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Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

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Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR)
المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان
FoundedMay 2006 (2006-05)
FounderOsama Suleiman (aka Rami Abdulrahman)
Legal statusNon profit
FocusHuman rights activism
Official language
Arabic, English
OwnerOsama Suleiman (aka Rami Abdulrahman)
One person ("Rami Abdulrahman")[1][2]

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (also known as SOHR; Arabic: المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان), founded in May 2006, is a United Kingdom-based information office whose stated aim is to document human rights abuses in Syria; since 2011 it has focused on the Syrian Civil War. It has been frequently quoted by major news outlets since the beginning of the war about daily numbers of deaths from all sides in the conflict[3][4] and particularly civilians killed in airstrikes in Syria.[5] The SOHR has been described as being "pro-opposition" and anti-Assad,[6][7][8][9][10][11][excessive citations] but has reported on war crimes committed by all sides of the conflict.


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is run by "Rami Abdulrahman" (sometimes referred to as Rami Abdul Rahman), from his home in Coventry.[2] Abdulrahman is a Syrian Sunni who owns a clothing shop. Born Osama Suleiman, he adopted a pseudonym during his years of activism in Syria and has used it publicly ever since.[2] 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.[2]

In 2013, the New York Times reported that Rami Abdulrahman had received small subsidies from the European Union and one European country.[2] Medialens said that journalist Ian Sinclair confirmed "in communication with the Foreign Office" that "the UK funded a project worth £194,769.60 to provide the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights with communications equipment and cameras."[12]

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


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."[2]

SOHR has been described as being "pro-opposition"[6][7][8][9] or anti-Assad[10][11] and also anti-Turkey and anti-Syrian National Army[14] and has been criticised for refusing to share its data or methodology.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Schaible, Jonas (26 November 2012). "Syrische Beobachtungsstelle für Menschenrechte: Ominöse Protokollanten des Todes (Syrian observatory for human rights: Ominous loggers of death)" (in German). London: sueddeutsche.de. ISSN 0174-4917. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f MacFarquhar, Neil (9 April 2013). "A Very Busy Man Behind the Syrian Civil War's Casualty Count". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 14 January 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  3. ^ "26 civilians killed in Syria on Friday: Observatory". The Asian Age. 18 February 2012. Archived from the original on 17 June 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  4. ^ "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights". Syriahr.com. 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 22 July 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  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. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022.
  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". america.aljazeera.com.
  11. ^ a b "Syrian Forces Take Last Rebel Stronghold on Lebanese Border". TheMarker. 16 March 2014 – via Haaretz. {{cite journal}}: Unknown parameter |agency= ignored (help)
  12. ^ The Syrian Observatory - Funded By The Foreign Office, 4 June 2018, Medialens
  13. ^ "About Us • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights". 6 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Western media's principles blinded by anti-Turkey bias".
  15. ^ Adam Taylor: "200,000 dead? Why Syria’s rising death toll is so divisive" 3 December 2014, washingtonpost.com Accessed 20 February 2018

External links[edit]