Understanding the Syrian conflict through videos

As Congress debates whether and how to intervene in Syria, The I Files team has compiled some of the best reporting and must-watch videos to provide background and context on the conflict. A note of warning: Many of these videos contain graphic and disturbing content.

DAY-TO-DAY LIFE IN SYRIA

The Bombing of al-Bara
This riveting account captures what it’s like to be a civilian suddenly under attack during a government air raid, a horrific but also strangely routine experience in Syria. (via PBS FRONTLINE)

The death dash: A report from Aleppo's frontline
At a checkpoint in Aleppo, more than 10,000 people cross each day, braving sniper fire and negotiating with rebel commanders to buy food. (via Channel 4 News)

Extraordinary footage of Syrian tank in Damascus
A camera mounted on a government tank patrolling the bombed-out and abandoned streets of a Damascus suburb, one of the first areas to revolt against the regime, provides a unique perspective of the destruction. (via Channel 4 News)

Syria crisis: Incendiary bomb victims ‘like the walking dead’
The aftermath of a bombing attack on a playground in northern Syria, which left scores of children with napalm-like burns, illustrates that even so-called conventional weapons have devastating consequences. (via BBC)

THE REBELS
The rebels fighting Assad’s regime are hardly a unified or cohesive force. The Free Syrian Army, a self-described nonsectarian group, is the largest opposition force in the country. But its members fight alongside other militias with different agendas and religious ideologies, including the Syrian Islamic Front, Syrian Liberation Front and Jabhat al-Nusra, which has been linked to al-Qaida.

Battle for Syria
An intimate and gritty portrait of the ragtag collection of rebels fighting the government, this report details the challenges resistance fighters face, including a lack of ammunition and training as well as an uneasy alliance with fundamentalist groups that might be only temporary allies. “The real battle for Syria begins after victory,” one commander warns. (via Journeyman Pictures)

Life and Death in Aleppo, Syria
This incredible video captures a deadly tank attack on a small, makeshift rebel brigade defending one residential block in Aleppo. (via GlobalPost)

Life with Syria’s Rebels ‒ The Lions of Tawhid
This story examines a day in the life of one rebel squad as its members ‒ unbeknownst to the journalist following them ‒ attempt to use a hostage as an unwitting suicide bomber. (via The New York Times)

Ground Zero: Syria (Part 7) ‒ Snipers of Aleppo
The hidden face of the war is the men who lie in wait in abandoned buildings across the city, attempting to pick off enemies one by one, as the battle for Syria’s largest city transforms from a blunt assault into a slow-paced but deadly sniper war. (via Vice)

Meet Syria’s extremist female rebel fighters
This video looks at some of the conservative women fighting for the Syrian revolution. “I can’t say I am the best with a weapon, but I have a brave heart,” one fighter says. (via GlobalPost)

GOVERNMENT SUPPORTERS

Grim Determination in Assad Alawite Heartland
Visit the ancestral homeland of Assad and his minority Alawite sect for rare insight into the point of view of those who support the regime. (via BBC)

The Regime Responds
An examination of how Assad is holding on to power. (via PBS FRONTLINE)

REFUGEES CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE
Every 15 seconds, a Syrian becomes a refugee. The conflict has forced more than 2 million people out of the country and displaced an estimated 4 million within its borders, according to the U.N. refugee agency, making Syria the greatest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide nearly 20 years ago.

The Syrian refugee crisis in numbers
This animation breaks down the reality behind the grim statistics. (via The Guardian)

Refugee children at Jordan’s Zaatari camp
In less than a year, this refugee camp has become the fourth-largest city in Jordan. More than half its occupants are children. (via Channel 4 News)

Syria’s women refugees fear sham marriages and rape
This report describes some of the threats Syria’s most vulnerable refugees – women and girls – face in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. (via Channel 4 News)

Syria’s child refugees: 'You feel that they have lost their hearts'
More than half of Syrian refugees are children. Here, the youngest refugees reflect on the conflict in their own words. (via The Guardian)

GENERAL BACKGROUND

A Guide to Watching Syria's War – 2013
This short video offers an analysis of the amateur video from Syria that has been pivotal to the way the conflict is understood. (via The New York Times)

The Syrian conflict in five minutes
This animation explains the origins and ramifications of the Syrian conflict for those who have not followed the situation closely. (via Wilson Liévano)

Connecting Syria’s allies and enemies
This interactive diagram lays out which countries support and oppose military intervention in Syria. (via Al-Jazeera)

For additional insightful reporting from Syria, check out The I Files’ extensive playlist. And subscribe here  for a first look at the best investigative videos from across the Web and around the world.

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