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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

23 Feb. The Wrath of Euphrates command announces that the operation has liberated 664 km² between Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor in the 8 days the second step of the third phase is running.

The next round of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva starts.

Turkish media declares Al-Bab liberated again. Al Masdar reports that the "FSA" proxies claim the same, and that a deal with ISIS to retreat to Deir Hafer was made - although ISIS has so far been silent on the supposed development.

22 Feb. According to an analyst of the influential Washington think-tank CNAS, insider circles refer to the Turkish-promised force that will liberate Raqqa as the "Unicorn force". Euphrates Shield has in total only recruited 2-3 thousand "FSA" fighters, according to him, while the SDF has 23,000 Arab fighters in addition to its main force, the Kurdish YPG.

21 Feb. Reuters reports that CIA-supported "rebels" in Idlib province have suffered from a freeze of cash and weapon supply for a month. Proverbial anonymous US officials cited in the report say that this has nothing to do with the change of administration.

20 Feb. The SAA command calls on the citizens of 44 liberated towns and villages in eastern Aleppo province to return home.

While "rebels" continue their offensive on Deraa, a surprise move by an ISIS affiliate takes over several of their home villages and towns which were left ill defended.

A YPG statement details attacks by the Turkish army and its proxies in the previous days, mostly shelling of towns and villages in Afrin canton.

19 Feb. After a Turkish delegation to Washington trying to make the US drop SDF support and support a Turkish plan to go to Raqqa was met with a "frosty response", PM Yildirim says in Munich that Turkey would be "at the back" of attempts to capture Raqqa from ISIS, with other forces at the front.

18 Feb. The US-led coalition destroys yet another Euphrates bridge, this time the al-Meghle Bridge west of Maadan village, located 60 km east of Raqqa city.

At an event in Damascus, two new car models produced at a factory near Hama with Chinese cooperation are presented.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry writes a letter to the UN detailing and complaining about the illegal actions of Turkey on their soil, revealing a military base Turkey is said to have build in Jtrar village north of Tel Rifaat as HQ of operation Euphrates Shield.

17 Feb. Wrath of Euphrates command announces the second step of the third phase of the operation, with the goal to take over the region immediatly east of Raqqa and cut off the connection between the city and Deir Ez-Zor in the south-east. The Deir ez-Zor military council (of mostly tribal local militias) will participate.

While the SAA is advancing further east in the Deir Hafer plains, SAA sources report that ISIS has opened the pumps at Lake Assad and is flooding the Al Jer canal located in the same plains. If this has something to do with the UN warning about the Tabqa Dam and what it means for the water supply of Aleppo is unclear. A statement by the Aleppo Governor in the evening makes it sound like the only effect is flooding of villages and farmlands, while the water supply to Aleppo city (through pipelines?) is still cut off.

With Euphrates Shield retreating again against an ISIS counter-offensive in Al-Bab, Fehim Taştekin takes up the difficult task of making sense of Erdogan's ever-changing statements and his real goal in an op-ed for Al Monitor.

16 Feb. Reports in Turkish media that according to a high-ranking military source the Al-Bab operation "is over" and the city taken are met with scepticism as they contradict all information from the ground. Later, Turkish media seems to backpedal (Hürriyet changes headline, original source Daily Sabah blames their reporter).

Another meeting in Astana takes place. Syrian delegation head Al-Jaafari complains about lack of seriousness of the Turkish side.

In Sweden a Syrian refugee is sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the execution of Syrian soldiers in Idlib province in 2012.

Assad is interviewed by French television (transcript).

15 Feb. A pan-Kurdish conference takes place in Moscow (ARA, Rudaw). It isn't officially supported by the Russian government. The Barzani clan doesn't attend. It coincides with the 18th anniversary of the arrest of Abdullah Öcalan, known and commemorated as "the black day".

ISIS restores the water supply to Aleppo city from the pumping stations at the Euphrates, then cuts it off again after 20 hours.

The UN warns that the ISIS-controlled and partly damaged Tabqa Dam is in danger of flooding due to rising water levels. Raqqa is 25 km downstream of the building, which is the largest dam in Syria. The SDF stands immediately north of it.

The "civil war" between "rebel" factions in Idlib province continues.

14 Feb. After an al-Qaeda-led offensive in the southern city of Deraa directly at the Jordanian border, reports surface that wounded militants are not allowed anymore to cross into Jordan to the field hospitals located there. A Syrian military source cited by Al-Masdar states that this follows a Russian-Jordanian agreement to tighten border security.

Foreign Policy reports that the US has - against given promise - used depleted Uranium ammunition in Syria. The horrible side effects of this type of ammunition are well documented.

Situation around Al-Bab

13 Feb. Erdogan is back to claiming that Turkey and its proxies will go to Manbij and finally Raqqa after they've taken over Al-Bab. The "ultimate goal" he says is to create a "safe zone" of 5,000 km², which is 2.5 times the area they occupy now.

12 Feb. According to a press statement, the third phase of Wrath of Euphrates has liberated 700 km² including 98 villages in the nine days it is running and is about to reach its goal.

ISIS is engaged in blowing up gas pipelines in Palmyra countryside, and in an at least partly successful counter-offensive against the SDF in western Raqqa province, and in successful defense of repeated attacks of Euphrates Shield east of and in Al-Bab.

Kurdish sources accuse the Turkish army (again) of committing massacres against civilians in Al-Bab instead of fighting ISIS.

11 Feb. Al-Bab: While the SAA takes over ISIS' last supply road and stands 2 km south of the city, Euphrates Shield captures some important points inside the western part of it, with the Russian, Turkish and US airforces all flying raids.

A "safe corridor" was opened on Thursday at al-Samalil village south-east of Taldou in the Houla plains, for citizens and militants who want to use the prolongued amnesty. It will be open for a month and saw already "scores" of people using it during the first three days, according to SANA. Hezbollah outlet Al Manar reports that 82 militants have layed down their weapons there.

Two fronts of Wrath of Euphrates meet, enclosing a large land area. The SDF stands 9 km north of Raqqa.

At a conference in Riyadh a single delegation of the Saudi-supported "opposition", led by Mohammed Sabra, is formed for the Geneva talks.

10 Feb. Kremlin spokesperson Peskov states that the coordinates for the air strike that hit Turkish army forces were delivered by the Turks themselves.

Assad is interviewed by Yahoo News (transcript).

9 Feb. After around a dozen Turkish soldiers had been wounded and 3 killed by air strikes near Al-Bab the day before, which Turkish officials accused the SAAF of having done, the Kremlin announces that it was a Russian plane that accidently carried out the attack and expresses condolences to Erdogan. Meanwhile, rumors say that SAA and Euphrates Shield forces clashed for the first time near Al-Bab.

7 Feb. Invitations to the Geneva talks starting on 20 Feb are about to be send.

The YPG releases a balance sheet detailing several serious border violations by the Turkish army in the first week of February.

The SAA stands 3 kms south of Al-Bab and has cut the main supply road between the city and Deir Hafer in the south-east towards Raqqa.

Assad is interviewed by Belgian media (transcript).

6 Feb. At a meeting in Astana on expert level, delegations from Russia, Turkey, Iran and the UN discuss specific measures to implement the ceasefire monitoring. Another meeting will take place on 15-16 Feb.

Members of the self-titled Syrian Elite Forces tribal militia join the 3rd phase of Wrath of Euphrates.

According to Al-Bab citizens who fled to Afrin canton, both ISIS and Euphrates Shield "mercenaries" are engaged in "a play" trying to clean the city of its inhabitants.

5 Feb. Assad extends the Amnesty decree till 30 June, 2017.

4 Feb. The Wrath of Euphrates operation room declares the beginning of the third phase of the operation, with the aim to liberate the eastern countryside of Raqqa province (frontline).

The SAA has reached the gas fields in north-western Palmyra countryside and takes the strategic Hayyan field from ISIS.

3 Feb. According to both SANA and the SOHR, US-Coalition planes destroy two bridges in Raqqa province, two bridges in Raqqa city and the main water line to the city, leaving it completely without drinking water supply.

2 Feb. RT's Oksana Boyko interviews Dilek Öcalan, a niece of Abdullah Öcalan and member of the Turkish parliament, about the role of the Kurds in the Syrian crisis.

ISIS uses captured Turkish Army equipment against Syrian Army in Aleppo.

1 Feb. External Syrian opposition voices criticize De Mistura for his proposal to pick representatives for the Geneva meeting if they fail to do so themselves.

31 Jan. The Russian army opens an "International Mine Action Centre" campus in Aleppo and starts training a first batch of 60-70 Syrian army people in demining operations.

The Trump administration delivers armoured vehicles to the SDF.

30 Jan. Erdogan says that the Turkish army mission in Syria will be over after Al-Bab is conquered from ISIS, contradicting his earlier statements that they would move on to Manbij or even Raqqa, and recent statements by his prime minister. Meanwhile, the SAA stands 6 km south of the city.

Syrian PM Imad Khamis estimates that there has been $US 2 billion loss in the oil sector during the last two months due to "terrorist attacks" (i.e. ISIS taking over the fields north of Palmyra).

28 Jan. 44 days after the water supply to Damascus was poisoned and then cutoff by Nusra militants, the SAA takes control over the the main springs in Wadi Barada. Demining of the area is going on.

Following the infighting in Idlib province, a consolidation has taken place with some groups joining Ahrar Al-Sham earlier this week, and today several other groups including TGFTA Al-Nusra and the Noureddine Al-Zenki (and some individuals and subgroups formerly in Ahrar al-Sham) forming a new merger called Tahrir Al-Sham (infographics).

According to Qatari-owned, London-based "The New Arab" outlet, Trump's final executive order on immigration signed Friday doesn't include the "safe zone in Syria" orders the draft presented earlier the week did contain.

27 Jan. At the Moscow meeting, Lavrov announces that the UN-brokered Geneva talks have been postponed (again) from February 8 to the end of February. Earlier, de Mistura's office calls the Astana talks "a remarkable contribution" to the Syrian peace process.

The Syrian Kurds celebrate the second anniversary of the liberation of Kobane.

26 Jan. Moscow invites a number of Syrian opposition figures including a PYD representative to a meeting on Friday to brief them on the outcome of the Astana meeting, including the draft constitution Russia circulated there, which was leaked by Rudaw (English language description) and since confirmed authentic. It is said that opposition (the one represented by Mohammad Alloush) rejected the draft (Bloomberg).

UK Foreign Minister Johnson declares that in light of the new Trump administration "the mantra that Assad has to go" will end and they would "accept to allow" him to run for re-election should a peace settlement take place.

25-26 Jan. Trump "will absolutely do safe zones in Syria". Russia was not consulted, urges caution (ABC)(TASS).

25 Jan. Astana. Communique was adopted by Russia, Turkey, Iran. The sides agreed to establish a mechanism of monitoring cessation of hostility. Armed opposition submitted a proposal on monitoring; but neither opposition nor the Syrian goverment signed any documents (TASS, Rus.)

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard releases a statement reporting about her visit to Syria, where she met Assad among many other people, and renews her call to "end regime change war in Syria now" and for the US to "stop supporting terrorists".

24 Jan. Turkish Deputy PM declares rumors that Al-Bab would be handed over to Damascus after capture to be untrue. Meanwhile, the SAA continues to take villages to the south-west of Al-Bab from ISIS and stands on a hill overlooking the southern outskirts of the town.

Astana: A trilateral Turkey-Russia-Iran agreement on the ceasefire and a mechanism to monitor it is in its final stage.

23 Jan. The peace talks in Astana begin. AP publishes a timeline.

Negotiations in Wadi Barada are restarted after the SAA has taken some more areas in recent days.

22 Jan. After taking the town of Suwaydiya, the SDF are approaching al-Tabqa Dam.

Situation in Deir Ez-Zor

With heavy clashes ongoing in Deir Ez-Zor, the SAA sends special forces as reinforcement.

21 Jan. According to an IHS Conflict Monitor analysis, ISIS has lost a quarter of their territory in the year 2016.

20 Jan. ISIS destroys the façade of the Roman Theatre and Tetrapylon in Palmyra.

The US press gets wind of a low profile fact finding visit to Syria by Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich.

Assad is interviewed by the Japanese TBS TV channel (transcript).

19 Jan. A total of 177,568 Syrians mothers have given birth in Turkey between April 2011 and September 2016, according to Turkey's health ministry figures.

17 Jan. The SAA starts an offensive in the Deir Hafer plains south-east of Al-Bab.

16 Jan. Reports: IS splits Deir Ezzor enclave in two.

15 Jan. The Obama State Department puts new sanctions on Syria "in response to the use of chemical weapons".

According to a UN report, around 147,000 people have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo during its conquer by the government, over 75% of which chose to go to government-held areas. 50,000 have since returned to their homes.

14 Jan. Retired SAA General Ahmad Al-Ghadban is assasinated by a sniper while leaving the negotiations he led about the situation in Wadi Barada.

Syrian opposition leaders ask Ankara to stop their opposition to allowing the PYD attend the peace talks in Astana.

According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration has been invited to the talks in Astana via a phone call by the Russian ambassador to the US to Michael Flynn that happened already on December 28.

The SAA launches an offensive to take back the gas fields north of Palmyra from ISIS.

13 Jan. The Syrian Government sends two letters to the UN complaining about an Israeli attack on Mezzeh military airbase near Damascus the night before, which set a weapons depot on fire. While some sources say the attack was carried out by an F-35 fighter jet, SANA claims it was by ground-to-ground missiles fired from Lake Tiberias.

After a partial agreement was reached, the SAA stands at the gates of the important Al-Fijah springs in Wadi Barada. Fights with militants who refuse to join the agreement are still going on while technicians are on the way to repair the water supply.

According to a report (original) in a Turkish newspaper citing military sources, around 50 Turkish army officers, sergeants and specialist personnel involved in Operation Euphrates Shield have resigned since the beginning of the year. Lack of food and material, poor planning, high losses are cited as reasons, and the Erdogan government is accused of covering it all up.

A new map by Christian Ionita shows the complex situation in northern Syria including the status of both Operations Euphrates Shield and Wrath of Euphrates.

12 Jan. Erdogan, Putin, De Mistura: Ceasefire holds by and large. Russian Foreign Ministry: Talks in Astana are scheduled for 23 January.

11 Jan. Two fronts of the SDF meet in the village of Kurmanju around 30 km north-west of Raqqa, cutting off and creating a cauldron of ISIS territory to its north-west.

10 Jan. After the Washington Post reports about a US ground operation in ISIS territory near Deir ez-Zor the day before, targeting a specific vehicle with a to-capture ISIS member, FARS News claims that according to local eyewitnesses, the operation "looked like a drill" and was used to relocate "only non-Syrian" members of ISIS, who were taken away in the helicopters.

Ahrar al-Sham and the Nusra Front are involved in increasing infighting in Idlib province, with tens of casualties on both sides in recent days.

9 Jan. With the ceasefire generally holding, the "Russia-Turkey Commission on violations of the Joint Agreement", under which both countries monitor violations separately, combinedly registers around 2-3 dozens violations daily.

Syria and Iraq sign a comprehensive bilateral trade agreement.

8 Jan. After failed negotiations about surrender and/or a green bus tour to Idlib, the SAA and allies restart their offensive to take Barada valley from militants.

ISIS blows up the Hayyan Gas Company factory in eastern Homs, a central source of gas for Syrian civilians.

The Turkish army and allies have to retreat with losses after another failed attempt to take Al-Bab.

7 Jan. Top exile opposition figure Nawaf al-Bashir, head of the 1.2 million people Baggara tribe in Deir Ez-Zor, repents and returns to Syria.

Iraq: Units of the PMU send back a group of American soldiers who came near ISIS frontlines to "train" them, stating a lack of prior coordination and that they want no American forces in unstable regions as they play "dirty games" and "ISIS is an integral part of American projects".

6 Jan. Russia announces a reduction of forces in Syria, starting with the removal of the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.

A ship with 500 tons of humanitarian aid from Kazakhstan arrives in Tartous.

For the first time in four years, an airplane takes off from Aleppo International Airport. It's a Syrian government test flight in preparation of the planned reopening of the airport in February.

5 Jan. The YPG releases a balance sheet (original) for 2016 detailing the results of their fights against ISIS, "FSA", Turkish and Syrian Armies. The YPG lost 613 of their own fighters over the year.

The Iraqi army and allied militias start a large-scale operation in western Anbar province to seal the border with Syria.

4 Jan. The Turkish FM states that there is a "confidence crisis" over the lack of US support to Operation Euphrates Shield which calls into question the US use of Incirlik airbase. In response, a Pentagon spokesman calls Incirlik “absolutely invaluable” and points to "ongoing negotiations".

3 Jan 2017. The SAA has retaken some of the wells in Wadi Barada and is preparing to take the whole valley. Fights in the eastern Ghouta are also going on. Some of the militant groups who agreed to the ceasefire see this as violation and have suspended talks on peace negotiations.

The Russian air force is bombing ISIS targets in Al-Bab in support of Operation Euphrates Shield.

A "Trump Restaurant" selling Falafel opens in Kobane, named in hope that US help to Kurds will increase under the president-elect. Meanwhile, the Turkish PM calls on the US to stop arming the YPG. He also claims that "only Turkey" is fighting against ISIS.


Archive 2017
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Archive 2016
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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."

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.

Houla (May 25, 2012)

Main article: The Houla massacre
Ali-Al-Sayed 1.jpg

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

23 Feb. On traditional Red Army holiday, little change on the ground. Ukraine shelled DPR 706 times, including by heavy weapons. 11 ceasefire violations in LPR.

Notorious MP Alexey Goncharenko (Poroshenko block) is said to be 'kidnapped' in Odessa by unknowns; Ukraine blamed 'separatists'. (Remembered for photographing defender corpse after Odessa Massacre, 2014).

But soon after, 'saved', and Kushnarenko father blamed for 'ordering kidnapping' (possibly staged; they say it's not).

22 Feb. DPR shelled by Ukraine 674 times in the past day (supposed ceasefire), 2 DPR soldiers were wounded.

According to DPR, Ukraine does not plan in the near future to withdraw heavy weapons.

Ukrainian minister of Defense Poltorak: reports on combat readiness, 37,000 UAF soldiers are deployed 'on the contact line'. (Noted: tomorrow is the Soviet 'Red Army' holiday).

21 Feb. Scheduled for today heavy weapons withdrawal did not materialize; DPR blamed Ukraine. Firefights resumed in the evening (Yasinovataya checkpoint, +Novoazov region).

Yelenovka checkpoint came under Ukrainian fire (despite the ceasefire).

20 Feb. The latest ceasefire started at midnight. As of this afternoon, it was observed, according to Basurin. Ukraine resumed shelling in the evening, Yasinovataya- Gorlokvka-Svetdlodarsk.

Withdrawal of heavy weapons is planned for 21 Feb.

19 Feb. Some clashes on Maidan, police and national guard in control, Semen Semchenko (now MP) present and makes some commotion (report, photos, video). Arrests, injuries reported, including 'OUN' battalion commander Kohanovskii.

DPR reports worsening security situation for the past day, shelling count is 2453, with about half from heavy weapons. Donetsk water filtering station lost power, DPR says as a result of intentional shelling. (Russ.)(Engl)

18 Feb. Putin signs an executive order recognizing documents and vehicle registration plates issued by the DPR and LPR. The move was cheered in L/DPR, and criticized by Ukraine and by US Embassy in Kiev.

17 Feb. DPR was shelled 1048 times in the past day. Two DPR soldiers were killed (Russ.)(Engl.)

Two years and a bit after Minsk-2 agreements, Zakharchenko and Plotniskii scheduled a joint press conference in Lugansk, with the topic not revealed in advance.

'DPR, LPR announce start of humanitarian programme for occupied Donbass', DAN news (Engl.) (Russ.)
ДНР и ЛНР готовы освободить подконтрольные Киеву районы Донбасса военным путём (+ВИДЕО), Rusvesna (if peaceful means will not work than ...) - Zakharchenko and Plotniskii

16 Feb. 'Kiev plans bloody provocation involving Finnish journalists'-DPR.

Ukraine shelled Yasinovataya outskirts with Grads.

Energy blockade was started by Ukrainian nats bats (Semchenko et al) at the end of January, 2017, preventing shipments of anthracites coal from L/DPR republics to Ukraine. That blockade led to energy crisis and energy emergency situation in Ukraine, as power stations were designed to use anthracites type of coal. Blockade was criticized by Poroshenko.

15 Feb. Protesters prompt OSCE observers to carry out reinspection in western Donetsk (not commented on OSCE site yet).

14 Feb. One DPR soldier was killed in the past day.

Big explosion at at Donetsk state chemical plant is reported, as a result of Ukrainian shelling (video). Plant is producing explosives for mining and military. Blast is similar to earlier ones (here). There are casualties; 1 civilian is reported killed. Windows in a hospital and 11 houses nearby were shattered. DPR video shows big crater and quick chemical weapons tests (iprit test shown) they decided to run after seeing unusual cloud; they came back negative.

DPR: Failed UAF attacked on Kominternovo, 5 UAF soldiers were killed.

Opolchenie report on continued shelling, including heavy weapons, MLRS. Donetsk water treatment plant containing 4 tonnes of chlorine is in the area of Ukrainian shelling in particular.

13 Feb. 1 DPR soldier was killed in the past day, DPR shelled 509 times (sit-rep).

12 Feb. In the past day, DPR was shelled 1302 times (431 by heavy weapons: mortars + BMP guns) , 2 DPR soldiers were killed, 1 seriously wounded, at least 4 houses damaged (Engl.).

OSCE, Hug: number of ceasefire violations is "unacceptably high" (+earlier in Kiev.)

11 Feb. DPR was shelled 438 times, at least 2 houses damaged, banned weapons used and more spotted, 1 DPR soldier wounded.

OSCE calls for withdrawal of heavy weapons from separation line; DPR already agreed (TASS).

10 Feb. DPR and LPR (finally) are preparing laws requiring operating there 'non-resident' companies, like Akhmetov plants, to pay them taxes. Currently taxes are paid to Ukraine, and as LPR public council chairman Zaporoztsev put it, 'some of that profit returns to us, but in the form of artillery and mortar shells and other means of destruction. Those plants have been built by our fathers and grandfathers, but now not only they do not receive their pensions, but have to suffer from shelling and destruction of their homes'.

9 Feb. Givi funeral photo, video stream report, many thousands, and Zakharchenko attending in central Donetsk.

"DPR offers truce, Ukraine answers with shells and OSCE just don't care" -DoNi (Engl.) report and Engl. -captioned video.

DPR, LPR people's councils chairmen issued joint appeal to world leaders, Russia, USA, Germany, to stop genocide in Donbass. At present the appeal was signed by over 62 thousand people in DPR, 56.6 thousand in LPR (Regular shelling, targeting water supplines, industrial objects with potentially catastrophic consequences described in the appeal).

DPR deputy commander Basurin: DPR was shelled 711 times in the past day, 3 DPR soldiers were killed and 1 wounded.

Poroshenko rejected 'holding elections under presence of foreign troops' , in response to comments by German ambassador. This is despite Minsk agreements to have elections before Ukraine gains border control.

Givi office

8 Feb. Prominent commander of DPR "Somali" batallion Mikhail "Givi" Tolstykh is assassinated in his office, said to be by a shot from "Shmel' portable thermobaric rocket. DPR blamed Ukraine for the assassination. Givi supported DPR leadership; had ascetic lifestyle.

  • Photo gallery-MK.
  • Life news interview with Givi on 3 Feb, after Ukrainian attack on Avdeevka was repelled, including by "Sparta" (Motorola) and "Somali" (Givi). 'Somali' lost several fighters and Givi was lightly wounded, but was back the next day. Givi says that Ukrainian side had higher losses and was resorting to shelling civilian areas; and that his side did not extend a counter-attack further as he was following Minsk agreements.
  • Interview with 'Somali' HQ chief (refutes fakes, like 'opolchenie member claiming responsibility', earlier one on Givi planning to leave, etc)
  • DPR investigators confirmed that IED is considered as a possibility (while some outsiders say, definitely not Shmel).

DPR was shelled by Ukraine 775 times in the past day. DPR accused Ukraine of preparing to mine and prepare to explode Avdeevka coke plant; such explosion can lead to ecological catastrophe.

Report and video from the south, near Mariupol, Shirokino. Regular shelling at night, Ukraine deploying more forces, Ukrainian attack plans rumored.

7 Feb. Basurin sitrep, Eng; video, Russ.. Situation remains to be difficult, little change. 2 DPR soldiers killed and 1 wounded in the past day.

  • Weather. In the last 2 weeks, night temperatures were hitting near -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit). Heating in large residential areas is central, one boiler plant per several multi-storey houses; those heating plants were often knocked off by damaged electric power supply and by direct hits. This created difficult conditions for civilian population. There were reports on interrupted supply; a recent report that a DPR soldier guarding repair workers fixing power grid was killed by Ukrainian sniper, repairs had to stop; etc.

6 Feb. Radical Party leader Oleg Lyashko has his 10-year US visa issued in December 2016 revoked.

4 Feb. President Poroshenko has his first phone call with Trump.

LPR. Chief of the People's Militia Department Oleg Anashenko killed in a car explosion. Ukraine is blamed, an Ukrainian officer later said to be arrested (Russian sources here, quoting LPR ministry of security sources).


3 Feb. DPR ombudsman (press conference video--Russ., on civilian casualties and damage)(text, Russ.).

  • From 1 Jan. 2017 to 2 Feb, 31 people killed (27 soldiers, 4 civilians), 87 wounded (40 soldiers, 47 civilians, including 2 children under 18)
  • Last week (27 Jan-2 Feb.): 19 killed (15 soldiers; + 4 civilians killed in shelling of Donetsk and Makeevka); 59 wounded (17 soldiers and 42 civilians, including 2 children).

Lot of destruction after Ukrainian shelling near 'Motel' station, near eastern exit from Donetsk (report and photos). Uragan MLRS said to be used.

2 Feb. DPR was shelled 1617 times in the past day (including 374 times by heavy artillery, 40 by MLRS). 38 houses were damaged. One DPR soldier was killed and one injured. A civilian man in Makeevka had his arm severed (DAN news).

Opposition figure and ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko meets with Trump.

1 Feb. Ukrainian forces attempted 2 attacks near Kominternovo and 4 near Avdeeevka. Attacks were repelled. High casualty count suggested by Basurin (93 UAF killed and several hundred wounded).

In the past day, Ukraine shelled DPR 3016 times (including heavy artillery, 839 times, and MRLS, 490 times). There are destroyed houses and civilian casualties, it is reported that 2 civilians were killed and 2 wounded (some intersection possible with previous day report, and more casualty reports are coming in).

Water supply to Donetsk and parts of Makeevka is completely interrupted as filtering station lost power.

Tail part of Buk missile fell on Makeevka, according to report with photos. It is said that Ukraine tried to shoot down an OSCE drone with it, firing Buk from a vicinity of Avdeevka.

Ambulance was hit in Donetsk by Ukrainian fire, 3 civilians were wounded (report and photos).

31 Jan. Basurin urgent report (on video) describes 2 Ukrainian attacks near Avdeevka (8 pm on 30 Jan, and 4 am), both repelled. He goes on to describe Ukrainian shelling and damage, including to electric power supply, affecting heating stations; in addition, one heating station was damaged by shelling, affecting 7 multi-storey houses.

Ukrainian forces, 2 platoons strong, launched an attack on Kominternovo, near Mariupol. The attack was repelled (report +map). Report estimates UAF losses at 14 killed and dozens wounded.

Basurin: Kiev forces violate ceasefire 2411 times over 24 hours, including Grad MLRS and artillery; deploy MLRS Uragan near Donetsk.

A woman, 1949 DOB, was killed by Ukrainian shelling in Kievskii district of Donetsk.

Vox Populi Evo publishes a video with Zakharchenko on the frontlines proclaiming that (in Russian audio and English subtitles) "they won't get through".

US State Department: "The United States is deeply concerned with the recent spike in violence in eastern Ukraine around Avdiivka-Yasynuvata".

30 Jan. DPR. A lot of shelling and damage is reported, including Donetsk suburbs, Makeevka. Two civilians, a woman and another person who died in hospital of his wounds, were killed, 2 civilians wounded when hospital number 5 in Makeevka was shelled.

DPR: 1912 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past day. 3 DPR soldiers were killed, 4 wounded.

Basurin estimate is over 25 UAF killed, 40 wounded (no explanation how he knows) in the past day, as a result of failed Avdeevka zone attack and 'friendly fire' by Right Sector. Basurin report on 31 Jan. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q39R5VY2Gos&t=7m43s video])(Eng.) suggests recent high body count in Ukrainian morgues and military medical institutions.

29 Jan. DPR (quoting Khodakovskiy) : 'Powerful fight near Avdeevka industrial zone. The enemy is trying to cut off one of our positions in the open terrain from the main forces. Have not had such brazen attempts to attack for a long time, we should expect activation in other areas. Something is going on at the "top", and they want to attract attention elsewhere, and at the same time take care of their "restless". Our reserves are alerted, reinforcements are deployed. There is information on the wounded, but the site is completely open - evacuation is difficult. "

Basurin: Ukrainian attack near Avdeevka failed. Heavy weapons use, causalities reported.
Ukraine reported 5 killed, 13 (or 14) wounded. Report tries to put the blame on DPR, claims larger losses on DPR side--not confirmed by DPR.
Rusvesna gives profiles of 3 killed UAF soldiers, following Ukrainian source.
Zhuckovskiy: MLRS, Grads and Uragans were used; suggests higher DPR casualties (10 or more killed, 30 wounded), and higher Ukrainian losses (20 killed in the morning even before heavy artillery/MLRS use)

28 Jan. In the past day, Ukraine shelled DPR 1270 times, a sharp increase. One DPR soldier was killed.

27 Jan. It is reported that Valerii Bolotov, first leader of LPR, and the person who started the resistance in Donbass with his video appeal on 6 Apr. 2014, has died. Circumstances are unclear at this point. RT: by preliminary information, it was heart attack.

Ukraine shelled northern regions of Donetsk from Grads, heavy weapons shelling also reported in Gorlovka and in the south. According to DPR ombudsman, 11 people were wounded in the past week. No deaths were reported this week; since the beginning of the year, 12 people were killed.

In LPR, 2 civilians were killed (one in Kirovsk on 24 Jan, another in 'Niva' car hit by Ukrainian ant-tank missile near Dolgoe on 25 Jan. ) Two more civilians were wounded on 27 Jan. near Bryanka.

In the past week, Ukraine shelled DPR 5956 time, including 1976 times from heavy weapons. 20 ceasefire violations in the past week reported by LPR.

26 Jan. Assistant Secretary of State for European affairs Victoria Nuland, known for her leading role in Ukrainian affairs, is fired and her biography deleted.

25 Jan. Reports are coming that a civilian car (video 1)(video 2) with a family of 3 inside is hit by Ukrainian anti-tank missile, near a village of Dolgoe, Slavianoserbsk region, LPR. According to war correspondent Anna Dolgareva, a man, 1950 DOB, was killed, 2 others -his wife and daughter-were in shock but not injured. DoNi News report (Eng.) here.

24 Jan. Civilian is killed in Kirovsk, LPR (report and photo). A hospital and residential houses nearby were damaged.

23 Jan. Graham Phillips attends British-Ukrainian Society anniversary meeting in Westminster (video), repeatedly shouts the question 'why the UK supports shelling and killing civilians in Donbass' at the start of the meeting, asked to leave by security. Linked are reactions in Russian media (Rusvesna), and by the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK (+user comments).

22 Jan. DPR was shelled 1428 times in the past day, almost a 3 fold increase. A civilian house was hit by a 122 mm shell, but it did not explode and was removed safely.

21 Jan. Yasinovataya city center was shelled, one unexploded 122 mm artillery shell landed in a children's playground (report and video, residents interviewed).

20 Jan. DPR reported some reduction in shelling due to expected OSCE visit to Donetsk . However despite that, Ukrainian shelling hit a bus near Yelenovka, a civilian woman was injured.

In the past week, DPR was shelled 4,348 times in the past week, including 1,031 times by heavy weapons (artillery, tank fire, mortars).

DPR ombudsman: 6 DPR soldiers were killed by Ukrainian shelling in the past week; 4 people (2 soldiers and 2 civilians) were wounded.

SMM considers additional video cameras; seems like a good idea; but has to be approved by all OSCE member states.

19 Jan. Victor Pinchuk proposes to make painful compromises to achieve peace with Russia; but the official Ukrainian response and media tells why not to; more here.

17 Jan. One DPR soldier was killed by Ukrainian mortar shelling.

16 Jan. DPR: Ukrainian shelling intensified, 1076 ceasefire violations reported in the past day, including heavy weapons.

According to Ukrainian data, in the past week 3 soldiers were killed in action, 3 by landmine explosion, and 17 soldiers were wounded in action.

15 Jan. Three years old child was wounded in Ukrainian mortar shelling of the settlement Dolomitnoe (map), near Svetlodarsk and Gorlovka. (While Ukraine reports heavy clashes in the Svetlodarsk arc area).

Basurin: one DPR soldier was killed when Ukrainian RSG attempted to capture prisoners. The soldier body was taken by Ukrainian side. DPR was shelled 796 times in the past day.

14 Jan. Repair teams restored power to Donetsk water treatment plant; JCCC coordinated ceasefire during repairs.

13 Jan. According to DPR ombudsman, from 24 Dec. 2016 to 13 Jan 2017, 21 DPR soldiers and 7 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, 32 people were wounded (28 of them are DPR soldiers; apparently a typo in the civilian number) .

DPR was shelled 4,988 times by Ukraine in the past week. One soldier and an 11 years old girl were wounded. Ukrainian heavy weapons were observed near Gorlovka and Mariupol-DAN news (Russ.)(Engl.)

DPR hands over bodies of 3 Ukrainian soldiers, said to be killed by landmine explosion, back to Ukraine. Soldiers were missing since 8 Jan, and found 500 m. from DPR defense positions.

11 Jan. DPR: increased number of ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 911 in the past day, one DPR soldier wounded. LPR: 8 ceasefire violations by Ukraine.

Plotnitskiy: LPR and Ukraine have essentially settled the issue of water supply. (Yet no water supply via Petrovskiy pipe line despite the agreements).

10 Jan. LPR: Ukrainian RSG on a BMP vehicle attempted reconnaissance-in-force near Debaltsevo. But their BMP broke down and so LPR militia did not have to respond and violate ceasefire.

UAF made another break-through attempt near Spartak settlement on the outskirts of Donetsk (map). There are several wounded and killed -DAN news.

POW lists prepared by Nadezhda Savchenko are "strange" - timer-Odessa. Out of 50 allegedly requested by L/DPR odessians, only 31 are under arrest, and not all of them agree to be exchanged. In her list of 'Russians', Timer identified 11 citizens of Ukraine. Nefёdorov and Nikolenko in her list are apparently Russian citizens Mefёdov and Mikolenko accused on charges of plotting assassination of a Euromaidan activist. Some other names submitted officially are not in her list.

9 Jan. DPR was shelled 521 times in the past day. An 11-year-old girl sustained shrapnel wounds as Bezymennoye village (map) came under Ukrainian fire (DAN news).

8 Jan. DPR 'ensured evacuation of a body' of a 14 years old girl killed on Jan.5 in a buffer zone between Krasnogorovka and Staromikhailovka (map). "UAF refused to evacuate the body, and DPR command had to appeal to Ukrainian volunteers'. 'By preliminary information, the girl died from the loss of blood' resulting from her wounds. According to DPR, on that day fire was coming from the Ukrainian side only. (DAN news).

DPR accused UAF, SBU of moving handcuffed civilians to the front line in the area of Marinka city, to blame DPR for their death. The report quotes intelligence intercepts. It does not offer proofs but could be released to try to prevent this from happening.

7 Jan. LPR: Kiev forces shell the village of Smeloye (map) after humanitarian aid delivered there.

6 Jan. DPR: In the past week, Ukraine violated ceasefire 3,365 times, including 804 times from heavy weapons, artillery, tank and mortar fire. Six households were damaged in Zaitsevo, Trudovskiye and Sakhanka. (Engl.) (Rus. + map).

LPR: in the past day, Kiev forces shelled LPR People’s Militia positions 5 times ; 7 times the day before.

4 Jan. DPR: 1233 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past day, back again to pre-holiday levels.

3 Jan. DPR envoy Denis Pushilin blamed non-constructive position taken by Ukraine for the stalled Minsk talks. The Contact Group’s first consultations in 2017 are scheduled for 16 Jan.

1 Jan 2017. DPR: 357 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past day. In the south, shelling by Ukraine increased after US senators McCain, Graham and delegation visit. (Also, TV Zvezda: "Senator rubs his hands in the Donbass: Video")

Videos

DPR Sakhanka: life goes on under shelling, 11 Oct. 2016

'Suburbia of life', about the effect of the war on life in small villages and towns. Shelling, destruction, economic hardship. Slow running, in Russian. Sept. 29, 2016.

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

Archive 2017
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Archive 2016
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Archive 2015
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05 06 07 08
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 - Today)

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 - Today)

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. As of mid September 2013, hundreds of Islamist fighters are trying to besiege the city while the Kurds are fully mobilizing.


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...