Over the course of the Syrian conflict, the international press has been largely restricted from getting into or around Syria.
With fewer and fewer foreign journalists on the ground, amateur footage shot by both rebels and government forces has never been so pivotal in shaping the way we understand a conflict. Since January 2012, over a million videos from Syria have been uploaded to YouTube. Some reach up to half a million views.
Videos have poured in from both sides in an attempt to document, and ultimately influence events, leading observers to dub the Syrian conflict the first YouTube War. But these videos raise important, inescapable questions surrounding their authenticity: How do they get filtered and transmitted out of Syria? How can we trust these videos? TIME explains what you need to know.