Syria’s second year of unrest, in amateur images

 
March 15 marks two years since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime began. It started with peaceful protests, but has since escalated into a full-blown civil war between government troops and rebels, many of whom are fighting for the Free Syrian Army (FSA). We take a look back at the second year of the conflict, as documented in amateur images.
 
Journalists face huge risks in Syria: no formal structures exist to protect them and some have lost their lives while covering the conflict. As a result, the international media is increasingly dependent on images sent by activists to paint a picture of the situation on the ground.
 
Soldier’s video reignites fears of looting at Syria’s archaeological sites
 
Amateur footage published by one of our Observers appeared to show soldiers from the Syrian Army manhandling and possibly looting a UNESCO World Heritage site in Palmyra. The site is 6-kilometre-square archaeological site containing relics from the second century. Read more…
 
Screen capture of footage filmed at archaeological site in Palmyra, Syria
 
In Aleppo, rebels keep a tight grip on their images with embedded cameraman
 
Dubbed the ‘mother of all battles’ by the opposition, in July 2012 Aleppo saw its first heavy fighting since the start of the uprising. Fighting was filmed up-close by an amateur cameraman selected by the FSA to follow its rebel fighters into combat. Footage was uploaded onto the Internet under the supervision of the rebel army’s Military Communications Bureau. Read more…
 
Screen capture of a video showing FSA soldiers shooting at an army aeroplane. Uploaded by the FSA's Military Communications Bureau. 
 
Video: Aleppo rebels execute members of pro-Assad clan
 
Violent footage uploaded on July 31, 2012 showed rebels from the FSA shooting to death a group of men accused of being part of Assad’s inner circle. Two opposition activists in Aleppo, one of whom witnessed the executions, shared their reactions with us shortly afterwards. Read more…
 
Screen capture of the execution video. 
 
Syrian forces target largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria
 
Bashar al-Assad was once reputed to be a firm believer in the Palestinian cause, but in July 2012 government troops attacked Yarmouk, a Damascus-based refugee camp home to thousands of Palestinians. Read more...
 
Screen capture of a video showing Syrian army tanks in Yarmouk.
 
Are Syria’s Kurds throwing their support behind Bashar al-Assad?
 
The last weekend of October marked a turning point in the Syrian conflict. For the first time, rebels from the FSA clashed with Kurdish militias. Although many Syrian Kurds initially joined the popular uprising against Assad’s regime, some later distanced themselves from the rebellion. The rebels accused Kurdish leaders of having made a deal to support Assad. Read more…
 
Screen capture of a video showing clashes between rebels and Kurdish militia in the Achrafieh neighbourhood of Aleppo. Posted on YouTube on October 28, 2012. 
 
Syrian rebels hit Damascus’ elite where they live
 
Damascus saw mounting violence in early November, with mortar fire landing in a neighbourhood where many of the country’s Alawite leaders live. Street battles between rebels and the army also took place just outside the city limits. The city centre escaped damage: it was safeguarded by Assad’s brother, Maher, who commands the army’s fourth division. Read more…
 
Screen capture of a video showing attacks in Mazze, Damascus. Dated November 7, 2012. 
 
Who are Syria’s al-Nusra Front jihadists?
 
The al-Nusra Front first made itself known on the Internet in January 2012, when it uploaded images of attacks in Idlib. It has since been blacklisted by the United States as a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda. And yet, al-Nusra fighters continue to collaborate with the FSA, which itself is recognised by the international community. Our Observer, an FSA fighter, says fighting alongside jihadists is far from ideal, but that the under-equipped FSA has little choice but to “work with whichever group takes up arms against Assad”. Read more…
 
Screen capture of a video posted on YouTube showing what the Al-Nusra front claims is a suicide attack. The black flag says: “There is no other divinity than God and Mohammad is his prophet”, alongside the group’s name.
 
Video 'proof' of the Syrian army’s use of ballistic missiles
 
Rebel fighters have repeatedly accused the Syrian regime of using deadly ballistic missiles on civilians. Despite the regime’s denial of these claims, videos posted in February 2013 appear to show evidence the regular Syrian army has fired ground-to-ground Soviet Scud missiles in numerous civilian areas. Read more…
 
The head of an unexploded Scud missile in the village of Hour, in the suburbs of Aleppo, on February 26 2013.
Contributors
Close