In order to stay as current and informed as possible of both recent events and all other background knowledge in Syria, we wanted to provide a few resources that we find to be credible and on-point.  In the intelligence community, this is what is referred to as Open Source intelligence (OSINT)—publically available and overtly collected information.

OSINT is great for getting background knowledge on a particular topic, keeping current with the latest events happening around the world (think twitter in Abbottabad during UBL raid), or for accessing expert analysis from academics or other ten-pound brains who’ve studied and analyzed various aspects of an issue from multiple angles for years at a time.  Keep in mind with OSINT that it’s critical to corroborate any information with other sources, to verify its credibility and accuracy.

The list definitely isn’t all-inclusive but contains a few good primers, proven analysis, and intelligent discourse that we find to be useful.  If any of the readers have other sources they’d like to share, post them in the comments below so everyone can access them.  Information sharing is the key to accurately understanding such a complex and convoluted situation.

Special thanks to SOFREP’s own MAJROD for providing a few of these links and sharing his knowledge with the readership.  The discussion and intelligent debate that occurs at SOFREP is what makes it all the more valuable and unique.

Open Source Center

A project run by the CIA that provides information and analysis on foreign political, military, economic, and technical issues that might not make it into the usual mainstream media circles; however, only available to US federal, state, and local government employees and contractors.

Stratfor Analysis

A global intelligence company that provides great analysis on geopolitical and security issues around the world; they have sitreps, analysis, and other relevant reporting on Syria that weeds out a lot of what the mainstream media won’t.  Some of it requires a subscription—some doesn’t.

Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

A private institute founded to provide real-time, independent, and open source analysis on current military operations.  They do an excellent job of providing strategic analysis that presents issues objectively and logically.  They also provide products ranging from in-depth reports on various entities (i.e. the Syrian Opposition) to the strategic implications of specific tactical events in the Syrian AOR.

ISW Syria Blog

ISW’s latest blog dedicated completely to Syria.  Provides great tactical, operational, and strategic level reporting and analysis based completely on open-source information.

Syria’s Armed Opposition

A relatively current and highly detailed report on the Syrian Opposition, to include its structure, organization, and leadership; includes relevant graphics and charts to support the analysis and lists out the various member groups and leadership.

Other Nation Support

CIA Reading List: Suggested readings for intelligence professionals

Read Next: CIA Reading List: Suggested readings for intelligence professionals

A decent current summary outlining the roles that Gulf States such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia are playing in arming and supporting the Opposition.

Military Dynamics and US Options for Intervention

An outstanding write-up from the Brookings Institution that highlights the strengths and weaknesses of both the Opposition and the Regime, identifies the current status of the conflict, and presents several options for US intervention.  Only twenty pages long but well worth the time.

For Someone With no Patience or Time

A good primer on what the hell is happening in Syria, for those who’ve missed the past two years or why it’s been in the news lately. Definitely a good ice-breaker.


(Editor’s Note: We’ve also been doing a little research and journalism on Syria and whatnot.)

(Featured Image Courtesy: The Blaze)