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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

16 Aug. Syria accuses US and UK of supply chemical agents for weapons to terrorists (tear gases CS and CN are shown on a slide during presentation; a point is advanced that use of those in warfare is against chemical weapons convention(s). Wikipedia agrees, quoting Geneva 1925 convention, prohibiting the use of "asphyxiating gas, or any other kind of gas, liquids, substances or similar materials"'. It appears that US State Department agrees too).

12 Aug. The White Helmets announced (here) that 7 of its members were killed by unknowns in the rebel-controlled Sarmin, Idlib. Two vans, communication equipment, and white helmets are said to be stolen. The claim (and selectively graphic images) was picked up by MSM and alternative media.

10 Aug. The SAA liberates 1300km² in Sweida province including over thirty kilometers of the border to Jordan.

9 Aug. Haaretz: 'Israel Held Secret Talks With Russia, U.S. Over Cease-fire in Southern Syria' (free Rus. version here). Meetings took place in Amman and 'a European capital' in early July (before Russia and USA announced deescalation zones, 6 July) . According to the report Israel objected against Iranian presence in Syria, and had a similar position on this with Jordan. (Israel publicly complained after the agreements were announced so it appears that negotiations were not very successful ).

8 Aug. "Astana talks agenda to be discussed at Tehran meeting"

PYD co-chair Salih Muslim repeats the known stance that his party does not seek an independent Kurdish state, but to be part of a federal Syria with equal rights for all citizens. The statement came after the Syrian deputy foreign minister called the planned Rojava elections "a joke".

7 Aug. Iraq: Following an ISIS attack on PMU forces on the Iraqi side of the Al-Tanf border crossing, 40 to 70 PMU fighters are killed by what the PMU claims was unprofessional usage of artillery by the US forces stationed at Tanf. A statement by the targeted subgroup released a day later claims that they were targeted intentionally and demands an investigation by the Iraqi government. The US denies to have targeted them at all.

Situation in central-eastern Syria

6 Aug. Al-Sukhnah is under SAA control, small number of IS fighters remain, de-mining in progress (ANNA news)(Cassad) .

5 Aug. According to a deputy director of the Syrian Red Crescent residing in Raqqa city, the US-led "coalition" has shelled the National Hospital with phosphorus bombs. According to the report the hospital provides service for 100,000 civilians remaining in the city. According to US "Special Envoy" Brett McGurk, there are 2,000 ISIS fighters left in the city, using civilians (his number is 25,000, quoting UN) as human shields. SARC issued a milder-worded official statement.

Coalition representative told TASS that coalition did not strike Raqqa hospital on 3 Aug (presumably this is about the same incident). Further, he claimed that munitions used are not to be discussed, yet phosphorous was not used to strike targets; and in general, it's limited use is allowed by rules of war, for smokescreens, target marking and such.

The YPG releases a statement summarizing the attacks on Rojava by Turkey and its proxies over the last five days.

From Daniele Ganser (wikipedia) lecture, expanding on Robert F. Kennedy Jr. oil-and-gas-reasons-of-war argument: there are two competing pipelines projects (neither built) carrying gas from South Pars/North Dome geologically connected and by far the world's largest Persian Gulf fields, via Syria - one led by Qatar (red), another by Iran (green) -here (Rus. voice-over)(German original).

3 Aug. Russia announces a ceasefire agreement with the "rebels" in the so-called Rastan pocket. Checkpoints and monitoring stations are about to be set up. The agreement was brokered by Egypt (details).

The US denies Turkish media reports that they have delivered a number of tanks to the YPG/SDF.

2 Aug. Recently appeared satellite photos of Khmeimim airbase show a fleet of 33 Russian fighter jets.

At least 66 buses are used in the operation to transfer thousands of surrendered Al-Qaeda fighters and their families from Arsal in Lebanon to Idlib in Syria.

Syria Direct interviews a high-ranking official of the self-administration about the Rojava elections scheduled to have their first round in late September.

1 Aug. Assad gives a speech on the 72nd anniversary of the foundation of the Syrian Arab Army.

31 Jul. The SAA in besieged Deir ez-Zor city takes over an important spot from which it has fire control over an ISIS supply line. This was made possible because many fighters had left to the north-west to counter the advancing SAA at the Raqqa/Deir ez-Zor provinces border.

30 Jul. After slow and lossful progress against ISIS in south-eastern Raqqa province, the SAA enters Deir ez-Zor province for the first time in years.

Journalist Khaled Alkhateb working with RT Arabic was killed in Homs province in ISIS shelling

7 Russian Navy vessels, including submarine B-265 "Krasnodar" (wikipedia)(news) took part in the military parade in Tartus, with bigger Fleet Day parade in St. Petersburg.

Situation at the Lebanese-Syrian border

27 Jul. After Nusra has been driven out of over 90% of the area they controlled in Arsal at the Lebanese-Syrian border, the remaining fighters capitulate to Hezbollah and accept all terms including a three-day ceasefire under which they will leave for Idlib. The battle will now turn north-east where the mountains are controlled by ISIS.

The SDF denies reports that a "LGBT unit" is fighting with them in Raqqa.

Trump's Middle East director on the National Security Council, Derek Harvey, leaves his position over what The National describes as differences over the changed Trump (and Pentagon) policies of only fighting ISIS, while Harvey was "obsessed about Iran" and opposed to giving up the base at Al-Tanf.

Meanwhile, a group called Shuhada al-Qaryatayn brigade has reportedly left the US-led force at al-Tanf, insisting on continuing to fight the SAA.

26 Jul. According to Al-Masdar sources, the SAA has made a surprise advance on the desert town of Al-Sukanah in the evening, and is in the process of storming it.

24 Jul. According to the Wrath of Euphrates command, they have liberated 45% of Raqqa city in the 47 days the operation is ongoing.

Kurdish agency Rudaw interviews Sergey Lavrov about Russian views on Kurdistan, Syria, US.

Robert Fisk is back in Syria where he first reports from a "secret Russian-Kurdish-Syrian" meeting south of Raqqa.

Turkey reportedly closes both the Bab al-Hawa and Kherbet al-Joz border crossings in Idlib province after the Syrian sides were taken over by al-Qaeda.

At a press briefing of the Russian Defense Ministry it is announced that the Russian Military Police has set up two checkpoints and ten watch points along the border of the southern ceasefire zone, and just today two checkpoints and four watchpoints along the border of the part of the Eastern Ghouta that falls under the new agreement with the Army of Islam.

22 Jul. In the eastern Ghouta, an Egypt-brokered agreement is signed between the SAA and the dominant "rebel" force there, Alloush's Army of Islam. It is meant to concretize and build on the de-escalation zone plan brokered by Iran, Turkey and Russia, in which the Damascus suburb pocket is one of four zones.

An agreement between the government and SDF forces is reported regarding Raqqah and Deir ez-Zur areas (robo-translation) (Russian media Southfront/Engl.)

After al-Qaeda has won the Jihadi civil war, more Idlib-based "rebel" groups join their ranks and defect from Ahrar al-Sham.

al-Assad's oldest son, the 15-year-old Hafez, finishes 528th of 615 in the International Math Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro. The Syrian team finishes on place 56, the winner is South Korea.

21 Jul. The Syrian and Lebanese armies together with Hezbollah start a large operation against Islamist militants in the border region of the western Qalamoun mountains (background).

In the Jihadi civil war in Idlib, Ahrar Al-Sham surrenders to Nusra and hands over several assets including the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing.

20 Jul. The EU imposes sanctions on eight scientists and eight military people for involvement in the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun April 2017. Among them is General Issam Zahreddine, famous for leading the troops defending Islamist-besieged Deir ez-Zor since 2012.

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.

Mr. Trump: The Amazon Washington Post fabricated the facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad.

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.

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.

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

16 Aug. It is said that this video shows US marines training in North Carolina in a simulated 'Ukrainian village' with Russian-speaking props.

DPR announced that a group of saboteurs was arrested, there task was to down a TV tower in Petrovskii district of Donetsk.

15 Aug. DPR: at about 21:00, 6 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 3 wounded in a failed breakthrough attempt (Rus.)(Engl). According to Basurin report the next day, 2 DPR soldiers were killed and 1 wounded.

FSB detained Ukrainian man said to be SBU agent preparing acts of sabotage in Crimea (1),(2).

14 Aug. Russell "Texas" Bentley publishes (blog) (twitter) part one of an interview with what he says is a now retired member of the OSCE monitoring mission, who complains about how the org puts a political spin on its reporting through the Kiev office led by A. Hug. It is also claimed that there are detailed field reports produced by OSCE (including Odessa events, 2 May 2014, field reports on shelling and craters, etc), but those reports are not made public and only selective information is released. One time, about two years ago, I heard in the news that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov asked to see the raw data, (field reports) to conduct his own analyses - this of course, was not allowed, but I was somewhat surprised that he never repeated the demand (...despite Russia being an OSCE member...).

12 Aug. SBU tried to recruit Marina Goiko, who serves in LPR militia, and has her mother living in Ukrainian -held area, by using her mother and Marina's underage daughter staying with the grandmother. On 9 Aug mother was approached by unknowns in uniform who demanded that she contacted Marina to convince her to collaborate with SBU. They made another visit next day when grandmother and child were away, talked to her brother, took and checked his documents, and left. At a check point, grandmother and child were stopped, and the birth certificate paper was confiscated, to make the child stay in Ukrainian-held territory and to force Marina to collaborate with SBU. To contact Marina, they took grandmother's cellphone and called from it. Caller gave his name as Vladimir. She asked what is his affiliation, is it SBU or not, as they told grandmother they are SBU (answer to her question is not on the video). They gave Marina 1.5 hours for an answer. Marina came to LPR security services instead and reported the incident. report, with Marina on video.

DPR ombudsman office received complains from 2 servicemen, 1983 and 1966 DOB, complaining of "moral and psychological pressure", threats of illegal criminal prosecution by SBU exerted on their relatives living in Ukrainian-held areas. DPR sent official letters to UN human rights representatives on that matter. A day before, in a press briefing in Donetsk, two DPR servicemen , the natives of Kramatorsk (part of the Donetsk region controlled by Kiev) and Pervomaisky (Kharkiv region) Oleg Boyko and Igor Grigoriev told journalists about threats from the SBU against their families.

Prankers Voval and Lexus interview Saakashvilli (who threatens to use all his connections and energy to fight Ukrainian authorities for stripping him of Ukrainian citizenship; not too concerned about his associates like Maria Gaidar). The same, disguised as Arsen Avakov also phoned Georgian Interior Minister Georgy Mgebrishvili, who told prankers not to ship Saakashvilli back to Georgia if he is arrested in Ukraine (...let him live like a bum).

11 Aug. DPR MOD: in the past week, 342 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 1692 artillery, tank and mortar shells fired, 21 houses damaged or destroyed. 6 people (5 soldiers and 1 civilian) were killed, 3 people (2 soldiers and 1 civilian) were wounded (Rus.)(Eng.) .

DPR ombudsman office posted several reports with videos on "Ukrainian war crimes in DPR" 1 (a man was wounded, his house destroyed, some others were killed); 2 (family house was completely destroyed, wife wounded, husband killed, son shell-shocked); 3 (civilian on a bike delivering some bread to his village was wounded by a sniper); 4 (a prisoner was beaten, jaw bones broken, abused, medical help not provided).

Weekly updates from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. UCMC (Hug, video)

9 Aug. Ukrainian criminalist Sergey Iskruk press conference (report)(video). Sergey Iskruk was involved in the official Ukrainian investigation of events in Odessa, 2 May 2014, and causes of mass casualties. After he submitted his conclusions to prosecutor office, he was pressured to change conclusions, refused to re-write his report, and subsequently physically attacked, twice. He was later approached by 2 men in fatigues from one of nats. battalions and told that they will bring him the 'correct' conclusion. At this point, he decided to leave Ukraine. He recorded a message, to be published by his friends in Europe in case of his disappearance. He did not appear in time so they did just that, but he later emerged safe and sound to give a press conference in DPR. Describing his conclusions, he pointed out that victims did not assume a 'boxer' pose typical for suffocation/fire victims, and that they were relaxed; that there were reports of spilled liquid and unusual yellowish smoke; that a couple was found embracing and relaxed, while extremities were burned; and that medical pathologist/forensic investigation (судмедэкспертиза) conducted shortly after the event found presence of chloroform in blood of some of the victims. Chloroform is anesthetic but when exposed to fire it turns to phosgene, a chemical warfare substance. Sergei Iskruk later met in DPR ombudsman office with a UN representative, 'to record true results of expert investigation' of Odessa events.

8 Aug. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel: The new round of US restrictive measures against Russia can call into question the solidarity of Western countries in terms of the Ukrainian crisis, "sanctions against European companies are totally inadmissible"- as quoted by TASS

7 Aug. US Navy (Seabees) break ground on Maritime Operations Center in Ukraine, one of their 3 other projects in Ochakov (map), Ukraine. Influential Russian MP Klintsevich accused Ukraine of provocation, violating non-block status, and preparing to join NATO, threatened unspecified consequences. In response, Russian patriotic opposition, once again, accused the authorities of inaction and failure.

Georgian prosecutors have called on Poland to extradite Saakashvili who entered the country on August 3rd and was seen in public at the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. He was quoted saying that he plans to leave Poland on Monday (7 Aug.) and travel 'in Europe', without telling a precise destination. He hopes to return to Ukraine legally one day.

6 Aug. Lavrov: US special representative Volker is to visit Moscow, meet with Surkov

5 Aug. US-born DPR-based journalist Patrick Lancaster (featured here by BBC) got married in a church ceremony in Donetsk (report, photos/video).

4 Aug. DPR MOD: in the past week, 407 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 744 artilley, tank and mortar shells fired, 6 houses damaged or destroyed (Rus.)(Eng.) DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 2 soldiers were killed, 12 people (10 soldiers, 1 civilian man and 1 woman) were wounded.

ANNA news video: Ukraine shelled residential area in Slavyanoserbsk, LPR, 2 places shown, mortar shell crater, bullet found. Crater and a compass seen on video, red arrow, likely North as in modern compasses, red is highlighting color (old ones had red pointing South, blue/black north, hot/warm colors). Likely it flew in the direction towards the flowers, what we see on the ground is back-blow pattern damage, while stuff flew up-and-away in the greens/flowers direction (looks like less damage there, but excavation is towards the flowers way). So it appears it came from NNW, i.e. Ukraine. A bit tricky, wish they give us a better view and figured on the video where it came from; they sort of do it with sign-posted arrows, without telling.

Report: Pentagon asks WH to give Ukraine anti-tank Javelins (see 31 Jul. entry for L/DPR response).

2 Aug. Yurii Boyko (Opposition block) proposes (video), in effect, to change Minsk agreements, using road-map (agreed to be developed in recent Normandy format talks, but not actually developed yet) and new initiatives to be introduced by Ukraine. He proposes to add USA to the format (such possibility is mentioned by both sides from time to time, but it's unclear is it going to help the process; Russia is very cautious here); place UN 'blue helmets' on the separation line (raised by Poroshenko awhile back; but it seems that the rebel republics do not support or at least much doubt the idea; Russia is not known to back the plan, or make changes to Minsk agreements. Russian response is that 'agreement of sides to the conflict is needed', which pushes towards direct contact between Kiev and republics. Kiev likely uses blue helmets talk to gain control on republics border with Russia, reversing the order in Minsk agreements; such change to agreements will be clearly unacceptable).

1 Aug. 2 DPR soldiers were killed by Ukrainian sniper fire in the past day (Basurin claimed that foreign snipers are fighting on Ukrainian side, a claim made quite often).

31 Jul. Pentagon and State Department are said to propose arming Ukraine; needs White House approval- WSJ; NYT; Russia24. Anti-tank Javelines and anti-aircraft weapons are said to be considered. L/DPR said (robo-translation) they will buy it from Ukraine, or capture.

Ukraine signed a contract to buy 700 thousand tons of anthracite brand coal from a Pennsylvania, USA -based company XCoal. It is reported that the price of the first shipment is 113 $/ton which is about twice higher than this type of coal from Russia or Donbass.

28 Jul. DPR MOD: 294 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 640 artillery, tank and mortar shells fired (Rus.)(Eng). DPR Ombudsman: in the past week, 7 people were killed (6 soldiers and 1 unknown man killed in Vasilievka, Yasinovataya region), 9 people were wounded (7 soldiers, 1 civilian man, 1 child under 18)

"Recording from UAF drone. Residential homes in Alexandrovka, DPR are shelled"

'Fighting Corruption'

27 Jul. Stateless Saakashvili is with relatives in the Bronx and has a US visa until the end of the year, he told Foreign Policy. He accuses Ukrainian authorities in using faked declaration form in revoking his citizenship.

26 Jul. ANNA news crew arrives to LPR positions near Kalinovo, makes a night-time recording from front-line of the Ukrainian artillery and firearms shelling of Popasnaya, LPR (red marker), as well as their own positions (linked) from a mortar (yellow marker shows impact). Report links increased shelling with Kurt Volker visit.

DPR: Khartsyzsk Pipe Plant will resume production in Sept, 2017 (530 mm to 1,220 mm diameter pipes).

Ukraine cuts electricity supplies to the rebel Donbass area.

Saakashvilli's Ukrainian citizenship was revoked (reports)(official statement)(response).

Dec, 2016 interview to Zhanna Nemtsova : ambition to create new political movement, pro-business, against oligarchy and corruption, seeking to win early parliamentary elections. Describes current corruption and economic stagnation ('will take 15 years to come back to Yanukovich levels). Several references to Trump in the interview (before the US elections).

25 Jul. Video: UAF continues provocations in Avdeevka industrial zone. Video: UAF continues shelling of peaceful settlements.

Video: a civilian man (Andrey) is wounded by Ukrainian shelling of Trudovskoe in the evening of 25.07; DPR corps provided first aid; he is in bandages, and interviewed with his wife. Shelling came from Shurovka or Mar'inka, Ukrainian-held. Two civilians were wounded near Donetsk in total, another is a teenager wounded by UAF shelling of Alexandrovka.

24 Jul. Normandy-4 telephone conversation, calls for ceasefire, disengagement zones: Merkel and Marcon 1, 2 Kremlin. (Traction record of agreements is so far poor).

23 Jul. Volker: Hot war not frozen conflict in Donbas; will consult Normandy group (+EU, OSCE, NATO, UK reps) before making recommendations (EngloUkr-UNIAN)(Rus-TASS).

Ukrainian news report suggests that Volker was shown a residential high rise building in Avdeevka 'damaged by tank fire of hybrid Russian forces in Ukraine'. Building is not clearly shown but may be the same as the one shelled by Ukraine from a close distance in front of the cameras (news item on 11 March 2017). Firing and impact on video is under 1 sec apart; sound travels 340 m in a second, while shell is much faster, 800-900 m/s. On that day, filming was done from a church located some 200 m away (geolocated), and can be estimated by second bang delay compared to the flash; so tank is close, under some 500 m away; while DPR positions are over 2-3 km away. This point was made by us back in March, and similar arguments also appeared in social media, eg 1, 2).

22 Jul. Russian Amb. to the US, S.I. Kislyak farewell reception for colleagues and friends before returning to Moscow. (Mr. Trump and the team is not seen in attendance).

21 Jul. DPR MOD: 298 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past week, 1092 artillery, tank and mortar shells fired, 21 houses damaged or destroyed Rus., Eng. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 4 people (3 soldiers and 1 civilian woman) were killed, 20 (13 soldiers, 2 civilian women, 5 civilian men) were wounded.

A mortar shell was fired by Ukraine on the pumping station of the South Donbass waterway in the settlement of Vasilievka while OSCE SMM patrol was inspecting the facility.

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).

Pro-DPR social media: The commander of a reconnaissance group, call sign Prince (Князь), was seriously injured in his legs during the shelling and decided to stay so that the cover group did not die. He refused that others risk their lives evacuating him, and gave the command to leave. When he was surrounded by the enemy, Alexander blew up a grenade... In another social media report, 4 recently killed DPR soldiers are mentioned (including Prince); two of them, Obrezkov and Panchenko, are said to be killed near Krasnogorovka.

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 novorossia.today, 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.

Videos

More videos on talk page

Photos

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

Sources

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

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

OSCE

Official Ukrainian sources

Ukrainian media

DPR and LPR

Minsk Agreements

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

Agreements

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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...