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How to Collect Sources from Syria If You Don’t Read Arabic

By Noor Nahas

Twitter search results for "درعا عمليات البنيان المرصوص"

Information from groups involved in international conflicts has never as accessible as it is now. Rebel groups run social media accounts, video of missile launches are posted to Twitter, and the production value of propaganda have skyrocketed.

For researchers and journalists that do not master the Arabic language, the same problems still exist: how does one, with no knowledge of a region’s language, collect accurate and timely information?

While traditional resources like translators and sources remain important to any non-native speaker, a number of tools and strategies exist on the internet for doing some if not most of the work yourself.

This guide will introduce you to some free and easy to use tools that should you get you started on researching groups and verify content you find online.

Establishing a Basic Understanding

The Syrian civil war is a complex, convoluted mess of alliances, backers, and enemies. In a matter of days, a group can go from allies, enemies, and back to working closely.

As you can see from this detailed chart of groups and factions, which may be already partly outdated by now, by Cody Roche, keeping track of groups is at best extremely difficult.

You will need to familiarize yourself with the basic actors, overall factions, and recognize major areas of interest. This involves looking at important mainstream sources like Associated Press or any other major news organization for a broad overview or simply using a site like Wikipedia.

This will give you some initial insight to begin your research and identification of a group, but also important information like city names, province names, or other important geographical identification.

Once you established a basic understanding you’ll be ready to jump into what’s available in English language resources.

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