Conflict Early Warning Report
June 2023

The ACLED Conflict Alert System (CAST) forecasts political violence up to six months into the future. Forecasts are made globally - at the national and sub-national levels - and can be disaggregated by event type (battles, explosions/remote violence, or violence against civilians). Every month, ACLED CAST produces a report highlighting key conflict developments and significant predictions for the coming months. This report reflects the June 2023 update of global forecasts.

References to May forecasts refer to those generated following the scheduled two-week data update hiatus.

In May 2023 - the first full month of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) following the start of clashes on April 15 - 281 events of organized violence occurred across Sudan. While Khartoum saw the largest share (74%) of organized violence during the month, there were also substantial increases in activity across the Darfur region (see ACLED's Sudan Situation Update: May 2023 for more details).

The conflict between the SAF and RSF has significantly altered the breakdown of organized violence event types in Sudan. In the first three months of 2023, violence against civilians accounted for over 80% of organized violence events in Sudan, while battles totaled 18%. This trend inverted in April and May, with battles constituting 77% of organized violence events and violence against civilians constituting 19%.

According to CAST predictions, this pattern will likely continue into June, with battles making up 75% of the 266 predicted organized violence events. Along with Khartoum, four of the five states in the Darfur region are expected to sustain an increase in activity of over 25% relative to the 3 month norm.

For more on the conflict, see ACLED's Sudan Country Hub.

There were 195 organized violence events in Somalia in May, exactly matching the CAST prediction for the month. At the subnational level, Lower Shabelle saw 52 events during the month, more than doubling totals in March and April. While CAST predicted a slight increase from recent months for this region, the observed escalation in activity still exceeded forecasts.

Looking forward, CAST predictions suggest that organized violence in Somalia will again total nearly 200 events in June, about half of which will be battles. Lower Shabelle is predicted to register a total of 41 events, slightly below the May total but still a sizable increase from recent trends. Banadir is expected to be the second most active region in the country, with 38 events predicted for June, just above its May total of 35.

For more on Somalia, see ACLED's Somalia Country Hub.

Organized violence in Syria declined from its recent peak in November 2022 at over 1,200 events to just 420 in February following a drop in activity connected to the earthquakes that hit the region that month. From March to May, organized violence returned to pre-earthquake levels, averaging around 700 events per month.

There were 546 events in the country in May, approximately 15% fewer than the CAST prediction. This over-prediction suggests that CAST was too sensitive to the steep return in activity in March and April, though accuracy should stabilize as the months progress.
The proportion of each of the organized violence event types proved more predictable than discrete event totals for May in Syria. Of all organized violence events tallied during the month, 50% were incidents of explosions/remote violence, just missing the predicted share of 48%. The observed share of violence against civilians events (25%) was slightly higher than the predicted 21%, while the observed percentage of battles was only one percentage point below the forecast.

CAST predictions for June adjust slightly downward following fewer events than predicted in May, with an expected total of 631 organized violence incidents. Subnationally, Idleb (128 events) surpassed Aleppo (113 events) as the most active governorate for organized violence in May. For June, CAST predicts that Aleppo will revert to the most active governorate with a forecast of 130 events, followed by Idleb (118 events) and Deir ez Zor (97 events).

For more on Syria, see ACLED's Middle East Regional Hub.

Russian border areas have seen routine shelling and drone strikes since the beginning of aggression against Ukraine in February 2022. CAST predicted significant increases in explosions/remote violence relative to the yearly norm in May for three of these border oblasts: Belgorod (+63%), Bryansk (+27%), and Kursk (+80%). The observed escalation proved even more severe than predicted. In total, there were 230 explosions/remote violence events in the country, over 6 times the yearly average.

See ACLED's May Europe & Central Asia Regional Overview for more context on the rise in activity in Russia's border regions.

CAST predicts 220 events in Russia in June, 92% of which are explosions/remote violence. Over 80% of these incidents are expected to fall in Belgorod, where 181 explosions/remote violence are events are predicted for June. The predicted totals for Bryansk (14) and Kursk (22) remain elevated relative to the norm.

For more on Russia and Ukraine, see ACLED's Europe & Central Asia Regional Hub and Ukraine Conflict Monitor.