Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

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Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR)
Arabic: المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Logo.jpg
The logo of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
Founded May 2006 (2006-05)
Founder Osama Suleiman (Rami Abdulrahman)
Type NGO
Legal status Non profit
Focus Human rights activism
Official language
Arabic, English
Owner Osama Suleiman (Rami Abdulrahman)
One person (Osama Suleiman)[1][2]

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (also known as SOHR; Arabic: المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان‎), founded in May 2006, is a UK-based information office whose stated aim is to document human rights abuses in Syria; it has focused since 2011 on the Syrian Civil War. It is frequently quoted by major Western news media, such as Voice of America, Reuters, BBC, CNN, Deutschlandfunk (DLF) and National Public Radio, since the beginning of the uprising about daily numbers of deaths from all sides in the conflict[3][4] and civilians killed in airstrikes in Syria.[5] SOHR has been described as being "pro-opposition"[6][7][8][9] and anti-Assad.[10][11]


The organisation is run by Rami Abdulrahman (sometimes referred to as Rami Abdul Rahman), from his home in Coventry.[12] He is a Syrian Sunni Muslim who 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.[12] After being imprisoned three times in Syria, Abdulrahman fled to the United Kingdom fearing a fourth jail term and has not returned.[5]

In a December 2011 interview with Reuters, Abdulrahman claimed the observatory has a network of more than 200 people and that six of his sources had been killed.[5] In 2012, Süddeutsche Zeitung described the organisation as a one-man-operation with Abdulrahman its only permanent member.[1][verification needed] In April 2013, The New York Times described him as being on the phone all day everyday with contacts in Syria, relying on four individuals inside the country who collate information from more than 230 activists, while cross-checking all information with sources himself.[12]


The organisation says on its website that "The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is not associated or linked to any political body."[13]

In 2013 the New York Times reported that that Rami Abdulrahman had received small subsidies from the European Union and one European country.[12] In his column for the Mail on Sunday, Peter Hitchens wrote that the UK Foreign Office had confirmed to him that "the UK funded a project worth £194,769.60 to provide the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights with communications equipment and cameras."[14] The number was later confirmed by email to Medialens.[15]


Neil Sammonds, a British researcher for the London-based Amnesty International, said, "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."[12]

SOHR has been described as being "pro-opposition"[6][7][8][9] or anti-Assad[10][11] and has been criticised for refusing to share its data or methodology.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Schaible, Jonas (2012-11-26). "Syrische Beobachtungsstelle für Menschenrechte: Ominöse Protokollanten des Todes (Syrian observatory for human rights: Ominous loggers of death)". (in German). London. ISSN 0174-4917. Retrieved 2017-12-11. 
  2. ^ MacFarquhar, Neil (2013-04-09). "Rami Abdul Rahman's Syrian Observatory for Human Rights". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-11. 
  3. ^ "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. 
  4. ^ "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights". Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c 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. 
  6. ^ a b "Report: Almost 6,000 Dead in Syria During Geneva Talks". TIME Magazine. 17 February 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Syrian civil war: Jabhat al-Nusra's massacre of Druze villagers shows they're just as nasty as Isis". Independent. 13 June 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Syrian opposition group accuses rebel unit of torture". Reuters. 9 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Syrian rebels 'killed in army ambush near Damascus'". BBC. 7 August 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "ISIL fights Syrian rebels near Aleppo as army prepares assault". 
  11. ^ a b Reuters (16 March 2014). "Syrian Forces Take Last Rebel Stronghold on Lebanese Border" – via Haaretz. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "A Very Busy Man Behind the Syrian Civil War's Casualty Count". New York Times. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  13. ^ About Us
  14. ^ Hitchens, Peter (13 May 2018). "What moral standing do we have after this outrage? And are we about to join *another* idiotic war, like feeble minions?". Mail On Sunday. 
  15. ^ The Syrian Observatory - Funded By The Foreign Office, 4 June, 2018, Medialens
  16. ^ Adam Taylor: "200,000 dead? Why Syria’s rising death toll is so divisive" 3 December 2014, Accessed 20 February 2018

External links[edit]