Long after the initial demonstrations in March of 2011 that lead to the beginning of the rebellion against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian civil war is still being waged. The fierce conflict shows no signs of slowing down two years after Assad attempted to violently crackdown on the demonstrations and kicked off the violent uprising. And it is all being recorded through the camera of a smartphone.
One of the stranger developments of the Syrian civil war is the sheer amount of videos being shared on social media video websites such as YouTube. The social media age has made it so that it is quite possible to see examples of what is happening on the ground during a war. And unlike professional militaries that often strive to keep videos like these covered up, the nature of the Syrian rebels allows the footage to flow. Here are six of the most interesting videos from the conflict.
Warning: The following videos contain violence and may be disturbing to some. I also do not recommend you open them up in class or at work.
1. Do not record a tank when it is looking straight at you.
This incredible video shows the hazards of fighting and filming in a war zone. Hopefully the cameraman got out okay from that lucky miss, although the fact that the video was even uploaded seems to suggest that he did.
2. When you are in a war zone, remember to duck.
Another incredible video about how suddenly enemy fire can start in urban warfare. The men manning that anti-aircraft gun are supremely fortunate as that shot appeared mere inches of striking them or their weapon.
3. The Free Syrian Army has some heavy guns on its side.
The armored vehicle in this video is a 2S1 Gvozdika, a self-propelling artillery vehicle that fires 122mm rounds. Roughly 400 were estimated to be in operation in Syria before the start of the conflict, so this video shows that the rebels have had some success in reusing equipment from army defectors or capturing it from hostile army units.
4. This is how you fight a tank that has no infantry support.
At roughly 1:15 in this video is some incredible footage of an infantryman taking on a tank single-handedly. Assad’s control of much of the airspace and the rebel’s skill at ambushes means that armored vehicles such as tanks must operate carefully or risk easy destruction.
5. The Syrian rebels may be using Western weaponry.
The rocket launcher used in the video is a Croatian-made Rak-12 according to some. If true it would mark an expanse in the conflict, as more covert and overt support flushes in to the rebels from abroad.
6. The Syrian rebels have become very good at ambushes.
Here the Syrian rebels ambush a Syrian Army column with improvised explosive devices as booby traps and small arms. They walk away from it in the end with a wealth of weapons, ammunition, and vehicles for their cause. As the conflict has lingered on the Syrian rebels have grown more proficient in their military tactics, taking more of the country away from Assad’s forces.
Overall, the videos of the Syrian Civil War provide a fascinating personal look into a conflict that can seem dry when simply read about in the news. Unfortunately, it seems as though there will be no time soon when these videos stop getting uploaded to YouTube.