When Jabhat al-Nusra’s influence began to grow in northern Syria in general in early 2014, and in the city of Idlib in particular, a number of clandestine groups secretly set out to document and publish the militant group's attacks on journalists and activists. This led in January 2015 to the launch of the Jabhat Nusra Violations campaign, primarily undertaken by young people from Idlib province who had been arrested in or displaced from areas under the group's control. One of the campaign founders, Assem Zeidan, met with Al-Monitor in Gaziantep, Turkey, to discuss the effort he described as aimed at resisting Jabhat al-Nusra intellectually and humanistically through civilian and legal means.
“As a result of Jabhat al-Nusra expanding the scope of its attacks against civilians, journalists and Free Syrian Army [FSA] factions, the need arose for a campaign to document these actions and record associated names and dates through all possible legal means,” Zeidan explained. “Toward that end, a group was formed consisting of young people living outside of Syria, who can easily move about and are not located in areas controlled by al-Nusra.”