The Syrian Oral History Archive

The Syrian Oral History Archive (SOHA) is an initiative launched by Dawlaty as an attempt to create a comprehensive Syrian narrative about what happened in Syria from the beginning of the peaceful movement in 2011 until today, collecting oral histories and building a unified archive that any Syrian from current and future generations can access. This initiative does not merely focus on identifying violations, but rather tells detailed stories of Syrian men and women, who lived through this period, whether they witnessed violations directly or not.

In addition, this archive contributes to the documentation of these experiences and ordinary life testimonies, that complement the official recorded history by documenting individual and local knowledge, which are widely absent due to exclusion or marginalisation of such voices. Hence, a decisive aim of the archive is to communicate these experiences, needs, and priorities to public opinion and decision-makers.

SOHA relies on the storytelling of narrators to produce an archive that speaks directly on behalf of Syrians, with the greatest possible amount of transparency and inclusivity. Dawlaty has sought to, and continues to work towards reaching all Syrians, wherever they may be, yet in safe environments that guarantee the safety of the narrator, as well as the transparency of the interviews.

Since the collected testimonies span over different periods and places, and as each narrator has experienced the conflict in different ways coming from different regions; and subjected to different forms of violation at both individual and collective levels, the testimonies address a wide range of themes; military transgression, detention, enforced disappearance, bombing, exploitation, corruption, siege, daily suffering, exile and displacement, in addition to changes in social relations, and deprivation of education.

Cooperation and Partnerships

The realization of SOHA has been possible thanks to great partnerships with different organizations and entities that share the interest in developing the work on memory in Syria, in particular those interested in supporting the Syrian Oral History Archive (SOHA) and its specific goals. Among the most important partners of Dawlaty have been:

Women Now for Development

Since the inception of SOHA, Women Now for Development has participated in collecting testimonies, specifically those that focus on female relatives of detainees and the forcibly disappeared in Syria. Through this partnership, a joint report,Shadows of the Disappeared, was produced to highlight the suffering of women as a consequence of the detention or disappearance of their relatives. In addition, an important joint endeavour to support female relatives of detainees and disappeared persons led to the inception of the Families for Freedom (FFF) movement.


As part of the implementation of the SOHA project and its efforts to work creatively on the Syrian memory, a partnership which concluded in 2018 with Zoukak, a non-governmental organisation that believes in theatre as a space for social and political participation, as well as joint and collective thinking. In cooperation with Zoukak, theatrical performances were presented during the Zoukak’s Sidewalks 2018 festival, which was Dalwaty’s first experience with using the archived testimonies in public spaces.

The Ford Foundation

The partnership with the Ford Foundation, a major donor of the project since 2018, provided continuous support for the development of the SOHA Platform and the overall realisation of the SOHA project.


Dawlaty is a nonprofit foundation that believes in nonviolence and peaceful resistance, working towards a democratic and peaceful transition in a state that upholds human rights, equality, tolerance and diversity. Dawlaty strives to support civil society to become an active participant in Syria’s transition towards a just democratic state.

The Archive

Oral history is a method of historical research that uses recorded interviews between informed interlocutors and narrators who have first-hand experiences of important historical events.

The Archive

Request access

Requesting access you can access the complete recordings from the archive by a submission form.