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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

19 Jan. "A column of Russian troops entered the Kurdish Afrin"-report.

The YPG twitter account at 19:30 reports that a Turkish attack on Afrin was repelled.

Lavrov denies reports that Russian military observers left Afrin.

YPG Rojava on twitter, titled "Invasion of the Turkish army in preparation for attacking Afrin" , as per source.

Detachments of the Russian forces, on a preliminary agreement with the Turkish side, left the village of Kafr-Jannah in Afrin. Turkish military activity in Afrin is possible -Rusvesna. Cassad posted some updates, with running updates on linked there telegram channel.

18 Jan. Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Turkey, Army General Hulusi Akar and the Director of the National Intelligence Organization of the Turkish Republic Hakan Fidan visit Moscow, meet with the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation - First Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, Army General Valery Gerasimov, whose big smile is here.

The city of Afrin sees mass demonstrations against the Turkish threats of invasion and occupation. Solidarity demonstrations take place in cities of the other Kurdish cantons like in Qamishli and Kobane.

Syria's deputy foreign minister Mikdad warns that any Turkish incursion into Afrin will be considered an act of war and that the air defense systems are ready to target Turkish planes entering the country.

17 Jan. Rex Tillerson tells reporters that "entire situation has been mis-portrayed, mis-described, some people misspoke. We are not creating a border security force at all". Later he delivers webstreamed remarks about Syria at the Hoover Institution. Nothing about the events of recent days is said, however he states that "the United States will maintain a military presence in Syria ", and that "our military presence is backed by State Department and USAID teams who are already working with local authorities to help liberated peoples stabilize their own communities". Some commenters are unconvinced that a border force is not being created, not just mis-sold, pointing out that a border force may be used to control flow of weapons, ammunition, supplies, fighters into Syria.

16 Jan. Speaking at a NATO meeting in Brussels, the head of the Turkish army General Akar stresses that his country will not allow "the PKK" to be armed and supported by the US, which he asks to "return from its mistake". Back in Ankara, Erdogan urges NATO to show solidarity with Turkey against the US. "NATO! You are obliged to take a stand against those who harass the borders of one of your partners", he requests in front of the parliamentary group of his AK party.

In an interview with Firat News Agency, the YPG Commander General Sipan Hemo states that should Turkey attack Afrin as announced, they are well prepared and "the final war" to get rid of "the Erdogan menace" would begin. Asked about the US stance, he says that they have no information. A "Border Security Force" plan is not mentioned in the detailed interview.

Battlefield south-eastern Idlib pocket

15 Jan. Situation in the Idlib pocket: In recent days the SAA has advanced from the East towards their comrades at the gates of Abu al-Duhur, then in a surprise move freed the Khanasir-Aleppo road up north, building a pocket east of it. Apparently next to no militants were left in that pocket and by now it seems to be almost cleared. The opening between the forces at Abu al-Duhur and those to the east is only 2 km wide by now, almost forming another pocket to the south which includes the ISIS micro caliphate. Meanwhile to the West, Nusra and their Uyghur comrades throw everything they have against the SAA, with only small and temporary success (map of latest developments).

Lavrov: what we see is not a desire to help resolve the conflict as soon as possible, but rather to help those who try to make practical steps to change the regime in Syria. WSJ: The Russians and Turks threaten the U.S. to abandon Syria’s Kurds; Lavrov misses John Kerry.

13 Jan. The US military announces that it is training a 30,000 strong "Border Security Force" that is supposed to protect the borders to Turkey and Iraq as well as the east bank of the Euphrates. 15,000 of them are already recruited veteran SDF fighters. Syria and Turkey sharply condemn the move, with Erdogan promising to "crush the terror army". Al Masdar reports that as part of a "secret side deal" the US has delivered MANPADs to the SDF. There is no statement on the SDF website even 48 hours after the announcement.

12 Jan. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, they have "completely wiped out" the group that attacked the Khmeimim base on Dec 31, blowing up their minibus after special forces had located them. They also destroyed a depot of drones of the type used on Jan 6. In both cases "Krasnopol precision artillery munition" was used.

Military influence in Syria during 2017 (Jusoor)

Jusoor publishes an infographic showing the development of military influence in Syria during the months of 2017.

11 Jan. Speaking about the drone attacks to the Russian press at an extensive meeting, Putin says that Russia knows who paid whom how much for the provocation aimed at driving a wedge between Turkey, Iran and Russia (answer to Mikhail Komissar in full transcript + video. Also, Igor Chernyak: Recently, during an attack on the Russian base in Syria, a US reconnaissance aircraft was spotted near the base, according to the Defence Ministry. Putin: There was a drone hovering nearby).

Putin conversation with Erdogan prior to press conference (drones including).

10 Jan. A map showing today's again rapid developments in the eastern Idlib pocket suggests that HTS/Nusra is fleeing out of the building pockets to the west, while the SAA and ISIS are filling the void. The SAA stands at the gates of Abu al-Duhur airbase.

Turkish state media prints claims by "moderate rebels" that "Russia, Iran and the Assad regime" are responsible for the growing of the ISIS micro caliphate in the Idlib pocket.

According to a source cited by an Al-Masdar author, the number of fighters in the ISIS micro caliphate has grown from initially 300 who broke into the pocket months ago, to 800-900, mainly thanks to defections.

An article in the newspaper of the Russian Defense Ministry, "Red Star", states that the drones attacking the Russian facilities have originated in the village Muazzara in the Turkish-controlled part of the Idlib de-escalation zone. Inquiring letters to the heads of Turkish Army and Intelligence have been sent.

9 Jan. Russian military sources quoted by Kommersant say they have evidence that the Jan 6 drone attacks on their facilities were carried out by Ahrar Al-Sham, with "satellite assistence" from a state, implying the US. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is "worried" that such drones are seen in the hands of militants, claiming to have seen them being used by ISIS. A further al-Masdar report claims a US P8 Poseidon was flying an orbit nearby during the attack - implying the US had prior warning of the attack and was monitoring Russian Command Control and Communications.

Israel attacks SAA targets in the western Ghouta with missiles.

ISIS-in-Idlib-pocket snatches another dozen villages from HTS and extends their micro caliphate into Aleppo province.

Speaking to parliament, Erdogan repeats his threat to extend Euphrates Shield to Manbij and Afrin.

8 Jan. A Turkish army convoy is attacked by unknown militants in western Aleppo countryside. While Muraselon reports that at least one military vehicle was destroyed and the crew killed "by RPGs", Yeni Safak claims that "a rocket" missed the convoy by 20-30 m and no damage occured.

7. Jan Continuing the rapid advance, the SAA takes the regional traffic hub of Sinjar and several villages in southern Idlib province. Video footage from Sinjar released by the Tiger forces shows an empty town.

The Turkistan Islamic Party, a militia consisting of Chinese Uyghurs based near the Turkish border in the Idlib pocket, sends a large convoy of reinforcements to the front with the SAA to help out Al Nusra.

6 Jan. Russian air defense at Khmeimim base intercepts an unknown flying object. Later report with photos said that armed wooden frame drones handmade by the rebels were shot down near Khmeimim. Two days later the Defense Ministry speaks about 13 "rebel" drones they had intercepted.

5 Jan. According to both government and opposition sources, HTS/Nusra is retreating from its positions in the southern Idlib pocket while the SAA advances. A bit east of that battlefield, the pocket-in-a-pocket ISIS micro-caliphate uses the opportunity to take two more villages from the rival Jihadis.

The SDF continues to fight remnants of ISIS on the low east bank of the Euphrates.

4 Jan. A Brazilian parliamentary delegation comes to visit Syria.

3 Jan. The SDF publishes a detailed report of their activities in 2017. A similar year-end report by the Turkish PKK's militia HPG claims that they have killed 2,616 Turkish soldiers and police men in 2017.

2 Jan. The SAA declares the western Ghouta to be free of terrorists (background story on the history of the Beit Jenn pocket).

In the eastern Ghouta, the SAA is involved in heavy clashes with Ahrar Al-Sham over a base in Harasta.

1 Jan. Assad appoints new ministers of Defense, Industry and Information. The new Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub was until now the SAA's Chief of General Staff.

The Mharda power plant in northern Hama gets shelled but stays in operation with damage only to administrative buildings. Meanwhile, the al-Zara power plant goes back on line.


31 Dec. According to Russian MoD, Russian Mi-24 crashed in Syria due to a technical problem on a flight to Hama, 2 pilots were killed, a technician survived.

According to Kommersant the Khemeymim airbase was hit with mortar fire which resulted in the destruction of at least four front-line Su-24 bombers, two Su-35S multipurpose fighter aircraft and one An-72 military transport aircraft. However, according to Al Masdar News the attack was intercepted and no damage (ACLOS page).

30 Dec. The SAA is steadily advancing against Nusra and has liberated dozens of villages in northern Hama since the start of the offensive.

According to a detailed ANHA News summary, in the year 2017 the Turkish army attacked targets in Afrin canton 576 times, killed and wounded dozens of civilians and uprooted over 10,000 olive and other trees.

29 Dec. The SAA reaches an agreement with the remaining ca. 300 Islamist fighters in the small Beit Jenn pocket in the western Ghouta. They take the proverbial bus ride to Idlib.

28 Dec. The giant al-Zara power plant in southern Hama close to the Rastan pocket goes out of service after a shelling attack.

27 Dec. "Pantsir" deflected a rocket attack on the Russian military base in Syria -report.

Erdogan calls Assad a terrorist. The Syrian foreign ministry replies sharply.

26 Dec. The SAA led by the Tiger forces starts their offensive against Nusra/HTS at the southern border of the Idlib pocket.

Syrian army Aero L-39 Albatros plane was shot down with MANPAD by HTS rebels, the pilot is reported killed (Rusvesna; Cassad).

23 Dec. According to a YPG statement, in the month of November the SDF ranks were joined by over 300 defectors from the Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield and over 1,500 mostly Arab youths from the liberated areas.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, there are over 10,000 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan now, with more arriving every day from Syria and Iraq. The statement says that the US is informed but underestimates the threat.

22 Dec. In Astana, al-Jaafari demands the "immediate and unconditional withdrawal of foreign forces from Syrian territory".

21 Dec. Report +photo (robo-translation): terrorists shelled Aleppo during the procession of the "Immortal Regiment". 4 mortar shells were fired, presumably, handicraft production, 3 people were killed, including 2 children (girls 6 and 13 years) and a woman of 50 years, many were injured.

The Duma approves a proposal to turn the small Russian refueling port in Tartus into a complete naval base.

The eighth round of talks starts in Astana.

20 Dec. SAA General Suheil "the Tiger" al-Hassan arrives at the Idlib pocket frontlines where he is expected to lead a major upcoming battle against Al Nusra.

19 Dec. After an agreement with the government, the national flag is raised in the YPG-controlled Kurdish districts of Aleppo city.

18 Dec. In the eastern Ghouta pocket, the Army of Islam executes 45 fighters of the Al Nusra Front.

Assad receives an official and economic Russian delegation headed by Dmitry Rogozin and gives a press conference in the aftermath. Asked about French comments about the Geneva talks, he says that the country "has been the spearhead of supporting terrorism in Syria" and that "its hands are covered in blood".

17 Dec. French president Macron states that Assad will stay in power because he is protected "by those who won the war on the ground" and calls him "an enemy of the Syrian people".

Erdogan-loyalist Turkish paper Yeni Şafak claims that ISIS-leader Baghdadi and other top figures are alive and held at a US base in Rmeilan near Hasakah. (Peskov 'does not know what it is based on')

15 Dec. The "talks" in Geneva finally end without progress, which De Mistura and the French foreign ministry - to the accused's protest - blame on the Syrian government delegation.

Fehim Tastekin reports that at this week's meeting, Putin and Erdogan found a compromise concerning the participation of Syrian Kurds at the planned Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, with the latter accepting it as long as no official representatives of the PYD attend. A list of 140 delegates has already been provided to the Russians by the "Democratic Federation of Northern Syria" administration.

A (Öcalanian) "Democratic Society's Academy" opens in al-Tabqa.

14 Dec. CNN: two F-22A 'intercept Russian jets over Syria, fire warning flares', 'Su-35 also flew across the river and was shadowed closely by one of the F-22As'; TASS: 'F-22 interfered with our Su-25 planes but departed when Su-35C approached'.

12 Dec. The Syrian delegation has returned to the still ongoing Geneva talks and holds new meetings with De Mistura, again in seperate rooms from the exile opposition and in face of the latter's preconditions they will never accept. This futility made them leave in the first place after the organizers announced that this kind of talks should go on for weeks. Meanwhile, the next round of talks in Astana is scheduled for December 21/22.

Remnants of ISIS start attacks from the desert pocket on the Euphrates east bank on the SAA on the west bank, with several success messages spread by their media outlets but unconfirmed by anybody else.

SDF: Life gradually returns to Raqqa City

Mission accomplished.jpg

11 Dec. On his way from Sochi to Egypt, Putin makes a short surprise visit at Khmeimim airbase, meets Assad and orders the withdrawal of Russian troops from combat operations in Syria.

10 Dec. The series of assassinations of Nusra leaders continues with one in Deraa and one in Aleppo countryside. As usual, nobody claimed responsibility.

Situation in Iraq

9 Dec. Iraq: PM Abadi declares that the army is in full control of the border with Syria and the war against ISIS has successfully ended.

7 Dec. The SDF releases a "clarification" saying that operation Al Jazeera Storm is still ongoing and about to be finished, likely countering rumours and an alleged document about a ceasefire deal between them and ISIS. They thank Russia for its actions which led to the "rapid collapse" of the terror group. A day earlier, South Front reported that the SDF released a statement denying that Russia's Airforce helped them advancing. Such a statement can't currently be found on the SDF press website.

The US defense ministry respectfully disagrees with the Russian proclamation of the end of ISIS in Syria.

Situation around Deir ez-Zor

6 Dec. The SAA declares that they have established full control over the west bank of the Euphrates. Putin states that he was briefed by Shoigu that the operations against ISIS on both sides of the Euphrates are finished and the group doesn't control any territory in Syria anymore.

Both Turkish and Kurdish media report that ISIS forces are retreating from Syria and Iraq to North Africa.

US: Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

5 Dec. Afrin canton is again under attack of the Turkish army and their proxies.

The Russians have supported the SDF advances on the Euphrates east bank with 672 combat flights (background).

4 Dec. Yemen: Days after former long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh switched sides again and basically called for a surrender to Saudi Arabia, he dies at the hands of Houthi fighters.

After advances by the SAA, 13 km of the western bank of the Euphrates are still under ISIS control.

3 Dec. YPG Declares Full Control Over Eastern Deir Ezzor Countryside During Meeting With Russian Officers

2 Dec. Resigned SDF spokesperson Talal Silo, who the SDF after his resignation said did so because his children in Turkey were threatened, gives an English-language interview to Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency. The following days a part 2 and part 3 are published.

Jihadists use of armed drones in this report +videos.

1 Dec. In Rojava, the elections for local councils and administrations are taking place. This is the second of three rounds of a bottom-up process of elections, after community co-chairs had been elected on September 22. The third round scheduled for early next year will elect a congress.

30 Nov. Secretary of Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev: 'Preparation for some troops withdrawal from Syria is already ongoing (no time frame).

The US announces that 400 marines are preparing to return home after they've successfully assisted the SDF with artillery in the battle for Raqqa.

It is reported that China announces that it will send special forces to Syria to help combat the estimated 2,500 Uyghur Islamists currently fighting in the Idlib pocket. However, there are reasonable doubts 1, 2 about the accuracy of the story, and denials, too.

28 Nov. In the uprun to the 8th round of talks in Geneva, Russia's permanent representative Alexei Borodavkin there asks his fellow UNSC members to bring the exile opposition "down to earth" and face reality which doesn't have Assad or Iranian advisers going anywhere anytime soon.

26 Nov. 'Kurdish-led SDF will join Syrian army if federal state guaranteed: Rojava official' - 1, 2.

25 Nov. The SDF reach the border to Iraq north of the Euphrates. Meanwhile in Iraq, the army and PMU make steady progress in a huge operation to clean the remaining desert pocket of ISIS remnants.

24 Nov. The exile opposition conference in Riyadh ends with the formation of a unified 36 member delegation for future talks in Geneva and elsewhere, headed by Naser al-Hariri.

Trump and Erdogan had a phone conversation. According to Turkish FM Cavusoglu quoted by AP, who listened in on the call, Trump told his president that he had "given clear instructions and that the YPG won't be given arms and that this nonsense should have ended a long time ago."

The reparation of the Euphrates Dam energy generation facilities continues to progress.

Situation in south-eastern corner of Idlib pocket

The ISIS splinter group that managed to cross from a desert pocket into the Idlib pocket several weeks ago keeps on expanding its territory from originally three to now about twenty villages it has taken from the thin-spread Nusra front.

Egypt: Suspected ISIS terrorists attack the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed on the Sinai, killing at least 235 people.

23 Nov. In statements on the trilateral meeting, officials from Rojava express concerns that Turkey might have made concessions in other areas to get the green light to attack Afrin canton. They say they have been invited to and will attend the National Dialogue Congress Russia is preparing in Sochi.

22 Nov. The presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran, the guarantor countries of the Astana process, meet in Sochi. According to Putin, a "new phase" has been entered where all sides have to make concessions and compromises, "including obviously the Syrian government", to come to a political solution.

In Saudi Arabia, a three day conference of various branches of Syrian opposition groups starts with the aim to find a common position to negotiate in upcoming meetings in Geneva and elsewhere. Leading up to the conference, a number of "Assad must go" hardliners of the Saudi-sponsored "High Negotiations Committee" resign, including its leader Riyad Hijab, a former Syrian Prime Minister.

In Rojava, preparations for the Local Council elections scheduled for December 1 are in the final stages.

Washington Post: U.S. moves toward open-ended presence in Syria after Islamic State is routed

21 Nov. Putin and Trump have a phone call lasting about an hour, discussing Syria, Iran, North Korea and Ukraine. Putin also has phone conversations with al-Sisi, the Saudi King and Netanyahu.

Iranian president Rouhani and Major General Qassem Soleimani declare the end of ISIS.

20 Nov. Assad and Putin meet in Sochi.

19 Nov. After a three days offensive, Al Bukamal is back in SAA hands with remaining ISIS forces withdrawing to the other side of the Euphrates.

MV-22 Ospreys over Manhattan on Nov 18, allegedly on their way to storm CIA in Langley. (photos, video)

18 Nov. US: Marines in MV-22 Ospreys and Cobra attack helicopters are photographed flying up and down the east cost and allegedly seen hovering over Langley. It is speculated that the show of force was targeted against Obama administration hold-overs in the CIA still operating its terrorist proxies in Syria.

17 Nov. The Iraqi army liberates the small Euphrates town of Rawa, which was the very last urban settlement controlled by ISIS in the whole country. The group is now reduced to rural desert regions. Meanwhile the Syrian army takes over the Euphrates island of Hawija Kate north of Deir ez-Zor after 250 ISIS fighters surrender. The SDF has advanced on the eastern bank of the river during the week and liberated several villages and Al-Tenk oilfield, Syria's second largest after Al-Omar.

Russia vetoes US resolution on Syria. Earlier, the Russian-Chinese version was rejected as well (BBC), (TASS).

16 Nov. Kurdish news agency ANHA publishes their fourth installment of interviews with captured ISIS fighters.

15 Nov. SDF spokesperson Talal Silo, a Turkmen, defects to Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield forces, complaining about Kurdish dominance in the SDF. An SDF statement alleges that he was pressured into resigning after his children were threatened in Turkey.

14 Nov. The Russian Ministry of Defense releases a news item on their facebook page accusing the US of refusing to bomb ISIS forces retreating from Al Bukamal. The photos illustrating the post turn out to be from a computer game and an old video about events in Iraq; they accepted the mistake and replaced the photos, pointing out that the work was done by a civilian contractor (Cassad posted a theory that a mole placed by a competing contractor is to blame).

Assad gives a speech at the meeting of the "Arab Forum for Confronting Zionist-US Reactionary Alliance" in Damascus.

13 Nov. A statement by the Women's Protection Units commemorates the second anniversary of the liberation of the trapped Yezidis of Sengal (Sinjar) by the YPG and the preceding "betrayal" by the KRG Peshmerga.

A convoy with humanitarian aid reaches Douma in the Ghouta pocket.

The BBC publishes a long story about the deal that let ISIS fighters evacuate from Raqqa before the liberation. For some reason it's called "Raqqa's dirty secret".

12 Nov. While the loyalist forces which retreated from Al Bukamal are cleaning the outskirts, the SAA led by the Tiger forces advances from Al Mayadeen down the Euphrates towards the town.

The back-and-forth between SAA and Nusra at the south-eastern corner of the Idlib pocket continues.

11 Nov. In a joint statement by Presidents Trump and Putin after their meeting in Vietnam, they agree on several points regarding Syria and mention a memorandum the two countries concluded with Jordan on Nov. 8, regarding further steps in the southern de-escalation zone. According to the Kremlin, the document had been drafted by the two countries’ experts, coordinated by Lavrov and Tillerson and specially prepared for the Danang meeting. The foreign ministers also had a separate meeting at the event.

After heavy fights with ISIS on the northern outskirts of Al Bukamal, the SAA withdraws from the city center.

10 Nov. The SDF takes full control over the Khabur river.

9 Nov. After the fall of the last city controlled by ISIS, Al Masdar lists the remaining Syrian pockets controlled by the group. Which are Yarmouk Camp in southern Damascus, a pocket at the border to the Golan heights in the very south-west and a strip of the Euphrates with several smaller towns between Mayadeen and Bukamal. Several independent hordes and sleeper cells continue to exist in the central desert.

8 Nov. Just hours after meeting at the border a stone-throw south of it, a huge combined force of Syrian and Iraqi militaries and paramilitaries surrounds and then enters Al Bukamal. In the evening, some sources report that the city's liberation has already been completed.

The SDF is active liberating villages in the upper Khabur river region.

7 Nov. The Iraqi Army gets official government approval to enter Syria and participate in the liberation of Al Bukamal.

According to the Russians, 54,000 "militants have been eliminated in Syria over the past two years", among them 2,800 Russian citizens.

Syria signs the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, making the US the only country on Earth opposing it.

6 Nov. Reports (Ivan Sidorenko on Twitter) of HTS-led offensive in north-east Hama countryside, seizing a few villages, after SAA defenders chased off with chlorine gas attacks. Location: in and around Umm-Turaykiyah (Wikimapia), near Alawite villages Tulaysiyah, Zughba

The Reconstruction Commission of the Raqqa Civil Council receives the last of a number of large batches of construction vehicles and machines from the US-led "coalition" to remove the rubble from what's left of the city. Meanhwile, the SDF receive 120 trucks worth of weapons from the US for their Deir ez-Zor operation.

At the "Arab Reality after 100 Years of the Balfour Declaration" conference in Damascus, Assad promotes a revival of Pan-Arabism.

5 Nov. The SAA reaches the Iraqi border after progressing east from the T2 pumping station. They now stand 30 km south-west of Al Bukamal.

4 Nov. The UN expresses concern about the situation in Al Rukban camp where 50,000 refugees cannot be provided with assistance because it is inside the 55 km radius around Al Tanf military base the US has declared a no-go zone.

According to PMU sources, they have entered Syria intending to block the SDF from reaching Al Bukamal.

3 Nov. According to several sources, the SAA has fully liberated Deir ez-Zor city from ISIS.

Iraq: the Army and PMU liberate the city of Al Qaim after taking the border crossing of the same name in the morning. According to SOHR, fleeing ISIS forces were chased over the border into Syrian territory by the PMU.

2 Nov. ISIS is on retreat in Deir ez-Zor city where the SAA liberates neighbourhood after neighbourhood.

In the SDF-controlled regions of Deir ez-Zor countryside, the Civil Council takes up work.

1 Nov. Six strategic Tu-22M3 Russian long-range bombers strike targets in Al Bukamal. The bombers will return on each of the next several days to continue the attacks.

Archive 2017
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05 06 07 08
01 02 03 04
Archive 2016
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05 06 07 08

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
Rada's LDPR "reintegration"

19 Jan. Shoot-out between armed man and police in Odessa (video). It is said (Dumskaya) that 57-old pro-Russian Valentin Doroshenko was killed, a number of police wounded. (Rusvesna)(

18 Jan. Rada adopted a law on 'Reintegration of Donbass', after voting down most of almost 700 amendments (including the one denouncing treaty of friendship with Russia --confirming the principle of territorial integrity, among other things). In the end, the document calls Russia 'an occupier', and L/DPR 'temporary occupied territories', their leadership 'the occupation administrations of the Russian Federation', and is seen as incompatible with the Minsk agreements. Only the opposition block voted against, and one Samopomosh deputy abstained, the rest supported the law (3 more against and 1 abstention from non-affiliated deputies; a few from each party did not cast a vote). Art. 9 of the law authorizes use of armed forces to counter "aggression", with MOI, police, other services and executive authorities subordinated to the Chief of the Joint Operational Headquarters of the Armed Forces (giving control to Poroshenko as the commander-in-chief). See also discussion.

DPR head Zakharchenko: This law will allow to untie the hands of the Ukrainian military. And everything they could not do before, can now do on "legitimate" grounds. This completely violates the Minsk agreements

According to Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman Martin Saydik, an officer of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission was "killed" (погиб) in Ukrainian-held Kramatorsk today. According to reports he was killed in a traffic accident in a taxi car in Kramatorsk.

16 Jan. Oliver Stone's documentary "Ukraine On Fire" is made publicly available on YouTube.

Second-running Russia's presidential candidate Grudinin: Russia, in view of Kiev's overt sabotage of Minsk agreements, should take the next logical step: to recognize the will of the people expressed in the referendums in 2014 and recognize the independence of these republics... If the population of Donbass (mainly Russian) will show a will to return to Russia, then we must consider this possibility in the most serious way (Rus.),(robo-translation).

US Amb. Marie Yovanovitch interview: Ukraine will receive free US lethal weapons, details to be worked out.

12 Jan. DPR ombudsman: in the period 1-12 January, 4 DPR soldiers were killed, 13 people (11 soldiers and 2 civilian men) were wounded.

Basurin describes drone use by Ukraine, and allegedly a new provocation planned (or training) involving Ukrainian Buks.

5 Jan. Ukrainian MP Evgenii Muraev is quoted saying, among other things, that in Ukraine, USA is fighting with Russia, and that we have to stop the war, remove sanctions on Russia, and wait for Russian investors (Rusvesna).

4 Jan. Basurin: (vid. Rus.,Eng.) Ukrainian forces fired on checkpoint in Mar'inka, with civilians (and OSCE observers) present, DPR did not fire back.


29 Dec. Kurt Volker interview on Echo Mosckvy. (Approval of US weapons to Ukraine is discussed both in the past and future tenses, approved/will be approved). Volker is doing his thing as an unpaid volunteer replacement of Victoria Nuland, intended to be temporary, from Trump assuming office to elections in Russia in March 2018. (But he remains the executive director at McCain Inst, and the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine, Ambassador Volker). Dicey. Next date with Surkov, not yet confirmed. In yet another unforced error of his, we learn from Volker that: "the Russian leadership is very stable, to put it mildly".

28 Dec. McCain Institute vs Cato Institute? Started on talk, with a McCain Inst. entry.

Ukraine violated holidays ceasefire, firing 11 mortar shells on Trudovskie settlement (Petrovsky district of Donetsk).

Ukrainian military MI-24 chopper is spotted near separation line, in violation of Minsk agremments; DPR warns that it will be shot down if it crosses.

27 Dec. LPR-Ukraine prisoners exchange is completed, 73 prisoners crossed to LPR, 2 decided to stay in Ukraine (earlier, a case with 2 journalists charged with separatism was described where they declined amnesty+exchange option). DPR -Ukraine exchange is expected to follow. Over 300 prisoners in total expected to return to L/DPR. Photos and videos-Cassad.

Misha to Geogia, Petya to Gagauzia!

24 Dec. Several competing marches in Kiev. One of Maidan interactions (summary), (video) titled 'How Azov gave a slap to Poroshenko advisor'.

23 Dec. Despite the supposed start of holiday ceasefire, Ukraine fired on Gorlovka, Gol'movsky, Yasinovataya with small firearms, automatic grenade launchers, and mortars -Rusvesna.

US State Department and media pronouncements on the former approving lethal weapons for Ukraine make little clear, in addition to making little sense.

Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ryabkov Commentary on the Supply of US Arms to Ukraine (Rus.)(robo-translation; official translation to appear).

...crossing the line...

"Donald Trump Prepares to Escalate Confrontation with Russia over Ukraine", by Doug Bandow of Cato Institute, published by the National Interest

22 Dec. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 4 DPR soldiers were killed, and a civilian man killed in Yasinovatya shelling. 11 people (4 soldiers, 3 civilian men, 4 civilian women) were wounded.

DPR: in the morning, from 9:00 to 10:00, UAF shelled with MLRS "Grad" the outskirts of Donetsk ("Volvo Center" and 'First Square'/Admin-village) with more than 30 rockets. No injuries were so far reported. According to the operational command, the fire was from the direction of the village Netailovo, Yasinovatsky district. Power transmission lines were damaged, craters were discovered near residential homes. Some missiles hit the Ukrainian-controlled Peski nearby.

20 Dec. 21:30 to 22:15, UAF shelled with heavy artillery center of Yasinovataya. At least one civilian was killed (a man, Saponov Yu.G, 1967 DOB), another man wounded (Mairir A.C, 1953 DOB). There are more wounded and trapped civilians . ANNA news video of shelling aftermath (shelling lasted 40 minutes; no DPR positions nearby) (Russell "Texas" Bentley aftermath video from the scene)

UAF shelled with 'Grad's residential area of Gol'movsky settlement near Gorlovka and DPR positions in the area -report and video. A hospital was hit (video)

WaPo: Trump administration approves lethal arms sales to Ukraine. Administration officials confirmed that the State Department this month approved a commercial license authorizing the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories to Ukraine, a sale valued at $41.5 million. TASS: The State Department issued a license for commercial exports to Ukraine of a limited number of small arms and light weapons of American manufacturers. RIA quotes Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan statement to the press that Pentagon is ready to support the State Department decision once it is formalized (direct link not found)

18 Dec. Russia's representatives in JCCC will leave on 19 Dec, complaining of constant harassment by Kiev side. Following this, Kiev's representatives in JCCC (4 officers located in DPR, one group in the south, another in Donetsk) will leave too. DPR representative in JCCC Ruslan Yakubov stated that there is no dangers/threats for Kiev's reps in DPR and their concerns are artifical and groundless -RIA

17 Dec. Another Saakashvili-led pro-impeachment march in Kiev -videos 12.

15 Dec. Alexandr Khodakovsky: UAF deployed seven 'Grad's MLRS on the territory of Advdeevka coke plant (storing toxic liquids), trying to create a massive provocation.

Saakashvili op-ed in NY Times: I am the best anti-Putin and anti-oligarchs-who-manipulate-elections stateless president

14 Dec. Putin's response on Donbass to a Ukrainian journo Tsymbalyuk (full transcript, Eng.), in essence redirects the issue of peacekeepers to L/DPR, so far excluded from direct negotiations.

OSCE: the Ukrainian Armed Forces representative to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in the JCCC headquarters in government-controlled Soledar (79km north of Donetsk) shared with the SMM a letter from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation informing Ukraine that the Russian Federation would withdraw its Armed Forces officers from the JCCC. Rusvesna: the reason is that the Russian officers were constantly harassed by the Ukrainian side.

13 Dec. DPR representatives at JCCC stated that OSCE patrol refused to record Ukrainian shelling of Donetsk water filtering station area with phosphorous munitions, on the grounds that their shift is over in 10 minutes (RIA). DPR recorded 13 phosphorous mortar shells explosions fired from Avdeevka (ANNA news). Water filtering station is a key infrastructure which provides water supply to the area, and stores chlorine for purification; damaging chlorine tanks will lead to a disaster. Meanwhile, State Department accused Russian-led forces in shelling water filtering station (ie themselves) and a coke plant nearby (map); both are known to store toxic chemicals.

Canada allowed automatic weapons sales to Ukraine (p. 40/363, SOR/DORS/2017-248 p. 3307); (Izvestia).

MP Rabinovich statement and Italian documentary on Maidan snipers from Georgia were introduced at a court hearing in Kiev on Yanukovich case (RIA).

12 Dec. UN Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, 16 August to 15 November 2017. (Noted: reported civilian casualties from shelling and small firearms are mostly in the L/DPR area). (Tatiana Montan comment--irony/black humor. It does not matter for the Ukrainian leadership, it only matters what their Western curators are telling them, and not in public).

11 Dec. Saakashvili set free by the court. (Tsarev offers an opinion on behind-the scene US pressure).

Saakashvili in court , Timoshenko present, text+video feed by News One

10 Dec. In a recording from approx. 5 Dec. (see below), Yulia Timoshenko on Newsone, to punch the line against private ownership and sale of land to the 'West', and for developing farming instead, to make Ukraine a strong agrarian country. Says that president impeachment according to present constitution and laws in practice is 'an utopia'. Proceeds to discuss the State Department and Bloomberg news (4 Dec, below).

Kiev: march 'for the impeachment' (law) was streamed by NewsOne, Visually thousands on the streets. MP V. Parasyuk claims that around 20 thousand people gathered around the scene on Maidan; organizers claim about 50 thousands. Videos: drone; from Maidan to Saak's detention.

'Порошенко на нары!'

9 Dec. DPR reprentative office opened in Helsinki (TASS)(Johan Bäckman).

ATO press center: 4 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 2 wounded in the past day. (DPR reports note increased shelling and unchanged situation with the settlements captured by Ukraine in the grey zone).

8 Dec. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 6 DPR soldiers were killed, 3 soldiers and 2 civilian men were wounded.

Saakashvili was arrested by SBU. Report was confirmed by Gerashenko ( A feed from his detention place here, another by NewsOne here. Saakashvili announced a hunger strike; a protest march is planned on Sunday.

7 Dec. On the sidelines of an OSCE event in Vienna, FM's Klimkin and Lavrov hold their first personal meeting ever.

IMF's Lagarde 'deeply concerned' about anti-corruption setbacks in Ukraine

Rada approved the budget for 2018. Increased military spending, deficit of 2.4% GDP, minimal wages stay low, 3% growth projected. (Bloomberg estimate, 2%).

6 Dec. DPR soldier was killed

Tent city on Maidan was attacked by a mob armed with metal pipes, there were injuries; videos 1, 2. Saakashvilli did not come to prosecutor office, invited to his tent instead, remains at large so far.

5 Dec. Petrovskiy district of Donetsk shelled, municipal truck driver wounded, evacuated by DPR military as shelling continued

Law Enforcement breaks into the Kiev appartment of Saakashvili, who manages to escape to the roof of the building where he threatens to jump off of it and tells the gathering crowd that he is about to get kidnapped. In the end he is detained by security forces. But then the van he is held in is attacked by crowds in the street and Saakashvili escapes to a church where he holds a speech calling for regime overthrow. Latest reports have him leading a march of several hundred people to the parliament. General Prosecutor Lutsenko gave him 24 hours to turn himself in (seeking to place him under house arrest); Saakashvilli at a meeting near Rada called for Lutsnko and SBU chief Gritsak to step down. Earlier, Lutsenko & SBU accused Saakashvilli of being sponsored by Russia (from a certain Russian Sergey Kurchenko, via Saakashvilli supporter Dangadze); while Saakashvilli claimed (NewsOne live channel) that accusations are facilitated by 'Putin and Ivanashvili'.

Videos: rooftop speech; van escape;morning after speech

Alleged prancers call to Poroshenko, playing PM of Georgia, for more entertainment (unverified, with a rude ending).

Lutsenko threatened to close some (unpatriotic) Ukrainian mass media channels (concern at NewsOne).

4 Dec. DPR. Rusvesna update. In the past day, 1 DPR soldier was killed by UAF shelling. Situation with recently captured by Ukraine Gladosovo and Travnevo remains essentially unchanged. One additional Ukrainian soldier said to die from his wounds.Ukraine is said to distribute UN aid, presented as own; trying to get a ceasefire, said to be to repair electric power supply.

US State Department sided with Ukrainian anti-corruption committee in its standoff with the rest of the government. A story-line by Bershidky at Bloomberg: 'The West Backed the Wrong Man in Ukraine'. (Bloombergwise, 2% GDP growth is projected, following, according to 1, 2, a 16% decline since the start of the conflict. World Bank GDP data, according to Google, is 183.3 bln USD in 2013, 93.3 bln USD in 2016, an almost 50% drop. Big drop in hryvna is a factor here too.)

3 Dec. Kiev. Access to NewsOne TV building was blocked, barricaded by a group of masked activists, said to be because the channel owner Muraev called Maidan, 2014 events 'a state coup' (MP Rabinovich, who recently accused Saakashvilli of bringing snipers to Maidan is the channel founder). It is noted that calls to block the channel because of its positions were made earlier, e.g. by Ilya Kiva.

Saakashvilli is leading a column of about protesters, under slogans of 'people's impeachment' of the current administration, since their demand to adopt a law on impeachment by Dec. 3 was not met. Long video shows quite large crowd, with the front of the column under Right Sector banners, decreasing further down with more Ukrainian national flags and less of the Right Sector

Saakashvilli announced that he is going to NewsOne channel, despite not liking the owners, stating that NewsOne was the only channel covering his march.

2 Dec. DPR MOD now reports based on own sources (Eng.)(Rus.) heavy UAF losses under recently captured by UAF Gladosovo and Travnevoye, and that because of that an Aidar detachment withdrew for replenishment of losses, while small number of fighters still remain. They also say that ATO initially confirmed losses, then withdrew the announcement (while ATO denied that announcement was legit, more on talk). UAF still controls access to those villages; in the meantime DPR offers humanitarian aid in a nearby village-Rusvesna.

1 Dec. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 1 DPR soldier was killed, 4 soldiers were wounded.

30 Nov. Press conference of the Patriarch Filaret of Kiev is scheduled on Dec. 1, A letter sent by Filaret to the Russian Patriarch Kirill and the Russian Orthodox Church on 16 November, 2017 is published (calling to overcome divisions and split between respective followers and achieve reconciliation and peace)

In 1991, a split of the Ukrainian Christian orthodox church occurred, with Filaret founding Kiev Patriarchate, separate from Autocephalous Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate; only the latter is recognized internationally; more history here.

LPR. Surkov in a fresh push for the Russian version of the UN resolution on peacekeepers.

Disappeared and feared dead after his arrest Vitaly Kiselev ('Communist') is alive, moved to a hospital, hopes for justice. MOI LPR video states that there is evidence that the case against him was fabricated.

29 Nov. DPR: 'Georgian Legion' (fighting on the side of Ukraine and recently highlighted in the Italian documentary on Maidan snipers) came under Ukrainian fire, and DPR have a theory why. Same 'Georgian Legion' is said to fire on residential areas in Zaitsevo, DPR-controlled (Eng) ; (Rus.)

28 Nov. Arsen Avakov: Minsk agreements are dead. They were needed only as a tool for a ceasefire. Their implementation will not contribute to the achievement of security throughout Ukraine

User Zhitomyrianin: ви чьо ахєрє таке заявляти? (in Ukr.)

27 Nov. Interview of Kurt Volker to Politico shows him of-track; the article spends more time arguing for arms supply to Ukraine than on even trying for any sensible and acceptable to the other side solution. It does not exhibit any appreciation of the important to the other side issues: he sees only the territorial integrity but not self-determination and protecting pro-Russian population rights parts.

  • Full transcript, same author and journal, is less insane, yet clearly chooses to miss the above points, presenting it all as a Russian aggression which USA needs to help defend against, not as essentially a civil war, in which USA is backing the more pro-Western side, while -at most- pretending to care for the other side well-being.
  • Different flavored Volker presented by TASS (Rus)., Ukraine must 'take difficult steps' --those required by Minsk agreements. Yet, a positive role of Volker here is at best uncertain.

26 Nov. In the past day, one DPR soldier was killed

25 Nov. DPR ombudsman: In the past week, 2 DPR soldiers were killed, 8 people (7 soldiers and a civilian woman) were wounded.

UAF confirmed capture of Gladosovo and Travnevoe settlements (map) in a grey zone near Gorlovka, Zaitsevo (DPR); issues a propaganda video (Ukrainian military TV) of 'happy locals' (elderly and women shown, some on-camera food and medical help, with UAF telling us how happy locals are). Earlier, an open letter appeared in Russian media appealing to OSCE's Hug for help and expressing wish to be in DPR.

Plotinsky became LPR representative for fulfilling Minsk agreements.

24 Nov. Plotniskiy resigned security services chief Leonid Pasechnik (bio) becomes acting head of LPR till next elections. LPR People's Council approved Plotnisky resignation.

23 Nov. Plotinsky landed in Moscow-report quoting Zakhar Prilepin, with photo and video.

According to Rusvesna sources, Plotinsky cortege left Lugansk without interference, heading East (video). 'Novaya Gazeta' reported the same, independently. (Several prior reports of Plotinsky leaving were false).

'Joint counter-intelligence and anti-sabotage operation of LPR and DPR security services is reported (likely indicating that DPR forces were dispatched to Lugansk, as was widely assumed)

Frunze/Sentianovka (map), LPR: Ukrainian reconnaissance and sabotage group came under fire, 3 UAF soldiers were killed (report, photos), (videos 1,2)at least one, called Roman (video) was wounded, rescued by LPR soldiers, and received medical help. Bodies were left on the battlefield, recovered by DPR +veteran volunteers and given back to Ukraine, with OSCE present (video).

22 Nov. DPR MOD(Eng.): overnight, Ukraine captured a settlement Gladosovo, in the grey area near Zaitsevo, Gorlovka. Cassad: Ukrainian volunteer confirmed capture of Gladosovo, ATO command denied (as of the afternoon).

An open letter of locals to OSCE's Alexander Hug appeared in media, asking Hug 'as a guarantor of Minsk agreements' to visit the village and 'record Ukrainian authorities outrage' (implicitly, to protect them); and also to 'mark their territory as part of DPR, according to the vote of the residents'. Mixed reaction, with some calls (Cassad) for DPR forces to be the protector; other comments express concern for signatories safety; some doubters too.

Kornet keeps blaming Ukrainian agents and that Plotnisky was 'misinformed', as a way to resolve the standoff; but Plotnisky keeps insisting that Kornet is legally fired

  • Kornet meeting with MOI staff (text and video). (No turning back with arrests; arrested testified about falsified coup of 2016; Kornet claimed that 3rd Regiment of Special Forces , GUR MOD of Ukraine, was about to enter the republic once he is removed from his post).
  • Plotinsky press conference, with appointed by him acting MOI chief by his side - video( a legal system court decisions are final; Kornet was fired)
  • Khodakovsky and Strelkov both view the conflict as the one between backers & centers of power, less so about the individuals involved.

LPR MOI announced that they have evidence that a 'coup' in Fall, 2016 (see Sept 20-24, 2016) was staged, and have a witness. Gennady Tsypkalov was arrested back then, and committed suicide, according to the official version. Vladimir Borchuk stated on video that he and 2 others were involved in first preparing an assassination, then he prepared a hidden weapons storage which was blamed on Tsypkalov; it is said that another participant, Aleksey Dorushin, also testified. More videos appeared, with investigators testifying that Tsypkalov and Kiselev ('Communist') cases were fabricated (both died after interrogation; Tsypkalov had broken ribs-not reflected on coroner's report- and asphyxia, suicide was reported; Kiselev fell ill during interrogation and apparently did not receive medical treatment). Kornet press conference -here.

According to Rusvesna source, Plotinsky is in Lugansk, barricaded in the basement of his administration building with his wife and head of his administration Irina Teitsman, accused by Kornet of 'treason'. 'De-blocking' is being prepared according to the source.

Commander of LPR battalion 'Bryanka' appealed to Zakharchenko to lead/unify both republics

At about 12.00 the forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of LPR occupied the building of the General Prosecutor's Office. According to Rusvesna source, about 200 armed people entered the building. At the moment, the head of the department in the military sphere S. Rakhno and the acting Prosecutor General V.Podobry were detained and taken under escort.

Video of Plotnisky meeting with LPR minister of emergency situations Sergey Ivanushkin, and acting minister of internal affairs Vladimir Cherkov. Plotnisky instructs Cherkov to sort out the situation of attempted coup by Kornet ("..this is even more serious crime", ..."the law should prevail", etc). According to sources of "Rusvesna", a "stalemate" situation remains in Lugansk: the city is controlled by the forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but the administration and the prosecutor's office remain in the hands of Plotnisky loyalists.

21 Nov. Some clashes on Maidan, on Maidan anniversary.

Quite large military convoy was videoed entering Lugansk in the evening (said to be DPR forces; denied). OSCE confirmed convoy arrival and published some photos (Rusvesna).

More signs of power struggle in LPR. Kornet announced that his ministry apprehended Ukrainian reconnaissance and sabotage group, accused some LPR officials, including broadcasting chief, of working for Ukraine. LPR TV went off-air. Plotniskiy team and Kornet team issued competing announcements on state of affairs in the republic, with Kornet claiming that Plotnisky was 'misinformed'. Russian opolchenie Zhuchkovskiy believes that Plotnisky will be removed; he is cheerfully quoted by Ukrainian sources.

Media report: RBK, quoting 'its sources close to Surkov': Kremlin supported Kornet in the power struggle, Plotnisky is given 'a last chance' and retains his job
Kremlin: Mikhail Artiunov, chief of the department of near-abroad affairs of the Russian president, denied RBK report.

Kornet: 'a number of LPR officials are arrested for their link with Ukrainian special services' (full text, video)

In the afternoon, center of Lugansk is patrolled by armed men (video). No official comment on the matter so far.

20 Nov. Plotnisky removed LPR minister of interior Igor Kornet from his job, and appointed an acting MOI chief. MOI staff wrote a letter to Plotinsky in support of Kornet

17 Nov. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 1 DPR soldier was killed, 4 soldiers were wounded. DPR MOD: in the past week, 313 ceasefire violations by Ukraine (263 for the past week), 2019 artillery, tank and mortar shells and 80 'Grad' missiles fired on DPR.

15 Nov. Putin discussed with L/DPR leaders and supported large-scale prisoners exchange plan proposed by Ukrainian politician Victor Medvedchuk

14 Nov. Basurin sit-rep (Eng.): children going to school in Zaitsevo came under UAF mortar fire, managed to hide behind buildings so that nobody was hurt. Basurin accused UAF commander of targeting children intentionally. Further, according to him, on the eve of a scheduled Minsk meeting UAF issued false reports of DPR attacks.

Surkov and Volker had another meeting. No concrete details released, but apparently peacekeepers among the issues discussed. Positions continue to differ (Surkov: "...better than zero"). It is stated that Russia accepted 3 out of 29 US items (and some number of Russian items are said to be accepted by USA). Continued support of Minsk agreements stated. (On peacekeepers, in essence Russia and L/DPR want then on separation line; Ukraine with US backing want them on the border with Russia. With core positions like that, no chance of progress).

13 Nov. Gennady Moskal: "Politically marginalized provocateurs will not be able to cause quarrel between Ukrainians and Hungarians". The Transcarpathian Regional State Administration is outraged by the behavior of the right-wingers, who arranged a provocative "torchlight procession" in Beregovo.

10 Nov. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 3 people were killed (2 soldiers and a child killed in Petrovskii District of Donetsk), 9 people were wounded (4 soldiers, 1 civilian woman, 2 civilian men, 2 children under 18).

OSCE video-camera recorded ceasefire violations at the Donetsk Water Filtration Station

Washington Scores A Victory In Battle Over North Sea Pipeline Forbes; Reuters; Kyiv Post; gearzovbiz

Brussels has found a new way to disseminate the requirements of the Third EU energy package on the “Nord stream — 2”. The European Commission has decided to include marine (=offshore) pipeline sections in the list of objects controlled by these rules. They had previously applied only to land routes. As experts believe, in consequence, the EU have the right to prohibit Gazprom to use the power of the “Nord stream — 2” in full force. Such a scenario threatens to lead to a reduction in its profitability and falling of interest of investors to this project.

Kornet is forced out of a big house he occupied since the midst of Donbass fighting, 2014. The house was empty at the time but belongs to a granny who now returns. Plotinsky is on the scene and plays an active well covered by media role.

9 Nov. US is 'to test Moscow’s willingness' by proposing 20,000 peacekeepers for Donbass, via OSCE route -WSJ, paywalled. Apparently for better testing, several U.S. officials said the White House has approved in principle providing Ukraine lethal weapons, including Javelin antitank weapons (denied by the White House, according to Sputnik). In any case, Russia views the numbers as excessive, and Russia & L/DPR are very unlikely to agree to sealing the Russia-L/DPR border (L/DPR position is that this is to be done by legalized by Ukraine L/DPR military, possibly becoming part of Ukrainian military).

Klimkin: Ukraine agreed with the United States on the main parameters of the joint draft resolution on the peacekeeping mission in Donbass. Klimkin: no Russian peacekeepers; peacekeepers to seal border with Russia.
RT: "Absurdity and exorbitance..."

8 Nov. This video, filmed from UAV, and received by Rusvesna from an unknown email, appears to show DPR responding to UAF fire on Donetsk, Nov 5. Ukrainian munitions storage is hit on the video.

Ministers' deputies, Council of Europe meeting document on situation in Ukraine

12. reiterated their appeal to all sides to strictly respect the Minsk Agreements, above all the ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops, armed formations and military equipment, to take the necessary steps for their full and swift implementation; underlined the Russian Federation’s responsibility in this context

Special representative of the French government brought Putin a message from Macron about Ukraine

I brought here [in Moscow] a message from our president addressed to the president of the Russian Federation, it concerns Ukraine, "he said. "It's pre-eminent over our relations, in the end it's the reason for the sanctions," added Shevenman.

6 Nov. Full past day DPR MOD report gives high count of heavy weapons shelling by Ukraine (450 Grad missiles, 44 artillery 152 mm shells and 25 122-mm shells, 202 120-mm mortar shells, 181 82-mm mortar shells, 8 tank shots. One child was killed when unexploded munition detonated, 2 more children were wounded. Informal opolchenie correspondent report give high casualty count, 5 civilians and 11 soldiers killed in the past day (not in the official report). Ukrainian video emerged showing them discussing shelling Spartak, with explosions in the foreground. Further reporting and locals interviews also confirmed that shelling took place. Pro-Russian social media reports suggest rotation of UAF forces and their advancement to the separation line, possibly to prepare for an attack; there is a word that one of such advancing groups could be targeted by DPR, but no confirmation or solid details what exactly happened.

5 Nov. DPR representative at JCCC reports sharp increase of shelling by Ukraine (Engl.), including 90 Grad missiles, 18 artillery 152 mm shells, 2 tank gun shots, 9 mortar shells of 120 mm and 3 of 82 mm. Civilian was wounded in Kiev district of Donetsk (video from the scene)

DPR returned fire -details (Rus.)

4 Nov. 'Trump could be offered $47 million option to arm Ukraine against pro-Russian separatists' - ABC.

LPR's Vladislav Deinego: Volker & USA proposal to place UN peacekeepers without L/DPR approval violates Minsk agreements

3 Nov. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 4 people (3 soldiers and a civilian man) were killed, 3 people (a woman and 2 civilian men) were wounded.

2 Nov. The replacement for the notorious Victoria Nuland, fired by Trump as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, is sworn in. Dr. Aaron Wess Mitchell is the former CEO of a neo-con think tank- and an outspoken neo-con himself.

1 Nov. Oleg Tsarev quoted by Rusvesna with a claim that his Ukrainian source in one of power services offered a version of events according to which (1) Nemtsov murder was arranged by Chechens opposed to Kadyrov and based in Ukraine (that was indeed suggested early into investigation, but subsequently there was no/little backing for such version) (2) Russian supporters of Nemtsov asked Pavel Sheremet to investigate (unconfirmed), and he was killed after his investigation went too far (there was little progress in Sheremet murder investigation; it was not established why he was killed). (3) Amina Okueva (below) was involved in Sheremet murder (alleged earlier, man and woman seen on video recording), and she was then killed to cover it up. (Ukraine blamed Russian services or Kadyrov - with Anton Gerashenko ears noted in early announcements and videos).

30 Oct. Volker to

Q: What will be the role of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LNR" in this process? Will they be involved in some way? Russia controls them, but formally they control access to territories where peacekeepers must come.
A: I think this issue has been resolved: Minsk agreements - between Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE. The idea is to restore control of Ukraine over these territories, to hold elections there. Therefore, there is no place for the so-called republics.

Female member of nats. bat 'Kiev 2' Amina Okueva was killed and her husband Adam Osmaev, accused (by SBU in 2012, then in Russia) of Putin assassination plot, was wounded when their car was shot at near Kiev (Osmaev interview in hospital; Gerashenko; Gordonua; Rusvesna). Okueva was a doctor with weapons training including sniping; born in Odessa and identified as a Chechen, but apparently via marriages to Chechens. That may include conversion to Islam; she stated that she is a Muslim. On a previous assassination attempt on Osmaev, 1 Jun., she shot and wounded the attacker. . Her and her mother's birth certificates appeared on the web and their non-Chechen origins discussed.

28 Oct. DPR. Civilian man (Kotov, 1992 DOB) was killed in Ukrainian shelling of Trudovskaya mine pit area.

'Military camp to be established next to Rada', after protesters demands on introducing in Rada anti-corruption court and presidential impeachment laws were not met. Saakashvili calls for a Veche (public gathering/historic term) near Rada tomorrow, to discuss 'new demands' and 'plan of change of power'.

27 Oct. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 4 DPR soldiers were killed, 9 people (6 soldiers ond 3 civilian men) were wounded.

DPR MOD weekly report, as well as OSCE, note that heavy weapons were moved away from storage areas and towards the separation line. Increase of hostilities is anticipated (Rus.), (Eng.)

26 Oct. Explosion in central Donetsk, in a residential building, not far from the government quarters. Two people were wounded. Said to be natural gas explosion, by preliminary reports.

25 Oct. Assassination attempt on a notorious Ukrainian MP Igor Mosiychuk, a motorcycle exploded nearby. Mosiychuk was wounded, a bodyguard and a by-passer were killed, Rusvesna. Earlier, on 24 Oct., Mosiychuk took part in a mob storming Kiev court, to try to release OUN member Kohanovsliy (arrested for using a traumatic gun on an opponent during an altercation). Mosiychuk was also involved in calling for an investigation of Sergey Levochkin (some other rather shadowy business dealings were also mentioned). In 2014, Mosiychuk was on a video shooting at Kadyrov portrait (Kadyrov denied any role).

24 Oct. Ukrainian migration service denied Saakashvilli request for a refugee status in Ukraine. Separately, Lutsenko accused him of plotting a coup. Saakashvilli announced that he plans to move to a tent opposite the Rada building in Kiev (video)

Putin ordered to regulate, tax bitcoin mining in Russia.

22 Oct. DPR MOD: in the past day, 1 DPR soldier and 1 civilian was wounded. Unconfirmed Ukrainian reports that DPR woman sniper 'Belosnezhka' was killed. Some reports attribute it to propaganda; another report gives a location, Spartak, near Donetsk. It is noted that photos of 2 different people are shown in Ukrainian report.

The “Mad Dog” Appears in the Donbas -AtlanticCouncil's Digital Forensic Research Lab

21 Oct. DPR MOD: in the past day, 1 DPR soldier was killed

19 Oct. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 4 people were killed (all sodiers), 3 people were wounded (1 soldier, 1 civilian man, 1 civilian woman).

Answering K. Zatulin on additional measures to absorb refugees (1.2 mln of them in Russia), Putin stated that "the Government ... have received such instructions" (exact details not supplied). DONi news interprets this as granting Russian citizenship to Donbass refugees

18 Oct. At 17:20 police attempted to take down the tent city on Grushevskaya street. After some clashes and pepper spray use, police retreated -(Rusvesna)(

17 Oct. Some clashes between protesters (+'Donbass' nats bat) and law enforcement were reported. It is said that law enforcement then retreated (Rusvesna photos, videos).

Some clashes reported, apparently when a tent was brought. One policeman injured. (Photo made by MP Anton Gerashenko).

Rusvesna: An artillery battery was deployed (said to be for a salute) in the Mariinsky Park in Kiev, located in close proximity to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, where mass protests are taking place today, and once the camp of "Anti-Maidan" was stationed (photos).

Saakashvilli is in Kiev and addressing protesters (and said to be giving 'till the end of the day' for their demands to be fulfilled). Rada MP Mosiichuk and MOI adviser Shkiryak accused protesters camp in planning to storm Rada. It is reported that Poroshenko proposed to lift Rada deputies immunity, which will go towards fulfilling one of the demands. (Peak of protests which started on defenders' day was expected around today. online coverage).

Independent reporter Graham Phillips publishes a short documentary from the construction site of what will be the largest mosque in Eastern Europe in Simferopol, Crimea.

The World Jewish Congress condemns the unveiling in the city of Vinnitsa of a statue of "cruel barbarian" Symon Petliura, "indisputably responsible for pogroms in which 35,000-40,000 Jews were murdered".

14 Oct. Latest UN report contain civilian casualties data, 16 May to 15 August 2017, separately for L/DPR (where shelling casualties, as presented, are about 2 times higher) and Ukrainian-controlled areas, p. 7. Also overalls from 1 Jan. 2016 are given.

13 Oct. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 3 people (2 soldiers, 1 civilian man) were killed, 4 people (1 soldier, 1 civilian man, a civilian woman, and a 16 years old teenager) were wounded.

Larisa Saragan, spokeswoman of Ukrainian attorney general Lutsenko, claimed (Eng. version) that Turkey will not allow ships which visited Crimea to 'enter Turkey' (and its ports). It is discussed whether this implies restrictions on passing Bosporus. Similar claims were made earlier. Turkish document is here.

12 Oct. First since the start of 'school ceasefire' Grad strike by UAF, on Bezymennoe settlement in DPR south. ATGM (ПТУР -Rus.), mortars, BTR and BMP guns, small firearms also used.

PACE adopted a resolution critical of Ukrainian language policies (Ukrinform).

10 Oct. Miloš Zeman answers the question of Alexey Goncharenko in PACE (video).

DPR MOD reports a firefight between 2 Ukrainian detachments (36 обр МП and 59 омпбр) due to lack of communication, which they tried to blame on DPR, by firing on DPR positions and trying to cause return fire. (DPR says they did not respond).

9 Oct. 47 years old father of 3 was killed by Ukrainian shelling of Gorlovka hitting his home; the wife and children were not hurt. Video from the scene.

Ukrainian politolog and journalist Dmitry Gordon on live News One porgram, quoting his sources (not revealed): USA set a condition that a new president (after 2019 elections) must not have any connection to past power, and there are two such people already seriously preparing. They are famous Ukrainians known to the whole world.

6 Oct. DPR MOD: 48 ceasefire violations in the past day (increase of nighttime shelling reported on social media), 1 soldier was killed. In the past week, 278 ceasefire violations, 2 soldiers killed and 3 wounded.

Rada extended by another year a law on 'special self-governance' in L/DPR ('ORDLO'), to be in effect on the continuation that 'Russia withdraw its troops' (which was always denied). It also adopted in the first reading 'reintegration law', which does not mention Minsk agreements (and contradicts those).

Kurt Volker interview to, prior to meeting with Surkov in Serbia (offers help restoring Ukrainian sovereignty, with peacekeepers for pro-Russians safety).

4 Oct. Poroshenko introduced in Rada a bill on reintegration of Donbass (bill robo-translation). In the bill, L/DPR territory is portrayed as temporarily occupied by Russia. That is used to back-justify using of armed forces, control flow of goods and people, etc. Stated goal is 'liberation' and establishing Ukrainian control (article 4). Crimea is not discussed in details, but similar principles indicated. When the law was introduced (June, 2017), it was made clear that it was inspired by Croatia events (after protracted process, Croatian forces defeated Serbian forces of the Republic of Serbian Krajina in two sudden military strikes). DPR stated that the bill contradicts Minsk agreements (+ they were not consulted, as Minsk requires, of course).

1 Oct. The (only partly successfully) crowd-funded documentary "Frontstadt Donezk - die unerwünschte Republik" by German independent filmmaker and part-time Donetsk resident Mark Bartalmai, covering the civilian life and nation-building efforts in the city, is published free for all on youtube (German language).


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


Archive 2017
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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...