A Syrian soldier films a prisoner being beaten. Watch the video here (WARNING: Video contains shocking images).
For the past few weeks, there has been a number of videos filmed by members of Syria’s security forces posted on YouTube, prompting the question: why are some soldiers so willing to release footage of fighting and shocking abuse to the world? According to our Observer on the ground, the answer is simple – money.
Because independent media has been banned from covering anti-government demonstrations in Syria, journalists have had no other choice but to rely on amateur images. Although most of the content spilling out of the country appears to be captured by protesters, there are also several videos filmed by soldiers and security force members. These homemade recordings, however, often depict scenes of horrific torture and brutal fighting.
Under normal circumstances, it is forbidden for members of Syria’s military to film while in combat. Yet a number of our Observers in the country have told us that despite this, some soldiers or security force members carry their mobile phones with them so they can capture what is happening. The footage is then put up for sale. Waleed Fares (not his real name), one of our Observers in Homs, says these images can often sell for several hundred euros.
A look at two videos filmed by Syria’s armed forces
In this video we see a soldier fire a sniper rifle, all the while joking with the cameraman.
Thus far, it has been impossible to identify who filmed this video. The images were posted on YouTube by a reliable source who mostly publishes videos shot in Syria’s flashpoint city of Homs. Although it has been suggested that this is a clip of snipers targeting local residents, it’s also possible that it was filmed during a training session.
The video below captures images of armed forces in the thick of battle. According to the person who posted the film, the video was filmed by a soldier in the town of al-Rastan, just north of Homs. The footage shows tanks open fire, apparently shooting blindly into a residential area.
FRANCE 24’s Observers is an interactive website. If you have further information concerning videos recorded by Syria’s armed forces, please contact our team of journalists at observers@france24.com.