Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
|Arabic: المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان|
The logo of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
|Founder||Osama Suleiman (Rami Abdulrahman)|
|Legal status||Non profit|
|Focus||Human rights activism|
|Owner||Osama Suleiman (Rami Abdulrahman)|
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (also known as SOHR; Arabic: المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان), founded in May 2006, is an information office documenting human rights abuses in Syria, since 2011 focusing on the Syrian Civil War. The SOHR is frequently quoted by major news media since the beginning of the uprising, such as Voice of America, Reuters, BBC, CNN and National Public Radio, about daily numbers of ISIL/ISIS fighters and civilians killed in airstrikes in Syria.
The United Kingdom-based SOHR is run from his home in Coventry by Rami Abdulrahman, (sometimes referred to as Rami Abdul Rahman) a Syrian Sunni Muslim who also owns a clothes shop. After being imprisoned three times in Syria, Abdulrahman fled to the United Kingdom fearing a fourth jail term and has not returned since. The New York Times in April 2013 described him being on the phone all day every day with contacts in Syria, and checking all information himself. Born Osama Suleiman, he adopted a pseudonym during his years of activism in Syria, and has used it publicly ever since.
In a December 2011 interview with Reuters, Abdulrahman said the observatory has a network of 200 people and that six of his sources had been killed. Abdulrahman reports on events in the Syrian uprising, including the deaths of civilians, rebels and army defectors (whom he calls "martyrs") and government soldiers.
SOHR has been accused of selective reporting, covering only violent acts of the government forces against the opposition for the first two years of its existence. Although critics concede that its reports have become less partisan, critics interviewed by AsiaNews, the official press agency of the Roman Catholic Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, charge that as of 2013 SOHR "continues to defend Islamic extremists to avoid losing support among rebel forces".
Charlie Skeltom, in a 2012 opinion piece in The Guardian, questioned the wisdom of those who quote a source that amounts to nothing more than a lone clothes seller, living in Coventry, posing as an organisation with a "grandiose" name.
During a press conference in Moscow on October 22, 2015 Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, dismissed the SOHR as lacking credibility and described director Rami Abdel Rahman as a British national "with neither a journalism degree nor a legal education... not even a secondary education" and no more reliable than "a waiter in a pizzeria."
- 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.
- "Russia questions credibility of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights," RT (25 February 2012). Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- "A Very Busy Man Behind the Syrian Civil War’s Casualty Count". New York Times. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- "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.
- "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights". Syriahr.com. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- AsiaNews: Massacres by Islamic extremists bolster Bashar al-Assad, 17 June 2013, retrieved 8 July 2013
- The Syrian opposition: who's doing the talking?, The Guardian, 12 July 2012
- Russia says reports of Syria hospital strike 'fake', msn.com, October 22, 2015
- Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – website
- "Human Rights Day – Highlighting Syrian Observatory founder and director Rami Abdurrahman," Support Kurds in Syria (SKS) (supportkurds.org) (10 December 2011). Source: Mohammed Abbas, “Coventry – an unlikely home to prominent Syria activist,” Reuters (8 December 2011) with a SKS comment. Retrieved 6 May 2013.