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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

17 Mar. RT: Over 30,000 leave militant-controlled E. Ghouta as people continue to flee for safety.

16 Mar. Sayed Hassan Ridha: Tens of thousands of people have now evacuated Eastern Ghouta

Russian MoD mocks EU document on new sanctions on Syria dated Mar. 19, released in error, and allegations of chemical weapons use by pro-Assad forces in Hamouriyah, East Ghouta (Sputnik, Eng.)(TASS).

Commander of U.S. Central Command: [Syrian Regime Has Won Civil War]

Battle for Afrin

15 Mar. The Turkish army is indiscriminately shelling and bombarding civilian neighbourhoods in Afrin city center where hundreds of thousands of people are under siege. According to Kurdish sources, since yesterday alone 13 people died and dozens were injured (ANF 12, ANHA 12 (all with videos)).

Situation in East Ghouta

14 Mar. al-Masdar: SAA closing on East Douma, taking remaining farms on Eastern border of Douma urban area.

Syria Glory: Reports of shelling by the SAA on Turkish military positions in the town of Mare’. This is in retaliation for a Turkish air attack on troops loyal to the Syrian government at al-Zyara crossing which killed 8 fighters and wounded 10 others.

13 Mar. Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become the new Secretary of State. Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA.

TASS: Militants are preparing a provocation with poisonous substances in Syria to justify a massive US blow to the government districts of Damascus. This was stated on Tuesday by the Chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov (video 1, 2, 3). The RF Ministry of Defense is ready to take retaliatory measures "to target both the missiles and their delivery vehicles" if there is a threat to the Russian military Gerasimov said. Later Lavrov echoes the statement warning Nikki Haley that it is one thing "to exploit the microphone at the UNSC" but real life military actions are a whole other thing.

12 Mar. Within Syria: Suggests that Syrian forces are moving into Afrin without an agreement with the YPG, taking South Eastern parts by force including Tell Rifat and Mingh airbase.

ANNA News: According to reports, the National Defense Forces are now in control of : Tell Rifaat, Deir Jamal, Kimar, Al-Ziyara, Burj al-Qass, Bashmara, Busufan, Menagh and the Menagh Military Airbase.

Following a call published in eight languages on an anonymous blog called "fight4afrin" last week, which asks to start today with militant actions against Turkish state institutions and their perceived helpers in NATO countries, a series of arson attacks seems to have begun in Germany with at least two Ditib mosques in Berlin alone attacked, in addition to several other targets through-out the country. Ditib is the umbrella organization of Turkish mosques in Germany, which is directly run by the Turkish state.

Andre Vltchek reports from Al-Azraq in Jordan, which is a refugee camp as well as home to the Air Force base NATO seems to have chosen as replacement for Incirlik in Turkey, with the Germans and Dutch pioneering the move.

@Suriyak: Parts of Yarmouk Camp to be evacuated of fighters - without any fighting! Not sure if this includes ISIS.

11 Mar. Muraselon: Hmeimin military airport attacked again by single insurgent UAV. UAV shot down.

10 Mar. The SAA has progressed so far into the heart of the Eastern Ghouta that it has effectively split it into three parts, with Douma and Harasta respectively under close siege and a larger urban sprawl to the south. Meanwhile, the Kurdish defenses in Afrin are collapsing and the Turkish-backed Islamists are reportedly only a couple of hundred meters away from the canton's name-giving city.

ANNA news, several text updates on Turkish forces advances in Afrin, and pro-government advances in East Ghouta. Cassad: Afrin report and photos.

9 Mar. Several sources report pro-government demonstrations in the "rebel"-controlled cities of the Eastern Ghouta.

8 Mar. The main water pumping station for Afrin city is out of service after being damaged by Turkish bombing, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without sufficient drinking water supply.

Russia unsuccessfully continues to try to persuate the Ghouta gangs to take a green bus ride to Idlib.

7 Mar. The general command of YPG releases a statement calling on Russia "to undo its decision of allowing the Turkey’s invasion on Afrin and stop participating in killing the people in Afrin and destroying its towns and villages." (Among Russian mainstream and internet media, ANNA News is one of the few with some current news from Afrin, with most of attention to East Ghouta, or PMC and losses reports. It is also covered here, but with the attention to the effect of it on Deir ez-Zor. This source is listed as a 'special project' of ANNA news; another one apparently is 'Kurdistan Insider' ).

'US military intelligence has no information indicating that the February offensive against the Syrian opposition forces near the settlement of Hashsham in the province of Deir ez Zor was directed by the Russian Armed Forces. This was reported on Mar. 6 by the director of the Intelligence Directorate of the US Department of Defense, Lieutenant-General Robert Ashley' (TASS ).

A German parliamentary delegation of the "populist" AfD (Alternative for Germany) party has been visiting Syria in recent days. After a meeting with reconciliation minister Haidar, the leader of the delegation complains at a press conference that the image of Syria in German media is seriously distorted. Meanwhile, on prime time German public TV, Grand Mufti Ahmed Hassun, with whom the delegation met the day before, is smeared with an out of context and butchered quote, trying to make it seem as if he had threatened Europe with a wave of suicide bombers, thus making the AfD delegates "terrorist supporters".

6 Mar. Report: Russian military transport aircraft An-26 crashed at Khemeymim airbase on the approach to landing Six crew members and 33 passengers were killed, all military, including a Major-General. The causes are investigated, but said to be not due to enemy fire. A technical fault is blamed. Video of the crash

Washington Post: SDF forces withdrawing from Deir ez-Zour to fight in Afrin. Notably this latest tranche of around 2,000 fighters are ethnic Arabs.

The SAA has captured 40 percent of the Eastern Ghouta pocket in their recent offensive. While these are the more rural areas, reports from the cities remaining under "rebel" control show raised Syrian flags and civilian protests against the gangs.

Director LT. Gen Robert Ashley gives testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee On Emerging Worldwide Threats Facing The U.S.

5 Mar. The US Embassy in Turkey is closed "due to a security threat" and will stay closed for at least another day.

Turkish government officials demand that Germany arrests and extradites PYD ex-co-chair Salih Muslim, who according to them has been in the country over the weekend taking part in demonstrations against "Operation Olive Branch" (~20,000 on Saturday in Berlin alone). According to SPIEGEL, the German government refuses to comment on the issue.

According to Kurdish sources, Turkey flies air raids with more than 50 warplanes on several city centers and villages in Afrin canton, killing and injuring scores of civilians. The agency calls it the "second heaviest" attack of this kind since the beginning of the Turkish aggression.

4 Mar. A large Turkish army convoy with over 100 military vehicles is spotted on its way to Afrin canton.

3 Mar. Lucem Significant advances by SAA in East Ghouta since the start of the offensive

Southfront: Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Tiger Forces supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces advanced in the heart of the East Ghouta pocket and captured the al-Oabb farms between the districts of Duma and Misraba and the town of al-Shaffoniya.

ANNA news report and video: At least 15 Syrian pro-government militiamen were killed in an air strike of the Turkish Air Force on Kafr Jana airbase in the Afrin district. Earlier, a checkpoint of Russian military police was located there. After Russians withdrawal, it was taken over by the Kurds, who gave it to Syrian pro-government forces with the start of Turkish invasion.

A video (allegedly) showing 2 children escaping from East Ghouta and running to a government checkpoint, published by a Telegram channel linked to Russian military sources.

2 Mar. Firat News Agency publishes a document described as internal FSA report to Turkish intelligence MIT about the deaths of a single day, February 24. The 47 people listed are said to be mostly Syrians from villages around Aleppo. The night before, they published a list of 40 names of Turkish soldiers who had been delivered to one single hospital after events in a village near Rajo on March 1. 13 of them are said to have been dead on delivery. According to the Turkish state, the total losses in the over 40 days of Operation Olive Branch are 41 Turkish soldiers and 116 FSA fighters.

1 Mar. Shoigu: SU-57 left Syria after two days there, some photos on internet are fake (never in the open together).

Putin delivered yearly address to the Federal Assembly, unveiling Russia's new doomsday weapons.

al-Akhbar, 22 Feb. 2018 Washington to its allies: Let us divide Syria ('divide' used 4 times, 'Iran' used 2 times, auto-translated date of event appears to be 11 Oct. 2017). Apparently independent Near & Moyen-Orient publication, appeared on or before 22 Feb. 2018, but dated 26 Feb. 2018, with a reference made to the Security Conference in Munich, 17 February; 'Iran' used 4 times, 'divide' used 0 times; the claim is about a diplomatic telegram allegedly sent by Benjamin Norman on 12 January, 2018, reporting on the first meeting of the "Small American Group on Syria" (United States, Great Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan), held in Washington on January 11, 2018. Tillerson policy address is 17 Jan. 2018. (professional German translation of Al Akhbar article)

Southfront: Fighting continues in many places in Syria. Insurgents in Idlib keep fighting each other. SAA moving slowly into Ghouta. Humanitarian Pause isn't working. Turkish backed forces slowly advancing into Afrin despite resistance by Kurdish forces. No mention of NDF and militias in fighting in Afrin.

28 Feb. Lavrov: 'US accusations of Damascus using chemical weapons are unfounded'. Meanwhile, Western mass media leak a UN report claiming that 'North Korea sent Syria missile and chemical weapon items'.

Independent Putin blames rebels as no civilians leave eastern Ghouta during second ‘pause’

27 Feb. BBC Syria war: Shelling and strikes despite Eastern Ghouta 'pause'. Seemingly no aid entered Ghouta and no refugees left.

After two days of detainment, Czech authorities release PYD ex-co-chair Salih Muslim under protest of Turkey which demands his extradition.

26 Feb. Russian DM Shoigu: (Rus.)(Eng): a humanitarian pause is being introduced on behalf of the Russian President Vladimir Putin in Eastern Ghouta from February 27 from 09:00 to 14:00 every day, a humanitarian corridor will open for civilians to exit. It is also proposed to establish humanitarian corridors, humanitarian pauses in the area of El Tanf and Rukban refugeee camp (in the US controlled area), so that peaceful citizens can freely return to their homes and begin to restore peaceful life.

Walid: Zinki vs HTS fight in Idlib continues unabated

It is said that HTS captured lots of military hardware of Ahrar al-Sham in north-eastern Idlib: over 10 tanks, Grad, several 'Shilka's, a repair vehicle БРЭМ-2 (report and photos).

Kommersant Russian 5th-gen fighter deployed to Syria for radar test. A Western take on the same matter here. Some account of India's participation in the project here. There are many high-maneuverability videos, sample.

25 Feb. Muraselon: The SAA is attacking on the Al-Nashabiyah axis - which is in the South-East part of Ghouta and the more rural part. In North West Ghouta combat troops entered the Al-Ajami neighborhood after breaking through Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s defenses at the western flank of Harasta.

Reuters: Insurgents report Chlorine attack in Ghouta. 1 Dead.

PYD ex-co-chair Salih Muslim is detained by Czech police in a hotel in Prague where he was to attend a conference. According to the police, that happened because of a Turkish Interpol request.

24 Feb. Turkey is messing around with the Euphrates water supply again.

BBC: UN Security council votes for ceasefire in all of Syria. BBC states with authority there are precisely 393,000 people trapped in East Ghouta. [ UNSC resolution 2401] does not specify exact time for the ceasefire to start, and states that “2. ...cessation of hostilities shall not apply to military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al Qaeda and Al Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council

al-Masdar: No Syrian Army troops have entered Afrin. Official.

al-Masdar: Another two Russian Su-57 jets land at Hmeymim Airbase in Syria. Making a total of four now in Syria.

23 Feb. Reports of an attack on a convoy in Afrin. Turkish apologists say it was an armaments convoy. Most reports say it was a humanitarian aid convoy. Ruptly has footage of Afrin convoy casualties and aftermath. Firat News Agency has footage of the convoy itself, which doesn't look like it's the same as shown on the twitter account. About a dozen clearly civilian minibuses are seen in different states of destruction. One dead and at least 12 wounded civilians are reported.

SOHR Reports killing of civilians including women by Olive Branch insurgents at Jendires Township southwest of Afrin. Video shows dead civilians seemingly shot in a group.

Fort Russ Leaflets instructing use of safe-routes for certan non-combatants dropped on Ghouta.

22 Feb. Reports Russian military police have entered Afrin, heading towards Tall Rifaat right now. With portraits of Assad and some folks in Russian uniforms on social media display.

Bashar al-Jaafari speaks at the UNSC about the situation in East Ghouta.

According to a Firat News Agency report from the frontlines in Afrin, the "FSA" cannon fodder and Turkish army foot soldiers have been replaced by battle-hardened Nusra and ISIS fighters, under command of Emirs released from Turkish prisons in a deal promising them control over the conquered lands. In recent days the Kurds had to retreat from more villages in the regions immediately at the border with Turkey.

According to the SDF, in the still-ongoing Operation Cizire Storm to free the lower east bank of the Euphrates and the desert at the Iraqi border from ISIS remains, 1776 Jihadis were killed during the last twenty days.

21 Feb. Russia deploys two Su-57 stealth fighters to Syria, along with a batch of four Su-35s and four Su-25s. (analysis)

Shoigu: two S-400 complexes are deployed and are on duty around the clock in Syria (in Khmeimim and Tartous).

Reports of fighting in Idlib between JTS - a new alliance of Zinki ( حركة نور الدين الزنكي ) and Ahrar ash-Sham ( حركة أحرار الشام الإسلامية ) - versus HTS ( هيئة تحرير الشام ) (formerly Nusra / al-Qa'ida). JTS is now reported to have completely taken Ma'arat an-Nu'man ( مَعَرَّة النُّعْمَان )

20 Feb. A column of Syrian troops NDF and militias from Aleppo entered Afrin to protect the Kurds from the Turkish army (video), came under Turkish fire (video). This CGTN video gives an overview of Afrin and Ghouta developments.

Washington Post: reports Turkish artillery fire is aimed to prevent Syrian forces from reaching Afrin City (predictably tossing in the forces are 'Iranian Backed').'Erdogan Says Pro-Damascus, Shi'ite Forces Repelled by Turkish Artillery'; however it is said that some group reached Afrin, --shown here on video.

Rebels fired mortars on central Damascus, shelling residential quarters, hotels in Damascus, and the Russian Center for the reconciliation of warring parties; 14 mortar shells were fired. "Significant destruction and casualties among civilians" reported, 9 civilians wounded. "There are no casualties among Russian servicemen". (Rusvesna report, photos, video; Russian MoD video, with text in Russian in the video description).

Russian FM press office: ...In the course of the recent military clash, in which the servicemen of the Russian Federation did not participate in any way and the technical means were not used, there are dead citizens of Russia and the CIS countries, as already mentioned; there are also several dozens wounded (несколько десятков -'several tens'). They were assisted to return to Russia where, to our knowledge, they are undergoing treatment in various medical institutions.

TeleSUR: Lavrov urged the US not to play with fire in Syria (Spanish); (Rus). Also, Lavrov at Valdai club (Rus.)(Eng, as of now partial). Answering questions, avoids making further comments on Deir Ez-Zor, Afrin.

Turkey will lay siege to Syria’s Afrin in coming days — Erdogan (RT).

19 Feb. SANA talks of 'popular forces' going into Afrin to reinforce the Kurds - maybe within 24 hrs? (Seems unlikely any regular SAA will be involved)

Martin Chulov

Vanessa Beeley publishes a summary of the body of work of a long-time "friend" of ACLOS, the Guardian correspondent Martin Chulov.

18 Feb. Following several successful ambushes on the SAA from the ISIS remains in the eastern desert pocket, one of them killing an army general, Al Masdar changes their estimate of the strength of the group from 200 to up to a thousand, equipped with up to a hundred ratmobiles.

According to Southfront the SAA and associated militias are preparing for a major assault on Ghouta; with presently increasing artillery bombardment. Numerous recent 'innocent children being bombed by evil Dictator / Russians' stories e.g. Louisa Loveluck's latest suggests something is about to happen.

More Kurdish 'reports' suggest the SAA may enter Afrin imminently. They've been saying that for some time now, though just how the SAA can manage both 'seize and hold ground in Afrin' at the same time as 'conquer Ghouta' remains to be seen.

Ahrar ash-Sham and Zanki form a new group The Front to Free Syria (FFS) - via EHSANI2 They also, amusingly, include the FSA flag in their new logos

17 Feb. The SDF claims to have attacked the operation desk of "Operation Olive Branch" in Qara Xaneh town inside Turkey, killing seven and wounding "a large number". Link gone.

Turkey systematically attacks the drinking water infrastructure in Afrin according to the co-chair of the local Water Institute.

16 Feb. Lavrov to Euronews: 'US special forces are 'operating illegally in Syria' (Eng); 'US special services are betting on the Kurds' (Rus.); ...they isolate a huge piece of the Syrian territory...

Firat News Agency publishes a break-down of the groups that are attacking Afrin on behalf of Turkey. According to this, with 750 fighters one of the largest groups fighting directly at the frontline is Liva El Hemzet, which was formed in the train-and-equip program Turkey ran together with the US and still receives a salary of $250 per month and fighter from the Pentagon. Another article details the five fronts with fighting taking place "guerilla style" in 37 evacuated villages. There's a total of 336 villages in Afrin canton.

Muraselon publishes a map of the recently reinforced Turkish monitoring points in the Idlib pocket which are part of the Astana agreement.

A Syrian asylum seeker is sentenced to life in prison in Sweden after evidence of his participation in a mass execution of SAA soldiers in May 2012 surfaces.

Rudaw Claims of chlorine gas attacks in Afrin. Both sides (Turkish and Kurdish) blame the other side for the attacks. No actual evidence either way. SANA chips in with photos and story of Turkish gas attack.

Ivan Sidorenko Unconfirmed reports of Syrian Government forces entering Afrin

15 Feb. Syrian Army refuses YPG proposal to enter Afrin, after earlier reports otherwise. It is also reported that Kurdish fighters will 'leave Deir-ez-Zor', to be replaced by Deir-ez-Zor military council, DMC (unconfirmed).

According to a statement by a "rebel" negotiation committee in the Rastan pocket quoted by SouthFront, they have been informed by the Russians that the de-escalation agreement is history if they don't immediately start direct talks with the Syrian government, which they refuse to do.

14 Feb. The largest Kurdish organization in Germany, NAV-DEM, issues a statement protesting that the government refuses to allow them to organize demonstrations against the Turkish actions in Afrin and the use of German weapons in them. They draw parallels to the behaviour of the Erdogan government and accuse the Merkel government of "genuflection" before the Turkish president.

13 Feb. Lavrov: We in general, and especially in recent times, have accumulated many questions to the actions of the United States in Syria. They are carried out without an invitation .... Americans, in my opinion, do not act through the painstaking formation of common consent, but through dangerous unilateral steps. These steps look more and more like part of a line to create a quasi-state on a large part of Syrian territory on the eastern bank of the Euphrates right up to the Iraqi border (...Они осуществляются без приглашения...).

The Russian military in Syria issues a specific warning about the planning of a false flag chemical attack.

More or less confirmed reports that surviving ISIS fighters in Idlib have surrendered to HTS along with their families.

12 Feb. SMART News Agency reports Coalition aircraft (accidentally) bombed and killed unspecified numbers of SDF fighters in Eastern Deir Ezzor.

The SDF releases a statement summarizing the results of the Turkish attack on Afrin. According to them, 98 SDF fighters died while the toll on the other side was 862. This is roughly opposite the numbers the Turkish media is reporting. The number of harmed civilians is given as 180 dead and 413 wounded.

After clearing the ISIS pocket in northern Hama, the SAA starts a large offensive against the Rastan pocket between Hama and Homs.

Meanwhile, the wandering ISIS micro-caliphate is causing the anticipated trouble after re-insertion into the shrunken Idlib pocket.

Israel is reported to have moved medium range anti-aircraft missile batteries near to Syrian border. Engagement range includes Damascus area and potential deep 'security zone' on Syrian side of the border.

The mayor of Ankara starts an initiative to rename the street where the US embassy lies into "Olive Branch Street".

10 Feb. Turkish helicopter is down near Afrin -Rusvesna/videos

Israeli F16 burning

Israeli F16 'crashed' in Northern Israel, amid intensive Syrian anti-aircraft fire, with implication the F16 had been downed by it Sputnik reports. According to IDF spokesman report Israel had been targeting an Iranian drone control centre, and the downed F16 was involved, after an Iranian drone entered Israel from the Golan Heights.

Extended report by RT including details of response in Northern Israel where alarms were sounded and aerial explosions heard. RT reports an Iranian drone was shot down by an Israeli helicopter. In response Israeli F16s attacked 'Iranian targets' in Syria, the drone control centre/drone’s launch site at the Tiyas Military Airbase near Palmyra in a 'complicated surgical strike'. There have been earlier reports that Russia is flying small number of SU-25 planes from Tiyas airbase (also Russian commercial interests in the nearby area have been reported).

In a follow-up, Israel strikes more Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria: “Twelve targets, including three aerial defense batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria were attacked.”

Unconfirmed report (Mimi al-Laham) of Israeli Apache Helicopter shot down over Shab'a Farms in Lebanon (possibly a mix-up). No further confirmation so disregard.

Haaretz now reports the same as RT etc and says F16 PilotS were forced to eject. Israel operates a twin seat F-16D variant in addition to the normal single seat variants. Reports suggest that the plane was F16I "Soufa", which Israel has in a 2-seated option. The pilots are safe and were transferred to a hospital. One of the pilots is reported in 'serious' condition.

So far no images of the downed Iranian drone in Israeli territory. Videos of drone and command vehicle destruction have been posted by IDF.

Netanyahu shows a piece of Iranian drone in Munich, 18 Feb. 2018

Pro-Assad Syria-Iran alliance does not confirm (nor cleanly denies) the drone loss over Israel, threatenes 'a severe response'

Collapsed ISIS pocket

9 Feb. Reports that the SAA has permitted several hundred ISIS elements in the town of Suruj in Hama to escape from the area under attack and move to Idlib - sort of green buses without the buses. Al-Masdar says the move was opposed and resulted in dozens of loyalist casualties. A map shows where they allegedly went and captured three villages from HTS. According to Al Masdar, their goal is to reach the town of At-Tamanaa and reunite with up to 1,000 like-minded fighters there. On the linked map, Tamanaa is directly south of the ".com" inscription, the first larger settlement to the east of Khan Sheikhoun.

RU MoD media 'Red Star' claims that submersion and destruction of the Russian-built pontoon bridge over Euphrates could be deliberate, by opening dam locks of hydro power plant El Tabbah, located in the territory controlled by the opposition groups supported by the US-led "international coalition". Photos of the bridge appeared in social media.

8 Feb. New video claims that SU-25 shootdown was by anti-aircraft artillery, not MANPADS. However, another SU-25 was fired on from anti-aircraft weapons on Feb.1, and on Feb 1-2 there was discussion on Russian social media of the incident, of positive sort. There were some videos, one of them here, another from machine gun location 1, here. (Weather conditions appear different from the Feb. 3 shootdown). It is unclear when exactly the latest machine-gun close up first appeared. Russian MP Klintsevich believes the latest claim is a fake. On Feb. 3, there was a second SU-25, whose pilot warned Filipov that he is being 'worked on' and yelled at him to maneuver to avoid fire (tangage !). The second pilot stayed in the air (noise heard on firefight videos), and said that he attacked and destroyed two vehicles approaching olive grove where Filipov was. This pilot account mentions MANPADS fired. (The second plane left the area when there was too little fuel left).

7 Feb. US-led coalition claims a 'defensive strike' killing more than 100 pro-government forces east of the Euphrates River de-confliction line in Khusham, Syria. Russian MP Klintsevich calls it 'an aggression'.

Barbara Starr of CNN is now blaming Russian contractors for being behind the attack that got the 'defensive' response.

For possible Russian private military contractors losses, see discussion + this page.

RU MoD presents a very different version of events - Syrian forces doing reconnaissance-in-force targeting 'a sleeper IS cell' in the area of El Isba oil refinery plant suddenly attacked by the coalition; submits that 'US goal is seizure of economic assets of Syria.'

Two senior American generals came to the front line outside the Syrian city of Manbij, flying outsized American flags on their vehicles... Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, elaborated. “You hit us, we will respond aggressively. We will defend ourselves.” (NYT).

6 Feb. The SAA attacks the ISIS micro-caliphate in Hama province on several fronts and has taken over a dozen villages just in the morning. A second wave in the afternoon sweeps another large number of villages in the unfortified rural terrain the dispersed ISIS gangs had taken over from the retreating Nusra Front only some weeks ago.

Several sources report that a large convoy with reinforcements has reached Afrin after traveling from the Kurdish cantons in the East through SAA-controlled territory in northern Aleppo province.

Afrin Map February 2018

Most recent Afrin map from Maghreb and Orient Courier

Body of the Russian pilot Roman Filipov was returned to Russia, said to be by the Russian military intelligence services in interaction with 'Turkish colleagues'.

A robot is formatted at an event in Ankara for interrupting the Turkish communication minister during his speech.

5 Feb. Syrian and Turkish forces exchange artillery fire near the town of Al-Eis in southern Aleppo Province.

Turkish forces convoy entered Al-Eis strategic area in the southern countryside of Aleppo "in implementation to the agreement of de-escalation zones agreement signed in Astana between Turkey, Russia and Iran"

3 Feb. A Russian SU-25 is hit by a MANPADS over Idlib province (launch video). The pilot, Roman Filipov ejects, gets caught by "rebels" and killed, according to Jaysh al-Nasr who claimed responsibility. Cassad: pilot shot back, then detonated himself with a grenade. (Brief video of his last fight, from Idlib+ news. Video of dead pilot at Liveleak). The group has at one point been equipped with anti-tank weapons by the US. Another group that is said to have claimed responsibility is a HTS “air defense battalion”. In the late afternoon it's reported that Russian missiles from Khmeimim airbase and/or the Mediterranean have taken off in the direction of Idlib.

Syria Situation Map 2018-02-02

2 Feb. Al Masdar News publishes high resolution map of Syria - including locations of Western bases

1 Feb. The SAA has been advancing in recent days against both the ISIS micro-caliphate in its Hama province pocket and Nusra in the south-east of the Idlib pocket. The latter has apparently been helped by the fact that relevant portions of the Islamists went north to fight against the Kurds of Afrin on behalf of Turkey. It is reported that there have been protests in the "rebel"-held towns of Idlib against this move and that significant elements are heading back south to fight the advancing SAA.

Archive 2018
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Archive 2017
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Archive 2016
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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.

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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Ukraine News

Poroshenko, Kiska - EU entry at Uzhgorod
Alley of Angels, in memory of killed children of Donbass. Ukraine "über alles"?-Donetsk Partisan
Ukrainian AF killed and wounded in 'ATO', Maidan, Kiev
Ruban, Savchenko
"Ruban's weapons"

16 Mar. Poroshenko announced replacing of 'ATO' by a new 'reintegration of Donbass' format, appointed gen-lt. Sergey Naev to the commander of 'unified forces', gave a task to have armed forces 'capable of liberating' rebel territories, 'with priority and no alternative' way to do it by political-diplomatic means. (The real meaning of all that remains to be seen).

15 Mar. Nadezhda Savchenko: I saw how Parubiy Pashinsky brought snipers to the 'Ukraina' hotel Conservatory building (statement on video),(correction). Appeals to Putin to release detained ('in Russia' and L/DPR) Ukrainians and to have '20 Russian citizens' held by Ukraine freed (beginning of the video).

14 Mar. Basurin: UAF fire hit vehicles of utility workers coming to Donetsk filtering station, vehicles were damaged, luckily no-one was hurt. Utility workers are now afraid to go to the filtering station (Ukrainian positions are close to the entrance). This and numerous earlier violations places water supply to some 100 thousand people in jeopardy.

Basurin also states (again) that incoming Sec. Stat. Pompeo has recently visited ATO zone in Avdeevka, on invitation of SBU chief Gritsak. SBU press secretary comments that she 'does not have information'.

8 Mar. Ukrainian authorities arrested famous Ukrainian negotiator Vladimir Ruban, accused him of illegal weapons trade, with some ammunition photos to support the charge. Vladimir Ruban negotiated many prisoners of war exchanges and is well regarded. More details in talk.

6 Mar. Ukrainian helicopter was spotted 800 m from the separation line, and a powerful explosion was reported 20 min prior. DPR protests, asks OSCE and JCCC to investigate.

5 Mar. After the start of the latest so-called 'absolute ceasefire', Russian MP Zhurvalev visiting Donetsk came under Ukrainian small arms and mortar fire, said to survive. In another report, Ukrainian sniper fired on utility workers in Gorlovka. No one was hurt.

3 Mar. Tent camp of Saakashvilli supporters on 'Mikho'-Maidan is taken down by police. Cassad intermingles dramatic today's photos with Western media quotations condemning human rights violations at 2013/2014 pro-Western 'Euro'-Maidan.

2 Mar. Kurt Volker: LPR and DPR need to be dismantled, Ukrainian sovereignty and border control restored --all but dooming his mission and undermining the Minsk agreements, which require that key elements (special status, constitutional changes, elections, etc) has to be agreed with Donetsk and Lugansk representatives, i.e L/DPR. (Added: MP Alexey Pushkov, with a similar comment. He also states, 'without L/DPR agreement there will be no peacekeepers in Donbass').

Le Temps: Hundreds of American and Canadian soldiers have been training the future officers of the Kiev Army for two years at Yavoriv training ground, Western Ukraine.

Ukrainian reconnaissance-in-force group of about 15 people attacked DPR positions near Oktiabrskoe settlement, Mariupol area. One DPR soldier was wounded and another captured. Reinforcement arrived and repelled the attack. It is said that 2 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and at least 2 wounded.

1 Mar. 'Gazprom' returned March payments back to Ukrainian 'Naftogaz' and intends to stop deliveries over a contract dispute.

28 Feb. Contact group agreed on (yet another) "absolute truce" from March 5 (LPR-Deynego).

27 Feb. LPR: UAF fired 122 mm artillery shells on LPR positions in the area of Svetlodarsk

Disturbances near Rada building in Kiev are reported. Apparently it started as a conflict between two groups of protesters, who then either joined forces, or were joined by some provocateurs, to attack the police. 9 people were arrested, 8 police officers were injured. Irina Gerashchenko stated that among those who threw stones at the police and participated in the riots were Rada deputies (Kiev police chief was unable to confirm or deny that, and said that they will examine video evidence). Video.

Activists of Saakashvili's party, Movement of new forces (Рух нових сил) published a video claiming that Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko attacked activists camped outside of his house, threatened them with physical violence, used an axe to damage a generator, took and threw away an activist's cell phone when he tried to call. An eyewitness testimony of how the Attorney General Lutsenko plunged with an ax at activists near his home.

26 Feb. DPR MOD/Basurin report shows increased shelling, heavy weapons use by UAF (Rus.)(Eng.) Volvo center in Donetsk fired on with twenty 120 mm mortar shells, 4 houses damaged and a civilian 'Gazel' car destroyed in Dokuchaevsk.

25 Feb. Ten 120 mm mortar shells were fired by UAF on Zaitsevo, near Gorlovka. Houses were damaged (report and videos)

OSCE evacuates from Gorlovka? -User dashboard video and on-video comment with such claim.

In the past day, 1 DPR soldier was killed by Ukrainian shelling.

24 Feb. Russian FM press office: Having signed the (Reintegration of Donbass) law, P.Poroshenko de-facto crossed out the Minsk agreements and untied the hands of the "war party".

23 Feb. Basurin: Marked ambulance car was hit by Ukrainian PTUR, killing 3 people, a wounded DPR soldier, a medic and the driver (burned-down ambulance on video). Basurin accused UAF of a war crime. Also tells that the Ukrainian side tried to conceal this event in the news release; but accidentally released details on a planned Ukrainian attack (giving the name of the unit as the 'tactical group Mospino).

DPR ombudsman: in the past week (as of 22 Feb.), 4 DPR soldiers were killed, 2 soldiers wounded.

On the Soviet Red Army day, a parade in Krivoy Rog, Ukraine with some Red Army flags, Red Guards emblems (+lots of Ukrainian flags). This is despite the date no longer officially celebrated in Ukraine, with OUN day replacing.

22 Feb. Conflicting signals from Kiev, with an impression of preparing for warfare to take Donbass back by force, while claiming to be committed to 'peaceful settlement of the problem of the liberation of the occupied territories' (presumably, by deploying 'peacekeepers' and receiving Western 'defensive weapons', in order to 'liberate' the rest of Donbass, with no mentioning of Minsk, or the rebel L/DPR republics, involved in Minsk too although indirectly).

21 Feb. OSCE's Alexander Hug in Donetsk calls on both sides to stop the fighting, for the sake of civilians on both sides longing and crying for peace.

20 Feb. Poroshenko signed so called 're-integration of Donbass' law; instructed the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff to submit proposals on changing the format of the ATO by April 1, with a talk about 'the right to self-defense'. (It is not entirely clear what that means in practice, but is taken as a sign of escalation).

18 Feb. Saakashvili- organized anti-Poroshenko march, and an anti-Russian nazi pogrom in Kiev.

17 Feb. LPR: Unidentified persons attempted to sabotage the territory of the State Television and Radio Company (GTRK) and to damage the civilian emergency alert system, 'which may indicate the preparation of Ukrainian Armed Forces for the resumption of hostilities' (report and video), (another video, OSCE on the scene).

Neo-Nazis from C14 group staged a pogrom in the building of the Russian cultural center Rossotrudnichestvo in Kiev. At that time, there were children inside rehearsing a play "The Inspector General" (Rusvesna)(

16 Feb. Alexander Hug in a press conference from Lugansk tells of continued ceasefire violations, banned weapons near separation line, Ukrainian soldiers advancing and seen in Novoalexandroovka, etc; calls on the sides to implement their entirely unambiguous obligations under Minsk agreements. (With passion--but with little change on the ground, for years).

DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 1 DPR soldier was killed, 4 people (3 soldiers and a civilian man) were wounded.

12 Feb. Saakashvilli is detained in a Kiev restaurant (report and videos), said to be put on board of a plane to Poland.

10 Feb. DPR correspondent 'Mag' reports frequent, several times per week, flights of 'Global Hawk' RQ-4B , said to be 'along the front line and around Crimea'; suspects that a serious Ukrainian attack is in the works.

9 Feb. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 2 DPR soldiers were wounded, no deaths reported. From 1 Jan. to 8 Feb., 8 people were killed (7 soldiers and 1 civilian), 31 were wounded (23 soldiers, 5 civilian men, 3 civilian women).

Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Grigory Karasin opposes the inclusion of the US in the "Normandy format" (related discussion of how Volker line is not helpful).

8 Feb. Basurin: (Rus.)(Eng.)A group of officers from the US Armed Forces, accompanied by representatives of the UAF General Staff, arrived to the so-called ATO zone to hold an inspection. Currently, brigades of the UAF, which are part of the Donetsk operational-tactical group, are being inspected. The main purpose of this inspection is to check the readiness of the UAF formations to conduct offensive operations. Besides, Western experts are interested in the problem of the Ukrainian military command's plundering funds allocated by US special services (as claimed). At LPR press briefing, Feb 7, it was stated that US Army delegation headed by Defense Attaché Wofford visits Ukraine troops’ outposts in Donbas and that it may lead to deterioration of security situation.

5 Feb. Briefing by Basurin, where he says that UAF plans an offensive along the whole separation line, to overrun republics defenses and to advance all the way to the border with Russia; demonstrates maps of presumed attacks, reports that heavy equipment is moved away from storage areas, shows evidence of resent advanced payments and Ukrainian social media posts supporting his claim ("Ukrainian, rejoice, the war will end soon", by Maxim Pashkevich, with a document said to describe UAF general staff plan to overrun rebel republics). Appeals to the world, tells that plans to counter the offensive are made.

1 Feb. Assassination attempt on DPR defense minister Vladimir Kononov from a tripod-mounted RPG-26 is reported, Ukraine blamed. No-one was hurt.

UAF shelled Dokuchaevsk oil refinery, there are damages to the refinery equipment and a residential house (quoting DPR representative in JCCC Yakubovich).

31 Jan. In a long overdue move, LPR and DPR signed a declaration of intent to eliminate customs taxation between the republics (it is not explained when taxation will be actually eliminated)

30 Jan. Ukraine conducts successful flight test of Neptun cruise missile. According to DPR AF press service chief Bezsonov, this is (modified?) Soviet anti-ship missile X-35 'Uran'.

27 Jan. Surkov: U.S. suggestions on deploying a UN mission in Ukraine’s southeast looks ...quite doable, at least at first glance... there is a rather detailed plan of a step-by-step deployment of a mission along with implementation of the Minsk agreements’ political items. Volker (28 Jan): The concept of the Russian Federation on UN peacekeepers in the Donbass (placing them on the separation line only) will only deepen the conflict (text, Rus.)(video, Ukr.) Some discussion & the run-up in talk). Volker, 29 Jan. (TASS): "Ukraine should fulfill Minsk obligations", including realization of the law on special status of Donbass already adoped by Rada; The United States believes that in order to hold elections in Donbass, the UN mission should be deployed throughout the region. Blames Russia for "for not doing anything for peace in Donbass" (disingenuously, as overwhelming non-fulfillment is by Ukraine, not Russia).

26 Jan. DPR MoD: in the past day, 3 DPR soldiers were killed by Ukrainian fire from Novotroitskoe from grenade launchers and large caliber machine guns.

Surkov-Volker meeting (Interfax): sides agreed to disagree on the law of integration of Donbass.

25 Jan. Zakharchenko announced the beginning of planned training camps (сборы -recall/camps) for reservists of DPR armed forces.

LDPR sources report from Gorlovka that UAF prepare corridors in minefields nearby using specialized equipment. Ukrainian Gorlovka sources quote those reports as rumors, but report artillery fire; in particular UAF says that they destroyed DPR military vehicle near Gorlovka.

Ukrainian media man Dmitry Gordon interview on (video). Gordon essentially blames current elites for Maidan, but manages to present them as Russian agents of influence (details)

24 Jan. DPR soldiers who started in Slavyansk, Vladimir Mitrofanov "Shilka" and Oleg Tetera "Circassian" were killed in action (confirmed).

22 Jan. DPR MOD: at 17.25 local Ukraine fired 120 mm mortar and BMP-2 guns from Ukrainian-held Novotroitskoe on Dokuchaevsk, DPR. As a result, 5 civilians were wounded. The fire was purposefully conducted on civilian infrastructure facilities.

21 Jan. Ukrainian unit fired from small firearms on a civilian bus in the gray zone in the vicinity of the Yelenovka checkpoint. One civilian was killed, another received multiple injuries (photo report).

20 Jan. Michael Bociurkiw, of all people, is on BBC telling that world food program is cancelling its food assistance program in Donbass

One DPR soldier was killed, another wounded and captured in Ukrainian RSG attack near Shirokino in the south.

19 Jan. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 1 DPR soldier was killed, 4 DPR soldiers were wounded, information on 16 DPR supporters detained by Ukraine was received. In total, 305 people are still held by Ukraine (84 confirmed cases and 221 cases being verified by Ukraine).

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

Rada's LDPR "reintegration"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Misha to Geogia, Petya to Gagauzia!

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

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

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

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

...crossing the line...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Порошенко на нары!'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Dec. DPR soldier was killed

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

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

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

Videos: rooftop speech; van escape;morning after speech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


More videos on talk page


Aftermaths of Ukrainian shelling of the village Zheltoe (Yellow), LPR, 29 Nov. 2016 lug-info.


Note on sources. At present, pro -Ukrainian and pro-Russian sources more often than not offer opposing claims on events, and a choice needs to be made. Currently factual part of reporting by pro-Russian sources appear more accurate, complete, and closer to truth, out of the two available alternatives. It is also less known, as the other side has greater support by the Western mass media. For that reason, a lot of reporting here is based on Russian sources. It is not done for the sake of supporting any pre-determined narrative. If and when Ukrainian sources appear more accurate, they will be used without a reservation.

Some Ukrainian source reporting is very good, for example Tatyana Montyan numerous videos, some of them translated, are spot-on and at times appear closer to reality than any pro-this or that narratives. However the bulk of Ukrainian media is unreliable, and often just unbelievable, not passing cross checks (e.g. as was illustrated numerous times by well-read on both sides Ukrainian journalist Anatoly Sharii); or else, is filled with hate and may cheer more people harmed or killed (any of such sort, from any side, is totally unsupported here).


Official Ukrainian sources

Ukrainian media


Minsk Agreements

Safety zone (no heavy weapons) agreed at Normandy format meeting in Minsk, 12.02.2015. Black: current front line; red-19 September line. At the bottom it says: source: the web site of the President of Russia


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Ukraine (2014 - Today)

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

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

Kobane (2014, July, September - Summer 2015)

Main article: Assault on Kobane
Kobane water cannon.jpg

A very similar chain of events like years before in Ras Al-Ayn (see below), only this time it made the news (months after we started the article). Not least because this time, the attackers call themselves part of ISIS, the "newly arrived" enemy of all that's good and decent.

Ras Al-Ayn (November 8, 2012 - Summer 2013)

Main article: Assault on Ras Al-Ayn
Sere kaniye burial.jpg

Ras Al-Ayn, directly at the Turkish border in the north-east, early November 2012: The Kurdish dominated and mostly self-governed town gets assaulted by hundreds of Islamist fighters coming across the border from Turkey, under the eyes and with help of the Turkish military. After typical sectarian assaults on the civilian population, Kurdish militia takes up the fight against the foreigners. In the process of the following weeks, the town sees shelling by both the Syrian and the Turkish army, several defeats of the Islamists with retreat behind the Turkish border, and finally a fragile truce. On January 16, again large groups of foreign fighters with tanks cross the Turkish border and heavy clashes break out. After a month of heavy fighting, another peace agreement is signed on February 17. Five months later, following an Islamist attack on female Kurdish fighters, heavy clashes lead to the final conquer of the border station by the Kurds, which leads to increasing tensions in other parts of the region.

Tremseh (July 12, 2012)

Main article: Tremseh massacre
Confiscated tunisian passports.jpg

When news of this alleged massacre reached the media, it came with alarming numbers of up to 300 civilians murdered in the small village of Tremseh northwest of Hama. In the following hours and days, both pro- and anti-government sources helped to clear the picture of what is now mostly called the "Battle of Tremseh" between the army and anti-government fighters who had used the village as their base for operations in the region. The real death toll seems to be some civilians caught in the crossfire and a couple of dozen killed anti-government fighters. In addition, many including foreigners were arrested and their arms and equipment confiscated.

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