‘An Entire Archive of Our Life.’ Saving the Record of Syria’s War

‘An Entire Archive of Our Life.’ Saving the Record of Syria’s War
Thousands of anti-Syrian government protesters mark 10 years since the start of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, that later turned into an insurgency and civil war, in Idlib, Syria, March 15, 2021 (AP photo by Ghaith Alsayed).

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Managing Editor Frederick Deknatel highlights a major unfolding story in the Middle East, while curating some of the best news and analysis from the region. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive Middle East Memo by email every week.

It is probably the most documented conflict in history. Since Syria’s civil war began following the Assad regime’s suppression of a popular uprising a decade ago, activists, citizen journalists and everyday Syrians alike have uploaded videos and images of the conflict for anyone around the world to see. Reporters may have been widely barred from the country, but every day of the war, firsthand material has been broadcast from Syria on social media and on video-sharing sites like YouTube.

Yet much of this expansive and running archive of the worst war of this century is at risk of disappearing. Since 2017, YouTube, which is owned by Google, has removed hundreds of thousands of videos uploaded by Syrian activists, through automated software designed to take down violent or “objectionable” content, including graphic videos. It’s an effort to expunge extremist propaganda from the platform, but it comes with other costs.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.