Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

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Group.png Syrian Observatory for Human Rights   Twitter WebsiteRdf-icon.png
SOHR.png
Formation2006
FounderRami Abdulrahman
TypeNGO
StaffSuleiman)

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), founded in May 2006 by Rami Abdulrahman, is a UK-based information office that has focused since 2011 on the Syrian civil war and is frequently quoted by major Western news media, such as Voice of America, Reuters, BBC, CNN and National Public Radio.[1][2][3]

SOHR has been described as being "pro-opposition"[4][5][6][7] and anti-Assad.[8][9]

A 2012 report described Abdulrahman as a useless, utterly compromised source of information who has every reason to twist reality to suit his admittedly politically-motivated agenda of overthrowing the Syrian government. However, for a propagandist, he is a goldmine. That is why despite the overt conflict of interests, the lack of credibility, the obvious disadvantage of being nearly 3,000 miles away from the alleged subject of his 'observations', or the fact that a single man is ludicrously calling himself a 'Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' in the first place, the Western media still eagerly laps up his constant torrent of disinformation.[10]

In April 2017 Reuters news agency, citing the SOHR, reported that a chemical weapons attack had taken place in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province, killing at least 58 people. The Syrian army denied it was behind the attack, in which the nerve gas sarin was alleged to have been used.[11] But Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, was quick to blame the Syrian government saying that the "Assad regime bears responsibility for ‘awful’ Syria ‘chemical’ attack.” Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu joined in on the condemnation, as did Amnesty International.[12] But other commentators, noting that pictures of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated and UK-funded White Helmets handling corpses without wearing sufficient safety gear, such as masks and gloves, suggested the attack had been faked so as to persuade Donald Trump to take punitive action against Vladimir Putin and his ally Bashar al-Assad.[13]

One-man band

SOHR is run by Syrian Sunni Muslim Rami Abdulrahman from his home in Coventry where he owns a clothes shop. Born Osama Suleiman, he adopted a pseudonym during his years of activism in Syria, and has used it publicly ever since.[14] After being imprisoned three times in Syria, Abdulrahman fled to the United Kingdom fearing a fourth jail term and has not returned.

In a December 2011 interview with Reuters, Abdulrahman said the SOHR has a network of more than 200 people and that six of his sources had been killed. In 2012, Süddeutsche Zeitung described the organisation as a one-man-operation with a single permanent worker, Rami Abdulrahman.[15] In April 2013, the New York Times described him as being on the phone all day every day with contacts in Syria, relying on four men inside the country who collate information from more than 230 activists while cross-checking all information with sources himself.

Praise and criticism

The United Nations, newspapers, and some NGOs say that SOHR is an accurate source. "Generally, the information on the killings of civilians is very good, definitely one of the best, including the details on the conditions in which people were supposedly killed," said Neil Sammonds, a researcher for Amnesty International.

However, SOHR has been accused of selective reporting, with AsiaNews saying that they covered only violent acts of the government forces against the opposition for the first two years of its existence.[16] SOHR has also been accused of reporting militant anti-government fighters among dead civilians,[17] and has been criticised for refusing to share its raw data or methodology.[18]

In October 2015, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova questioned the reliability of SOHR saying that it is based in the UK and has no ground access to Syria.[19] In March 2017, German Foreign Office spokesman Sebastian Fischer criticised the credibility of the organisation and called its findings "unsubstantial" after SOHR reported that a coalition airstrike carried out on intelligence from Germany caused civilian casualties. He went on to say that it is crucial to "take into account that those, who give specific information over to them [the SOHR], have their own interests consisting of this information being presented to the public in a particular way."[20]

 

Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Another Chemical Weapon False Flag on the Eve of Peace Talks in Brusselsarticle4 April 2017Paul AntonopoulosThe Khan Sheikoun gas attack in Idlib province, like that in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013, can be a very useful means of propaganda
Document:Swedish Medical Association Says White Helmets Murdered Kids for Fake Gas Attack Videosarticle6 April 2017Gordon DuffPresident Trump is now threatening to take America into a war against Syria, Iran and even Russia, a war he says is justified by “evidence” he received from Al Qaeda's White Helmets, a “Deep State” organisation funded by the CIA and MI6
Document:The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is a Propaganda Front funded by the EUarticle12 April 2013Tony CartalucciNew York Times admits fraudulent Syrian human rights group is UK-based “one-man band” funded by EU and one other “European country”
Document:Who has Committed the Recent Gas Attack in SyriaArticle6 April 2017Jean PérierThe plan to incriminate the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons was finalised at a meeting in an Israeli army camp deep inside the occupied territory of the Golan Heights attended by leaders of a number of terrorist groups sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, Israel, France, UK and the United States.


References

  1. "26 civilians killed in Syria on Friday: Observatory". The Asian Age. 18 February 2012. Archived from the original on 11 June 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  2. "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights". Syriahr.com. Retrieved 12 September 2012.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  3. Abbas, Mohammed; Golovnina, Maria (editing) (8 December 2011). "Coventry – an unlikely home to prominent Syria activist". Reuters. Archived from the original on 11 June 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  4. "Report: Almost 6,000 Dead in Syria During Geneva Talks". TIME Magazine. 17 February 2014.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  5. "Syrian civil war: Jabhat al-Nusra's massacre of Druze villagers shows they're just as nasty as Isis". Independent. 13 June 2015.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  6. "Syrian opposition group accuses rebel unit of torture". Reuters. 9 April 2013.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  7. "Syrian rebels 'killed in army ambush near Damascus'". BBC. 7 August 2013.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  8. Al-Jazeera
  9. Haaretz
  10. "West's Syrian Narrative Based on 'Guy in British Apartment'"
  11. "Dozens reported killed in alleged gas attack in Syria, military denies involvement"
  12. "SYRIA: Another Chemical Weapon False Flag on the Eve of Peace Talks in Brussels"
  13. "Why the Syrian Gas Attack Is Probably Fake"
  14. "A Very Busy Man Behind the Syrian Civil War's Casualty Count". New York Times. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  15. London, Jonas Schaible (1 November 2012). "Syrische Beobachtungsstelle für Menschenrechte: Ominöse Protokollanten des Todes". Retrieved 24 November 2016 – via Sueddeutsche.de.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  16. "Massacres by Islamic extremists bolster Bashar al-Assad". AsiaNews. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  17. "Syria Contextualized: The Numbers Game - Middle East Policy Council". Retrieved 24 November 2016.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  18. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/12/03/200000-dead-why-syrias-rising-death-toll-is-so-divisive/?utm_term=.0ecd5bd8d3f7
  19. War of Words: Russian Foreign Ministry calls out MSM reports on hospital strike in Syria. RT. Published 23 October 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  20. German FM doubts SOHR credibility after report on deadly coalition airstrike in Syria. RT. Published 31 March 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
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