Guest post by @noornahas1.
Primary sources serve an extremely important function: they give you unfiltered access to events and give you an opportunity to develop your views outside of the frame provided by media, whether its mainstream or on social media.
These sources will help build your understanding of both the humanitarian and military aspects of the Syrian war and the opposition forces. Additionally, while viewing other secondary sources (Twitter users, news articles, analysts), you’ll find that you can more fully understand the context of a given video and weed out bad sources.
The majority of content related to the Syrian civil war is done in Arabic, but with tools like Google Translate Add-ons and Translation software being implemented into Twitter and Facebook, most of this content is increasingly accessible to non-Arabic speakers and should be taken advantage of. Additionally, for translation you can check the Syrian Civil War reddit’s list of volunteer translators.
Below is a list of groups categorized roughly by affiliation and type of organization.
Warning: Some of these videos may include extremely discomforting/upsetting content including videos of dead, mutilated bodies, executions, live combat, and footage of death. Occasional use of inflammatory language in Arabic.
Rebel Media Organizations:
- Al-Fatah Media – Semi-active, uploads Army of Conquest (Jaysh al-Fatah ) media.
- RFS Media – Active, archive channel but also includes original videos, interviews, and other content from across Syria.
- SMO Syria – Active, rebel media associated with the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) Southern Front.
- Buraq Horan – Active, uploads a lot of Lions of Sunnah Brigade videos
- Abo Omar Alqalamoni – Semi-active, occasionally uploads JaF and Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JaN) media.
- Glory Media – Semi-active rebel/Jund Al-Sham media.
- Ahrar Al-Sham media – Active, uploads Ahrar al-Sham videos.
- Jaysh al-Nasr channels 1, 2, and 3 – Active.
- Martyr Ahmed Alabdo Forces – Semi-active.
Syrian Democratic Forces Media:
- Syriac Military Council – Inactive, part of Syrian Democratic Forcesyrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
- RuMaf– Semi-active, includes uploads about Army of Revolutionaries (Jaysh al-Thuwar [JaT]). JaT website.
- SDF Channels 1 and 2 – Active.
- People’s Protection Units (YPG) – Active.
- Ammar al-Halabi – Active, independent journalist who is interviewed by foreign media.
- Abu Ammar al-Hourani – Archived media from Daraa area and media from Daraa area.
- ANA Press – Semi-active, English-language reporting from on the ground in Syria.
- Civil Defense – Idlib – Active.
- Civil Defense – Aleppo – Active.
- Hadi Abdullah – Famous Syrian reporter who actively reports in active combat zones all around Syria. Also has a Facebook.
- Kahtan Al Mostafa – Semi-active reporter.
- Halab News Network Channels 1 and 2 – Active.
- Maara Media Center – Active, Maarat al-Numan-based activist/rebel media channel.
- Aleppo Media Center – Active.
- Homs Media Center – Active.
- Huraytan City – Active.
- Al Rastan Media – Active, posts media from Rastan and broader Homs area, occasionally uploads of media from activist interviews.
- Step News Agency – Active.
- Binnish City Media – Active.
- Talbiseh City Media – Active.
- Daria Local Council – Active.
- Unified Arbin Media Office – Active.
- A.M.H -Inactive activist channel based in Aleppo.
- Abu Ali al-Hula/ Hula City media – Semi-active.
- Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently – Active, independent news source based in Raqqa, the capital of Islamic State. Video channel posts rarely but Twitter is updated several times a day. They also run a news site in Arabic and English.
- Rozana – Active, posts both Arabic and professionally translated English videos. Safe for work and provides insight into non-combat aspects of Syria and the Syrian population with direct interviews on a range of topics.
- Syria Direct – Active, posts English content from Syria. Generally safe for work.
- SMART News Agency – Active, highly recommended free media in Syria. Reports and uploads a significant amount of high quality objectively produced documentation from Islamist, Free Syrian, and Kurdish areas. All Arabic, but each video includes an easily translated description.
- Shahba Press Agency – Active.
- Face the Truth – Active, includes interviews with Islamists, rebels, civilians, and volunteers. Channel has clear Islamist sympathies but Bilal Abdul Kareem provides valuable English language content from Syria.
- SNN and SNN English – Active, occasionally posts primary source material. Generally an archive of other groups videos.
- Free Media Channel of Abu Baraa – Pro-Rebel journalist/fighter. I wouldn’t consider him an activist in the sense of Hadi or other journalists who cover civilian attacks and non-combat. Inactive.
- Damascus Bureau – Active on website, Youtube is inactive. Mix of Primary and secondary sources.
- Orient News English – Active, posts interviews with officials and on the ground reports and video. Extremely pro-rebel. Usually safe for work.
- Al Muhajirun – Active, uploads videos about foreign fighters in Syria.
- Mazen Aloush – Active, Pro rebel Arabic Twitter user. Often uploads controversial videos to youtube, and has eyes on Arabic media. Extremely biased, but uploads some hard-to-find media occasionally.
- Mohammed Refaee – Inactive channel that has some archived rebel footage, mostly Yarmouk Army.
- First Coastal Division Channels 1 and 2 – Active, source of many of the amazing TOW ATGM videos, rifle shots, and combat videos.
- Brigade 24 – Inactive.
- Abu Amara – Active, but limited uploads. Group mainly uploads videos of assassinations.
- Ajnad al-Sham – Semi-active
- Al-Furq – Active.
- Jabal al-Islam – Semi-Active.
- Liwa Tawhid Aljnoob – Inactive.
- Muntasir Billah Brigade – Active.
- Horan Column Brigade – Semi-Active.
- Dawn of Islam Brigade – Inactive.
- Mountain Hawks Brigade channels 1 and 2 – Active, second channel is inactive but has good content.
- Yarmouk Army – Semi-active.
- Shuhada al-Islam Brigade – Active.
- Thuwar al-Raqqa – Active.
- Sword of Sham Brigade – Active.
- Syrian Revolutionaries Front – Active.
- Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union – Active.
- Islamic Front channels 1, 2, 3, 4 – Active.
- Levant Front – Active.
- First Army – Semi-Active.
- Brigade 13 channels 1 and 2 – Active.
- 16th Infantry Division – Semi Active.
- 101st Infantry Division – Inactive.
- Second Coastal Division – Active.
- Northern Division – Semi-Active.
- Central Division – Inactive.
- First Regiment – Inactive.
- First Legion – Inactive.
- Qassioun Brigades – Active.
- Omari Brigades – Active
- Assembly of Glory channels 1 and 2 – Inactive.
- Ansar al-Islam Front – Active.
- Jund al-Aqsa – Inactive.
- Free Tribal Army – Semi-active.
- Jaish al-Islam Channel 1 and 2 – Active.
- Alobabil Army – Active.
- Jaysh al-Tahrir – Active.
- Homs Liberation Movement – Active.
- Conquerors in the Land of Sham Army – Active.
- Jaish al-Fatah – Qalmoun – Inactive.
- New Syrian Army 2 – Active.
- Homs Operation Room
- Fastakem Union – Active
- Free Nua Brigade – Inactive.
- Sultan Murad Brigade – Active.
- Dawn of Tawhid Brigade – inactive.
- Al-Rahman Corps 2 – Active.
- Sham Corps channels 1, 2, and 3 – Inactive.
- Bayan Movement – Semi-active.
- Shield Revolutionaries – Inactive.
- Brigades of the Dawn of the Caliphate – Semi-Active.
- Engineering and Missile Battalion – Inactive.
- Descendants of Salah al-Din Brigade – Inactive.
- Mutasim Brigade – Active.
- Immigrants and Supporters of the Southern Front Brigade – Inactive.
- Knights of the Right Brigade – Inactive.
- Lancer Corp – Semi-active, part of JaF and/or AaS.
- JaN) Aleppo, Homs – Inactive channels, JaN media is usually deleted/banned so most of their channels don’t last long on YouTube.
- United Horan Brigade – Inactive.