Project description

While battling each out for control of Syria, armed groups drove Islamic State back to its last, tiny enclave on the Euphrates River and brought the jihadist group’s territorial rule to an end. The project analyses and visualises monthly data from the Carter Center of over 5,000 communities across Syria and which armed groups are controlling those locations. The graphic not only looks at the trend across Syria and over time, but it examines each community and it reveals that one locations, the Sheikh Kif area of Aleppo, is the only community tracked by the Carter Center to have been controlled by the four rival factions.

What makes this project innovative?

Many news outlets, including Reuters, have used this data source or similar sources to map areas of control across Syria. This project takes that very same data but rethinks the visualisation and narrative to focus in on the individual Syrian communities. New patterns start to emerge, as does an understanding that these communities, many of them small and rural, have been the battlegrounds throughout this multi-sided war.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The project was widely circulated on social media and received positive feedback from the Carter Center. The project has run alongside many Reuters stories on Islamic State and Syria, enhancing readers’ understanding of the conflict in Syria.

Source and methodology

Reuters worked with The Carter Center’s Syria Conflict Mapping project which documents reported incidents of changing territorial control of armed groups, adding these to a database of over 200,000 conflict events that is the basis for their Analysis of the Syrian conflict. The Carter Center has been documenting nearly 6,000 communities since 2015 and the armed groups controlling those locations.

Technologies Used

Node.js, d3.js, canvas, R

Project members

Gurman Bhatia, Michael Ovaska, Simon Scarr.



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