Amateur videographers — anyone with a smartphone, Internet access and an eagerness to get a message out to the world — have driven the world's outlook on the war through
The tens of thousands of videos have at times raised outrage over the crackdown by the regime of President
The videos have also made more difficult the task of navigating between truth and propaganda — with all sides using them to promote their cause. Assad opponents post the majority of videos, and nearly every rebel-held area or brigade has a media office that produces and disseminates them. To a lesser degree, regime supporters produce some videos — but they also pick apart opposition videos, trying to show they are fake.
In the Vietnam War, the 1991 Gulf War and the second Gulf War in 2003, foreign media directly covered the conflicts, often with reporters embedded with or accompanying the American military.
Media organizations, including The Associated Press, have sent teams to
That has forced international media to cover the war to a large extent from the outside, and the flow of videos is one element taken into account in the reporting.
The videos have undeniably ensured that details of a bloody conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people and ravaged the country do not go unnoticed, providing a look at the horrors of war: villagers digging with through destroyed buildings their bare hands for survivors; massacre victims in pools of blood; children with grave wounds from heavy bombardment.
"In the past, if the media wasn't there to cover an event, it was like it never happened," said
The phenomenon of amateurs chronicling the war themselves "is changing the rules of war," he said. "There are no restrictions. It's cheap, it's easy and you don't need permission from anyone to do it."
"We're being bombarded with messages from every direction at breakneck speed, the likes of which we've never seen before," she said.
The world's response to the use of chemical weapons in
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