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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

Situation around Raqqa

27 May. Advancing against crumbling ISIS defenses in eastern Aleppo province, the SAA stands at the gates of Maskanah.

A speech by Professor Michael Gunter causes controversy because he mentioned that Iraqi Kurdistan "President" Barzani, like Palestinian "President" Abbas, has long exceeded the term limits and therefore democratic legimitation he was given.

26 May. Ramadan starts on Friday evening.

The Russian Foreign Ministry again criticises the OPCW for not starting an on-the-ground investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, blaming resistance by the US, UK and France.

Just like a year before, PYD co-chair Salih Muslim is denied a visa for entering the USA for a Kurdish conference.

Russian air force attacked and destroyed a large column of IS vehicles - report, photos/video (map). Southfront report suggests that the convoy was part of IS preparation of counter-attack in recently liberated Damascus-Palmyra desert areas.

Situation in the desert south-east of Damascus

25 May. In a massive advance in eastern Homs province, the SAA takes back a vast area of (mostly desert) land from ISIS, leading to the reopening of all roads between Damascus and Palmyra for the first time since 2014.

The SDF issues an ultimatum until end of the month to fighters in Raqqa asking them to lay down their arms and have their situation settled.

24 May. Report on IS attack on Aleppo-Khanaser road, north of Ithriyah. Mobile groups captured several checkpoints and approached the road; the threat was contained by SAA units arriving from Aleppo and Ithriyah. Report photos are also seen here.

23 May. Syrian army moving towards Jordanian and Iraqi border, and featuring Russian/Soviet equipment: TOS-1A Solntsepyok '(Sunheat'), "Crocodile" MI-35 helicopter gunships; 152 mm howitzer Msta-B; Chinese HJ-8 ATGM

22 May. After a rapid advance against ISIS in eastern Aleppo province over the weekend, the SAA stands 10 km west of Maskanah, fighting off IS attempts to counter-attack (photos)

A massive ceasefire breach in the morning by Nusra and allies in the Deraa pocket is met with a strong response by the SAA.

21 May. Iraq: Rudaw reports that the US is supporting a project called Taqadum for the decentralization of government power not only with good words but with above $100 million. The US-appointed head is a Kurd.

19 May. Despite the illegal US bombardment, loyalist forces continue to advance in several areas in the south-east including the Damascus-Bagdad motorway towards Al-Tanf border crossing.

Appears to be 'Kata'ib Al Imam Ali' with a Kornet heading to Al Tanf on 18 May

18 May. U.S. military carried out an air strike on Thursday against militia supported by the Syrian government who had moved against U.S.-backed fighters near the town of At Tanf (map, near the border with Jordan, Iraq) -Reuters

The coalition struck pro-regime forces that were advancing well inside an established de-confliction zone northwest of At Tanf, Syria, May 18, and that posed a threat to U.S. and partner forces at At Tanf. This action was taken after apparent Russian attempts to dissuade Syrian pro-regime movement south towards At Tanf were unsuccessful, a coalition aircraft show of force, and the firing of warning shots. Coalition forces have been operating in the At Tanf area for many months training and advising vetted partner forces engaged in the fight against ISIS. The agreed upon de-confliction zone agreement remains in effect.

ISIS forces massacre up to 52people (video) after temporarily taking control of the village of Aqarib Al-Safi in the eastern countryside of Hama.

17 May. According to a McClatchy report, actions taken in early January by the then-designated National Security Advisor to Trump, Michael Flynn, delayed the operation to take Raqqa with the YPG after he got paid by Turkish lobbyists.

15 May. Al Aan reporter Jenan Moussa publishes her documentary "Undercover In Idlib" based on three sources who went undercover to the province to see who is in control and how life is. (full video with English subtitles).

'Spetsnaz from USSR' said to be deployed in eastern Homs, near Palmyra. Report 1, 2 includes a video, said to be of a 'Kornet' launch.

Earlier video, The muslim "Turan" battalion attacks position of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham

14 May. Canadian media finds that the al Nusra Front has, despite the reward on its leader, so far managed to stay off the US' (and Canadian) list of terrorist organizations after its latest shapeshift into Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham.

270 thousand Basic Education students start taking their final exams.

13 May. The SAA takes full control over the Damascus suburb of al Qaboun, a long-time stronghold of militants.

12 May. Another evacuation deal is reached in the Damascus suburb of Tishreen, while in Barzeh already the second batch of militants takes a bus ride to Idlib.

After having started to advance again in eastern Aleppo province in the previous days, in the evening the SAA takes over Jirah airbase from ISIS who retreat to the Maskanah plains north-west of Tabqa.

11 May. In a NYT op-ed Sinam Mohamad, speaking for the Syrian Kurds, asks for a US pledge that, as the title reads, "Once We Beat ISIS, Don’t Abandon Us", looking for protection against Erdogan's Turkey. Erdogan is scheduled to meet Trump in Washington on 16 May.

10 May. Four officers from the Russian Special Operations Forces were awarded medals for operations in Syria. A 16-strong Russian unit managed to repulse attacks by 300 jihadists while Syrian forces had withdrawn. Russian sources say the battle happened in Aleppo Province against al-Nusra Front, but the details of the battle more closely match the defense of the T4 airbase after ISIS recaptured Palmyra.

The SDF finally liberates Tabqa dam and the remaining part of the city 50 days after launching the operation. A "forced withdrawal" of the remaining 70 ISIS fighters contributes to the success.

The State Department offers a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of Nusra-head al-Jawlani.

9 May. The US administration decides to arm the YPG directly, not only the arab parts of the SDF like they claimed to do before. Ankara is not amused.

Assad is interviewed by Belarussian State TV (transcript).

8 May. Syrian FM al-Moallem states that Syria supports the Astana memorandum and the de-escalation zones and announces that reconciliation processes like the recently finished one in al-Waer have started or are discussed in the Damascus suburbs of Barzeh, al-Qaboun and Yarmouk camp.

The Syrian ambassador to China estimates that 5,000 Chinese citizens of the Uighur ethnicity are fighting in various Islamist militant groups in Syria.

7 May. The SAA starts an operation to secure a puffer zone south-east of Damascus to prevent militant groups, the so-called Maghawir Al-Thawra who are US-supported, operate out of Jordan and have recently advanced in the desert, from coming close to the urban areas.

6 May. According to Kurdish sources, 3,485 Yezidi women and girls who were kidnapped by ISIS during their attempt to conquer Sengal are still missing.

Russian FM comments on chemical weapons reports

5 May. The de-escalation memorandum signed in Astana comes into force. Russian envoy Alexander Lavrentiev believes that those safe zones are closed to coalition aviation, however that is not explicitly spelled out in the memorandum. Russia stopped using aviation in deescalation zones from May 1. The defense ministry holds a press briefing about the "Principles of implementation of the Memorandum on Syria de-escalation zones signed in Astana”. The four zones are described as

  • Idlib pocket with over 1 million inhabitants, controlled by 14,500 militants
  • Rastan pocket with 180,000 inhabitants controlled by 3,000 militants
  • East Ghouta pocket with 690,000 inhabitants controlled by 9,000 militants
  • Deraa pocket with 800,000 inhabitants cotrolled by 15,000 militants

German special police forces in Leipzig arrest a Syrian man who was as Nusra commander involved in the conquer of Tabqa in early 2013 and then joined ISIS after the schism between the groups.

4 May. Oksana Boyko interviews Alexander Shulgin, the Russian representative to the OPCW, about why no formal investigation into the Khan Sheikhoun incident has been established.

An SDF statement denies earlier reports by SOHR that ISIS has left Tabqa city and dam following a deal. They are still on the dam while fights in the northern neighbourhoods of the city have reignited. No deal has been made.

In Astana, Russia, Iran and Turkey sign the Russian memorandum on de-escalation zones (text)

TASS and RIA Novosti report that Russia has noticed that "stringers from Al Jazeera" have recently shot footage of a fake chemical attack in Jisr al-Shugour, which is planned to be released and blamed as real on the SAA before next Sunday.

First appeared 30 Apr. in Iranian sources and social media, and Rusvesna quoting a Syrian mukhabarat (security) source. Claims of dead babies taken from a morgue at that time too.

An eighth batch of bus riders from al-Waer district of Homs city finishes the reconciliation agreement.

3 May. On the day the Mhardeh power plant in northern Hama province is put into operation for the first time in seven months, Nusra shells the giant Al-Zara power plant in southern Hama province.

At the press conference following the Putin-Erdogan meeting in Sochi, Erdogan says that the perpetrators of the Khan Sheikhoun incident did it to sabotage the ceasefire, and that he and Putin agree that they have to be brought to justice. About the "de-escalation zones" unity was expressed as well. Meanwhile in Astana, the "armed opposition" delegation headed by Mohammed Alloush, the brother of Zahran, the deceased head of the Saudi-sponsored Army of Islam group currently engaged in turf wars in the eastern Ghouta, left the negotiations complaining about ceasefire violations and the involvement of Iran in the talks.

2 May. Several participants and delegations arrive in Astana ahead of the next round of "Syria Settlement" talks due May 3/4.

Trump-Putin phone call. On Syria: The conversation...included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons. The United States will be sending a representative to the cease-fire talks in Astana, Kazakhstan on May 3-4-WH readout. (Kremlin readout does not offer call details). Sputnik on the Russian "deescalation zones" proposal

SDF forces have liberated Tabqa city and the remaining ISIS forces in unknown numbers are under siege on the southern part of Tabqa dam.

Al Monitor has spoken with senior Turkish military people and reports what they said about the reasons for the recent attacks on Kurdish targets in both Syria and Iraq that angered both Russia and the US.

1 May. Similar to appearances of US forces further east, Russian military is spotted together with YPG forces near the Turkish border in Afrin canton.

30 Apr. In heavy fights, the SDF wrestles more and more of Tabqa city out of ISIS hands.

Infighting: territorial control in the eastern Ghouta

29 Apr. Around 75 militants die in the eastern Ghouta due to infighting between Al Qaeda and FSA factions on the one side and the Army of Islam group on the other side, the latter trying (again) to monopolize control in the pocket.

While a Pentagon spokesperson confirms that US forces are in the border region "monitoring" the situation, Erdogan tells Turkish industrialists how he and the US could "turn Raqqa into a graveyard for ISIS".

28 Apr. Trump delegates the decision about use of force in Iraq and Syria to defense minister Mattis. Videos emerge showing a convoy of military vehicles flying both US and YPG flags said to be from Darbasiyah in Hasakah province near the Turkish-Syrian border.

27 Apr. Assad is interviewed by teleSUR (transcript).

After a couple of Israeli missiles hit Hezbollah targets near Damascus airport, the Kremlin asks Israel to respect Syria's sovereignty.

26 Apr. The Iraqi parliament starts an investigation into the Turkish airstrikes. The spokesperson of the YPJ (female part of the Kurdish YPG, the dominant force in the SDF) calls on the US to do more than issue statements of concern to stop further Turkish attacks, or they will rethink going to Raqqa and withdraw.

25 Apr. 26 Turkish warplanes attack Kurdish targets in the north of far eastern Syria and far western Iraq. US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner claims to be very, deeply concerned about these actions done "without proper coordination". He also reaffirms "our view that military action in Iraq should respect Iraqi sovereignty" while leaving open their view about Syria.

24 Apr. A pocket cut off by the SDF north of Raqqa the days before is quickly cleared of remaining ISIS fighters. This officially concludes phase four of Wrath of Euphrates. Tabqa city and parts of the dam remain under siege but in ISIS hands, with heavy clashes going on.

23 Apr. According to media reports citing proverbial unnamed US officials, ISIS has moved its "government" from Raqqa to Deir ez-Zor.

According to SOHR, the US-led coalition has killed 7,631 people in Syria since it intervened, among them 1,256 civilians including 275 children.

Patrick Henningsen publishes part one of his reportage about his recent visit to Aleppo.

Situation in northern Hama province

Militants flee Halfaya and a couple of villages in northern Hama countryside, leaving them for the SAA to overtake.

22 Apr. The SAA continues to advance in northern Hama countryside.

To the sound of little skirmishes on the Golan heights, the ex-Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya'alon tells a story about how ISIS apologized for hitting the IDF in November 2016.

21 Apr. Assad is interviewed by Russian news agencies (transcript)(video). On al-Baghdadi arrest: 'that's not true' (around 3:25). OPCW: they were invited to investigate Khan Sheikhoun and previous attacks, but the arrival was blocked by the West.

The first stage (evacuation of civilians) of the four towns agreement is completed.

20 Apr. Since the beginning of the fourth phase of Wrath of Euphrates, more than ten thousand civilians have fled ISIS-controlled northern Raqqa countryside towards the advancing SDF.

19 Apr. Planes of the Us-led coalition destroy all bridges in Hazimah town in northern Raqqa countryside.

The Russian Air Force destroys a Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham training camp in sothern Idlib and an underground base northern Hama. White Helmets later release footage of rescue work at what they claim was an underground hospital south of Idlib.

18 Apr. The constituent congress of the Raqqa Civil Council takes place in Ain Issa to the north of Raqqa. With over 100 attendents of important social functions, among them clan leaders, a sort of exile government is formed to which the SDF will hand over power once Raqqa is liberated from ISIS. After the congress, a statement is released.

17 Apr. A fifth batch of almost 2,000 green bus travellers leaves Al-Waer.

According to German Damascus-based correspondent Karin Leukefeld, the Saudi-sponsored Army of Islam group has claimed the attack on the buses from Fou'aa and Kafraya immediately after the event, but quickly deleted the statement from their website when it became known that the victims are mostly children.

14 Apr. Thousands of civilians take a bus out of both Madaya and Al-Zabadani and Al-Fou'aa and Kafraya. The latter are then attacked, RT reports, by a suicide bomber, wounding many and killing at least 39 (first reports), later at least 126 (Reuters, and over 150 (including 68 children) by some sources. Ahrar al-Sham at least denies responsibility, claiming it was a "regime" attack (tweet). (Red Crescent workers seen fleeing before the blast?)

13 Apr. The beginning of the fourth stage of Wrath of Euphrates is announced by SDF command. Aim is to take over the northern countryside of Raqqa and tighten the siege of the city.

The Pentagon announces that two days ago, they killed 18 SDF fighters near Tabqa in a "friendly fire" accident.

Assad is interviewed by AFP (transcript).

12 Apr. A revised version of the Western draft resolution for the investigation of the Khan Sheikhoun incident circulates in the UNSC. Unlike the first version, it contains no blame of Damascus and speaks of a "reported" CW use. Yet it still demands unlimited access to SAA sites at threat of military action and gets vetoed by Russia later that day.

Prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr calls on Assad to step down, warning that otherwise he will share the fate of Gaddafi. It's the second time in recent days that Sadr makes that call.

Trump asserts that the US will not invade Syria.

According to the SAA command, a US-led coalition airstrike between 17:30 and 17:50 h in Hatla village east of Deir ez-Zor blows up an ISIS warehouse which contained toxic substances. The resulting white-yellow cloud allegedly killed "hundreds" including civilians. Reactions: US called these claims "incorrect" and Russia said it had no information, would send drones to take a look.

Russia's UN rep attacks British representative--gross. Video, Engl, Russ. (full)

11 Apr. Buses arrive to Madaya and Al-Zabadani in preparation for the execution of an unusual deal brokered by Qatar and Iran.

10 Apr. Iraqi Kurdistan: Due to a technical issue on the Turkish side, the oil flow to Ceyhan will be interrupted for three days, causing $23 million damage per day.

9 Apr. "Euphrates Shield" command orders to close all roads from Turkish-controlled Jarablus border post into SDF-controlled Manbij area.

8 Apr. In the fourth batch of proverbial green bus rides, 480 gunmen plus family members leave al-Waer, the last militant-controlled neigbourhood in Homs city.

A large market called "Silk Road Souk" with 211 shops opens in New Aleppo part of Aleppo city, temporarily replacing the historical souks in the old town that were left in different stages of destruction by the militants.

7 Apr. Russian MoD official statement -Engl. captions (footage at the end suggests low effectiveness).

TASS: frigate of the Black Sea Fleet 'Admiral Grigorovich' will enter the port of Tartus. Said to pass Bosporus(@YorukIsik); equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles, +modern naval version of 'Buk' (SA-N-7C Gollum).

After US airstrike, Russia calls it an aggression against sovereign country, suspended memorandum on safe flights in Syria, calls for an urgent -TASS (Russ.)(Engl.)

  • At least 6 people were killed. Military source: six MIG-23 planes undergoing repairs, decommissioned AN-26 , and several small foreign transport planes destroyed; damage estimated at 1-2 mln $, strike cost, at 90 mln $.
  • UNSC meeting live feed, Engl'; Russ.

6 Apr. US media reports that two US warships fired 50 Tomahawk missiles at a single target - Shayrat military airbase in Homs province, "the airfield from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired the banned weapons [on Khan Sheikhoun]".

  • Amateur strike footage
  • Video from the airbase after the strike (an old air defense system is seen). More photos, videos 1 ,2 showing damage. video claims that Russian MoD was notified and parts of airport where Russian military could be located was not hit; Herbert McMaster quoted to make similar statement; while Russian MP Vladimir Dzhabarov believes there was no notification. More photo/visuals -Cassad 1, 2.
  • ACLOS page

The Turkish Health Ministry says that autopsies they conducted of victims of the alleged chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun point to exposure to Sarin.

"US ground forces kill 'Islamic State' (IS) militant linked to Turkey nightclub attack" - occurred on 6 Apr. and announced around 21 Apr.

Assad was interviewed by Croatian newspaper Vecernji List (transcript).

5 Apr. Tabqa is under siege and the SDF are moving towards the city center. Violent clashes are taking place.

The "municipality of people" governing the regions liberated by the SDF have given out 600 licences for stores to be opened while the residents are returning.

The US army expands the runway of a military airfield near Kobane to make it capable of handling large cargo airplanes.

4 Apr. Reports of a chemical attack with many victims, including children emerge from southern Idlib province (ACLOS page).

3 Apr. Turkey announces to not attend the EU conference about the future of Syria to be held on 4-5 April. Meanwhile Erdogan promises "very good surprises for all terror groups" in new military operations under new names.

1 Apr. The third batch of militants leaves al-Waer district of Homs city in green buses to Idlib.

The "successful completion" of Euphrates Shield doesn't mean that Turkey plans to end their occupation of Syrian land anytime soon, says Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu, while also reporting about his meeting with US counterpart Tillerson which seems to have mostly consisted of C.'s complains about the YPG.

According to Al Masdar, in the late evening three Russian jets crossed into Turkey while targeting Islamist positions around the border in Idlib province.

Archive 2017
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Archive 2016
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Chemical Weapons (starting late 2012)

Main article: Category:Chemical Weapons
Chem 4-9 A.png

A running theme in Syria news is claims about the use of chemical weapons and the red lines they would cross, if confirmed. Our category on this topic covers most reported incidents, especially all high-profile ones like the one that almost started a world war. In 2013, the allegations mostly involved the use of the nerve agent sarin. Since Syria surrendered its stocks to avert war, the allegations from 2014 to present shifted to use of chlorine gas. In both phases, ACLOS has discovered many problems with the accusation of government CW use, as well as much evidence that opposition forces are the ones actually guilty for many incidents. This trend continued when in early April 2017 the topic hit big news again.

Aleppo Aid Convoy Attack (September 19, 2016)

Main article: Attack on Red Crescent convoy in Urm al-Kubra
OFAB-250 bomb in Urm al-Kubra warehouse.jpg

Around 20 or perhaps 30 civilians are killed in in an attack on an aid convoy near Aleppo, destroying more than a dozen trucks hauling medical aid. This is another disputed incident; the West and its sponsored activists alleges a Russian or Syrian air attack is to blame, while Russia and Syria don't seem to know exactly what happened. ACLOS investigates.

And not to be distracted: this came just two days after the US airstrike on SAA in Deir ez-Zor that killed at least 60 Syrian soldiers in a well-known position of theirs, in a rather implausible "accident."

Houla (May 25, 2012)

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

The initial ACLOS investigation. The murder of around 108 civilians, among them up to 49 children, in the town of Taldou belonging to Houla in Homs province, is maybe the most famous event that happened in Syria in 2012. It was immediately blamed on the government and led to several countries expelling their Syrian ambassadors. Initially attributed to the use of heavy weapons, it quickly turned out that most of the victims were killed by short-distance violence. This led to the blaming of Alawite "Shabiha" militias loyal to Assad. While the UNHRC closed their investigation in mid August stating to be reasonably certain that indeed government loyalists were the perpetrators, a lot of the conflicting evidence collected in our research was either washed away or not considered at all, while contradictions in the testimonies of witnesses backing their conclusion were denied. A central question is who was in control over the area at the time - our attempt to answer this based on all collected evidence can be found here.

Homs Massacres (2011-present)

Main article: Homs Massacres
Homs Districts all labels.png

Although relatively secure by now, the city districts and rural surroundings of Homs were home to some of the most shocking massacres of the Syrian war, especially in early 2012 when rebels had control over most of the city (that was following a short-lived Syrian military withdrawal brokered by the U.N. and Arab Laague). The ongoing ACLOS effort to list and analyze as many massacres as possible, so far includes more than 40, accounting for at least 1,400-1,900 deaths of almost strictly civilians victims. Alleged details are compared with common family names, district demographics, and the usual ACLOS techniques, to establish useable insights. Consider the Khalidiya Massacre of February, 2012, with 138 people killed, rebels said, as family homes were shelled. But the victims were 100% male and 94% adult, pre-segregated just like the prisoners of rebels the other side claimed the victims were. And this one's no fluke; strangely similar patterns repeat over and over in what makes for chilling reading.

Situation in Syria.png

Ukraine News

Alley of Angels, in memory of killed children of Donbass. Ukraine "über alles"?-Donetsk Partisan
Ukrainian AF killed and wounded in 'ATO', Maidan, Kiev

26 May. DPR MOD: 378 ceasfire violations by Ukraine in the past week, 4456 missiles, artillery, tank and mortar shells fired. 4 DPR soldiers were killed and 4 wounded; 8 civilians wounded (Rus.)(Eng.)

25 May. DPR Minsk negotiator announced that another attempt of separation of forces is scheduled on 28 May in Stanitsa Luganskaya, LPR.

LPR commander Vladimir Tsvyah, call name Combat, and his reconnaissance chief were killed on the front lines, according to a war correspondent A. Rogatkin.

24 May. A civilian, 64 years old woman, was wounded and later died in hospital when Ukraine attacked a coach station in Trudovskie, Petrovskii region, Donetsk. 3 civilians were wounded in total in that attack.

23 May. US assistance to Ukraine is cut to 1/3 of current level, from 667 204 mln USD (page 60); earlier reports suggested that assistance will be replaced by loans.

Another Ukrainian provocation is reported in Avdeevka. DPR says that it was shelled with MLRS from Vodyanoe, in order to blame DPR. A civilian was wounded.

Second anniversary of Mozgovoi death - report has notes from his diary (2014-2015, of anti-oligarchical sort), a poem he wrote, photos and videos.

22 May. Northern suburb of Donetsk was fired on by Ukraine with MLRS missiles

A woman was wounded by Ukrainian shelling in Yasinovataya

Avdeevka coke-chemical plant was shelled by Ukraine, around a hectare of territory was on fire

21 May. One DPR soldier was killed by Ukrainian shelling

20 May. Poroshenko sends a batch of "beautiful T-80 tanks" to the front line. Also, meets Merkel.

A marriage in DPR, soldier & an author/ war correspondent.

In the past day, 3 DPR soldiers were killed, 1 wounded.

Two civilians were wounded when Ukraine opened fire on a coach station in Trudovskoe, western Donetsk; by preliminary information, RPG was used.

Residential area of Makeevka was hit by Ukrainian fire, houses were damaged -report and photo

19 May. DPR MOD: In the past week, 324 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 2146 mortar, tank, artillery shells and missiles fired. , 2 DPR soldiers and 2 civilians killed, 5 soldiers and 6 civilians wounded. (Rus)(Eng.) (Strelkov: 5 killed, Yasinovataya checkpoint, on 17 or 18 May).

DPR ombudsman, 6-18 May: 14 killed, including 13 soldiers and 1 civilian woman killed on 17 May in Krutaya balka (video); 42 were wounded including 25 soldiers, 8 civilian women, 9 civilian men, including 2 children.

LPR sit-reps, Eng (still no disengagement in Stanitsa Luganskaya as of 18 May, despite many past attempts).

18 May. "Arrested SBU saboteur" give details about killing of LPR commander "Baggi"; appears to have a written text below camera view but give many details and could be legit) . Cooperated in investigation experiments, giving many details, quickly.

17 May. Ukraine shelled DPR in the past day, after raising more accusations. 1 DPR soldier was killed, 2 wounded. (Eng.)(Rus.)

Ukrainian move to ban in Ukraine Russian-based social media such as Vkontacte was criticized (Ukr. source) by a Human Rights Watch representative and by Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland. Media coverage: (Ukr. source); (TASS Eng).

Document on EU visa liberalisation with Ukraine is signed

14 May. Basurin: 1 DPR soldier wounded.

Poroshenko talks about continuing with Normandy format, describes details of US involvement, etc (Ukr.)

Президент наголосив, що США не лише стратегічний партнер України, але і одна з країн-гарантів Будапештського меморандуму. «Безумовно, розраховуємо на дуже потужну і ефективну підтримку України з боку США, в тому числі і в Нормандському форматі», - зазначив Глава держави. Він додав: «Найближчим часом планується обрати спеціального представника США, який буде відповідати за координацію дій з Україною». ...Змінювалися прізвища, але був відповідний дипломат в ранзі посла, який повністю був проінформований про весь зміст переговорів у Нормандському форматі, і вони координувалися з нашими американськими партнерами

13 May. Ukrainian-controlled Avdeevka residential area was shelled, and 4 civilians were killed. Ukraine accused Novorossian fighters (Zhebrivskii)(, with photos). DPR : 'This is another provocation, on orders of OG "Donetsk" commander with the involvement of the 72nd separate mechanized brigade, the Right Sector *, the National Guard of Ukraine, as well as foreign media, staged before Minsk'. - The 72nd brigade shoots on the positions of the DPR, the "Right Sector" shoots on Avdeevka, foreign media reports this." Opolchenie correspondent 'Krik' gives angry, emotional account close to DPR version of events, mentions a mortar strike by Right Sector (timed by VK 5:07 pm).

  • A warning on provocation planned during Eurovision competition in Kiev was given on May 3. Details do not fully match (9 May in Kiev in the warning). However, Poroshenko drama, cancelling his Eurovision speech
  • Basurin: After a thorough study of photos and video materials, which are demonstrated by the Ukrainian media, we affirm that the strike was inflicted from the side of the Vodyanoe settlement, which is under the control of Ukraine, and where, according to our intelligence, just the day before yesterday, FOUR tanks arrived and along two howitzers D-30 and self-propelled artillery "Acacia." We have previously repeatedly noted the presence in this area of such weaponry" (photos, graphics in the report)(Eng).
  • Geolocated at Cassad

Basurin, posted on 14:10 local (Eng. transl.),(video): in the past day, 1 DPR soldier killed and 1 wounded. More shelling and provocations expected, prior to a contact group meeting in Minsk on May 15.

UAF sit-rep.

13 May In Krivoy Rog and ex-Dneprodzerzhinsk (now Kamenskoe), Dnepropetrovsk region of Ukraine, the radicals set fire to the offices of the "Opposition block" (Rusvesna),( no victims, no suspects).

12 May DPR MOD: In the past week, 331 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 2122 artillery, mortar and tank shells fired. 3 DPR soldiers were killed and 3 wounded. 7 civilians were wounded. (Rus.), (Eng.)

LPR: In the past week, 47 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 996 artillery and mortar shells fired (Rus.)(Eng).

UAF: In the past day, two Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action yesterday, and six more were wounded ... One of the killed troops was an engineer who was demining an area, and the rest came under hostile fire.

11 May. Lugansk and Donetsk referendums were held 3 years ago (HQ, pro-peace, music/poetry commemoration video).

Ukrainian documentary investigation of Sheremet murder (20 July '16 news) appeared, claiming that an SBU man was seen near his home on the night of the murder; SBU spokeswoman Elena Gitlianskaya after movie release stated that this person was fired or left SBU on 29 Apr. 2014. More on Sheremet and talk pages.

Approval of visa-free regime for Ukraine keeps moving on, expected to be in place this June.

10 May. A woman and a girl wounded by UAF shelling in Kuibyshev district of Donetsk; woman refused hospitalization, the girl hospitalized -DAN news (Eng). One DPR soldier was killed and one wounded.

1 UAF soldier was killed and 4 wounded.; Eurovision/,

After a clash yesterday, another bloody clash between 30-40 Banderas and some 8 Afghanistan vets in their office in Nikolaev 1,2.

T-34 tank and Katyusha, V-Day parade in Donetsk, May 9, 2017.

9 May. Victory Day parades in Donetsk, Lugansk, Simpheropol, Sevastopol, Moscow (video).

Rusvesna: Kmeimim, Aleppo, too.
Odessa videos: 'immortal regiment + young sailors, and music + sing-a-song+ clashes in the end.
Kiev videos: clashes, OUN HQ 1 2,UNSO vs. 'Immortal Regiment'.
Dnepr: ATO vets clashed with redflag 'socialists' and harshly subdued by police 1234.Filatov fuming, cutting funding to WW2 and funds ATO vets. Next day, regional and city police chiefs were fired.
Mariupol: competing marches, St. George band burned by Ms Bandera.
Immortal regiment-Moscow.
The Value of Remembering-Amb. John Tefft, with a-call-for-unity type message.
Apparently Poroshenko reconciliation twitt

8 May. DPR. Civilian woman is wounded by Ukrainian shelling in Zaitsevo, near Gorlovka -DAN news.

On the eve of the traditionally revered 9 May WW2 Victory Day celebrations (photo report), two fragmentation-type munitions were placed on a rode to Saur-Mogila memorial site, one of them exploded. No injuries or deaths reported. Zakharchenko blames Kiev. It is claimed that munitions were set on a timer and one exploded before Zakharchenko was about to travel the road for the celebrations. It is said that more timed charges were discovered after search. Presumed photos appeared (Timer-Odessa); Rusvesna has stock photos.

Mother-Motherland, Kiev
Mother-Motherland, Kiev, May 8, 2017

Poroshenko chutzpah attempt to link the so called 'ATO', results of which are covered here, with WW2 day of remembrance, showing himself and some ATO veterans in the background of Soviet WW2 memorial, despite being quite the opposite in that context. (Below: state emblem of the Soviet Union covered by Ukrainian and EU flags for the sake of presentation). Kiev plans to switch to 8 May holiday, aligning with the Western V-Day, instead of the traditional 9 May holiday in USSR/Russia; the move was criticized in Russia.

Odessa. Vandals destroyed avenue of birches in memory of victims on May 2, 2014 , destroyed Zhukov memorial --Timer-Odessa.

5 May. DPR MOD: in the past week, 339 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 1788 banned by Minsk agreement missiles, artillery and mortar shells, tank shells were fired. 1 DPR soldier was skilled and 3 wounded. 1 civilian was killed and 5 wounded. (Eng.)(Rus.)

LPR: 39 ceasefire violations, 1,011 artillery and and mortar-shells fired by Ukraine (Eng.)

A document emerged in social media appearing to show a response of Ukrainian presidential administration official, telling that Minsk agreements are not legally binding and based on goodwill (TASS).

According to Ukrainian official sources, Russian ships 'attempted to capture' Ukrainian vessel, ordering it to 'stop and lay in drift' (застопорить ход и лечь в дрейф), (Rusvesna)( That happened near Crimea where territorial waters may be disputed; Ukrainian sources make a point of the vessel response that it was in Ukrainian waters, while Russians believed it briefly entered Russian territory. Eventually the vessel continued on his way to Skadovsk. It is said that vessel crew will receive rewards, for what (if not accidental) could be a provocation with tragic consequences.

4 May. Radio Svoboda published a video of OSCE car explosion (see news, 23 Apr.) Rusvesna: who filmed it, and why? (geolocating camera on Ukrainian territory, and making a case that it is filmed by a high-res camera from Ukrainian fire correction mast). A user claim but no primary evidence that this is OSCE camera. Rusvesna: OSCE cameras display technical info, time, etc, and attribution. LPR blames Ukraine for the attack.

2 May. Odessa massacre anniversary. Most of Kulikovo field is blocked by police, people bring flowers to the Trade Union house. Reports and photos: Timer-Odessa; Rusvesna; Cassad

30 Apr. Ukraine erected a new dam to block the flow of water to Crimea. That was going on since 2014, water is supplied from artesian wells. In north Crimea, there is some shortage of water for agriculture, compensated by produce delivered from Russia. No shortage of water for people, just brings peoples further apart.

Task Force Pluto - Fischer (left) was arrested on war crimes charges.

29 Apr. Poland arrests an Austrian man suspected of war crimes while fighting in Donbass of the side of the Kiev government. An European arrest warrant had been issued a few weeks earlier. Online researchers discover his identity.

28 Apr. DPR MOD: 287 (Rus.) ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past week, 1097 shells from banned weapons (artillery, mortars, tank fire) fired (Rus.)(Eng.). 3 DPR soldiers were killed; (MOD); ombudsman lists 2 soldiers killed, and a civilian man, 1981 DOB, wounded on 30 January, died in hospital. 18 people (11 soldiers, 1 civilian woman, 6 civilian men including a child were wounded (ombudsman).

26 Apr. DPR. Ukrainian shelling continues, artillery, mortars, BMP and BTR, grenade launchers, small firearms used. In the past day, 1 DPR soldier was killed, 2 soldiers and 4 civilians wounded (Rus.)

In Chernobyl, Poroshenko announced that one further step in approving visa-free travel to Europe was cleared

25 Apr. Ukraine cut its electricity supply to LPR. It is said that electric power will be supplied from Russia, after Ukraine cut supply. LPR announced that it (mostly) restored power within 1 hour.

DPR: in the past day, 2 civilians were wounded by Ukrainian shelling (Rus.)(Eng.).

23 Apr. A civilian was wounded by Ukrainian shelling in Zaitsevo near Gorlovka, DPR.

LPR. OSCE observer was killed when OSCE marked car was hit by IED explosion on a road from Slavyanoserbsk to Sokolniki near village of Prishib (map). Another observer was wounded. LPR blamed Ukrainian RSG, stated that they recently warned about provocations planned against international observers. LPR leader expressed condolences.

Basurin -DAN news: OSCE car hit anti-tank mine; according to available information one of the cars was travelling on back roads, which is prohibited by OSCE SMM mandate.
OSCE SMM report. (Driving on a secondary road previously used by the SMM).
LPR claimed that they discovered a reconnaissance and sabotage group hideout nearby ("лежка"); found and defused two more landmines and a trip wire. LPR also provided names of Ukrainian suspects (without really explaining how it was determined).

21 Apr. DPR weekly update: in the past week, 235 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 1445 banned shells and mortar shells were fired (Rus.)(Eng.) DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 8 DPR soldiers were killed, 15 soldiers were wounded (no civilian casualties mentioned for this week).

LPR: in the past week, Ukraine fired 320 banned shells and mortar shells.

Fort Russ publishes an English language translation of a long interview with post-putsch interim president Oleksandr Turchynov conducted by BBC Russian Service a week earlier.

20 Apr. Basurin: "As it became known from the source in the command of the military unit A0456 (Odessa city), on the eve of the May holidays, the Ukrainian Armed Forces, specifically the Ukrainian Navy units as part of one combined brigade of marines, are preparing a plan for active military operations in the Volnovakhsky and the Novoazovsky districts " ... "According to the (Kiev's) command's plan, on April 23-24, two mobile subversive groups are planned to be deployed to the area of the village of Shirokino..." (Eng.)

DPR: in the past day, 25 ceasefire violations by Ukraine- mortars, grenade launchers, small firearms used. One DPR soldier was killed.

Almost nothing is written about it - but during this "armistice" the funerals of DPR soldiers are held almost every second day ... Yesterday there was a funeral of an officer, who was killed three days ago in the Avdeevskaya industrial zone, Alexander Zhizhka. He was just appointed platoon commander after the death of the officer who held this post ... Alexander had a wife and daughter ... He was buried with honors, as he should be... (opolchenie VK post, with photos by Alexander Khodakovsky).

18 Apr. Normandy-4 leaders had a phone conversation, with another call to follow Minsk agreements, implement all-for-all prisoners exchange. Joint press-release was issued (Poroshenko);(Kremlin).

14 Apr. Zakharchenko: We expect another round of attacks (lit. 'sharpening') in the very near future. Let's put it like that, softly. Our intelligence reports that the opposite side is fully prepared to move to full-scale combat operations.

DPR: In the past week, 380 violations, 2672 banned shells and mortar rounds fired by Ukraine, 27 houses wer damaged or destroyed. (Russ.)(Engl). Ombudsman: 10 DPR soldiers were killed, 12 people ( 2 civilian women, 2 civilian men, 8 soldiers) were wounded.

LPR: in the past week, 25 violations, 464 banned shells and mortar shells fired by Ukraine. 1 civilian was wounded, 3 houses damaged.

13 Apr. Ukrainian branch of the Russian Alfa Bank (wiki): :Alfa-Bank Ukraine has nothing to do with the placement of advertising with images of ORDLO militants and sharply condemns the dirty provocations that unidentified persons resort to in an attempt to undermine the credibility of the international bank in Ukraine. Alfa-Bank was one of the first international banks to stop working in the occupied territories in full accordance with the legislation of Ukraine: both in the Crimea and in the Donbas. Strelkov/patriotic opposition: this is a cause of serious concern... Alpha bank structures are very close to the authorities... It is symptomatic that it appears shortly after (Sec. State) Tillerson visit to Moscow.

9 Apr. HUGE crater, 10 m. diameter and 3 m deep, from Ukrainian shelling by Uragan MLRS hitting 300 m short of Dzerzhinkloe settlement.

8 Apr. One DPR soldier was killed and 1 wounded today; two civilian women wounded yesterday in Donetsk.

7 Apr. DPR MOD weekly report (Russ.), (Engl). 277 violations by Ukraine, 2,292 shells and mortar shells banned by Minsk agreements fired (despite ceasefire agreement to start on 1 Apr.) 36 houses were damaged Reservists called for training. there are 27 thousand reservists in total.

DPR ombudsman: 4 soldiers and 1 civilian was killed, 21 people (7 civilian women, 4 civilian men, and 10 soldiers) were wounded (ombudsman figures are different, and typically higher, than MOD).

LPR MOD weekly report (Engl.) (Russ.-video). 82 shells and mortar shells fired. 1 soldier was wounded.

Third year anniversary of DPR declaring independence; historic photos videos -Cassad.

6 Apr. DPR MoD: reservists with military experience will be given weapons to keep.

DPR. It is supposed to be ceasefire, however 55 violations by Ukraine incidents were reported, including mortars and tank fire in Petrovskii, Kirovskii regions of Donetsk. One house was damaged.

European parliament voted for visa-free regime with Ukraine-- Poroshenko celebration video.

Remarks of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch at the 2017 Kyiv Security Forum.

2 Apr. According to DPR MOD report, Ukraine used white phosphorous munitions (video).

1 Apr. Repair crews working at Donetsk water filtering station came under Ukrainian fire from 120 mm mortars. Is is said that Russian JCCC representatives are at the station, and evacuation of personnel is under way.

In the past day, 1 DPR soldier was killed and 1 wounded. 8 violations were reported after midnight when a new ceasefire was supposed to start. (Russ.), (Engl.) 30 Mar. Another ceasefire agreed from Apr. 1, prior to approaching Easter. Poroshenko: I gave all the necessary instructions to the main headquarters and the MOD.

Basurin: prior to ceasefire, security situation sharply deteriorated. In the past day, 1 DPR soldier was wounded. 18 houses were damaged. (Russ.)(Engl). Later report: 2 civilians in Yasinovataya were killed by Ukrainian shelling (Engl). 90 years old woman suffered shrapnel wounds in Petrovskiy district of Donetsk.

Video report: a house on Sako and Vantseti street , Donetsk (map) was hit by Ukrainian shelling from Peski around midnight, civilian woman was killed.


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.

Other research...