Through The Lens Of Crisis: Covid-19
and The People On The Frontlines Of Conflict

Through the Lens of Crisis: Covid-19 and the People on the Frontlines of Conflict was a project that highlighted local stories and documented on-the-ground realities in the Middle East and North Africa against the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic. Supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Soufan Center collaborated with journalist and security expert James Blake and the image verification platform Truepic to document these untold stories.

Working with local journalists, the project documented the humanitarian, societal, and security effects of COVID-19 across the MENA region. The stories shed light on several issues, including the lack of international assistance in conflict-affected areas, the expansion of emergency powers and restrictions by governments in response to COVID-19, the use of disinformation campaigns by state and non-state actors, the dangers of human trafficking, forced labor, and modern-day slavery in vulnerable communities, and the risk of renewed protests and instability across the region as unemployment and poverty rise.

Stories From the Field

Sinjar, Iraq: COVID-19 drives Yazidis to face new risks in return to Sinjar
December  7, 2020

“I am a Yazidi from Tel-banat, Sinjar. It has been two months since we (our family) returned to Sinjar. The reason for our returning was because the deteriorating situation of IDP camps…

Lebanon: Explosion Exacerbates Political and Economic Crises, as COVID-19 Looms
August 10, 2020

On August 4, a series of explosions, resulting in a dramatic blast, rocked Beirut’s seafront, resulting in at least 200 deaths and thousands of injuries, with many still unaccounted for.

COVID-19 Devastates an Already War-Torn Yemen on Brink of Collapse
July 23, 2020

“The authorities didn’t believe coronavirus existed at all in Yemen, even though the virus was spreading exponentially, and deaths cases were surging,” said Dr. Madhi Mahdi Abdel Qawi, head of the intensive care unit at the Aden German International Hospital in the Lajih governate in northern Yemen.

COVID-19 Risks Catastrophe in Vulnerable Idlib
June 19, 2020

The Soufan Center heard firsthand from multiple displaced persons, healthcare workers, and humanitarian organizations in Idlib, Syria about prevention efforts related to a potential COVID-19 outbreak, using Truepic image verification platform to record select images and interviews and help ensure accuracy and veracity of reporting. The interviews took place from late May to early June.