Syria: death threats against human rights activists
Death threats against leaders of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – Perpetrators are trying to suppress reports about violations in the Turkish-occupied Kurdish region of northern Syria (Press release)
According to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) in Göttingen, extremists are trying to suppress reports about human rights violations in the Turkish-occupied Kurdish region of north-western Syria by spreading death threats on social media platforms. Concerned for the wellbeing of the director of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul Rahman, the STP's Middle East consultant, Kamal Sido, stated on Thursday: "We have great respect for Rami Abdul Rahman, for his courage, his tireless support for the civilian population of Syria, and his statements against the arbitrariness of the Turkish army and its radical Islamist allies." It is especially the members of minority groups such as the Kurds, Christians, Yazidis or Alevis who are living in fear of serious human rights violations or discrimination based on religious belief.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the Turkish aggression against Afrin and the subsequent occupation of the Kurdish region are to be seen as violations of international law. Thus, the organization is often attacked via the Internet – especially by supporters of Turkish President Erdogan – and there are frequent verbal attacks, in the country itself and on an international level.
Since 2011, the SOHR has been spreading news about the current development of the conflict in the multi-ethnic and multi-religious state of Syria – via its website, in Arabic and English. It provides information about human rights crimes by all conflict parties, beheadings by so-called "Islamic State", clashes between different opponents, massacres, or the use of outlawed weapons such as barrel bombs, which the Russian-backed Syrian Air Force used to attack civilian targets. Further, the organization also reports on civilian casualties in the US-led battle against IS. The SOHR relies on an extensive network of Syrian-based anonymous informants. If the source situation changes, the SOHR will promptly correct its posts.
The STP has been working with Rami Abdul Rahman for years, exchanging views on the situation in Syria. Following an invitation by the STP, the SOHR director will visit Germany in the spring of 2019, as the STP is planning a press conference with him on March 20 in Berlin and another public appearance at the Leipzig Book Fair on March 21. In addition, there will be talks with German politicians.
Headerimage: Johannes Zielcke via Flickr.