1 Dec. After Russia demanded an explanation and Putin and Erdogan had the third phonecall in one week, the Turkish president pretends that he was misunderstood and the target of the Turkish operation is not "a country or person, but only terror organizations". Meanwhile at a meeting with the Turkish foreign minister, Lavrov clarifies that neither Russia nor Syria was responsible for the attack on Turkish soldiers on Thanksgiving day. The information that Russia said it was a Syrian plane resulted from a mistranslation. According to Lavrov, it's "essential to discuss this issue with the United States and other institutions" in order to prevent such things from happening again.
29 Nov. Erdogan says that the Turkish army entered Syria to end Assad's rule, contradicting previous claims of the goal being to create a "safe zone" at the border by fighting ISIS and the YPG.
28 Nov. The SAA continues its speedy Aleppo offensive and captures the whole northern half of the "rebel" held pocket, making the southern border of former stronghold Sakour the new frontline.
After long negotiations, the "rebels" in one of the last pockets in the West Ghouta agreed to hand over the city of Khan al-Sheih in return for amnesty or a green bus trip to Idlib.
27 Nov. Aleppo: SAA captured Jabal Badro district, and is close to cutting rebel defenses in half. During the advances, 2,500 (Al Manar) to 10,000 (SOHR) civilians flee to government- and YPG-held areas. Drone footage emerges showing the captured districts of Hanano and Jabal Badro.
Russian MoD: The total number of inhabited areas, the leaders of which had signed reconciliation agreements, has reached 1000 [in all of Syria].
Independent journalist Rania Khalek also attended the conference for journalists in Damascus and reports about why she resigned from the board of Electronic Intifada after having been attacked by the likes of Qatar-financed "expert" Charles Lister.
26 Nov. KenFM publishes video of English language lecture by Tim Anderson held in Berlin for the publication of the German language edition of his book "The Dirty War on Syria", which summarizes among many other things some core findings of ACLOS research.
25 Nov. A map by @deSyracuse covers this week's turbulent events around Al-Bab.
Russia assures Turkey that the plane that killed the Turkish soldiers on the anniversary of the SU-24 shootdown was not Russian, but a Syrian Albatros (the latter was apparently the result of a mistranslation and later retracted, see 1 Dec). Three strikes were reported quoting Turkish sources and social media; some photos after 2-nd strike.
24 Nov. Three Turkish soldiers were killed and 10 wounded near Al-Bab. According to Anadolu Agency the origin was an air strike by the SAA, while Reuters claims it has been an ISIS attack. It happened exactly one year after the Turkish Downing of Russian Su-24. (note: The Reuters item likely dealt with an event that happened the day before)
After days of ongoing attacks by the Turkish army on SDF positions west of Manbij, Rojava officials write a letter to the Arab Union asking for condemnation of the "actions against international law" and pressure on Turkey to stop them. Meanwhile Erdogan declares that Manbij will be the next goal after Al-Bab is taken, and the Turkish state issues an arrest warrant against PYD co-chair Salih Muslim over alleged participation in the preparation of a bomb attack in Ankara in February.
Rusvesna: football friendly between Syrian army and moderate opposition players from Eastern Aleppo took place. The match ended in a 5:5 draw.
22 Nov. Rusvesna: details of White Helmets staged rescue were released on this video, for unknown reason.
In an article for Foreign Policy, Sam Heller shares more details from the conference that was also attended by Aron Lund and apparently a larger crowd of western journalists. Heller mentions UK's Channel 4, the New Yorker magazine and the New York Times. He characterizes the stance of the presenting Syrian government as "unrepentant".
21 Nov. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D), one of the US's most vocal critics of the illegal regime change policies towards Syria, visits the Trump Tower on request of the president-elect to share her view on these issues.
20 Nov. Finnish orientalist and Syrian "opposition" expert Aron Lund reports about meeting Assad on his first visit to Syria since the start of the crisis.
The first university of Rojava opens in Qamishlo.
Several sources report that Turkish fighter jets bombard SDF positions west of Manbij after the latter took some villages from ISIS (map).
18 Nov. Al Masdar: According to the Russian ministry of defense, around 300 people demonstrated in east Aleppo against the looting of aid goods by militants. The militants opened fire and killed 17, wounded over 40. Ten men who were deemed to be leaders of the unrest were executed.
17 Nov. A 41-year-old man from Aleppo will have to stand trial in Germany for war crimes and human trafficking. As the leader of a local militia he is said to have abducted and personally tortured several people, at least one of them with deadly consequences.
The SAA attacks ISIS defense lines in the eastern Aleppo countryside village of al Mazburah, 10 km north of Deir Hafer and 20 km south-east of Al-Bab.
16 Nov. Iraq: The Hashd al-Sha'abi (PMU) have cut the ISIS supply line between Mosul and Syria by taking over the Tel Afar airbase 60 km to the west of Mosul. They plan on moving towards the Syrian border now (map). According to a statement by Iraqi Army General Command, 2,800 ISIS fighters have been killed since the operation to liberate Mosul was launched a month ago.
Scott Horton interviews UK paper The Independent's Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn, currently near Mosul, about the different aspects of the fight against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria (audio).
US Army Colonel John Dorrian, Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman, states at a press briefing that Turkey decided independently to move on Al-Bab and that the US has stopped the (air and ground) support it had given to Operation Euphrates Shield while it was taking areas close to the border.
15 Nov. Al Masdar: Operation Euphrates Shield enters Al-Bab outskirts but has to retreat again. Two Turkish army tanks destroyed by ISIS.
Assad is interviewed by Portuguese State TV Channel RTP (transcript).
Russia launches "a large-scale operation against the positions of Islamic State and Al-Nusra in the provinces of Idlib and Homs" (Shoigu) with participation of the Admiral Kuznetsov group.
The US House of Representatives passes a bill named after alleged torture whistleblower Caesar imposing new sanctions on anyone who provides the Syrian government with financial, material or technological support.
14 Nov. According to sources close to the respective operations, "Operation Wrath of Euphrates" during its first ten days has liberated 550 km² of land with 34 villages, killing 167 ISIS fighters without own losses while closing in from the north towards Al-Raqqa. "Operation Euphrates Shield" meanwhile is standing 2 km north of Al-Bab after liberating several villages.
13 Nov. A huge explosion at a YPG checkpoint in Sherewa district of Efrin city leaves a dozen dead and over 50 wounded, mostly internally displaced people. Turkey or Russia are suspected of being behind the apparent airstrike (Al-Masdar, Rudaw). Others claim it was a ballistic missile and show remains of what seems to be an old Tochka-U.
A MiG-29K crashes into the Mediterranean with a technical defect after an exercise starting from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier. The pilot is rescued alive.
12 Nov. The Russian navy group led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier arrives at the Syrian coast.
11 Nov. The Syrian Social Nationalist Party marks the 84th anniversary of its foundation.
10 Nov. Austria: A 27-year-old Syrian was charged with mass murder and war crimes after he bragged in a refugee camp about having shot dead 20 Syrian soldiers in or around Homs as a member of the Farouk Brigade.
Lavrov accuses the US of seeking to prevent striking the al-Nusra Front to take advantage of it.
The US Treasury targets key leaders of the al-Nusra Front, among them infamous Saudi-supported Idlib province leader al-Muhaysini.
7 Nov. Syrian Army gains ground in western Aleppo (more videos).
According to a YPG statement, Jihadi groups tried to infiltrate Rojava from Turkey at two seperate points, protected by Turkish artillery fire. Both groups retreated after fights with YPG units.
American freelance journalist Sam Heller reports about a week spent in Damascus on invitation of the government, during which he attended a conference and met Assad.
6 Nov. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announce that the operation "Wrath of Euphrates" (Xezeba Firatê) to liberate Raqqa from ISIS has started.
3 Nov. Assad was interviewed by the Serbian newspaper Politika (transcript).
Russian helicopter Mi-35 was destroyed on the ground by IS anti-tank fire, apparently after landing due to mechanical problem. Russian rescue squad brought the crew to safety using Mi-8 helicopter and armored vehicles (report, video).
Russian volunteer Sergei Morozov (an assistant to Duma MP, and former Donbas volunteer) was killed in Syria 8 months ago-TASS. (That first became known after a publication by Reuters).
2 Nov. The leader of the more than 50,000 fighters strong Iraqi Shiite militia Hashd al-Sha'abi (wikipedia), Hadi al-Ameri, tells German journalist Alfred Hackensberger that they will go to Syria to fight ISIS and al-Qaida after Mosul is liberated.
Al Masdar, SOHR: Infighting between major militias inside encircled east Aleppo kills one and injures 25.
In his first audio message since December 2015, ISIS-leader al-Baghdadi calls for terror attacks in Turkey and Saudi Arabia (summary).
1 Nov. Robert Fisk interviews one of the few families who made it out of east Aleppo via the corridors and they essentially tell him that they were held hostage.
31 Oct. AKP-connected Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak claims that there's a deal between Russia and Turkey that would allow the Turkish army and proxy "FSA" militias to "liberate" northern territory four times the size it already did, including the city of Aleppo from which the SAA should withdraw. In Russian media, fresh publications on Turkey apology and planned prosecution for downing of the Russian SU-24 plane.
30 Oct. Al-Nusra Front publishes photographs of its leader Joulani planning the attack on west Aleppo with FSA leaders.
29 Oct. Update + ANNA news video from Aleppo.
28 Oct. Aleppo. Islamists captured Dahiyat Al-Assad district, and 1070 Apartment Complex. Elsewhere attacks were thwarted.
BBC: Syrian rebels 'start Aleppo offensive' (with Grads).
TASS: Putin declined request by military to renew air strikes on Aleppo. Russian aviation did not perform strikes on Aleppo in the past 10 days. Further actions will depend on situation on the ground. Russia reserves the right to use all means at its disposal to support Syrian armed forces.
Kerry & Lavrov discussed Aleppo
27 Oct. Russian FM published Comparative Analysis- Russia-US Agreement Implementation (pp 4-6 Eng.)
School in Syria’s Idlib province not hit by airstrike, drone photos show – Russian MoD, RT report including RU MoD response, and interview with former Pentagon official Michael Maloof. UN urges inquiry-BBC.
Prof. Tim Anderson is extensively interviewed on Germany's most prominent alternative political TV channel KenFM about his book "The Dirty War on Syria" (video, English language with German subtitles).
26 Oct. The Ron Paul Liberty Report interviews Virginia State Senator Richard Black about what he learned from his recent visit to Syria (video).
At least twentytwo children and six teachers are said to have died in an attack on a school in the village of Hass in Idlib province (ACLOS page).
24 Oct. Russia24 documentary made around their interview and meetings with Asma al-Assad released (by the Syrian Presidency) in Russian with English subtitles (video).
23 Oct. ARA News: Syrian Kurds call for international support to deal with Mosul refugee influx, after thousands of civilians have already crossed the border and arrived mainly in the al-Hawl and Newroz camps in Hasakah province.
22 Oct. Turkish Armed Forces: Turkey-backed FSA soldiers have established control in 156 residential areas since the beginning of Operation Euphrates Shield.
Syrian Arab Army: Any presence of the Turkish army units across the border into Syria, under whatever excuses, is rejected and condemned and will be considered an “occupation force” and confronted with all the means available.
21 Oct. Turkish Army and their proxies attack SDF forces inside Syria "to prevent them reaching al-Bab", according to Turkish statements that claim to have killed 200 fighters. From Kurdish side the casualties are claimed to be much lower but attacks by artillery and warplanes are documented. The three-way fighting between Turkish-backed FSA, Kurdish-dominated SDF and ISIS is documented in detail on the maps by Cristian Ionita (today's map).
20 Oct. Russian Military sets up publicly viewable livecams monitoring the evacuation efforts in eastern Aleppo.
In Germany the first trial against a Syrian refugee for war crimes starts. The 25 year-old Suliman al-S. is accused of having taken part in the abduction of a Canadian UN worker in 2013 organized by the al-Nusra Front.
ISIS claims to have shot down an American A10 military jet in Margada at the border between Hasakah and Deir Ezzor provinces.
19 Oct. ARA news: Sources report several convoys of ISIS fighters plus families leaving Mosul towards Raqqa taking the unofficial Ba'aj roadway.
SANA: Fighter jets of the US-led coalition destroy two more bridges in Deir Ezzor province, one of them over the Euphrates in al-Bsira. This (see previous reports) makes it at least nine bridges over the Euphrates recently destroyed.
Russian MoD map of Aleppo on October 18th. Evacuation routes shown.
18 Oct. Russia suspends airstrikes in Aleppo prior to a humanitarian pause on 20 Oct., describing it as a goodwill gesture. First rebels are seen being evacuated from east Aleppo in a UN convoy. (video)
According to Russian Center for Reconciliation, on October 18 at about 3 am there was an air strike on the village Hassadzhek, near the city of Afrin, Aleppo province. As a result of the bombing, two houses were destroyed, killing 6 and wounding 4 people. Russian or Syrin air force did not perform strikes in that area. Air situation monitoring recorded presence of two international coalition F-16 planes this specific time and location; said to be of the Air Force of Belgium--however Belgium denied that its planes were involved.
Syria's first lady Asma al-Assad gives her first interview since the beginning of the crisis (video).
17 Oct. A day after the beginning of the operation to liberate Mosul from ISIS, which will likely cause a flood of fighters and/or civilians into Syria, Rudaw has a handy Mosul factsheet.
16 Oct. RT's Oksana Boyko interviews Mokhtar Lamani, representative of the UN-Arab League mission in Damascus from 2012 to 2014, who resigned over a lack of political will towards a national reconciliation he saw back then and still sees today (video).
Turkish-backed militias take over the symbolic village of Dabiq in northern Aleppo province from ISIS. The Turkish foreign minister declares that they intend to go south and take Al-Bab next.
13 Oct. Al Masdar: 4 children killed and 5 wounded in "rebel" shelling of Al-Ta'ai Grammar School in Suleimaniyeh District of western Aleppo city.
Rudaw/Raqqa_SL: 10 Buses and 35 SUV Chevrolet with Iraqi Plates arrived in Raqqa full with ISIS fighters and their families.
Assad was interviewed by Komsomolskaya Pravda (transcript).
12 Oct. US and Russia to resume talks on Syria-BBC.
- Kerry, Lavrov to meet in Switzerland on 15 Oct. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran are also expected to attend.
- ...'despite war crimes row'...no longer in the context of ...U.S. military cooperation with Russia ... (Reuters).
11 Oct. Jawad Abu Hatab, the "prime minister" of the "Syrian Interim Government" of the western-created external opposition construct "Syrian National Coalition" is interviewed by Al Monitor.
SANA: Among other things, the Cabinet discusses the reasons behind the rising prices of eggs and the decreasing prices of chicken meat.
10 Oct. Putin and Erdogan meet on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in Istanbul. According to public statements by both, Operation Euphrates Shield was discussed and on Aleppo it was agreed to do everything needed to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of the city. According to Putin, he informed Erdogan that the US refused to use their influence for a plan to make both the Syrian Army and "rebel" forces withdraw from Castello Road to make it a save path for aid to inhabitants of both parts of Aleppo.
9 Oct. Basma Qadamani, Member of the delegation of the Syrian Supreme Commission for negotiations calls for unilateral American intervention to save Aleppo (alhadath.net, Arabic), (TASS, Russian). Western sources report (aa.com.tr, English) a call to impose EU sanctions.
7 Oct. SANA: Fighter jets of the US-led coalition destroy the al-Syasia Bridge, the largest one in Deir Ezzor, which makes it a total of eight Euphrates bridges in the province recently destroyed by that coalition founded to fight ISIS.
6 Oct. TASS source: Russia (rolling UNSC chair) calls for UNSC meeting to discuss Staffan de Mistura initiative on withdrawal of militants from Aleppo. The meeting occurred on 8 Oct.
- Russia and France proposed alternative UNSC resolutions. French resolution calls for a halt of strikes in Aleppo. Russian resolution calls to support de Mistura initiative on withdrawal of militants from Aleppo. Those UNSC permanent members were poised to block each other's alternative resolutions.
- Russia vetoes French-Spanish UNSC resolution. Russian version of the resolution is rejected as well. Live stream (Russian). Western delegation leaders left the room when the floor was given to SAA representative.
- SAA representative stated that 'we conduct(ed) an investigation' of the Red Crescent convoy bombing at Urm al-Kubra, and results will be provided when the investigation is completed.
- According to media reports, 'Jihadist rebels reject UN offer of safe pass from east Aleppo'.
Reuters reports Syrian army promises to ease airstrikes in Aleppo after criticism.
"Edward Dark", inhabitant of Aleppo: Rebel shelling of Jamilieh market in west Aleppo leaves 10s dead & wounded today. [pics]
A high-ranking member of the government of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) states in an interview that for them to march on Raqqa as the USA wants, they demand political support for their model of democratic federalism and representation in full delegation strength at the negotiations in Geneva (against the will of the Turks, Saudis etc).
Assad was interviewed by Denmark's TV2 (transcript).
5 Oct. SANA: 100 kg (600,000 pills) of Captagon confiscated in Damascus.
4 Oct. "Secret operation in Aleppo - Turkish special forces are preparing to de-block the surrounded militants", Rusvesna, (robo-translation) .
3 Oct. U.S. suspends talks with Russia on Syria ceasefire, Reuters.
- John Kerry Consults with Russians on Syria Less Than 48 Hours After Suspending Ties, Foreign Policy, 5 Oct. 2016
2 Oct. Firat News: Democratic Syria Debate Platform in Girkê Legê with 160 representatives of opposition groups ends with calls for a federal system and a solution without international powers.
Obama Warned to Defuse Tensions with Russia-"Consortium News"
- A group of ex-U.S. intelligence officials is warning President Obama to defuse growing tensions with Russia over Syria (discussion)
FARS News: In attacks on two separate days fighter jets of the US coalition destroyed a total of four bridges over the Euphrates in Deir Ez-Zour province: al-Shihan Bridge, Tarif Bridge, al-Asharah Bridge and al-Mayadin Bridge. (Statement by al-Ja'afari at the UN)
basnews: According to SOHR statistics, 3,686 people, among them 1,228 civilians died in hostilities in Syria in September 2016. For Iraq, their number is 1,003, the majority of them civilians (609).
1 Oct. 'Fierce fights in historic Aleppo', report and video, Kurdistan-Insider.com.
"US Bases in Syria"? Are there any? What says congress? And international law? Check the new ACLOS article.
In this video, Virginia State senator and a retired marine colonel Richard Black provides a brief and clear explanation of the situation in Aleppo in recent months (consistent but easier to grasp than our more cryptic presentation here). He points out that created by media impression that regime forces are fighting civilians and little dusty boys is wrong, and it is in fact up against up a large, motivated, and well armed rebel military force, which is essentially al Qaeda. Further he points out that regime has offered free exit to civilians and rebels laying down arms, and has a history of such sort of arrangements in the past. This is in fact the rebels preventing such exit, and pressure has to be applied to rebels, not the regime.
- Note. In a recent interview, Bashar al-Assad has stated that full amnesty is given to rebels laying down arms. In automatic translation, it says for the second question about the possibility of dialogue with the armed groups to give up their arms, the answer is, yes, this is what we have applied, "both decided to lay down its arms we made them a full pardon, we were flexible to the point that we surpassed even the law, the law does not absolve the terrorists from their business, however, and in the interest of the people and to stop the bloodshed, we provide amnesty.
Chlorine use accusation was made by rebels, Oct. 2, 2016 at 5:45 AM report.
Syrian military intelligence source to Rusvesna: "terrorists are preparing a bloody provocation -a chemical attack to accuse Russia" (robo-translated here), Oct. 1, 2016 at 21:49 report.