The Syrian Observatory: Funded By The Foreign Office
Publisher: Dissident Voice
Date Written: 04/06/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22936
The UK funded a project worth £194,769.60 to provide the 'Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' with communications equipment and cameras.
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 oppositions weaknesses than the level of instability inside the Syrian regime.