Rami Abdul Rahman, AKA Syrian Observatory for Human Rights


The Living Force
voyageur said:
This Lord Tim Bell seems like a real piece of work, although likely very familiar to EU readers here. The Baron appears to have also formed the group, Sans Frontières (Doctors without Boarders); so that now makes sense to me. _http://www.prweek.com/article/1406912/lord-bell-quits-bell-pottinger-chairman-form-new-pr-venture-sans-frontieres

A wiki page entry says a few things about the Baron: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Bell,_Baron_Bell

I'm sure that his page in life is very dark beyond wiki.

Thanks for digging deeper into Lord Tim Bell's background, Voyageur. Looks like we have a "live one on the fishing line" that needs further investigation? Very interesting that Bell formed the group, Sans Frontières (Doctors without Boarders). Wonder what else "he formed" to help the Syrian War? The White Helmets, maybe? And does Bellingcat and SOHR get their pay checks from Lord Tim Bell - Bell Pottinger?

Bell Pottinger's operations on behalf of the US government stopped in 2011 as American troops withdrew from Iraq, and its unit that worked there no longer exists.

So, I'm assuming Bell Pottinger's operations moved to Syria or their working out of Jordan, where the U.S. Military Brass have stationed most of their highly trained personnel and communications?

RT picked up on the Bureau of Investigative Journalism article.

Pentagon paid PR firm $540mn to make fake terrorist videos

2 Oct, 2016 - The Pentagon paid a UK PR firm half a billion dollars to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq in a secret propaganda campaign exposed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

PR firm Bell Pottinger, known for its array of controversial clients including the Saudi government and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s foundation, worked with the US military to create the propaganda in a secretive operation.

The firm reported to the CIA, the National Security Council and the Pentagon on the project with a mandate to portray Al-Qaeda in a negative light and track suspected sympathizers.

Both the White House and General David Petraeus, the former general who shared classified information with his mistress, signed off on the content produced by the agency.

The Bell Pottinger operation started soon after the US invasion of Iraq and was tasked with promoting the “democratic elections” for the administration before moving on to more lucrative psychological and information operations.

Former employee Martin Wells told the Bureau how he found himself working in Iraq after being hired as a video editor by Bell Pottinger. Within 48 hours, he was landing in Baghdad to edit content for secret “psychological operations” at Camp Victory.

The firm created television ads showing Al-Qaeda in a negative light as well as creating content to look as though it had come from “Arabic TV”. Crews were sent out to film bombings with low quality video. The firm would then edit it to make it look like news footage.

They would craft scripts for Arabic soap operas where characters would reject terrorism with happy consequences. The firm also created fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos, which were then planted by the military in homes they raided.

Employees were given specific instructions to create the videos. “We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use Al-Qaeda's footage,” Wells was told. “We need it to be 10 minutes long, and it needs to be in this file format, and we need to encode it in this manner.”

The videos were created to play on Real Player which needs an internet connection to run. The CDs were embedded with a code linking to Google Analytics which allowed the military to track IP addresses that the videos were played on.

According to Wells, the videos were picked up in Iran, Syria and the US.

"If one, 48 hours or a week later shows up in another part of the world, then that’s the more interesting one,” Wells explained. “And that’s what they’re looking for more, because that gives you a trail.”

The Pentagon confirmed the PR firm did work for them under the Information Operations Task Force (IOTF) creating content they say was “truthful”. The firm also worked under the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (JPOTF). The Pentagon said it could not comment on JPOTF operations.

US law prohibits the government from using propaganda on its population, hence the use of an outside firm to create the content.

Documents show the Pentagon paid $540 million to Bell Pottinger in contracts between 2007 and 2011, with another contract for $120 million in 2006. The firm ended its work with the Pentagon in 2011.

In 2009, it was reported that the Pentagon had hired controversial PR firm, The Rendon Group, to monitor the reporting of journalists embedded with the U.S. military, to assess whether they were giving "positive" coverage to its missions.

It was also revealed in 2005 that Washington based PR company the Lincoln Group had been placing articles in newspapers in Iraq which were secretly written by the US military. A Pentagon investigation cleared the group of any wrongdoing.


The Living Force
I have noticed on occasions, that Press TV often publishes articles from SOHR.

Syrian army forces battled foreign-backed terrorists in Aleppo on Friday as President Bashar Assad pledged to use recapture of the city as a "springboard" for liberation of other areas.

Syria battles for Aleppo as West mulls options

Fri Oct 14, 2016 - Clashes were taking place on the northern and southern edges of the city, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which is sympathetic to militants said.

It reported dozens of overnight airstrikes on eastern Aleppo which is under the control of Takfiri terrorists.

Russian aircraft, based the Hmeimim airfield in Syria, assist the Arab army in targeting terrorist positions in the city.

On Friday, President Vladimir Putin ratified an agreement with the Syrian government that allows Russia to use the air base indefinitely, the Kremlin said.

The ratification of the deal, which follows votes by both Russia's parliament and senate, comes as tensions with the West spike over Aleppo.

The US and its allies are angry over Syrian army advances in the city and have tried to bring them to a halt through pressuring both Damascus and Moscow.

US security meeting Having cut off diplomatic talks with Russia after a ceasefire in Syria failed, President Barack Obama was to convene his National Security Council for a highly anticipated meeting on Friday.

US officials said Obama and his advisers were expected to consider their military and other options in Syria, Reuters news agency reported.

One set of options, the report said, includes direct US military action such as airstrikes on Syrian military bases, munitions depots or radar and anti-aircraft bases.

Reuters quoted an unnamed US official as saying that such a decision could raise the possibility of a direct confrontation with Russia that Obama has been at pains to avoid.

“US officials said they consider it unlikely that Obama will order US airstrikes on Syrian government targets, and they stressed that he may not make any decisions at the planned meeting of his National Security Council,” the news agency reported.

New arms for terrorists One alternative, US officials said, is allowing allies to provide US-vetted militants with more sophisticated weapons, although not shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.

The United States has been supporting so-called “moderate” militants fighting to topple President Assad.

However, a ceasefire agreement with Russia last month collapsed after the US failed to separate those militants from terrorists as the deal required.

On Thursday, Russia said it was prepared to secure safe passage for militants to quit Aleppo.

"We are ready to ensure the safe withdrawal of armed rebels, the unimpeded passage of civilians to and from eastern Aleppo, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid there," Russian Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoy said.

However, a new complication emerged after Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said his country was considering military options in the Syria conflict.

Johnson said the UK had "a very serious problem with Russia,” accusing Moscow of being “reckless and aggressive.”

Syrian government forces have encircled the eastern half of Aleppo, tightening the noose around terrorists holed up in the area.

'US hegemony' In interview with Russian media outlet Komsomolskaya Pravda released on Friday, President Assad voiced his intention to recapture the northern city's militant-held neighborhoods.

“You have to keep cleaning this area and to push the terrorists to Turkey to go back to where they came from, or to kill them. There's no other option," he said.

Assad said the conflict in Syria is being used by the US as a way of retaining global dominance.

The US involvement in Syria "is about keeping the hegemony of the Americans around the world, not allowing anyone to be a partner on the political or international arena, whether Russia or even their allies in the West."

Assad said the source of the problem is terrorism and “no matter who's interfering in Syria now, the most important thing is who is supporting the terrorists on daily basis, every hour, every day."


The Living Force
Found this at Liveleaks with a EuroNews video clip. In the "comment" section - there are a few photos with women in While Helmets, with a tag line, "Hillary for America".

Syrian rebels have shelled two neighbourhoods in government-held western Aleppo, killing at least five children and a baby, a monitoring group reports.

Infant death toll rises in fresh Syria attacks

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the rebels are preparing for a new offensive intended to break a siege by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in western Aleppo.

The shellings came a day after some 35 people were killed in an air strike on a school in Idlib. 22 children died in the attack, which the US and France have blamed on Russia or Syria.

United Nations children’s agency UNICEF says five schools have been hit in just two and a half weeks. It condemned the attacks as ‘simply inhuman’, while the European Union labelled them ‘totally unacceptable.’

UN Security Council

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the UN Security Council, Moscow called for more evidence to back up accusations that Syrian government forces carried out chlorine gas attacks on their own people, dashing the West’s hopes of slapping sanctions on those responsible for the attacks.

Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told the Security Council Damascus should carry out its own, national inquiry into “the chemical incidents confirmed by the JIM” (Joint Investigative Mechanism).

“We believe that the proof is not there for any big punitive action to be taken, it’s simply not there. Let’s continue the discussion. We will continue to studying the report – please read the remarks I made (in the Security Council) – they are very very serious technical remarks which bring to light certain weaknesses in the work of JIM,” he said.

The JIM investigation concluded Syrian government forces were responsible for three toxic gas attacks. France, the US and the UK now have until October 31 to persuade Russia to accept a 12-month extension to the mandate of the inquiry.


The Living Force
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that Russian jets have not conducted strikes in Syria's Aleppo for 28 days, thus, claims of Moscow being behind destroyed hospitals in the city are fake.

Russian MoD Slams Claims of Destroyed Hospitals in Aleppo as Fake

Nov. 15, 2016 - The report by Qatari TV channel Al Jazeera, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and similar sources about an alleged bombing by Russian Aerospace Forces' jets of a 'third hospital over 24 hours' in Aleppo are simply a lie," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

He emphasized that no Russian strikes have been conducted in Aleppo for 28 days.

Moreover, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said that massive cruise missile strikes on terrorists from Admiral Grigorovich frigate on Tuesday did not include targets in Aleppo.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, ammunition depots, terrorist training centers and plants producing different means of unconventional weapons are the main targets of the Russian strikes in Syria.


The Living Force
The United States views the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) as a credible source of information for confirming who is responsible for bombing hospitals in the Syrian city of Aleppo, US Department of State spokesman John Kirby said in a briefing on Tuesday.

State Dept. Calls UK-Based Rights Watchdog 'Credible' Source on Aleppo Strikes

Nov. 23, 2016 - On Tuesday, Russia's Defense Ministry denied allegations reported by SOHR and Qatari television channel Al Jazeera that claimed Russian combat jets bombed hospitals in Aleppo.

SOHR consists of a single UK-based widely-discredited Syrian immigrant, Rami Abdul Rahman, who is well known for his support for the opposition and efforts to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

"It [information] comes from some credible aid agencies like the World Health Organization, like Doctors without Borders, like the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights," Kirby said when asked if the United States had evidence that Syria and Russia bombed hospitals in Aleppo.

Knowledge is imperfect, Kirby suggested, but the US government has been able to stitch together various sources to get "a good sense" of what is happening on the ground in Syria.

In September, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said SOHR was not a reliable information source on the situation in Syria.

In October 2015, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Western media should treat information emanating from SOHR more critically in light of inaccurate reports about Russian airstrikes.

The Syrian liberal opposition movement “Tomorrow Syria,” and representative Monzer Akbik - also
seems to be another humanitarian group, promoted by Al Jazeera.

Two resolutions to try to stop the war on Syria's Aleppo are blocked in the UN Security Council.

Is the United Nations all talk and no action?

Oct. 9, 2016 - Russia has vetoed a UN resolution to end the bombing of Aleppo.

Another resolution also failed.

The UN is warning that if air strikes continue on rebel-held areas, Syria's second largest city will be destroyed by the end of the year.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon says Aleppo is "worse than a slaughterhouse".

The UN says two million Syrians could be trapped in the city.

More than 400 civilians, about one-third of them children, have been killed during the past two weeks of bombardment.

Only five hospitals remain operational in the besieged part of eastern Aleppo.

Who is really calling the shots in this complex conflict?

Presenter: Adrian Finighan


Meguerditch Terzian - President, Doctors Without Borders

Sergey Markov - Spokesman for President Vladimir Putin and Director of the Institute for Political Studies

Hillary Mann Leverett - Former White House National Security Official

Monzer Akbik - Spokesman for Syrian opposition group Tomorrow Movement

Friends of Syria Group May Replace Russia, US as Truce Mediators

Sept. 20, 2016 - The Group of Friends of the Syrian People, an international collective of states and organizations, could replace Moscow and Washington as mediators in the peace process in the crisis-torn Syria and try to achieve a long-lasting ceasefire, a spokesman for Syria's Tomorrow opposition group said Tuesday.

High Negotiations Committee (HNC) seems to be another group based on The Group of Friends of the Syrian People ?

Spokesman for the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Riyad Naasan Agha told Sputnik Tuesday that the opposition violated the Syrian ceasefire in self-defense.

Syrian Opposition HNC Says Violated Ceasefire in 'Self-Defense'

May 17, 2016 - Earlier in the day, the International Syria Support Group said in a statement that all parties to the Syrian conflict should adhere to the provisions stipulated in the deal on cessation of hostilities.

"The opposition used the right to defend itself after numerous violations of the ceasefire by the government forces," he said.

"We demand an end to constant shelling, especially of civilians, and urge to adhere to the truce," the spokesman added.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups, such as Daesh and Nusra Front. A US-Russia-brokered ceasefire came into force across Syria on February 27. Daesh and Nusra Front, both outlawed in Russia, were not part of the deal.

The delay with setting a date for the next round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva is caused by Syrian Opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) ultimatums, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

Lavrov: Date for Next Round of Syrian Talks Not Set Because of HNC

May 31, 2016 - The latest round of intra-Syrian talks took place in Geneva on April 13-27. The Riyadh-formed HNC walked out of the negotiations, citing the continuous fighting in Syria and the lack of progress on humanitarian issues.

"They [HNC] have got up and left [intra-Syrian talks] and [UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan] de Mistura alowed this, though we asked him to organize the next round of talks before Ramadan. He is now going to do so in two weeks or even after Ramadan, and this is only because of the fact that these temperamental people are giving their ultimatums," Lavrov said on the kp.ru website’s live feed.


The Living Force
The ISIL is engaged in efforts to find a successor for the terrorist group's ringleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed on Saturday.

ISIL Mulling Successor for Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

Sat Dec 03, 2016 - According to the dissident-backed London-based center, information obtained from reliable sources showed that the ISIL leaders in Iraq have called on other commanders of the terrorist group in Raqqa of Syria and the commander of Jeish al-Sham to convene in a secret place in Iraq.

According to the unnamed sources, the ISIL is seeking to hold a meeting to choose a successor for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "to run a Caliphate for Muslims".

The news was released as contradictory reports have appeared in recent months on the fate of ISIL leader Al-Baghdadi.

Spokesman of Hashd al-Shaabi (the Iraqi volunteer forces) Ahmad al-Assadi said in mid November that the latest information and intel shows that ISIL Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still in Iraq, hiding somewhere outside Mosul.

"The terrorist, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is in a region between the town of Tal Afar (some 54km North-West of Mosul) and the town of al-Baaj (157km to the South-West of Mosul)," al-Assadi was quoted as saying by Iraq's al-Ma'louma news agency.

He also said that the operations of the volunteer forces cover an area 14,000 sq/km around Mosul that includes the towns of al-Hazar, al-Baaj and its surrounding regions towards Tal Afar.

Based on an agreement made earlier, the Iraqi popular forces and Peshmarga Kurdish troops will not be part of the invading forces inside the two cities of Tal Afar and Mosul, while they will help tighten and maintain the siege on the rims of the two cities. Various units of Iraq's armed forces, including the army, police and anti-terrorism troops, lead the assault.

Al-Assadi's statement is the last in a string of reports on the fate of the notorious ISIL leader. During the last several months, many contradictory reports have surfaced the media about the health conditions and location of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

A prominent Iraqi military analyst said in late October that Riyadh and Ankara had hatched plots to transfer al-Baghdadi from Mosul to Libya, but the massive presence of the popular forces and Russian fighter jets along the bordering areas of Iraq and Syria dissuaded them.

"The two countries were working to take al-Baghdadi to Turkey either by moving him through Mosul and Kirkuk to the North or through al-Qa'em and al-Ratba corridor to Deir Ezzur in Syria and then to Turkey to eventually transfer him to Libya," Safa al-A'asam told al-Ma'louma.

He added that the ISIL concluded that transferring al-Baghdadi through Tal Afar region to Raqqa in Syria is also impossible given the massive presence of Hashd al-Shaabi in the Southern front near Baaj district, South-West of Mosul and Northwest of the province of Nineveh, as well as the numerous flights done by the Russian fighter jets over the Syrian bordering areas with Iraq.

"The ISIL is now working to find a different path through the Iraq-Syria borders to take al-Baghdadi to Turkey and then to Libya or any other countries," al-A'asam said.

The statements came as reports from western Iraq said earlier in October that al-Baghdadi has succumbed to his fatal injuries and died in a region along the border with Syria.

"Al-Baghdadi had been severely wounded in the Al-Anbar battle in Western Iraq last month (September), and his wounds were so lethal that he could not move freely at all," a local Iraqi source told the Arabic service of the Russian Sputnik news agency in mid October.

The source said despite long treatment in Mosul, the general health conditions of the ISIL leader deteriorated due to "a deep abdominal cut, damage to his liver and crippling wounds in his left limbs".

The source said al-Baghdad lost his life in the town of Al-Baaj some 100km (60 miles) West of Mosul near the border with Syria, but his death is concealed to avoid the loss of morale among ISIL ranks who are faced with a tough war in Mosul and Syria these days.

There have been numerous reports on the fate or location of the ISIL leader in the last two years. As the war ravages over the self-proclaimed capital of the terrorist cult, Mosul, in Western Iraq, Arab media sources said earlier this month that al-Baghdadi had fled to Raqqa in Syria before the Iraqi army started its operations in Mosul, but his wife was taken.

According to Iraq's Sumeriya News, local sources in Nineveh quoted defected ISIL leaders as saying earlier this year that al-Baghdadi had managed to escape from Mosul to Raqqa, but one of his wives was arrested.

The defected militants stated that senior members of the terrorist group, called the ISIL police, rebelled against al-Baghdadi and called on his supporters to surrender themselves.

The source did not mention who captured Baghdadi's wife, but his words implied that she had been captured during a mutiny and by those who rebelled against the terror leader.

Another report also in early October claimed that “accurate information” showed Baghdadi’s food had been poisoned by unknown individuals and the food was given to him in Baaj district.

Sumeriya News cited a local source in Northwestern Nineveh province as saying that al-Baghdadi and three of his aides had been transferred to an unknown location under strict measures.

Numerous reports had indicated from September or early October that al-Baghdadi and other top commanders of the terrorist cult started evacuating Mosul in anticipation of the Iraqi army's massive attack to take back the city.

The exact location of al-Baghdadi has been a subject of speculation. However the account on sighting al-Baghdadi has intensified the speculations that the ISIL leader was in Mosul before the start of Iraqi forces' operations to retake the strategic city.

Also reports said in June that al-Baghdadi had been seriously wounded in an airstrike in Western Iraq.

Local sources in Iraq's Nineveh province confirmed that Baghdadi and other leaders in the ISIL were wounded in an air raid on one of the ISIL command headquarters close to the Syrian border.

Baghdadi was seriously wounded by an airstrike on March 18, 2015, that killed the three other men he was travelling with.

He was said to be receiving treatment for spinal injuries after being wounded in that strike.

In mid-May, Iraq's local sources disclosed that al-Baghdadi returned to Iraq from Syria and hid in Nineveh province.

"Al-Baghdadi and a group of ISIL commanders have stealthily returned to Iraq's Nineveh province," the Arabic-language Sumeriya News quoted an unnamed local Iraqi source as saying at the time.

Al-Baghdadi returned to Nineveh province through ISIL-controlled desert roads in Iraq and Syria, added the source.

The source noted that Al-Baghdadi hi in an unknown place in Nineveh province.

The ISIL Leader is running a secret life as his life is at stake more than anyone in the world now. Al-Baghdad's terrorist group is under massive airstrike by the Syrian, Russian and Iraqi Air Forces all throughout the Western Iraq and Eastern Syria.

While reports earlier this year said the ISIL leader was always on the move between Iraq's Mosul and Syria's Raqqa - the self-proclaimed capital of the terrorist group - tips and intel revealed in November that al-Baghdadi had moved from the Syrian city of Albu Kamal to the Iraqi city of Mosul in Nineveh province.

In early March, informed intelligence sources disclosed that the al-Baghdadi had moved from Turkey to Libya to escape the hunt by the Baghdad Intelligence Sharing Center after he was traced down and allegedly targeted a number of times in Iraq and the Syria.

"Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was injured in Syria was sent to Turkey for treatment and from there he was sent to Libya," the Arabic-language media outlets quoted former Egyptian intelligence officer Hesam Kheirullah as saying.

In December, 2015 sources in Libya said al-Baghdadi had arrived in Sirte, the hometown of the slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, which is under the control of the Takfiri groups.

Then in October the same year, Iraq's air force bombed his convoy as he was heading to al-Karable to attend a meeting with ISIL commanders. 25 other ISIL militants were killed in the special operation that was the product of the Baghdad Intelligence Sharing Center where the latest intel arrives from Iranian, Russian, Iraqi and Syrian spy agencies round the clock.

The notorious terrorist leader escaped the attempt on his life narrowly, but with fatal injuries. Few hours after the assault, the spokesman of Iraq's joint forces declared that Al-Baghdadi was injured in the Iraqi airstrike on his convoy and was taken away from the scene by his forces.

The terrorist leader was first transferred to Raqqa, where surgeons saved his life but failed to give him a thorough treatment due to a lack of specialized medical equipment.

Sources disclosed a few days later that the ISIL leader had been taken to Turkey for treatment through a series of coordination measures by the CIA.

"The CIA has done the coordination with the Turkish intelligence service (MIT) for transferring al-Baghdadi to Turkey," the Arabic-language al-Manar TV
quoted unnamed sources as saying.

The source said that two companions of al-Baghdadi who were also injured in the attack on the ISIL leader's convoy and were captured by the Iraqi forces confirmed that al-Baghdadi had been injured in the attack.

After specialists said al-Baghdadi needed months of recovery, one of his aides was appointed to run the cult until the so-called caliph would return to duty.

Al-Baghdad has, thus far, escaped several attempts on his life, making him suspicious of his team of bodyguards.

"While everyone is looking for him in Iraq and Syria, no one expects him to be in Sirte," the Libyan source told FNA, adding, "If he is to be exposed to danger, Sirte would be the last place on Earth for his life to be endangered as it is the safest Takfiri stronghold in the world."

The Syrian army, the National Defense Forces (NDF), the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Syrian and Russian Air Forces, as well as the Iraqi army and popular forces, Al-Hashed Al-Shaabi, have been conducting large-scale operations in Syria and Iraq to end the ISIL control over swathes of lands in the two countries.


The Living Force
Because of nation-wide fighting in Syria for the past few years, journalists have had little access to the country. As a result, unofficial networks and sources have played a large role in relaying developments in Syria to the international community. Many of these groups have manipulated events in Syria to suit their own political agendas.

How Unfounded Syria Coverage Shapes Anti-Assad Sentiment

06.12.2016 - The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has emerged as the most widely used source with regards to the Syrian crisis. This group has bent facts to push its anti-Assad and anti-Russia agenda.

The SOHR has accused the Syrian government, and its armed forces of deliberately targeting civilians on several occasions. Many media outlets have used the SOHR's accusations to delegate blame to Assad's government. However, it is clear that this organization is biased, and any sensible media outlet wouldn't take or use its allegations against the Syrian government as fact. The opposition's flag is included in the SOHR's logo, clearly demonstrating their bias against Assad and his allies. In an interview with Reuters, the leader of the organization, Rami Abdulrahman, said "I came to Britain the day Hafez al-Assad died, and I'll return when Bashar al-Assad goes," further demonstrating his opposition of the Syrian government.

Operating out of a home in Coventry, UK by Rami Abdulrahman, the group's ability to relay facts and events from Syria is limited. Abdulrahman has no prior experience or training in the field of journalism or monitoring, or any other remotely related field. Therefore, reports made by the SOHR should be taken as speculation or unverified reports. The SOHR forms the epicenter of the biased media coverage of the Syrian crisis, giving media outlets the opportunity to report unfounded and unverified claims in a more structured way.

Many journalists and news stations have also taken a harsh anti-Assad stance since the beginning of unrest in Syria, and they regularly bend or manipulate facts to slander and defame the Syrian government.

For example, the Syrian government recently allowed several civilians and fighters to leave the besieged town of Khan al-Shih (located in the governate of Damascus.) The AFP News Agency released a video less than a week ago, showing civilians and rebels arriving in other opposition-held areas after leaving Khan al-Shih. However, the video was titled At least 1,200 rebels, civilians flee bastion of Aleppo, even though a person interviewed in the video clearly mentioned that people had arrived from Khan-al Sheikh (which is located in Damascus, not Aleppo.)

This may have simply been a mistake by AFP, but equally, it may have been a deliberate attempt to portray President Assad's government in a negative light. Fighting in Aleppo has received a lot of coverage over the past few months, and many are aware of the humanitarian crisis there, as fighters have repeatedly refused to leave the city. It seems that AFP was trying to indicate that the civilians had escaped from Aleppo due to the Syrian army's gains.

Furthermore, the use of "flee" in the title is not accurate, as the civilians and rebels were allowed to leave as part of a deal with the government (they were actually escorted by the Syrian army.) "Flee" has negative connotations, and its use in the title can be interpreted as another attempt to defame the Syrian government.

On another note, at around 30 seconds, a fighter describes the Syrian government as "kafir regime" ('kafir' means 'infidel'), demonstrating his sectarian perspective. However, in a bid to portray him as a moderate rebel, fighting for democracy etc, AFP translated his remark as "untrustworthy regime." As of December 2016, excluding the Kurdish-dominated SDF (they have a neutral relationship with the Syrian army), there are virtually no moderate opposition groups in Syria.


The Living Force
Turkish gendarmes killed several Syrian civilians, including a woman, as they attempted to sneak into Turkey from Syria.

Turkish Forces Kill 7 Syrian Refugees in Indiscriminate Shooting

Wed Dec 07, 2016 - Six men and one woman were trying to cross the border into Turkey at three different regions, but they were shot dead by Turkish gendarmes.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) announced that 31 children and 15 women have been among the 163 civilians killed by the Turkish gendarmes as they attempted to cross into Turkey since the beginning of 2016.

Turkish authorities closed their border with Syria in March 2015. Initially, they said the move was just temporary. Since then, there have been frequent claims by Syrians trying to escape airstrikes and fighting about being targeted by Turkish border guards.

Turkish officials insist their border guards do not fire at refugees, but they say they have to make the border secure from infiltration by terrorists.

The first refugee killing this year came on January 12, said the monitoring group, when gendarmes killed a refugee as he attempted to cross border into Turkey from the province of Hasaka in the Northeastern corner of Syria. Refugees have reported being shot at all along the border, from Lattakia in the West and through the provinces of Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib.

There have also been reports of refugees being beaten and robbed of money and cell phones by Turkish gendarmes.

The US-led coalition fighter jets have killed at least 32 civilians in airstrikes on Raqqa over the past two days While the Turkish military forces have also shot dead another 32.

64 Syrian Civilians Killed in US-Led Airstrikes in Northern Syria, Turkish Shooting in 2 Days

Over 15 civilians were killed and many more were injured in the US-led air raids in Jarnia district in Western Raqqa on Monday.

On Tuesday, the coalition warplanes pounded several houses in Kharba Hadleh village, killing over 10 civilians.

The US-led airstrikes on al-Abareh village in Northern Raqqa left four civilians dead and seven others wounded.

The coalition fighter jets also pounded the town of al-Tabaqa in Southern Raqqa which left three civilians dead.

Meantime, al-Fakhih village became the target of the US-led coalition.

Meantime, earlier reports said today that Turkish gendarmes had killed several Syrian civilians, including a woman, as they attempted to sneak into Turkey from Syria.

Six men and one woman were trying to cross the border into Turkey at three different regions, but they were shot dead by Turkish gendarmes.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) announced that 31 children and 15 women have been among the 163 civilians killed by the Turkish gendarmes as they attempted to cross into Turkey since the beginning of 2016.

Turkish authorities closed their border with Syria in March 2015. Initially, they said the move was just temporary. Since then, there have been frequent claims by Syrians trying to escape airstrikes and fighting about being targeted by Turkish border guards.

Turkish officials insist their border guards do not fire at refugees, but they say they have to make the border secure from infiltration by terrorists.

The first refugee killing this year came on January 12, said the monitoring group, when gendarmes killed a refugee as he attempted to cross border into Turkey from the province of Hasaka in the Northeastern corner of Syria. Refugees have reported being shot at all along the border, from Lattakia in the West and through the provinces of Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib.

There have also been reports of refugees being beaten and robbed of money and cell phones by Turkish gendarmes.


The Living Force
Syrian government forces control all of Aleppo’s historic Old City after U.S. backed terrorist rebel fighters withdrew in the face of army advances overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday.


Wed. December 07, 2016 - The army and allied forces hold more than 75 percent of east Aleppo, a rebel bastion since 2012, three weeks into their operation to capture all of the second city.

The Observatory said terrorist rebels had withdrawn from the last parts of the Old City under their control overnight after the army seized the neighbouring districts of Bab al-Hadid and Aqyul.

“Terrorist Rebels were forced to withdraw from the Old City neighbourhoods of Aleppo for fear of being besieged,” the Britain-based monitor said.

The army has made steady gains since it began its latest bid to recapture east Aleppo.

It now controls all the areas east of the historic citadel, and parts of the Marjeh neighbourhood, the Observatory said.

Overnight, the army carried out heavy shelling of the Al-Zabdiya neighbourhood and other territory still under rebel control in the southeast of the city, the Observatory said.

Three children were among 11 people killed by rebel fire on government-held areas of the city.


The Living Force
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that hundreds of ISIL terrorists have been transferred from Iraq to Raqqa in Syria.

ISIL Sends over 500 Terrorists from Iraq to Syria

According to Soumeriya news, more than 500 ISIL members, including field commanders, arrived from Iraq in ​Raqqa, the ISIL's main stronghold in Syria, in the past four days.

According to reports, the fighters are Syrians, Iraqis, Arabs and foreigners, and about 200 of them have been sent to the fronts in al-Bab city in Northeastern Aleppo province. Also more than 300 fighters were sent to the fronts of Palmyra and the Eastern parts of Homs.

Also sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the fighters were sent after a meeting between the commander of Jeish al-Sham terrorist group and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIL leader, and the ISIL's minister of war. During the meeting, they promised to the commander of Jeish al-Sham that the reinforcements would continue.

Meantime, earlier reports today said that the Syrian army has sent hundreds of fresh forces to the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) to repel ISIL's large-scale attacks and take back the lands lost in recent days.

Hundreds of forces arrived in the Eastern territories of Homs city to help the army men to fend off ISIL's continued attacks and then take back lost lands near Tadmur.

ISIL terrorists have started large-scale offensives against government positions since two days ago and managed to capture several gas and oil fields and heights near the city.

Meantime, the army soldiers and National Defense forces with the back up of Russian and Syrian fighter jets warded off ISIL's attacks in some of the flanks and killed tens of the terrorists.

The Russian Air Force has also dispatched a number of choppers to T-4 airbase Northeast of Palmyra to back the ground forces to take back the lands lost to the ISIL and repel terrorists' attacks.

A field source said that bad weather did not allow the Russian and Syrian aircraft to provide good support for the army men during the Thursday attacks of the ISIL.

"But Syrian bombers and the Russian choppers targeted heavily the movements and gatherings of ISIL near the energy fields," the source added.

Another source disclosed that Palmyra and its road are under the full control of the army soldiers, adding that ISIL does not have enough fighters to capture Tadmur.

ISIL had gathered a number of forces from other regions for carrying out the attack in Homs, while advances of Ankara-backed militants in Euphrates Shield Operation in al-Bab region in Northern Aleppo and continuation of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces' Euphrates Rage Operation to liberate Raqqa city have forced ISIL to use its forces in those battlefields in Aleppo and Raqqa provinces.

The army soldiers, supported by the Russian helicopters, started special operations to retake control of al-Sukri district Southeast of Tadmur in Central Syria and continued advance to reach Khanifis region on Thursday.

A field source said that the Syrian army seized back control of Sawame al-Haboub region East of Tadmur and Arak gas field and was only a few hundred meters away from Khanifis power plant.

The source added that the Syrian army continued operations towards Toynan company in Eastern Tadmur to establish the biggest security ring around the city.

According to the reports, the Syrian army units' operations near Tadmur started and they would cover two pivots; first from al-Sukri district towards Khanifis; and then towards al-Sukhnah city in the Eastern parts of Homs which hosts one of the most important ISIL training centers in the region.

A military source said that operations towards al-Sukhnah were carried out to cut the important supply routes, adding that by retaking control over al-Sukhnah, the ISIL terrorists' move through the old roads between Raqqa and Jordan and Iraq would be impossible.

He said that liberation of al-Sukhnah would pave the ground for the army and its allies' advance towards Deir Ezzur city from the Western side and meantime, the Syrian forces could reach al-Tabaqa region in Southern Raqqa through al-Sukhnah road.


The Living Force
Islamic State militants enter Palmyra city after surprise assault - monitor

Sat Dec 10, 2016 - Islamic State militants entered the ancient city of Palmyra on Saturday in eastern Syria after advancing to its outskirts for the first time since losing the city earlier this year, a war monitor said.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights said the militants had entered Palmyra after they had taken strategic heights near the city and captured the northern part of the city and major silos and mountains around it.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi, editing by David Evans)


The Living Force
Just a note on charities funded by British foreign Aid:

FOREIGN AID FARCE: How YOUR money is lining pockets of fat cat charity bosses

Sun, Dec 18, 2016 - The fat cats are lining their pockets with cash from the Department for International Development (DFID) meant to help people in need.

They include former Labour Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

He is said to pocket an eye-watering £530,000 as president of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which helps refugees and disaster victims.

Mr Miliband's charity has been handed £3.6million in British aid to help solve issues with aid delivery.

But at least 13 top officials at the IRC, which is based in the US, earn significantly more than Theresa May's salary of £143,000.

The ex-MP has previously called for the organization to be given more aid money, complaining of major shortfalls in its funding.

Marc Van Ameringen, head of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, earns even more than Mr Miliband – a staggering £618,000 a year.

And Simon Cooke, the British boss of family planning charity Marie Stopes International, was paid £420,000 last year.

The previous year he earned almost £500,000, according to US tax data.

Tory MP Pauline Latham she would be demanding an urgent inquiry by the International Development Committee into "excessive" salary packages.

She told the Mail on Sunday: "I'm not surprised David Miliband does not want to come back to Parliament when you hear of these sorts of salaries.

"The public will be very concerned. These are not normal salaries – even some big businesses do not pay these kinds of amounts."

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesman for Marie Stopes International said they were a global organisation employing more than 13,000 people.

He added that levels were set to ensure they had "the best leadership to deliver against ambitious targets".

Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, vowed to stop foreign aid cash being squandered after being appointed to the post this summer.

And last night a DFID spokeswoman said the department aims to deliver value for money through greater scrutiny and transparency.

She added: "It's vital those seeking to help the poorest strive to become more accountable to the public so people can be assured money is going to help those less fortunate."

_..._ _..._

Compared to some American charities:

​The American Red Cross President and CEO Marsha J. Evans' salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses.

MARCH OF DIMES - It is called the March of Dimes because only a dime for every 1 dollar is given to the needy.

The United Way President Brian Gallagher receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits.

UNICEF CEO Caryl M. Stern receives $1,200,000 per year (100k per month) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE.

GOODWILL CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million a year. Pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage.

The Salvation Army Commissioner, Todd Bassett $13,000 per year(plus housing) for managing a $2 billion dollar organization.


The Living Force
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) - Syrian Refugees Poisoned in Turkey

Wed Jan 04, 2017 - The Kurdish language Hawar news quoted a source in Shamarin camp as saying that the Turkish officials in the refugee camp of Shamarin distributed poisonous milk among the Syrian refugees on Tuesday.

Hawar news added that almost 253 refugees from Shamarin camp were admitted in medical centers and clinics yesterday afternoon due to food poisoning.

Hawar news further said that the production date of the milk packages distributed among the people were not expired, meaning that the milk had been poisoned purposefully and through injection of poison into the milk packages.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) disclosed in its latest report earlier today that 176 Syrian civilians, including women and children, that tried to leave the war-hit country to Turkey were killed by the Turkish border guards in 2016.

SOHR said in its report that 176 Syrian civilians, including 31 children and 16 women, that had fled their war-torn residential regions were killed by Turkish border guards since January 1, 2016 up to January 1, 2017.

In the meantime, tens of Syrian asylum seekers were arrested and hit hard by Turkish border guards in 2016.

SOHR disclosed in its report on Monday that nearly 280 civilians were killed in Turkish airstrikes since the start of Euphrates Shield Operation in Northern Aleppo in August.

"From August 24 to early January, over 277 civilians, including 65 children and 38 young women under the age of 18 have been killed in the Turkish attacks, while hundreds more have been injured and have sustained permanent defects," SOHR announced.


The Living Force
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) disclosed in its latest report that 176 Syrian civilians, including women and children, that tried to leave the war-hit country to Turkey were killed by the Turkish border guards in 2016.

Over 170 Syrian Refugees Killed by Turkish Border Guards in 2016

Wed Jan 04, 2017 - SOHR said in its report that 176 Syrian civilians, including 31 children and 16 women, that had fled their war-torn residential regions were killed by Turkish border guards since January 1, 2016 up to January 1, 2017.

In the meantime, tens of Syrian asylum seekers were arrested and hit hard by Turkish border guards in 2016.

SOHR disclosed in its report on Monday that nearly 280 civilians were killed in Turkish airstrikes since the start of Euphrates Shield Operation in Northern Aleppo in August.

"From August 24 to early January, over 277 civilians, including 65 children and 38 young women under the age of 18 have been killed in the Turkish attacks, while hundreds more have been injured and have sustained permanent defects," SOHR announced.

On Sunday, At least 39 Syrian civilians were killed or wounded in the Turkish fighter jets' airstrikes over the town of al-Bab in Northern Aleppo.

Turkish warplanes bombed heavily al-Bab, killing 11 people and wounding 28 more, mostly women and children.

SOHR disclosed in late December that more than 72 civilians in the town of al-Bab in Northeastern Aleppo were killed in the Turkish fighter jets' attacks.

"The number of dead rose to 72 civilians, including 21 children and 13 women. The number included 9 families at least, in what is considered the largest massacre by Turkish warplanes since its intervention in Syria," Rami 'Abdel-Rahman of SOHR claimed.


The Living Force
End of year means one thing. The "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights", an anti-Assad activist network originally set up in 2006, updates its casualty figures for the Syrian civil war.

UK-Based Monitor: More Than Half of 'Syrian Rebels' Are Foreigners

According to SOHR's updated figures from January 1st 2015 through December 31st 2016 the conflict in Syria cost the lives of:
•13,607 civilians (according to SOHR the vast majority killed by the Syrian military)
•12,886 Syrian soldiers and pro-government militiamen
•2,306 foreign pro-government fighters

•8,130 Syrian opposition fighters (by which SOHR means all rebels including ISIS)
•13,297 foreign fighters with the opposition

One may wonder how SOHR is able to gather such precise numbers. Despite the thick fog of war over Syria made worse by the competing propaganda campaigns of the various sides every single number that SOHR provides is given down to a single digit.

In fact SOHR is even able to provide a detailed breakdown of civilian deaths between men, women and children. Apparently 2885 children were killed in the timeframe, of which 384 by rebels and 129 by ISIS, the rest overwhelmingly by the Syrian army. There are no known civilians deaths
according to SOHR of whom the age or gender can not be established.

Nonetheless despite being able of such amazing feats according to SOHR can not provide separate casualty tallies for the various parts of opposition which are actually at war with each other as much as with the government. Thus ISIS dead is "counted" with the dead of the rest of the rebellion and one presumes with the dead of the Kurdish-dominated SDF.

However, despite not being able to give a break down between the various parts of the opposition , SOHR is able to breakdown both pro-government and opposition dead between Syrians and non-Syrians down to the last digit.

Sadly this has me suspecting that anyone who puts any stock in SOHR's numbers is being quite foolish (nonetheless they are often quoted simply because they are among the only numbers being given by anyone at all).

However, I think there is one reason why they are nonetheless worth reporting on. The significant thing about them is that they reveal that an outfit which was founded in opposition to the Syrian government and which harbors no love for Assad whatsoever, is nonetheless saying that just a fraction of the forces fighting for him are made up of foreigners, whereas the majority of the manpower of the opposition comes from abroad.

SOHR's numbers would indicate that about 15 percent of the foot soldiers on the government side are foreigner volunteers, but over 60 (!) percent on the rebel side. I would take these portions with a very big grain of salt but there is no doubt that the Islamists rebels rely on foreign manpower to a far greater extent than the pro-government camp.

(A big chunk of the "foreign" manpower consists of Iraqis in the ranks of ISIS since the Syrian-Iraqi border means nothing to the Caliphate, but the rest of the Islamist rebellion is also highly international.)

Incidentally in Iraq where US occupation faced a largely home-grown insurgency US falsely insisted for years that foreign fighters made a huge number of the opposing forces. In Syria where that is actually true, the US has however opted to back many of these groups and to demonize the Syrian government fighting them.
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