In the context of the rapidly developing conflict in Syria, Syria Conflict Monitor (SCM) was established in early 2012 to collect, code, and analyze open-source material of the Syrian armed opposition. Today SCM’s dataset stands as the foremost visual, digital, and oral record for policymakers, researchers, international organizations, and general public, to better understand Syria’s armed conflict. Since its inception, SCM has amassed one of the largest usable datasets on the armed opposition, with more than four thousand videos, representing over seventy hours of content.
Using sixty distinct variables, SCM tracks three main categories of videos:
· Formation of new armed opposition groups
· Battlefield operations of armed opposition groups
· Regime attacks on Syrian cities
What kinds of questions can SCM’s dataset and analysis answer?
SCM’s dataset and conflict visualization tools offer the policy community, academics, international organizations, and the public an invaluable three-dimensional view of the ongoing conflict. Not only does SCM’s data provide exacting new detail about the relative power and influence of armed opposition groups and the ongoing dynamics of the conflict, but it also assists those interested in preparing for a post-conflict Syria in areas such as demilitarization, transitional justice, and security. Finally, SCM data collection and conflict visualization tools establish a new, scalable model for understanding the dynamics of conflicts in real time, based on the use of social media.
SCM Timeline Series - Alpha
As the centrality of knowing “who the opposition is” increases in magnitude exponentially, so does the amount of information emerging from social and traditional media sources. For even the most seasoned Syria observer, tracing the evolution and current activities of any particular armed group in the conflict can be mind boggling, if not impossible.
For the policy community, a thorough knowledge of each group’s ideology, fighting prowess, and system of alliances is imperative. For international organizations, knowing which groups control which areas, and who is poised to wield power in a post-Assad Syria, is the key to planning transition strategies in areas such as security, rule-of-law, humanitarian support, and governance. For the public, a keen understanding of Syria’s armed opposition is essential to any productive discourse on the conflict and its ramifications.
Thus, utilizing our extensive dataset and experience, SCM has launched the SCM Timeline series - Alpha. Bridging the gaps left by the fragmentary information glimpsed in the media and prodigious amounts of raw data, the SCM Timeline series employs the SCM dataset to present coherent narratives for some of Syria’s most active armed groups, in a manner that offers both experts and newcomers a clear picture of their historical development and current activities.
Information on existing groups in the SCM Timeline series is updated every other day, while new groups will be continuously added in the coming weeks and months.