Rami Abdul Rahman, AKA Syrian Observatory for Human Rights


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October 01, 2018 - Three years of Russian strikes on Syria kill 18,000: Monitor
Three years of Russian strikes on Syria kill 18,000: Monitor

5,233 Islamic State fighters were killed in Russian strikes, with the rest of the dead including other fighters, radicals, and terrorists

BEIRUT: More than 18,000 people, nearly half of them civilians, have been killed in Russian airstrikes on Syria since Moscow began its game-changing intervention three years ago, a monitor said.

Russia, a steadfast ally of Syria’s ruling regime, began carrying out bombing raids in the country on Sept. 30, 2015 — more than four years into the devastating conflict.

Since then, they have killed 18,096 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“That number includes 7,988 civilians, or nearly half of the total,” said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

Another 5,233 Islamic State fighters were also killed in Russian strikes, with the rest of the dead including other fighters, radicals, and terrorists, the Britain-based monitor said. Russia has operated a naval base in Syria’s coastal Tartus province for decades, but expanded its operations to the nearby Hmeimim air base in 2015.

It also has special forces and military police units on the ground in government-controlled parts of the country.

The air strikes were crucial in helping troops loyal to President Bashar Assad retake swathes of the country, including second city Aleppo in 2016 and areas around Damascus, the rural center, and the south this year alone.

“The regime controlled just 26 percent of Syrian territory” when Russia intervened, said Abdel Rahman, compared with close to two-thirds now.

But human rights groups and Western governments have criticized Russia’s air war in Syria, saying it bombs indiscriminately and targets civilian infrastructure.

In addition to the Russian and Syrian air forces, warplanes from the US-led coalition fighting Daesh have also been carrying out bombing raids on Syria since September 2014.

Last week, the Observatory said that US-led coalition air strikes on Syria had killed more than 3,300 civilians since the alliance began operations against IS targets there in 2014. The Observatory, which relies on sources inside Syria for its reports, says it determines whose planes carried out strikes according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions involved.

Also on Sunday, security forces in northern Raqqa city said they had uncovered a Daesh sleeper cell which was plotting series of large attacks across the devastated city.

Raqqa served as the de facto capital of Daesh’s self-proclaimed caliphate until it was retaken by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia alliance last October.

A spokesman for the Raqqa Internal Security Forces set up by the SDF said it had killed two members of a Daesh cell and detained five others during an operation on Saturday.

“Special forces and explosives experts carried out a counter operation .. to confront plans which were about to be executed by a terrorist cell affiliated with mercenaries of Daesh in a neighborhood in Raqqa city,” the unit’s spokesman Mohannad Ibrahim said at a news conference.

The forces raided two residential apartments where the cell members were hiding and confiscated grenades, pistols and explosives, the spokesman said.

They also found a car bomb at the site of the operation and unearthed a large cache of arms and land mines buried nearby.

The city has witnessed lately a wave of road side bombings targeting mainly SDF officials and fighters.

In June, SDF imposed a three-day curfew in Raqqa and declared a state of emergency saying Daesh militants had infiltrated the city and planned a bombing campaign.
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October 20, 2018 - Six Sweida Hostages freed from Islamic State: Syrian State Media, Observatory
Six Sweida hostages freed from Islamic State: Syrian state media, Observatory | Reuters

Six hostages were freed on Saturday from Islamic State, which has held several women and children captive since it attacked Syria's Sweida city three months ago, state media and a monitor said.

Islamic State militants staged multiple suicide attacks in Sweida and overran nearby villages in southwestern Syria on July 25, killing more than 200 people, many of them civilians.

Sweida, which is under state rule, has a mainly Druze community. Druze authorities and Islamic State have held negotiations for the release of the hostages.

Syrian state news agency SANA said two women and four children returned home on Saturday after being kidnapped from a village east of Sweida city.

“As a result of the army’s siege on the terrorists, and efforts by the concerned entities, six of the 29 hostages were freed, and the rest will be freed very soon,” SANA cited Sweida Governor Amer al-Eshi as saying.

Islamic State fighters were holding at least 16 children among its captives in the Sweida desert and had beheaded one hostage, Human Rights Watch said in August.

Syrian government forces, backed by Russia and Iran, have been battling the militants in a small Islamic State enclave northeast of Sweida city.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitoring group, said the militants released the first group of hostages after talks with local authorities.

Pro-government forces had amassed heavily around the Islamic State pocket to pressure the militants, it said.


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The US-led coalition's artillery units launched fresh attacks against Deir Ezzur province in Syria again with unconventional arms, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Monday.

Mon Nov 05, 2018 - US Attacks Deir Ezzur with Banned Weapons Again

SOHR that the coalition's artillery units opened heavy fire on Eastern Deir Ezzur using phosphorous shells that set ablaze the targeted areas.

In the meantime, local sources reported that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces' artillery units targeted the village of Albu Daran in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, killing an Iraqi refugee woman and her two children.

Also, the US air force pounded the small town of al-Shafa'ah in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, killing 3 children and wounding several more.

The Arabic-language website of SANA news agency quoted several local sources in Deir Ezzur as saying last week that the US warplanes targeted several districts in the town of Hajin in Eastern Deir Ezzur with white phosphorous bombs which are forbidden internationally.

This was the second time in a month that the US-led coalition's fighter jets attack Deir Ezzur with banned weapons under the pretext of fighting the ISIL.


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On November 8, the US-led coalition foiled an attempt by ISIS to attack one of its military bases near the al-Tanak oil field in the middle Euphrates River Valley, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

In details, an ISIS force headed towards the US-led coalition base in the early hours of the morning. However, coalition warplanes detected the force and carried out several airstrikes on it destroying 7 vehicles and killing more than 20 terrorists.

“Intense airstrikes were able to foil the organization [ISIS] attack on the al-Tanak oil field, which is considered one of the biggest oil fields in Deir Ezzor, it also hosts a military base of the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF], where military advisors of U.S. forces and the coalition are deployed,” the SOHR said in its report.​

After foiling the attack, the US-led coalition and the SDF deployed more troops in the a-Tanak oil field in order to secure their positions there, according to the SHOR.

The SDF halted its military operation against ISIS in the Euphrates Valley on October 31 after a series of setbacks. Since then, the terrorist group has launched several attacks in an attempt to take advantage of the situation.


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On November 11, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed that the Jordanian border guards had targeted and killed a Syrian woman around the al-Rukban refugee camp. According to the pro-opposition monitoring group, Jordanian forces opened fire at the camp several times during the last two days.

Syrian opposition sources released several videos showing the body of the victim, who apparently died from a bullet wound. However, none of the videos show the moment of the supposed incident.

From it side, the Jordanian military denied the SOHR’s claims in an official statement and accused the US-backed groups, which controls the al-Rukban camp, of committing several crimes against the refugees there.

“These groups and websites, which belongs to elements from the [al-Rukban] camp, publishes such videos from time to time in order to spread confusion and false rumors … They use this to cover the crimes they are committing against the residents of the camp, which is located inside Syria territory,” the arm’s statement reads.​

The Jordanian military went on warning against believing in the information provided by these groups and accused them of “spreading corruption and perversion.”

Earlier this week, Jordan announced that it has accepted a Russian plan that includes dismantling the al-Rukban camp and allowing refugees there to return to their homes in the government-held port of Syria. This could explain why US-backed groups, which are benefiting from the situation of the camp, are accusing Jordan of committing crimes.


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Syria June 6, 2018
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) Is Funded by UK Government
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) Is Funded by UK Government - Grayzone Project

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the pro-opposition monitoring group that is cited in most media reports on the war in Syria, received funding from the British Foreign Office.

By David Edwards / Media Lens

(Editor’s NoteBen Norton: It has long been suspected that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is funded by Western governments. This is the first official confirmation that the leading “monitoring group” — which is run by a pro-opposition activist working from his home in England — has gotten money from the UK government. It is also worth noting that the SOHR’s rival the Syrian Network for Human Rights, which is much less reputable and even more explicitly partisan, has quietly admitted in passing that it is funded by “states.” The SNHR is notorious for whitewashing the crimes of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other extremist militias in Syria.)

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) Is Funded by the British Government
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, journalist Peter Hitchens commented last month on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR):

‘Talking of war, and Syria, many of you may have noticed frequent references in the media to a body called the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, often quoted as if it is an impartial source of information about that complicated conflict, in which the British government clearly takes sides. The “Observatory” says on its website that it is “not associated or linked to any political body.”
‘To which I reply: Is Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office not a political body? Because the FO just confirmed to me that “the UK funded a project worth £194,769.60 to provide the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights with communications equipment and cameras.” That’s quite a lot, isn’t it? I love the precision of that 60p. Your taxes, impartially, at work.’​
This figure was confirmed in communication with the Foreign Office by independent political journalist Ian Sinclair. (Email to Media Lens, May 17, 2018)

In 2011, Reuters reported that Rami Abdulrahman is ‘the fast-talking director of arguably Syria’s most high-profile human rights group’, SOHR:

‘When he isn’t fielding calls from international media, Abdulrahman is a few minutes down the road at his clothes shop, which he runs with his wife.’​
Given the tinpot nature of the organisation, SOHR’s influence is astonishing:

‘Cited by virtually every major news outlet since an uprising against the iron rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March, the observatory has been a key source of news on the events in Syria.’​
Described by Reuters as an ‘opposition group’, SOHR is openly pro-regime change:

‘After three short spells in prison in Syria for pro-democracy activism, Abdulrahman came to Britain in 2000 fearing a longer, fourth jail term.
‘”I came to Britain the day Hafez al-Assad died, and I’ll return when Bashar al-Assad goes”.’​

In December 2011, Stratfor, an influential research institute formed of former US security officials, cautioned:

‘Most of the [Syrian] opposition’s more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue … revealing more about the opposition’s weaknesses than the level of instability inside the Syrian regime.’​
Reports from SOHR and other opposition groups, ‘like those from the regime, should be viewed with skepticism’, Stratfor argued: ‘the opposition understands that it needs external support, specifically financial support, if it is to be a more robust movement than it is now. To that end, it has every reason to present the facts on the ground in a way that makes the case for foreign backing.’

The Los Angeles Times described SOHR as ‘a pro-opposition watchdog’. And yet, as Reuters reported, Abdulrahman claims neutrality:

‘”I’m between two fires. But it shows I’m being neutral if both sides complain,” he said, insisting he accepts no funding and runs the observatory on a voluntary basis.’​
Two years later, the New York Times described a modified funding model:

‘Money from two dress shops covers his minimal needs for reporting on the conflict, along with small subsidies from the European Union and one European country that he declines to identify.’​
Thanks to Hitchens, we now know that the country in question is Britain and the funding in 2012 was £194,769.60.

In 2013, we compared the reflexive respect afforded SOHR with the earlier casual rejection of reports on the death toll in Iraq published in 2004 and 2006 by the Lancet, the world’s leading medical journal:

‘Figures supplied by SOHR, an organisation openly biased in favour of the Syrian “rebels” and Western intervention is presented as sober fact by… the world’s leading news agencies. No concerns here about methodology, sample sizes, “main street bias” and other alleged concerns thrown at the Lancet studies by critics.’​
In 2004, one of the Lancet co-authors, Gilbert Burnham of the prestigious Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told us:

‘Our data have been back and forth between many reviewers at the Lancet and here in the school (chair of Biostatistics Dept), so we have the scientific strength to say what we have said with great certainty. I doubt any Lancet paper has gotten as much close inspection in recent years as this one has!’ (Dr. Gilbert Burnham, email to Media Lens, October 30, 2004)​
Despite this, the Lancet reports were subjected to ceaseless attacks from the US and UK governments, and dismissal by corporate journalists. David Aaronovitch wrote in The Times:

‘And Harold Pinter invents a statistic. “At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraqi insurgency began.” This is probably some mangling of a controversial estimate of Iraqi civilian fatalities published in The Lancet in 2004 and based, it was claimed, on standard epidemiological methods.’ (Aaronovitch, ‘The great war of words,’ The Times, March 18, 2006)​
An op-ed in the Washington Times commented in December 2004:

‘Or how about the constantly cited figure of 100,000 Iraqis killed by Americans since the war began, a statistic that is thrown about with total and irresponsible abandon by opponents of the war.’ (Helle Dale, ‘Biased coverage in Iraq,’ Washington Times, December 1, 2004)​
As we described at the time, the ‘mainstream’ hosted all manner of confused and baseless criticisms of this kind.

By contrast, a recent BBC article noted of the Syrian war:

‘Over seven years of war, more than 400,000 people have been killed or reported missing, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.’​
No-one, it seems, would dream of challenging such a high figure supplied by a clothes shop owner supporting regime change in Syria from Coventry. Nobody challenges SOHR’s methodology, or complains of statistics being thrown about with irresponsible abandon. Why? Because the 2004 and 2006 Lancet reports seriously undermined the US-UK case for conquering Iraq, whereas a high Syria death toll is used to damn the Assad government and to make the case for Western ‘intervention’.

In a 2015 interview with RT, Abdulrahman was asked how he could trust the hundreds of ‘activists’ supplying information from Syria. Claiming that ‘I know all of the activists working for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’, Abdulrahman said that he had last visited Syria in 2000. He added: ‘But I know some of the Observatory activists through common friends.’

Innumerable ‘mainstream’ reports of atrocities blamed on Syrian government and Russian forces have used SOHR as a key source. One of the highest profile claims concerned an alleged massacre of 108 people, including 49 children, in Houla, Syria on May 27, 2012. The claim dominated the Independent on Sunday’s front cover, which read:

The text beneath read:

‘There is, of course, supposed to be a ceasefire, which the brutal Assad regime simply ignores. And the international community? It just averts its gaze. Will you do the same? Or will the sickening fate of these innocent children make you very, very angry?’​
As so often, SOHR loomed large in these accusations. The BBC reported:

‘The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 90 people had died in the 24 hours since midday on Friday.’​
The Guardian described how SOHR was condemning Western ‘silence’:

‘The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights issued an unusually harsh statement in the wake of the deaths, accusing Arab nations and the international community of being “partners” in the killing “because of their silence about the massacres that the Syrian regime has committed”.’​
But the picture was not quite so clear cut. Two weeks later, the BBC reported the head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, Major General Robert Mood, as saying of Houla: ‘the circumstances that led to these tragic killings are still unclear’. Mood commented significantly:

‘Whatever I learned on the ground in Syria… is that I should not jump to conclusions.’​
On June 27, a UN Commission of Inquiry said that in apportioning blame, it ‘could not rule out any of these possibilities’: local militia possibly operating together with, or with the acquiescence of, government security forces; anti-government forces seeking to escalate the conflict; or foreign groups with unknown affiliation. In August of the same year, UN investigators released a further report which stated that they had ‘a reasonable basis to believe that the perpetrators… were aligned to the Government’. (Our emphasis)

SOHR is omnipresent in the great Syrian atrocity claims that have gripped our media for years. On April 14, Donald Trump bombed Syria in response to an alleged Syrian government chemical weapons attack on Douma one week earlier. Reuters reported:

‘Heavy air strikes on the Syrian rebel-held town of Douma killed 27 people including five children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.’​
On April 7, 2017, Trump launched a missile assault on Syria just 72 hours after an alleged chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun. Reuters reported:

‘The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack killed at least 58 people and was believed to have been carried out by Syrian government jets. It caused many people to choke and some to foam at the mouth.
‘Director Rami Abdulrahman told Reuters the assessment that Syrian government warplanes were to blame was based on several factors such as the type of aircraft, including Sukhoi 22 jets, that carried out the raid.’​
In August 2013, Barack Obama came close to launching a massive attack on Syria in response to an alleged Syrian government chemical weapons attack on Ghouta. The BBC reported:

‘The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based group that gets its information from a network of activists across Syria, later said it had confirmed at least 502 deaths.’​
The Los Angeles Times reported:

‘The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, generally regarded as one of the most reliable sources of information on casualty figures in Syria, says it has confirmed 502 deaths, including 80 children and 137 women.’​
Last February, the BBC reported:

‘The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said at least 250 people had been killed in [Syrian government and Russian] air strikes and artillery fire since then.
‘It said it was the highest 48-hour death toll since a 2013 chemical attack on the besieged enclave.’​
The power of these claims lies in the fact that Western journalists have been unable to report from ‘rebel’-held areas in Syria. Veteran Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn made the point:

‘All wars always produce phony atrocity stories – along with real atrocities. But in the Syrian case fabricated news and one-sided reporting have taken over the news agenda to a degree probably not seen since the First World War… The real reason that reporting of the Syrian conflict has been so inadequate is that Western news organisations have almost entirely outsourced their coverage to the rebel side.’​
Rebel’ claims relayed by SOHR and others have been uncontested because they originated from ‘areas controlled by people so dangerous no foreign journalist dare set foot among them’.
Many atrocity claims relayed by SOHR and others have been sourced from the White Helmets group in Syria. Former Guardian journalist Jonathan Cook commented:

‘In the western corporate media narrative, the White Helmets are a group of dedicated and selfless rescue workers. They are supposedly the humanitarians on whose behalf a western intervention in Syria would have been justified – before, that is, Syrian leader Bashar Assad queered their pitch by inviting in Russia.
‘However, there are problems with the White Helmets. They operate only in rebel – read: mainly al-Qaeda and ISIS-held – areas of Syria, and plenty of evidence shows that they are funded by the UK and US to advance both countries’ far-from-humanitarian policy objectives in Syria.’​
In 2016, political analyst Max Blumenthal wrote:

‘The White Helmets were founded in collaboration with USAID’s Office of Transitional Initiatives—the wing that has promoted regime change around the world—and have been provided with $23 million in funding from the department.’​
Liberal corporate journalists and politicians have been impressed by the fact that SOHR and White Helmets claims have been supported by ostensibly forensic analysis supplied by the Bellingcat website, which publishes ‘citizen journalist’ investigations. As we noted in a recent alert, Bellingcat is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which is funded by the US government and is ‘a notorious vehicle for US soft power’.

We could link to thousands of corporate media articles citing SOHR as a source. As in the above examples, the vast majority of these claims are directed at the same targets – the Syrian government and its Russian ally. To monitor the BBC website in 2013, for example, was to witness what appeared to be a relentless propaganda campaign promoting yet one more Western ‘humanitarian intervention’.

This would seem to be an extraordinary scandal, not just for the BBC, not just for British corporate media and democracy, but for media and democracy globally. And yet, our media database search finds exactly one national UK newspaper article containing the terms ‘Peter Hitchens’ and ‘Syrian Observatory’. That, of course, was the original May 13 piece in the Mail on Sunday in which Hitchens reported the UK government’s £194,769.60 funding of SOHR. His report has been ignored.


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Good one angelburst29!

We could link to thousands of corporate media articles citing SOHR as a source. As in the above examples, the vast majority of these claims are directed at the same targets – the Syrian government and its Russian ally
Indeed, thousands of mainstream articles citing SOHR rolled out over the years. Many readers of articles probably don't remember that acronym, yet throw in the 'Observatory' and 'Human Rights' tag, and their words are golden. Really, it was just mind boggling how it got lapped up in the West (like that Higgen's fellow with his band of merry men) prostituting in the name of Truth. However, it is all some kind of counterintelligence type program with an aim to derail objective reality and paint the opposition as villains; nothing new, just the cast of characters with a compliant press to repeat their message while they complain about fake news, sheesh.


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This (SOHR) guy has a real problem with "number's" - he fails in the "addition department" BIG TIME - plus an obsession for "0's".

Tue Feb 05, 2019 - US Sends Advanced Weapons to SDF-Occupied Regions in Syria

The London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Tuesday that 200 trucks, carrying armored vehicles, heavy weapons and logistic equipment, were sent from the Iraqi Kurdistan region to Eastern Euphrates.

It added that nearly 1,330 trucks loaded with weapons and equipment have so far entered the US-occupied bases in Northern Syria since US President Donald Trump announced decision to evacuate forces from the country.

More than 1,100 trucks carrying US-made weapons and military equipment have been dispatched to the Eastern Euphrates region since President Trump declared his decision to withdraw forces from Syria.
Mon. Feb 04, 2019 - Over 1,100 Truckload of Military Equipment Sent to Eastern Euphrates since US Pullout Declaration


The London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Sunday that despite US President Donald Trump's announcement on December 19 to evacuate forces from Syria, the US army continues sending military convoys to Eastern Euphrates.

It added that over 1,130 convoys, carrying military and logistic equipment have been dispatched to the US-occupied bases in Eastern Euphrates since Trump's declaration.[/QUOTE]
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The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) is currently on their last legs in the eastern region of the Euphrates River Valley as their recent string of losses have left them confined to a small pocket in eastern Deir Ezzor.

2019-02-12 - US demands ISIS handover 40 tons of gold in eastern Euphrates region: monitor


In addition to their hundreds of fighters in this eastern Euphrates pocket, the Islamic State is also in possession of 40 tons of gold, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.

According to the SOHR report, the U.S. Coalition is attempting to force the Islamic State to surrender their last positions and all of the stolen gold currently in their possession.

The SOHR report added that if the Islamic State hands over the gold to the U.S. Coalition forces in the eastern Euphrates region, their commanders will be given safe passage to an undisclosed location.

ISIS is currently under heavy attack by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and U.S. Coalition at the town of Baghouz; thus far, they have managed to repel all of the infiltration attempts by the latter.
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