The news about Syria has been, and continues to be, important, fast-paced and at times overwhelming. It’s a lot to keep up with, not least because every facet of the conflict and how the world responds is complicated and deeply controversial. Smart people can and do disagree vehemently about what it all means – and what to do about it.
These are the people you should follow on Twitter to keep track of what’s going on inside of Syria (as well as within relevant circles outside of it), what it means, why it matters and how to think about it.
You should follow the whole list. But if this is too much, skip down to the general observers and start by following them, a great way to ease into Syria coverage.
(1) NMSyria – Documents every twist and turn
Syrian regime has begun evacuating its main security headquarters across Damascus in preparation for possible US strikes tomorrow.
— نور (@NMSyria) August 28, 2013
(2) AlexanderPageSY – Fast, lots of good information
— Alexander Page (@AlexanderPageSY) May 4, 2013
(3) Amal Hanano – After two-plus years, still remembers every fallen activist, every significant date
Wow. If all these anti-intervention people had opposed Russian/Iranian/Hizbollian intervention then we may not have been here now. #Syria
— Lina Sergie Attar (@AmalHanano) August 30, 2013
(4) BSyria – A heavy but thoughtful aggregator
"Limited" strike = no solution to refugee crisis; no solution to growing strength of AQ-backed jihadists; no solution to human suffering
— BSyria (@BSyria) August 28, 2013
(5) The_47th – Still angry. Can you blame him?
Think of the preparations Assad is doing: emptying Gov & Mil buildings, filling them up with prisoners, relocating CW, artillery in2 cities.
— The 47th (@THE_47th) August 28, 2013
(1) Liz Sly – My Washington Post colleague. Passionate about Syria. Brutally honest. (Also follow The Post's Loveday Morris)
The region is bracing for what will surely come to be known as "The War of Saving Faces". How many will join in to save face?
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) August 30, 2013
(2) Rania Abouzeid – Despite the danger, still travels widely and deeply in Syria
— Rania Abouzeid (@Raniaab) August 3, 2013
(3) Martin Chulov – Thoughtful, fast-paced
— Martin Chulov (@martinchulov) August 25, 2013
(4) Jenan Moussa – Always on the ground; a remarkable story-teller
I am here w/ lady from Idleb. I ask if shes with/ agnst intervention. Says: 'Don't know wut 2 think anymore. I'm with only if Assad go down'
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) August 30, 2013
(5) Hassan Hassan – Analytical, knowledgable
I'm fascinated by the reactions of Islamist fighters in Syria to looming US attacks. Hiding. Spreading advice. Changing black banners.
— Hassan Hassan حسن (@hhassan140) August 28, 2013
(6) Abbie Fielding-Smith – Reads widely, exhaustive
Source quoted here says Syrian Air Force Intell. behind CW use, army officers claim didn't know they were firing it http://t.co/MeLDAgpqlX
— Abbie Fielding-Smith (@AbbieFS) August 26, 2013
(1) Emile Hokayem – No-nonsense military analyst, cuts through the noise
The ambiguity that comes w/ use of chemical weapons is very reason why Assad has used them. The current debate shows it's a political weapon
— Emile Hokayem (@emile_hokayem) August 29, 2013
(2) Joshua Landis – Controversial, but few are as knowledgeable on Syria
— Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) August 11, 2013
(3) Randa Slim – Good at seeing the bigger, regional picture
— Randa Slim (@rmslim) August 26, 2013
(4) Mike Doran – For the right-leaning Syria hawk perspective
Can Assad withstand the Twitter assault from high level US officials?
— Mike Doran (@Doranimated) August 22, 2013
(5) Toby Craig Jones – For the left-leaning Syria dove perspective
(1) Laura Rozen – Picks up every detail, assiduously fair-minded, insightful; if you follow only one person on this list
— Laura Rozen (@lrozen) August 24, 2013
(2) Lara Setrakian – Founder of the invaluable Syria Deeply
One tidbit: 'Once the “limited strike” is done Assad will consider his dues paid. He will proceed with conventional massacres.' #Syria
— Lara Setrakian (@Lara) August 29, 2013
(3) Michael Weiss – Deeply knowledgeable on Syrian rebels and opposition activists
Incredibly interesting if true. Mohammed Aslan, head of CW at Republican Guard, reportedly executed by regime: https://t.co/T7rYBBnn7V
— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) August 30, 2013
(4) Dan Trombly – No one is sure how he knows so much, but he does
Last conflict I can think of US jumped into with France but without Britain was... Indochina, I'm pretty sure. Fun trivia there, y'all.
— Dan Trombly (@stcolumbia) August 29, 2013
(5) Jeffrey Goldberg – A habit for putting it well
If Vladimir Putin gets to define what is legal by international standards, then int'l law doesn't mean very much: http://t.co/OReF9YQEQv
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) August 30, 2013
(6) Brown_Moses – Great at finding, evaluating and verifying on-the-ground videos, photos and first-hand accounts
Video Shows Assad's Forces Loading, Firing, Munition Linked To Chemical Attacks http://t.co/b2PsXN3F7a
— Brown Moses (@Brown_Moses) August 29, 2013
(7) Laila Lalami – A novelist's eye
Recipe for political analysts. Syria is [pick one]: Iraq in 2003, Iraq in 1991, Kosovo in 1999, Bosnia in 1995. Add self-righteousness. Mix.
— Laila Lalami (@LailaLalami) August 29, 2013
Note: You might find yourself disappointed by the dearth of women on this list, other than among the journalists. I am too. The Washington foreign policy community has a well-documented and unfortunate habit of favoring men. As for the near-total absence of women from Syrian online activist communities, this suggests some theories.