 civilian women) wounded (MOD gives lower numbers). 23 houses damaged. -All that in the background of announcements of new attempts of ceasefire.

LPR dismisses Kiev's reports on Ukrainian army advance (Eng). Anna news video report from Bakhmut road, near Zhelobok and Frunze, checkpoint 31, LPR--there have been no recent advances of Ukrainian forces. However, they occupy positions in grey zone for quite some time, in violation of Minsk agreements; LPR complained to OSCE many times.

1 Jun. Adam Osmaev, a Chechen accused in the past of preparing an attempt on Putin, was wounded in a shoot-out in Kiev with a man who presented himself as a French journalist. The attacker was also wounded by shots fired by Osmaev's wife. Ukrainian sources give different details, telling that Osmaev car was shot at.

Ukrainian media published a photo of the alleged attacker, who has Ukrainian internal and external passports. Gerashenko tries to make a case connecting the attacker to Russia. Ukrainian reports, photos suggest that he may be Arthur Denisultanov, who has a criminal past. It is said that he threatened Umar Israilov, former Kadyrov bodygauard, later killed in Vienna, Austria. He was questioned in Austria and testified against Kadyrov, but was not believed, sent back, and later claimed that his testimony was falsified by police.


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 - Summer 2015)

Main article: Assault on Kobane
Kobane water cannon.jpg

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

Ras Al-Ayn (November 8, 2012 - Summer 2013)

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

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

Tremseh (July 12, 2012)

Main article: Tremseh massacre
Confiscated tunisian passports.jpg

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

Other research...