A lot of bullshit is spoken/written regarding the civil war in Syria, in particular on a lot of the biggest news outlets. This is mainly because they are unable or unwilling to understand and explain the different dynamics playing out in the region as it is too difficult to communicate and sell to the public. It is easier to create cardboard cut-outs of two sides (when in reality there appear to be dozens of sides) who deal in only “good” and “bad” deeds, with one who should be supported and the other destroyed. The nub of the conflict is that in between these disparate groups of violent men are the majority of the Syrian population who just want the violence to stop.
Here are some journalists/sites which get right to the source of the information in this inter-Islam, sect and class-based conflict.
Syria Comment is a site that is run by the American academic Joshua Landis who was blogging about the country long before the conflict started. It has guest pieces by those living in Syria and he directly answers accusations of allegiance to the Assad regime/disparate rebel groups that are thrown at him by commentators on the site. He posts videos (sometimes gruesome) and often disturbing examples of attacks by Islamist rebels on Shia places of worship and of Assad forces attack on civilians. I think its is a balanced site that attempts to report on the ever-changing face of the conflict honestly.
Franklin Lamb’s articles can be found on Counterpunch. He travels from Syria to Lebanon and gives the reader a real understanding of the feelings generated among the different peoples of the region by the conflict. He is hated by the right-wing press for tearing down the propaganda curtain in the region, which is always a good sign. He is also not convinced by the rebels and their effects on the country;
As the violence continues in parts of Syria it is not always clear who exactly is behind, for example, the thefts of antiquities from museums and shops, the carting off of medical equipment from hospitals, the widespread stripping of certain factories in places like Aleppo and moving their assets to Turkey, apparently with little if any objection from Ankara, and the damaging of mainly Christian and Shia places of worship. But there is little doubt that Islamist extremists, are behind many of these crimes.
UNICEF hosts blogs illuminating the problems facing the rapidly rising numbers of victims and refugees caused by the conflict.
Women Under Siege maps the increasing amount of sexualized violence that is being used as a weapon of war (in particular by the pro-Assad militias) within the conflict as has been the case in many, many past and ongoing conflicts. As per usual in civil wars, women have become a prime target for violence to damage the “other”.
Basically for information on Syria look for sites who put the people first, regardless of their affiliation, and the politics second.
Jonathan Woodrow Martin