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Welcome to A Closer Look On Syria

For a word on our approach and how you can contribute to the project, continue here. On the Main Page below are general news and some select incidents studied at ACLOS since its creation in 2012. For more current analysis, check "Recent changes" or "New Pages" in the menu to the left, or use the search box.

Syria News

21 Nov. Putin and Trump phone call lasting about an hour, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Ukraine discussed.

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.

Situation in Iraq
Situation around Deir ez-Zor

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.

31 Oct. The 7th Astana meeting ends with a joint statement but without further progress, and with complains by the Syrians about the Turkish intervention in Idlib. A proposal by the Russians of a National Reconciliation Congress to be held in Sochi is rejected by invited opposition groups, namely Alloush's Army of Islam the next day, insisting to stick to the Geneva format.

29 Oct. Iraq: KRG "president" Masoud Barzani resigns.

28 Oct. Syrian and Iraqi loyalist forces establish common operation rooms to coordinate the moves against the remaining ISIS-controlled territory. In Iraq they stand in the outskirts of al Qaim.

The SDF has advanced through the oil fields on the Euphrates east bank and stands 40 km away from Al Bukamal. A high ranking SAA source repeats to Sputnik the claim that the US is coordinating the almost fightless takeover from one group they control, ISIS, to the other one, the SDF.

A series of assassinations of Nusra leaders in Idlib province finds its latest victim in Khan Sheikhoun.

27 Oct. According to the foreign minister of Kazakhstan, all delegations for the upcoming Astana meeting on 30/31 Oct. have confirmed their participation.

26 Oct. The SAA takes the T2 pumping station and Saqr Island in Deir ez-Zor from ISIS.

Assad and a Russian delegation discuss preparations for the upcoming 7th Astana meeting.

25 Oct. In a tu quoque moment on Qatari TV, the country's former prime minister Jaber al-Thani admits that his country, together with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US, has been arming and directing the "uprising" in Syria from the very beginning.

24 Oct. The SAA is involved in fierce battle with ISIS at and around the T2 pumping station in the desert at the Iraqi border. According to well-informed analyst Elijah Magnier, ISIS is throwing local youth without battle experience into the fight who are getting killed in large numbers. He also heard of rumours, as reported elsewhere, about a deal between ISIS and SDF to surrender the lower east bank of Euphrates, possibly even including Al Bukamal, on which the SAA keeps approaching on its way down the river's west bank. Meanwhile, the Iraqi army is preparing to storm Al Qaim on the other side of the border.

Russia vetoes a UNSC resolution about renewing the general investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria after their request was ignored that new decisions should only be made when the specific report about the Khan Sheikhoun incident due later this week has been published.

The Intercept publishes an article by Murtaza Hussain based on a Snowden document showing that terror attacks in Damascus on the second anniversary of the "uprising", March 18, 2013, were ordered and means provided directly by Saudi Prince Salman bin Sultan. Julian Assange points out that The Intercept has been sitting on this information since later that year.

22 Oct. The SDF releases a statement claiming that they have captured the Al Omar oil fields (map) from ISIS in a surprise operation in the morning. For this they would have to have crossed the Khabur river. According to Syrian military sources speaking to Al Masdar, tribal leaders controlling the fields have defected from ISIS and promised them to the SDF who have yet to reach them.

The health ministry gives out a license for a new pharmaceutical factory, one of four new ones to be added to the 69 fully or partly operating facilities. Before the crisis, the Syrian pharmaceutical industry covered 93% of the domestic demand and exported to 56 countries, at the moment the number is 80%, says the ministry.

21 Oct. The SAA liberates Quraytayn in south-eastern Homs province, the last city ISIS held in the western half of the country.

The SDF is in the process of cleaning Raqqa from land mines in preparation for handing it over to the Raqqa Civil Council. According to the UN, 80% of the city is uninhabitable. A drone video shows the situation.

Trump states that with Raqqa conquered and the end of ISIS in sight, a new phase of supporting local security forces, de-escalating violence and advancing the conditions for lasting peace in Syria will soon begin.

20 Oct. A group of Russian helicopters is spotted in northern Aleppo province visiting both Turkish- and Kurdish-controlled bases.

19 Oct. Reports emerge alleging that Russian troops have entered a key gas field north of Deir ez-Zor and taken over control from the SDF, to later give it into government control. The nature of any deal leading to this is unknown to the reporters.

18 Oct. The SAA General Issam Zahreddine, famous for leading the defense of Deir ez-Zor in the years it was under siege, dies near the city after his car drives over a land mine.

Nusra Front leader al-Jolani appears in one piece in a propaganda video mentioning recent events, apparently proving the Russian reports of his severe injuries on Oct 3 false.

17 Oct. Following an agreement leading to the evacuation of thousands of civilians and a disputed number of ISIS fighters, the SDF announces that they have taken full control of Raqqa city. (video)

After the SAA has liberated all of the Euphrates west bank between Deir ez-Zor and al Mayadeen, the Tiger Forces are now preparing to cross the Euphrates near the latter city and advance towards the strategic Al Omar oil fields.

Iraq: The Peshmerga retreat from other disputed regions like Sinjar (Sengal) and let the PMU take over, to the surprise of the Öcalan Kurds. According to Pepe Escobar, behind the "bloodless offensive" lies an agreement between PUK Kurds, PMU and Baghdad, brokered by Iranian Quds Force leader Qassam Soleimani, which left the Barzani Kurds with no option but to more or less play along.

Northern Iraq's oil infrastructure

16 Oct. Iraq: The army and PMU take back Kirkuk without much more than a few skirmishes from the Peshmerga, after unelected KRG "president" Barzani refused to have his forces retreat voluntarily.

Syria fires an S-200 anti-aircraft missile at an Israeli jet. According to them, it had entered Syrian airspace from Lebanon, was hit by the missile and fled. According to the Israelis, it was in Lebanese airspace and was not hit. In retaliation, Israel bombed a military post near Damascus, according to them destroying the S-200 installation.

15 Oct. Putin calls upon the international community to consider the process of post-war reconstruction of Syria and to mobilize aid for that.

14 Oct. It is reported that Al Mayadeen was liberated, almasdarnews, Rusvesna.

ANNA news has photos from Al Mayadin, + earlier video report, covering 9-23 Sept.

A video, from Hatla village according to description, appeared on social media.

13 Oct. The SAA is tightening the siege of al Mayadeen and is reported to control half of the city's territory.

The Turkish military announces that it has started setting up monitoring posts in Idlib province as part of the "de-escalation zone" agreement. For that, a convoy of 30 armored vehicles and over 100 mostly special forces has entered Syria.

12 Oct. It is reported that Turkey launched a military invasion of Idlib (Rusvesna)(liveuamap).

The SAA has encircled al Mayadeen on the west bank of the Euphrates.

Kurdish female reporter Delishan Ibish was killed in IS suicide attack on Al-Shaddady- Deir ez-Zor highway (ANHA, + attack video). It is said that 14 people were killed and from 50 to 73 wounded. (Earlier ambush on the same IS <-> Kurds highway called Kharafi, 23 Sep).

Raqqa: IS fighters seeking a deal to move safely out of the city -BBC video. US general Jim Glynn on the video states a refusal for a safe passage to IS fighters from Raqqa as it will create problems elsewhere (Note: questioned on MOA).

U.S.-backed SDF to let Syrian Islamic State fighters leave Raqqa, 14 Oct.
inherentresolve.mil

11 Oct. The Russians insist on getting an explanation from the US how a large number of ISIS fighters was able to infiltrate through al Tanf and attack the Sukhnah-Deir ez-Zor highway early this month.

According to US-"coalition" command, the SDF and ISIS are negotiating the surrender of Raqqa.

10 Oct. Russian SU-24 crashed soon after take off at Khmeimim airbase, said to be due to a technical fault. Two pilots were killed.

Syria plays the second leg of the FIFA World Cup qualification against Australia at 20:00h local Sydney time (12:00h Damascus time). Australia wins 2-1 after extra time and kicks Syria out of the competition.

The SAA takes over several strategic positions in the south-eastern desert at the Jordanian border, which SANA says give them control over an area of 8000 km².

According to an SDF press release, in the month the operation "Jazeera Tempest" is running, it has liberated 3468 km² from ISIS, killing 156 "mercenaries" and freeing 50,000 civilians in the process. Their own losses are given as 45 fighters.

9 Oct, HTS unexpectedly attacks the village of Abu Dali in Idlib, capturing many Government vehicles and threatening to behead all civilians. [Al Masdar report]

A larger group of ISIS fighters manages to cross government-controlled territory from one of the remaining central Syria pockets into the Idlib pocket, takes a couple of villages from HTS and manages to hold them against counter-offensives in the coming days.

7 Oct. Erdogan announces the start of an operation by the Turkish army and its "FSA" proxies in Idlib province, as part of the agreement reached in Astana. Its aim is to ensure the ceasefire and prevent a refugee flood to Turkey. Anadolu Agency has details.

6 Oct. After steady advance along the Euphrates in recent days, the SAA stands at the gates of Al-Mayadeen, now considered the ISIS capital after 80% of Raqqa have fallen to the SDF and the remains are under siege.

5 Oct. "Any suggestion that the US-led coalition is cooperating with Daesh terror group is baseless and unhelpful", US Department of Defense spokesperson Adrian Rankine-Galloway told Sputnik, --after Konoshenkov and Lavrov said the opposite.

Syria ties with Australia 1-1 in the World Cup 2018 play-off qualifications.

Iraq: After two weeks of operation, the Iraqi army plus PMU liberates the town of Hawija from ISIS, the last urban bastion of the terrorist group in northern Iraq. In the whole country they now only control a strip along the Euphrates next to the Syrian border.

4 Oct. According to Kurdish sources, the water level of the Euphrates is at a catastrophic low due to Turkish manipulation of the water supply.

Situation in central-western Syria

The SAA liberates the remains of the ISIS pocket in eastern Hama province.

3 Oct. The Russian airforce strikes a top-level al-Nusra meeting. According to the defense ministry, 12 top commanders including the head of intelligence are killed, and Nusra leader al-Jolani wounded by shrapnel, has lost an arm and is in comatose, critical condition.

IS shows (Rusvesna +video) two captured Russians (claimed to be on Sep. 28, in Al-Shula, Deir-iz-Zor province, during IS counter-attack); one of them, Roman Vasilievich Zabolotnyi, born in 1979, Rassvet settlement, Aksaisk district, Rostov region (matching some Cossack news, 21.6.2016) speaks on camera, and gives a name of another man, Tsurkanu Grigory Mikhailovich, born in 1978, Domodedovsky district, Moscow region; the latter man stays silent, emotion-free. Those two appear to be volunteers or contractors fighting on the Syrian/pro-government side. Russian MoD denied that any of its servicemen are missing. Some photos/docs appeared on Russian social media. The doc, some veteran brotherhood flier, suggests that Tsurkanu is a veteran/volunteer. On photos, it appears that Zabolotnyi is shown in a Cossack (irregular/traditional units) uniform; another photo is in some irregular military-style fatigues, resting.

Duma MP and Cossack ataman Victor Vodolatsky confirmed that he knows Roman Zabolotnyi, made a request to find his whereabouts. Later he says he's 99% sure that both men were killed.
Veterans' organization "Warfare Brotherhood" recognized Tsurkanu as one its the members.

2 Oct. The consultative meeting of the Kurdistan National Congress in Rojava takes place in Rimelan.

1 Oct. Russian colonel Valery Fedyanin, a commander of marines brigade of the Northern Fleet, died of his wounds received in Syria from a landmine/fragmentation munition explosion (подрыв на фугасе)-severpost.ru, picked up by Novaya Gazeta, Rusvesna.

Official Russian MoD battle losses since the start of the campaign, 37 killed (TASS list).

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

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.

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.

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 Hromadske.ua

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 112.ua, 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)(112.ua).

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. 112.ua 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 gazeta.ru(robo-translation), 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).

30 Sep. Poroshenko signed a document on the concept of state management in conditions of emergency, prepared by the national defense council. Andrey Babitskiy wonders why now; submits that currently Rada has 2 days to approve presidential order establishing a special rule, those 2 days may be unavailable in case of a next Maidan.

DPR. A man, resident of Trudovskoe, was wounded by Ukrainian shelling of Trudovskaya pit mine. He was a guard at the mine, and was closing doors at the time.

Basurin sitrep: 36 ceasefire violations, with artillery, tank, mortar fire (numbers provided), 3 houses were damaged, 1 civilian and 1 soldier wounded

29 Sep. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 2 people (all soldiers) were killed, 5 people(3 soldiers and 2 civilian women) were wounded.

28 Sep. According to reports (Rusvesna);(earlier, sled.net.ua), it is alleged that a company linked with Rada deputy from Poroshenko block arranged for itself to serve as intermediary loading US coal (end of July, 2017 news) on trains at Ukrainian ports. While 'Yuzhnyi' port was arranged to not compete to provide such services, with costs estimated to be as high as 10% on top of the price. (Something like that, if true, would be business as usual in either Ukraine or Russia, but perhaps below standard for a Western democracy. The coal price itself was above the market even with Russia and Donbass excluded).

27 Sep. Nadezhda Savchenko linked (on-going) weapons munition explosions near Vinnitsa with weapons illegal trade and subsequent cover-up (zik.ua +video).

23 Sep. Assassination attempt on DPR minister of taxation and revenues Alexander Timofeev ("Tashkent") in Donetsk, said to be by a mine explosion near his car. It is said that Timofeev 'is doing fine'. Initial reports suggested that a number of passer-byes were wounded. A Donetsk-native blogger offers his account (anti-personnel mine against heavily armed car? "Tashkent" apparently was not hurt. Offers critical opinions on overall state of affairs)

22 Sep. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, no killing reported, 7 people (2 soldiers, 1 civilian woman, 4 civilian men) were wounded.

21 Sep. Poroshenko meets Trump, on the sidelines of the UN meeting in New York. Ukrainian sources present the meeting as American support of Poroshenko alternative plan to place peacekeepers mostly on Russia/LDPR border, while Russian proposal places them mostly on the separation line. Official White House transcript is rather less definite, here.

19 Sep. Patrick Lancaster visits Zaroshenskoe, interviews a local man who tells him that neither opolchenie nor UAF were based in the village itself back in July 2014, but there was an Ukrainian position few km away on a by-pass road. They stayed in the area for a few more weeks, until Ilovaysk battle events when they were pushed out. Lancaster goes in that direction, finds a possible dig-out, apparently with small firearms casings and what looks like a trench entrance, reports on all that on youtube suggesting this may be Ukrainian position indeed (a user comments that this may be a silo pit; those are probably smaller and are not supposed to have trenches and casings). This report goes along the lines of supporting the early Russian MoD and subsequent Almaz-Antey version of events in MH17 shoot-down, placing Buk position/launch site near Zaroshenskoe.

16 Sep. 112.ua: massive fire at a summer camp for children, some jumped from windows to escape fire. There were 42 children in the camp, 3 of them perished. Video of fire rescue included.

112.ua: (special US representative in Ukraine) Kurt Volker: even if Russia will fulfil Minsk agreements, the sanctions will not be lifted because of the Crimea. Also: Russian idea on UN peacekeepers are 'interesting' but 'I believe that details of what was proposed are most likely to further divide Ukraine and not solve the problem' (112.ua ); (rferl.org) . Pushkov: 'Volker needs not to criticize Russia's ideas, but to think about how to ensure peace and convince Kyiv to carry out Minsk-2. Otherwise, his mission will end ingloriously' (Interfax.ru)

Saakashvilli : We decided to join the initiative of civil activists and gather in Kyiv on October 17 with three demands: the creation of anti-corruption courts, the abolition of parliamentary immunity, the adoption of a new electoral law. And the rest of the requirements we will collect throughout Ukraine until the 17th.

15 Sep. DPR Ombudsman: In the past week, 5 soldiers were killed, 5 people (3 soldiers and 2 civilian men) were wounded.

10 Sep. Mikhail Saakashvili returns to Ukraine by calling his supporters and the media to the border with Poland and then have them "carry" him over it, literally breaking through a police cordon.

7 Sep. Deteriorated security situation is reported prior to Minsk format meeting. 2 DPR soldiers were killed by Ukrainian sniper fire.

Peskov: Kiev should first discuss UN peacekeepers deployment with L/DPR. Russia is not a side of the conflict.

5 Sep. Putin proposed to send UN peacekeepers to Donbass, and Russia introduced a UN resolution to do so. Ukraine expressed 'an interest to immediately discuss the resolution', however there are crucial differences in the approaches. Ukraine wants to place peacekeepers on the Russian border with the republics, Russia wants them on the separation line.

Ukraine experiments with replacing traditional, teacher-led Soviet-based school system, with Western-inspired one, no homework, grades pressure or classroom desks, to ANNA news horror. Finland-based, suggests TSN.ua

1 Sep. DPR ombudsman: In the past week (a supposed ceasefire) 3 DPR soldiers were killed, 1 civilian man was wounded. DPR MOD: 186 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past week, 642 artillery, tank and mortar shells fired, one house damaged or destroyed. (Rus.), (Eng).

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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Archive 2016
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Archive 2015
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Ukraine (2014 - Today)

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

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

Kobane (2014, July, September - 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...