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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 Mar. The SDF says it "fully" controls the ISIS "tent city" in Baghouz now, but some gangs unwilling to surrender seem to hide on the banks of the Euphrates (pics and vids).

Russian defense minister Shoigu meets Assad in Damascus to discuss the fight against terrorism and other topics. According to the MoD, he also delivered a message from Putin.

18 Mar. Assad receives a high-ranking joint Iranian-Iraqi military delegation including the chiefs of staff of both armies to discuss cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

Hajin pocket

17 Mar. An SDF statement gives numbers about the Baghouz fight, but doesn't declare it finished. According to this, 29,600 ISIS members (incl. families) surrendered and 1,306 were killed, while the loss on SDF side is 11 fighters.

Turkey opens a new border crossing connecting Hatay province with the Syrian Afrin canton in the Jandaris district.

12 Mar. A joint Russian-Syrian statement again points out the grave situation in Rukhban camp and calls on the US to let the prepared convoys in. It mentions that without the cross-border efforts of the Jordanians there would be no water supply at all, and that satellite footage shows several new mass graves in and near the camp.

While "hundreds" of ISIS fighters have surrendered in Baghouz during the last 48 hours, the "endfight" is still going on.

11 Mar. According to Turkish AKP-friendly Yeni Safak newspaper, the US has interrogated 2000 ISIS fighters and given 140 of them new identities and passports. ISIS leader al-Baghdadi is in US custody according to the paper which opens the article with a picture allegedly showing him in a US military vehicle (of which ISIS has taken over plenty in the conquer of Mosul).

10 Mar. It looks like the remaining ISIS fighters under siege in Baghouz are finally preparing to surrender.

Assad receives a Chinese delegation headed by the assistant foreign minister.

9 Mar. The Russian MoD again complains that the US is sabotaging the Syrian-Russian attempts to evacuate the civilians willing to return home from al-Rukhban camp where the conditions are "disastrous".

8 Mar. Joint Turkish-Russian military patrols along the border of the Idlib deescalation zone start today with the Russians patrolling the outside and the Turks the inside.

7 Mar. The UK MoD is ridiculed for its claim, answering a FOIA request, that in their air attacks against ISIS only a single civilian died while 4,013 "targeted individuals" were killed and 302 wounded.

5 Mar. Andre Vltchek publishes his report from the Idlib frontlines.

4 Mar. Turkey faces growing Kurdish insurgency in Syria's Afrin

3 Mar. Russian MOD via TASS (Eng.) (Rus): US forces in Syria bar entry to convoys sent to transport refugees from the Rukban camp to their pre-war locations.

28 Feb. The situation in Baghouz remains unchanged, although the surrounded remains of ISIS have let go some more civilians, likely due to food shortages, and the SDF says it rescued 24 of their fighters who had been taken as hostages by the terror cult. In the evening ANHA reports that around 200 fighters and their families have just surrendered.

Wladimir van Wilgenburg is in Raqqa and tweets some impressions from the former ISIS capital including from the already renovated central square.

27 Feb. Russia and Syria accuse the US of preventing refugees from leaving the al-Rukhban camp in the shadow of their al-Tanf base to return home.

25 Feb. Assad visits Tehran and meets Khamenei and Rouhani.

22 Feb. The US now says it plans to keep 400 soldiers inside Syria, half of them at al-Tanf and the other half in Rojava.

17 Feb. Assad gives a speech to local lawmakers from around the country.

The US military warns the Kurds that it will "have to" stop any assistance to them in case they "partner" with the Syrian or Russian governments.

16 Feb. Afternoon: According to the SDF, ISIS is besieged in a tiny spot of a few hundred square meters but still holds many civilians as human shields, so the operation isn't finished yet. Meanwhile, the SOHR has already reported that the remaining fighters have surrendered and the pocket, and with it the caliphate, is history.

14 Feb. Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani meet in Sochi for a trilateral summit on Syria.

13 Feb. For the first time in weeks, ISIS releases battle footage from the fight in the former Hajin pocket. Meanwhile, they are trapped in a 1 km² area and have been given a 24 hours ultimatum to surrender by the SDF.

Germany arrests two Syrians on refugee status accused of being involved in systemic torture operations by the government between 2011-2012 allegedly documented in the Torture Photos from "Caesar".

12 Feb. SANA accuses the US-led "coalition" of having killed almost 100 civilians in two air attacks on refugee camps near the last ISIS-occupied territory in al-Baghouz village in the former Hajin pocket.

It is said that an attack with explosives, attributed to IS, has targeted the headquarters of the French military intelligence in Raqqa (no independent confirmation or coverage in mass media; picked on Cassad). It is also reported by Iranian PressTV, by Sputnik in Arabic, and by Lebanese media. It is unclear where those news originate. More strange claims about it here, in French. 1, 2.

11 Feb. The Russian defense minister visits his Turkish counterpart to discuss Idlib ahead of the trilateral meeting including Iran planned for February 14 in Sotchi.

10 Feb. The SDF rescues around 200 civilians used as human shields by ISIS in al-Baghouz village and sends them to refugee camps in the area.

8 Feb. According to British media, alleged ISIS leader al-Baghdadi has fled the Hajin pocket to a desert hide-out after an attempt to kill him by a rival among the "500 remaining fighters" failed.

6 Feb. According to SANA, the Turkish army has transported 1500 foreign jihadists from Turkey into Idlib province in recent days.

5 Feb. Apparently Erdogan still has no success in convincing any other power of his idea about a buffer zone inside northern Syria.

4 Feb. ISIS remains again try to flee the Hajin pocket to Iraq and are stopped by the PMU.

The US State Department calls on foreign nations to take back their citizens among the now over 800 ISIS fighters the SDF is holding captive.

Elijah Magnier explains why the claims by Western analysts that ISIS could return when US troops leave are wrong.

3 Feb. The US air force attacks a SAA artillery position near al-Bukamal west of the Euphrates. Shortly after, the position is attacked by ISIS ground forces.

2 Feb. According to SOHR, 700 recently arrived US Special Forces are searching SDF-controlled areas for ISIS fighters and leaders who fled the Hajin pocket.

The YPG captures alive the known German ISIS torturer Martin Lemke and his two wives.

1 Feb. A certain Dr. Neshat Dihile on Egyptian TV shows alleged Turkish state documents of a plan that amounts to genocide against the Kurds. Today Firat News Agency publishes an English translation of the alleged secret plan.

Iraqi media reports that the PMU have killed a group of ISIS fighters that tried to flee the Hajin pocket to Iraq.

31 Jan. SANA reports that a ten truck SARC human aid convoy was prevented to reach Hajin town by a local militia who say they were ordered by US forces to keep the convoy away.

30 Jan. Following the release of Leyla Güven, a statement in support of her and many others on hunger strike for the end of the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan is signed by hundreds of intellectuals and read in front of the German Parliament.

A Turkish military delegation is heading for Moscow to discuss Syrian matters tomorrow.

29 Jan. Reports that the SDF has asked Hezbollah to mediate in the negotiations with the government are declared untrue by its spokesperson.

According to Firat News Agency, the remaining ISIS fighters in the Hajin pocket demand that they get a "corridor" to move to Idlib over Turkey, otherwise they would harm the civilians they hold as human shields. The SDF reportedly refused.

France takes back 130 French ISIS fighters hold captive by the SDF to put them on trial. This makes it the first Western country to answer the SDF calls to take their captured ISIS terrorists back.

28 Jan. Syria and Iran sign a number of agreements, among them about long-term strategic economic cooperation.

27 Jan. Asma al-Assad continues her cancer treatment and underwent a successful surgery.

26 Jan. The ISIS fighters remaining in the Hajin pocket show no signs of giving up.

The YPG releases a statement commemorating the fourth anniversary of the liberation of Kobane.

25 Jan. Activist Leyla Güven, who has been on a 79 days hunger strike demanding the end of isolation for Kurdish leader Öcalan, which has sparked solidarity demonstrations all over Europe, is released from Turkish prison.

24 Jan. A "solidarity pause" in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Damascus is attended by many political and public figures after the government had already condemned the "flagrant interference" in Venezuelan affairs by the US and its satellites.

23 Jan. Reports come in that after further SDF advances in the Hajin pocket, parts of the remaining ISIS fighters have surrendered, which led to the securing of many civilians. The remaining gangs are now reduced to the territory of a single village at the Euphrates, Marashidah.

Erdogan is in Moscow to discuss northern Syria with Putin. Elijah Magnier sums up the situation.

After former US anti-ISIS envoy Brett McGurk said in a CNN interview on Monday that Turkey has provided ISIS "with everything they needed" over the years, PYD's Salih Muslim points out that this is obviously true, but not news to anybody who followed the events in Kobane.

22 Jan. Bashar al-Ja'afari calls on the UN to stop the constant Israeli attacks in violation of international law and invokes the prospect of "symmetric" retaliatory attacks on Tel Aviv airport.

21 Jan. Another Israeli air attack on targets near Damascus takes place.

Jordan opens the main Jaber border crossing with Syria for the first time in three years.

20 Jan. A Syrian delegation attends a bilateral private sector forum in Abu Dhabi.

19 Jan. Russian military police said to be on patrol in Manbij -Cassad (photos).

Hawar News Agency publishes a ten points list it says it obtained from Kurdish sources that represents their position in the negotiations with Damascus over the future of Rojava.

18 Jan. DIA civilian killed in Syria identified; Green Beret, two language specialists, SEAL-turned-DIA civilian among dead in ISIS-claimed bombing in Manbij, Syria; Trump meets with families of soldiers killed in Syria.

17 Jan. The SDF takes Al-Susa in the Hajin pocket and reduces ISIS to a territory of four villages.

16 Jan. Unsurprisingly, the idea of a Turkish-controlled "safe zone" along the border on Syrian soil, brought up by Erdogan for years and now picked up by Trump, is opposed by the Kurds, Damascus and Moscow.

15 Jan. According to Arab media, the PMU have stopped a US military reconnaissance mission in Anbar province border region and forced them to return to their base.

14 Jan. Alexander Yefimov becomes new Russian ambassador to Syria.

13 Jan. Trump tweets "Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds."

Several gulf airlines are briefed on the situation at Damascus airport in preparation for a resumption of flights.

According to the Syrian govenment, negotiations between them and the Kurds about resolving the situation in Rojava have "intensified". This seems to be confirmed by a statement from PYD co-chair Shahoz Hesen.

12 Jan. Another Israeli attack on targets near Damascus ends with most missiles intercepted.

Frontlines Idlib pocket

As part of the surrender agreement, HTS is now in control of the Taftanaz airbase.

11 Jan. Italy considers to re-open its embassy in Damascus.

According to a US military spokesperson, the withdrawal from Syria has begun.

10 Jan. After HTS scores several victories in the Idlib-internal "rebel" war, the Turkish-backed gangs basically surrender and agree that those areas will be run by the HTS' "salvation government" in the future.

9 Jan. At a joint press conference with his US counterpart, the Jordanian Foreign Minister demands that Israel returns the Golan Heights to Syria.

7 Jan. Heavy snow falls in several parts of Syria.

6 Jan. The winners of the Syrian Science Olympiad are honored in Damascus.

HTS keeps on advancing against Turkey's proxies in Idlib pocket after the Zenki group was defeated and had to retreat to occupied Afrin.

5 Jan. Under heavy bombardments by US-coalition jets, ISIS withdraws from the town of al Shafa in the Hajin pocket. Five fighters are captured by the SDF, among them one from Ireland and two from the US.

4 Jan. Heda Saratova, member of Chechnya human rights council, says that women and children, including at least one woman-a mother of many children and a child with Russian citizenships, from Chechnya, were killed, and more injured, in US-led coalition airstrikes in IS-held Deir ez-Zor area during the holidays. Asks for a corridor for women and children to leave. (Rus.)(Robo-Eng).

3 Jan. The "rebel" war between HTS and Turkey's proxies is now raging over the whole Idlib pocket. A SOHR summary counts casualties in the hundreds over the last three days.

The Iraqi airforce attacks another ISIS meeting in Hajin pocket, killing seven leaders.

2 Jan. Several hundred YPG fighters withdraw from Manbij city. Meanwhile, Turkish-backed "rebels" are reported to withdraw from the surrounding frontlines.

Firat News Agency interviews TEV-DEM Diplomacy Officer Aldar Xelil about the situation in Rojava and their relationship to international forces and the Damascus government (two parts).

Jaysh al-Islam, who were green-bused from the eastern Ghouta to Afrin canton, declare their intent to move south and join the "rebel" war in the Idlib pocket fighting their old rivals al-Qaeda/Nusra/HTS.

ISIS forces in the Hajin pocket cross the Euphrates and attack a SAA camp, killing 20+ soldiers before fleeing in the direction of Homs desert. Meanwhile on the other side of the river, the SDF is still advancing against the cult.

1 Jan. In a new round of the inter-"rebel" war inside Idlib pocket, al Qaeda captures several towns and villages from the Turkey-backed Nouredine al-Zinki group after the latter had killed a couple of fighters of the former.

31 Dec. The Iraqi airforce flies attacks on al-Susah village in Hajin pocket and reportedly kills 30 ISIS commanders at a meeting.

US anti-ISIS envoy Brett McGurk leaves office.

30 Dec. Syria and Iran sign a long-term strategic agreement focusing on "comprehensive cooperation at the financial and banking levels".

Syria and Iraq sign an agreement on security cooperation.

According to Iraqi media reported by Al Masdar, Assad has given green light to Iraqi forces to enter the country to fight ISIS without his specific approval. This would mean that the PMU forces amassed at the border can cross over and get active in the Hajin pocket whenever they see fit.

Military sources talking to Al Masdar say that the SAA has taken control over the Tishren Dam connecting Aleppo and Raqqa provinces over the Euphrates.

29 Dec. After the meeting of a high-level Turkish delegation with its Russian counterparts in Moscow to discuss Syria, both sides praise the cooperation between the countries.

First on-the-ground reports of actual US troops withdrawing come through Turkish loyalist media.

28 Dec. The YPG issues a statement inviting the SAA to take over Manbij. The SAA enters the town immediately after. Erdogan tells reporters that Turkey "will have nothing left to do in Manbij once the YPG leaves the area".

27 Dec. The United Arab Emirates reopen their embassy in Damascus. Bahrain follows later in the day. Reportedly core members of the Arab League including Saudi Arabia and Egypt want Syria back in the club.

26 Dec. In the early morning, six Israeli F-16 fighter jets attack targets in and around Damascus from the Lebanese airspace. To the great anger of the Russians, they again use a trick hiding behind other aircrafts to confuse the air defense systems. This time two civilian planes landing in Beirut and Damascus airports are used as cover, unlike last time without causing harm to the passengers.

Turkish proxy forces deny statements of lower proxies the day before that an attack on Manbij or in the East has begun.

The main minorities in Rojava - Assyrians, Syriacs and Armenians, publish Christmas messages in full support of the SDF and against any Turkish invasion.

25 Dec. Syrian and Russian troops enter a formerly SDF-controlled village west of Manbij and erect a checkpoint.

Turkey's foreign minister says that the Turkish army would enter Syria "as soon as possible" to prevent a power vacuum created by the US withdrawal.

The SDF makes further progress against ISIS in the Hajin pocket and cuts several supply lines between the remaining villages.

24 Dec. Russia's deputy foreign minister essentially doubts that the US military will follow Trump's orders to withdraw, and states that so far no change in their activities has been observed.

Trump tweets "Saudi Arabia has now agreed to spend the necessary money needed to help rebuild Syria, instead of the United States. See? Isn’t it nice when immensely wealthy countries help rebuild their neighbors rather than a Great Country, the U.S., that is 5000 miles away. Thanks to Saudi A!".

22 Dec. Brett McGurk, Obama-appointed US "envoy" to the coalition against ISIS, joins "Defense" Minister "Mad Dog" Mattis in resigning in protest over Trump's decision to withdraw the troops from Syria.

21 Dec. Erdogan says that the planned military operation is now "put on hold" but may come "in the next months". He also says that "regional security" will be ensured in cooperation with Russia and Iran.

According to al Masdar sources, the SAA Tiger Forces move to eastern Deir ez-Zor province to finish off ISIS in the Hajin pocket.

20 Dec. US approves $3.5bn "Patriot" missile sale to Turkey as Turkey's defence minister said that Kurdish fighters east of the Euphrates in Syria "will be buried in their ditches when the time comes". Reportedly, Turkey had floated the idea of offering U.S. technical experts the chance to study any S-400s that it purchased from Russia.

Trump tweets "After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home!" and includes a 79 seconds long video saying that they are coming home "now".

According to Yeni Safak, Trump's special representative to Syria Jim Jeffrey, who opposed the withdrawal, has cancelled all his scheduled meetings at the UN for today.

19 Dec. According to WSJ and other US media, the US is preparing to withdraw their troops in Northern Syria "immediately" (MoA summary). Meanwhile Trump tweets "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency."

17 Dec. Erdogan claims that after "a positive response" from Trump, the east of Euphrates operation can launch "any moment now" "without harming the US soldiers".

16 Dec. In a German language interview, a member of a Syrian Kurdish youth organization calls the anticipated Turkish attack on Rojava "likely the biggest war that has ever been forced on the Kurdish people". He mentions that mobilization has taken place across the region over the weekend.

15 Dec. WaPo Claims American "Tortured Then Executed" in Syria - Admits No Evidence

13 Dec. After a new offensive lasting several days, the SDF stands in the center of Hajin city, the last urban stronghold of ISIS in Syria.

12 Dec. Turkey 'primed to start' offensive against US-backed Kurds in Syria (The Guardian), (Cassad Rus, robo-Eng).

11 Dec. Andre Vltchek publishes a travel report from Syria.


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Chemical Weapons (starting late 2012)

Main article: Category:Chemical Weapons
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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, just to return once more a full year later.

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
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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.


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FEATURE: Venezuela coup attempt 2019

Ukraine News

11 Mar. Six settlements in Novoazov region, DPR lost electric power on Mar. 7 due to Ukrainian shelling. Ukraine still did not respond to requests of ceasefire regime to conduct the repair work.

10 Mar. DPR MoD: despite the agreed Spring ceasefire, DPR soldier was killed by Ukrainian sniper fire. DPR appeals to international human rights and humanitarian organizations 'to record the murder and to assist in bringing those responsible to justice'. Also, Ukraine fired but missed 'Fagot' anti tank missile on control rooms of Vasilievka water pumping station. This water pumping station is a very important one, and its destruction or stoppage will cut water supply to over 40 settlements with a population of 1.8 million people and will inevitably lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. DPR appeals to OSCE to record the incident and to pressure Ukrainian military to observe agreed ceasefire.

9 Mar. Group of nationalists clashed with police at a meeting in Cherkassy where Poroshenko spoke; 15 policemen were injured. Nationalists were trying to question Poroshenko (on thefts of military supplies, etc), however Poroshenko hurriedly left when clashes started.

Russian and Ukrainian sources report details of Merkel refusal to follow US request to deploy ships to support Ukrainian passage to Kerch straights. Israeli Solomon Mann in a Facebook post in Russian (apparently) gives those details from a restricted account of a German politician: Merkel to Ursula von der Leyen: You talk like children!" , " you assume that Putin will not undertake anything and will watch how we defile in the strait. And if he does with our ships the same thing that he had already done once with the Ukrainian ones? What are you suggesting, for Germany to fight, Madam Minister? Why should we neglect the interests of Germany for the sake of the interests of the United States? ... ". Frau Chancellor also referred to a letter from France, where Macron warns Merkel against "rash steps" on "incitement from the USA."

8 Mar. Another ceasefire has been agreed from Mar. 8 ('international women's day'), however 5 ceasefire violations are reported overnight and in the morning hours.

More reports (amplified by Russian media) of Poroshenko's erratic behavior with elections approaching.

4 Mar. DPR MoD: A civilian man is killed by UAF shelling of Sakhanka. DPR returned fire, suppressing UAF firing position "with weapons not banned." 2 UAF soldiers reportedly killed, 3 wounded. One DPR soldier is killed and one wounded.

Niura N. Berg in a Russian RIA article: Zelenskii is leading but his upward potential is limited. Poroshenko is gaining (and has unmatched admin resources). Timoshenko is fading. (Recent poll here).

3 Mar. It is said that Ukraine is deploying considerable forces and equipment to an area near Avdeevka, north of Donetsk; serious security deterioration is feared. Some shelling is reported by DPR's JCCC representatives on all the separation line in the evening

2 Mar. Ukrainian forces fired 6 mortar shells on Kominternovo, a residential home (Akhmatova 47 St.) was destroyed.

25 Feb. Car explosion is reported in Makeevka, said to target DPR commander, who is said to survive.

24 Feb. DPR MoD announces new intelligence information on planned Ukrainian provocation targeting 'residential infrastructure'.

23 Feb. 3 DPR soldiers are killed by Ukrainian shelling in the past day (23 Feb. is the traditional Soviet Army day).

Opolchenie war correspondent Mag report for the week of 8-14 Feb. notes increased warfare by Ukrainian forces, stating that in the past week, 7 DPR soldiers were killed, 4 soldiers and 3 civilians wounded; 15 DPR soldiers killed from 1 Jan. to 14 Feb. DPR ombudsman report: 2 DPR soldiers killed and 3 civilians wounded from 15 to 21 Feb; 17 soldiers killed and 14 people (8 soldiers, 5 civilian men, and a civilian woman) wounded from 1 Jan to 21 Feb.

A civilian car was hit by an explosion at Yelenovka checkpoint, the driver and his mother were killed, another man wounded. In updated report it is said that driver lost control prior to that (and apparently hit a landmine).

21 Feb. Lavrov: Kiev is preparing another provocation in the Kerch straights. Separately , it is reported 1, 2, 3 with photos and official video, that 2 Ukrainian "Gurza" armored boats and one "Centaur" assault boat with Marines on board departed on 20 Feb, said to be 'for training'.

Former Ukrainian Rada deputy Oleg Tsarev: "The first killings on the Maidan were committed by the security service of Klitschko"

17 Feb. Ukrainian 'joint forces' (ATO-2) claim that they discovered and repelled DPR RSG group attack and captured one DPR fighter. Russian sources reported two such similar-sounding claims, 1, 2, expressing doubt that this happened at all, and are those reports describe separate incidents. No photos/videos or further proofs are known to appear in Ukrainian or Russian sources. It is possible that this is propaganda timed with approaching presidential elections in Ukraine. Separately, there has been recent reports of prisoners captured by DPR, some with photos and videos.

16 Feb. JCCC: an elderly woman (1949 DOB) is wounded in Ukrainian shelling of Dokuchaevsk.

15 Feb. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 7 DPR soldiers were killed, 4 soldiers wounded.

12 Feb. UN meeting on Ukraine, initiated by Russia. It is noted that (obviously) Minsk agreements are not implemented, with Russia blaming Ukraine, and the West + Ukraine blatantly blaming Russia. No apparent breakthroughs.

8 Feb. DPR MOD: 4 DPR soldiers were killed when Ukraine fired illuminating munitions used as incendiary devices, setting fire to a residential house. DPR soldiers were putting out the fire. Ukrainian forces then shelled the area using drone for fire correction, killing 3 soldiers; one more soldier was killed trying to recover the bodies. Also, marked vehicle carrying 'Water of Donbass' crew was shelled with mortars, SPG, large caliber machine guns and firearms; the crew managed to escape.

7 Feb. Water pumping station near Yasinovataya came under fire, with personnel having to take cover in a shelter, when Ukraine fired SPG from Novoselovka-2 in the direction of Vasilevka. Ukrainian representatives at JCCC were unable to ensure ceasefire to evacuate personnel.

6 Feb. DPR- Basurin: UAF intensified shelling, with elections approaching. DPR JCCC representatives: Ukraine resumed shelling of Donetsk, mortar shells fired in the direction of Avdeevka, Spartak (map).

Victor Yanukovich, ex-president of Ukraine, who was sentenced to 13 years in absentia by Ukrainian court under state treason charges, gives a long press conference in Russia. His legal team launched a legal challenge to the events of 2014 ('who is to blame for the loss of Crimea', for the 'military coup', and for the killing of innocent protesters and police on Maidan). Continues to talk about wrongful interference of authorities in church affairs, and approaching elections.

5 Feb. Politico runs a story on Vladimir Zelenskiy who is leading some recent polls for the upcoming presidential elections.

[Zelenskiy is] the star of the satirical TV show, “Servant of the People,” in which he plays a rural teacher who ends up getting elected president of Ukraine after an anti-corruption rant goes viral. [...] [Oligarch Ihor] Kolomoyskyi [...] owns 1+1, the popular TV channel that broadcasts Zelenskiy’s show and is rumored to be backing him

4 Feb. Ukrainian ATO participant, call sign 'Oleksa', calls for end of the conflict, resistance to provocations, peace with Russia; published on channel of Alexander Medinsky, who emigrated from Ukraine to Finland. Another ATO participant interviewed earlier, who is also for peace and says that one people in Russia and Ukraine.

3 Feb. DPR MOD claims that Ukrainian army is under instructions to support Poroshenko campaign (hard evidence not presented; response not seen). Ukrainian MoD confirms that 2 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded.

2 Feb. DPR MOD: in the past day, a DPR soldier is killed by Ukrainian shelling, 9 houses in Staromikhilovka are damaged. It is claimed that a western-trained Ukrainian RSG and two sniper pairs arrived to the front lines, possibly for use in provocations near Mariupol.

1 Feb. DPR ombudsman: in the past month, 4 DPR soldiers were killed, 7 people (4 soldiers and 3 civilian men) were wounded. 4733 people were killed according to ombudsman data from the start of the conflict.

31 Jan. Vladimir Zelenskiy is leading in Ukrainian presidential election polls conducted by Ukraine’s Rating Group on Jan. 16-24 and by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology on Jan. 31.

28 Jan. OSCE special representative Martin Sajdik floats a new peace plan, where some things (specifically, the local elections) are run by UN and OSCE on the ground, including 'police and military components'. DPR FM states that it is 'categorically opposed' to the plan, as it does not follow Minsk agreements and does not give DPR enough say in the process.

Arrival of CBRN commission of the HQ of the Ukrainian armed forces grouping "North" to positions of 58 and 30 brigades deployed near Gorlovka causes renewed fears of a chemical provocation or attack

CONIFA announces draw results for 2019 European Football Cup of unrecognized states, including Donetsk, Lugansk, Abhazia, South Osettia, Nagornyi Karabach (12 teams in total).

21 Jan. British instructors started a training course for Ukrainian Navy in Odessa region as part of a British program "Orbital". That program, supposed to deliver 'defensive training' was 'expanded' in 2018 to include anti-armour, counter-sniping and mortar planning.

19 Jan. On the day of the (Christian Orthodox) celebration of Epiphany, Ukrainian forces fired 20 BMP-1 shells and 29 AGS grenades on the village of Zhabichevo, north of Donetsk, and Donetsk airport area. 19 ceasefire violations in the past day in total, 532 munitions fired by Ukraine, including mortars, grenade launchers, tank/BMP guns and large caliber firearms

18 Jan. DPR Ombudsman: in the past week, 2 soldiers were wounded. From the start of the year, 3 soldiers and 3 civilian men were wounded. In 2018, 162 people were killed, including 5 children, 310 were wounded. From the start of the conflict, 4729 people (4114 men, 615 women) were killed, including 81 children.

17 Jan. First contact group meeting of the year in Minsk.

Ukrainian forces fired mortars on Krutaya Balka village, 2 civilian cars were damaged. JCCC representatives showed a photo of one of the cars.

13 Jan. DPR MoD: Ukrainian forces fired small firearms on Zaitsevo, near Gorlovka. Also reporteadly there was a firefight between two Ukrainian brigades, 79 and 80, caused by alcoholic intoxication; one soldier said to be killed.

It is said that an Orthodox church of UOC-Moscow Patriarchate in the village of Krasnovolia, Manevichsky district, Volyn region, Ukraine was seized by supporters of the new Ukrainian Orthodox church (subordinate to Constantinople patriarchate).

12 Jan. Archimandrite Michael (Anischenko) is appointed head of the Stavropigiya in Kiev by the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate chaired by Patriarch Bartholomew (romfea.gr), (fakty.ua).

Water of Donbass vehicle
Workers injured

10 Jan. Donetsk News Agency reports shelling from Ukrainians at Northern Golovka and Yasinovataya with 3 'Water of Donbass' workers arriving to clean snow injured, their vehicle burned.

5 Jan. Patriarch Bartholomew signed Tomos (full text) on establishing autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (ПЦУ), subordinate to the Ecumenical Patriarch (lit. 'recognizes as its head the Holy Apostolic and Patriarchal Ecumenical Sea". Declares rights of the Ecumenical Throne to the "Exarchate in Ukraine and sacred Stavropygia").

DPR MoD reports on two failed Ukrainian RSG attempts which resulted in Ukrainian casualties (Rus.)(robo-Eng.).

2 Jan. It is reported that Ukraine is secretly preparing civil lawsuits on ending leases at the two main sites, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and Kremenets-Pochayevsk Reserve, to Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate.

Victor Kovalskii, 81, one of designers of 'Mria' aircraft, is beaten up in Kiev in a mistaken identity incident.

1 Jan. Attempted sabotage of a railway bridge in Donetsk reported, a pile was damaged but the bridge is still standing. Repair crews installed temporary supports.

31 Dec. 11.59 pm on the New Year eve, showman Vladimir Zelenskii announces that he is running for the president of Ukraine.

29 Dec. Russia extended the list of banned agricultural and industrial goods from Ukraine. (Back in 2016, with Ukraine signing the EU association agreement, Russia and Ukraine sanctioned each other).

27 Dec. LPR chips in saying they too discovered Ukrainian attack plans. Meanwhile the contact group tries to have a ceasefire for the Orthodox Xmas, from Dec. 29.

Russell "Texas" Bentley reports from the frontlines and a shop destroyed (Dec. 14) by Ukrainian artillery in the village of Kominternovo.

26 Dec. Martial law in Ukraine ended (this is not too significant as either renewal or imposition at a later date, if so decided, would require Rada vote).

25 Dec. Basurin: intelligence reports on arrival and unloading at Krasnogorovka railway station railcars filled with blue barrels with a potent chemical poisonous substance, chemical provocation feared (Rus.)(robo-Eng). OSCE: six BMP-1 at Krasnogorovka, SMM cameras not operational, repair work at Krasnogorovka gas distribution station. Other repairs nearby. Normally blue color in Russia, Ukraine is for oxygen, chlorine/phosgene are dirty-greenish; but in the report unloading done by military in protective suits. Updates: (1) Red Cross to arrive to Zaitsevo, gov-held; but DPR fears provocations against Red Cross. (2) Donetsk water filtering station lost power, weather blamed. (3) Russia extends economic sanctions on Ukraine

17 Dec. Shelling, quest for provocations continues. DPR MoD updates, Rus. 1, 2, robo-Eng 1, 2. Basurin: Ukrainian propaganda even named the exact start date of our offensive - Dec. 24-25, which is not surprising. Poroshenko's plans are absolutely transparent. He needs a reason to extend the martial law ending on Dec. 26 in Ukraine. And he is actively looking for it. It is possible that on Dec. 24-25, UAF themselves will attempt to attack.

Updates. (1) Turchinov to BBC: we are preparing a new passage through the Kerch Strait, and invite OSCE and NATO observers. (2) Russian sources: OSCE restricted report, Dec 6: a small military group arrived to the port of Mariupol, to stay till the end of Dec, to meet several Ukr. Navy ships, to arrive from Odessa Dec. 24 (not in regular OSCE report) (3)MGB DPR: Ukraine has munitions made to look like DPR's "Snezhinka" MLRS; chemical provocation feared, bad foreign visitors of White Helmets ilk alleged. (4)22 Dec, Russian Embassy on UK warship visit to Odessa

15 Dec. Unification congress in Kiev.

10 Dec. Urgent, passionate, and very detailed new appeal by Basurin telling that there is Ukrainian plan of a provocation followed by an attack, aimed to be completed by scheduled for Dec 15 unification meeting of breakaway Ukrainian churches. Requires immediate and sustained attention. (Rus), (robo-eng), (humans' Eng.). Noted: text is pronounced in strong/determined/passionate/straight in the eye manner, unlike regular conferences.

Updates. 1.DPR MoD: UAF mined several roads, possibly preparing a provocation targeting public transport. Several carts with chemical protective kits delivered to UAF-guarded location.
2.SBU accused the governor of the main Kiev-Pechersk Lavra of the preparation of 'pro-Russian provocations', interrogated him, prior to the approaching 'unification gathering' (Rus)/ (robo-Eng), (SBU-Ukr).
(3) 00:10 14 Dec, UAF fired 5 20 mortar shells + AGS, RPG and large caliber machine guns on Shirokino and Sakhanka, 29 AGS shots a day earlier on Gnutovo.
(4) Basurin: UAF formed first echelon for an offensive operation, stretching 50 km Vinogradnoe (Mariupol) to Staroignativka (Volnovkha). DPR forces are on high alert.

7 Dec. Regular DPR MOD update provides a detailed account of their available evidence of Ukrainian forces preparations for a provocation or warfare. We discuss similar material on talk page. While we cannot certify provided information, this release requires immediate attention and study. Full robo-translation +video linked.

Unmarked tank convoy in Slovakia said to be headed to Ukraine.

6 Dec. Ukrainian Rada voted to terminate treaty of friendship with Russia (277 for, 20 against, 34 not voted, video), effective Apr.1, 2019, after a draft resolution was introduced by Poroshenko. The treaty included respect of territorial integrity, in particular.

5 Dec. Putin on reasons why he presently does not want to discuss recent crisis with Poroshenko: does not want to take part in his reelection campaign; Poroshenko 'skillfully creates crisis, then blames Russia, then demonstrates how he solves the crisis, pretending it's not him to blame' (video).

Presidential front-runner Yulia Timoshenko is in USA to present herself for photographing at the Atlantic Council meeting and with Kurt Volker (in addition to unworkable video presentations featuring herself over dramatic musical background).

3 Dec. Volunteer: Ukrainian tank company arrived to the port of Mariupol (report and photo).

2 Dec. DPR forces started intensive training to repel large scale attack by UAF

1 Dec. Basurin/DPR: according to DPR intelligence, UAF plans a large scale attack in December, evidenced by three elite brigades (79 airborne assault, 36 Marine and 128 mountain assault) deployed in Mariupol direction.

Bezsonov/DPR: Kiev deployed near Donetsk a paratroopers battalion trained in city warfare, + military equipment and ammunition.

Poroshenko: troops training and redeplyment will be conducted, in martial law regions, reservists and territorial defense will be called up for training, defense industry enterprises are switching to a special regime of operation -Ukrinform. Ukrainian MoD: starting from December 3, a series of large-scale events with reservists and soldiers will begin (Ukr)(Robo-Eng).

Noted: I rate chances of a major provocation or renewed fighting from now until the date of Ukrainian presidential elections as high. Everything needs to be done to prevent it. Otherwise, things may go into a negative spiral with dire global consequences and no good ways out. --Resup (talk) 15:13, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

Highlights from the past

30 Apr. U.S. Confirms Delivery Of Javelin Antitank Missiles To Ukraine

Poroshenko announced end of ATO and start of 'joint operation of armed forces', which is aimed at 'defending territorial integrity' and will only end 'when the last piece of Ukrainian land is liberated, including Crimea', which is somehow supposed to happen by 'political-diplomatic means'.

Videos

More videos on talk page

Photos

  • Recent history in a nutshell in those photos to the right:
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
  • 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

Archive 2019
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Archive 2018
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Archive 2017
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Archive 2016
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Archive 2015
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02 03 04

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...