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Talk:Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

Old stuff (section title added 8/19/16)Edit

This article appears to be written at least in part from a highly partial point of view, yet without any citations to justify its more controversial assertions. Can someone please clean this up to meet the WP:NPOV policy? -- The Anome (talk) 00:22, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

I've now removed all the unsourced material from the article, which is probably the best that can be done for the moment. -- The Anome (talk) 12:14, 8 February 2012 (UTC)


When was the SOHR established? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:43, 16 May 2013 (UTC)


This article is explicitly written in a style that grants it legitimacy in the eyes of the viewer.

An alternative start like "The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (also known as SOHR; Arabic: المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان‎‎), is a one man operation based in the UK that covers human rights abuses in Syria." would give a conflicting or opposite impression, or would at least seem to be more neutral about the description of what it actually is.

Typically in the West we never see the opinions (or opinings) of the actual regimes expressed; they are not being talked with. Assad's position on the SOHR is that it is a front for broadcasting pro-western sentiments into the Western media, in which it is not important if the messages are actually factually correct, as long as they are being spread.

The original source for this is an interview with Russian TV from october 12th (2016) published at least on YouTube on October 14th at and published on at

Should I just at least add those remarks in the most neutral fashion I can? I think I will just go ahead. Dryden xx2 (talk) 22:22, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

SOHR is a small 2 man UK based propaganda cell. It has no legitimacy or credibility. The imaginary SOHR sources inside Syria can't be verified. I don't know why everyone uses them as sources, even MSM in Germany. I think SOHR is just a tool for the NATO propaganda war. DerElektriker (talk) 11:55, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Sorry if posting this in wrong place I read guidelines but still confused. Regarding the use of Amnesty International as a reference for legitimacy please consider that this organization is consistently inaccurate regarding U.S. wars - from Iraq to Syria. It was Amnesty Int'l that was used to verify U.S. claims about baby's being thrown out of incubators in Iraq and also stories about the Saydnaya prison in Syria. Also former executive director Suzanne Nossel came directly from the U.S. State Dept - not conclusive proof of compliance with U.S. war strategies but it should at least indicate enough evidence to say they are not unbiased, legitimate sources. So, their recommendations should also be suspect. (talk) 20:30, 10 April 2018 (UTC)


If they classify themselves as a human rights organization, the category is applicable. Don't remove the category just because it does not fit your personal definition of a human rights organization. Falcon8765 (TALK) 22:11, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Human rights organization don't have a pro Islamist agenda. This organization is a front. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:58, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Would Reuters do?Edit

Extended content

However, astoundingly, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is none of these things. Instead, it is merely a single man, sitting behind a computer in a British apartment, who alleges he receives “phone calls” with information always incriminating the Syrian government, and ever glorifying the “Free Syrian Army.” In fact, Reuters even admitted this in their article, “Coventry – an unlikely home to prominent Syria activist,” and even concedes that this man, “Rami Abdulrahman,” is openly part of the Syrian opposition who seeks the end of the Syrian government. Abdulrahman admits that he had left Syria over 10 years ago, has lived in Britain ever since, and will not return until “al-Assad goes.”

Fair use... ////yes!!, of cose!. (talk) 03:26, 17 November 2016 (UTC) analog

Coventry - an unlikely home to prominent Syria activist By Mohammed Abbas


BBC using SOHR ligitimate sourceEdit

This article needs expanding if this organization is being used as a legitimate news source considering all the warmongering going on 4 June 2012... Syria rebels 'kill 80 soldiers' in weekend clashes

Can Syria avoid civil war? Slow-motion tragedy Satellite clues to massacre Houla massacre

At least 80 Syrian soldiers were killed by rebels over the weekend in clashes and attacks on security forces checkpoints, an activist group says. Rebels told the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that more than 100 soldiers had died in the suburbs of Damascus and Idlib province. The Observatory said it had confirmed the names of 80 dead with local medics.

Meanwhile, the European Council's president has said the EU and Russia must combine their efforts on Syria. After a summit in St Petersburg with President Vladimir Putin, Herman Van Rompuy admitted they had "divergent assessments" of the situation — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:23, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

ordinary lie - refused to provide any evidenceEdit

The head of the press service of the Department of State John Kirby refused to provide any evidence. In response to a question about that, At least clarify the place of attack. On the other hand representative Russian Defence Ministry, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, not long before, said that all the information SOHR quotation - ordinary lie. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:24, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

Direct translation into swedish erasedEdit

I tried to write a swedish equivalent of this article "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" consisted of a direct translation of the first sentense into "Syriska observatoriet för mänskliga rättigheter heter på engelska Syrian observatory for Human Rights och är ett i Storbritannien baserat observationskontor som står i opposition till Assad-ledda regeringen i Syrien." but it was erased by Yger. / (talk) 21:08, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Founded in 2006 to document human rights abuses in the civil war... which started in 2011?Edit

The Syrian civil war started in 2011 and the SOHR was established in 2006, so the purpose couldn't have been to document human rights abuses in the war. I guess it was founded to document the abuses of the Assad-regime? Shall we change it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:40, 5 November 2015 (UTC) Is there any evidence that it was actually in operation before 2012? Its a home office above a clothing shop. I could say I have been reporting about the Kashmir conflict for 10 years, doesnt make it so. Any source of this? (talk) 21:23, 12 November 2016 (UTC)

Name and pen nameEdit

The transliteration of Ossama Suleiman's pen name in the organization's About Us changed from Abdelrahman (Sep 5, 2015) to Abdurrahman (Oct 1, 2015). I didn't find any About Us with the Abdulrahman mentioned in this article. And his first name apparently has always been Ossama, not Osama. --Gerold Broser (talk) 19:42, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Reverted removal of criticism sectionEdit

I suggest that removal of any significant portion of the article is discussed on beforehand. SOHR remain a very debated organization at its best. --Caygill (talk) 11:56, 2 March 2016 (UTC).11:55, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

Well, the "criticism" is mostly stuff from RT TV which is not a reliable source and WP:FRINGE as far as opinion goes. It publishes/airs all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories [1] [2] including Holocaust denial [3]. There's no way that should be in here.Volunteer Marek (talk) 14:45, 2 March 2016 (UTC)
Wrong. It quotes articles from MSN and The Guardian, far from unreliable sources, and definitely not primary sources. --92slim (talk) 01:28, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

Contrary. On all points. RT generally castigated by the above who are notorious. And it's not just RT, people.

Still wrong VM reverting as discussed by 92slim Caygill Ph1ll1phenry SaintAviator lets talk 02:20, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
One more time - you cannot have an entire article consisting of a "Criticism" section. That's about as red of a red flag that's it's a bunch of POV pushing as you can get. It's ridiculous and non-encyclopedic. Also - what are these "criticisms"? An op-ed. A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry. Anonymous "critics interviewed by AsiaNews". That's weak and it's POV.Volunteer Marek (talk) 02:54, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
That is false. It is possible having entire articles on criticism, examples: Criticism of Amnesty International or Criticism of Human Rights Watch. By the way, here is another source, now Le Figaro, a well-known pro-Russia anonymous Asian source: L'OSDH, source contestée de la guerre en Syrie. emijrp (talk) 15:12, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, yeah, that's because those articles are "Criticism of X" articles. This isn't a "Criticism of X" article.Volunteer Marek (talk) 17:15, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

I fixed it [4]. I removed 2nd phrase/paragraph because it was simply ridiculous ("that amounts to nothing more than a lone clothes seller, living in Coventry"). I removed 3rd paragraph because this is a personal opinion by Maria Zakharova an official propagandist by Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her claims have no credibility whatsoever. My very best wishes (talk) 03:35, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

In addition, using an "opinion piece" dated 2012 is questionable. This is outdated at best. Is anything better? As about 3rd source (by Zakharova), I could not verify it at all - this is dead link. Once again, do we have any better sources? My very best wishes (talk) 15:50, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

Please keep in mind that this article is subject to 1RR if I'm not mistaken.Volunteer Marek (talk) 17:14, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

Indeed. I forget about it. My apology to SaintAviator. My very best wishes (talk) 18:17, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
Don't revert the Guardian op-ed article. The Guardian is a very reliable source that stops shorts at taking sides and the contents ought to be on the main body of the article - Wikipedia is not a place for censorship. --92slim (talk) 02:44, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
You. Gotta. Be. Kidding.
"Censorship" has nothing to do with it. We have policies: WP:NPOV, WP:WEIGHT. "No censorship" does not mean "I get to put in any POV I want"Volunteer Marek (talk) 04:31, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
Removal of the criticism section was vandalism. Reaper7 (talk) 12:34, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
Agree its vandalism SaintAviator lets talk 22:57, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
It's generally considered incivil or a personal attack to refer to good faithed edits by others editors as "vandalism". See WP:VANDNOT.Volunteer Marek (talk) 04:29, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
WP:IDONTLIKEIT SaintAviator lets talk 07:41, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
This tells: "Charlie Skeltom, in a 2012 opinion piece ...". This is an outdated opinion piece. I am sure there are better sources about it. If so, please use them here. My very best wishes (talk) 12:53, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
Still, even if that was true which it's not, it doesn't make it ok for you to call other people's edits "vandalism".Volunteer Marek (talk) 14:04, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

Seems the criticism section has again disappeared and contains useful information. Green beret1972 (talk) 12:00, 23 September 2016 (UTC)

Because apparently, quoting opinions from The Guardian appears to be irrelevant and outdated. I'm sorry, this guy is a lonely old clothes seller, NOT a journalist, doing the work of 20 people - that ought to be mentioned somewhere. --92slim (talk) 21:48, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
I've added all the information needed to prove that this guy is not who he seems to be. The Guardian oped was just the tip of the iceberg. --92slim (talk) 22:58, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
No, what you did is add a whole bunch of highly POV, BLP violating text, based on a misrepresentation of sources, with a huge amount of UNDUE weight. For example, yes, the NY Times does say "He has been called a tool of the Qatari government, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Central Intelligence Agency and Rifaat al-Assad, the exiled uncle of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, among others." But, crucially, the article does not say any of this is true, so you can't have the Wikipedia article say that in Wikipedia voice. Indeed, the very next sentence is "“Rami’s objectivity is killing us,” said Manhal Bareesh, an activist from Saraqib who knew him before the war". Then AsiaNews has already been discussed (if not here, on another article). I'm not sure if MEPC is a reliable source, but regardless you are misrepresenting it - it does not say that SOHR "includes anti-government militants in the death toll" but rather that some OTHER media outlets, which also quote SOHR, do. The Guardian opinion piece has been discussed.Volunteer Marek (talk) 23:08, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
Then the section you added on "Connection to secretly backed Syrian opposition groups" (if that section title doesn't scream POV PUSHING! I don't know what does), which makes the article consist of nothing but TWO "criticism sections". First you got another editorial from the Independent. This source doesn't even mention SOHR. Then you got a bunch of stuff about ... something completely different, a TV station. The sources there ALSO don't mention SOHR. Then some completely irrelevant crap from Wikileaks about US funding of this TV station... why is that in here? Then you top it off with a blatant piece of POV original research where you say "SOHR is connected to this TV station" but without source.
Seriously, stop it, Wikipedia isn't a place for WP:ADVOCACY.Volunteer Marek (talk) 23:14, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
Here. Stop censoring Wikipedia. --92slim (talk) 23:30, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
The article states clearly that Rami Abdulrahman was not an individual. Anas Al-Abdah was part of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights until it was taken over by Osama. --92slim (talk) 23:32, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
What in the world does this have to do with the two POV BLP violating sections which misrepresent sources that you added to the article? And honestly, I've never seen an instance on Wikipedia where the person crying "censorship!" isn't engaged in WP:TENDENTIOUS editing of some sort. "Not censored" does not mean "I get to put any kind of nonsense I want into a BLP".Volunteer Marek (talk) 23:51, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
I will write it again, just in case you didn't read it: The article from the official website (archived as of today, since it has been removed) states clearly that Rami Abdulrahman was not an individual. Anas Al-Abdah was part of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights until it was taken over by Osama Ali Suleiman, the current owner. Anas Al-Abdah co-founded Barada TV, which was allegedly funded by the US government, according to WikiLeaks - therefore the two organizations are connected. Please admit you're completely ignoring the sources say and being consciously obtuse. --92slim (talk) 00:18, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
More on this here. --92slim (talk) 00:21, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
How interesting SaintAviator lets talk 21:47, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
This is textbook original research where you're conducting your own investigations based on primary sources and a bunch of he-said-she-said-on-the-web. Find a reliable secondary source. Still no idea what Barada TV has to do with anything - probably why none of the secondary sources you added actually mention SOHR.Volunteer Marek (talk) 00:32, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
Still no idea what Barada TV has to do with anything I must have missed something then, because for me it is pretty clear. It's not original research, it's in the archived webpage of SyriaHR (NOT a primary source). I'll explain it again: Anas Al-Abdah was part of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, that writes under the pseudonym Rami Abdulrahman. Anas Al-Abdah founded Barada TV, a corrupt TV channel. Osama Suleiman stole the online keys to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and became Rami Abdulrahman. No WP:OR here - those events are described and sourced separately. Should I write them again, and source them separately for you, again? Please let me know. It is sourced from the original website of SyriaHR. If that's not a reliable source, I don't know what is. 92slim (talk) 00:51, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
The archived link is an internet garbage, a letter signed by "admin" and dated 2012. Your another source [5] may or may not be an RS, but it tells nothing about "Barada TV" and describes claims above as unsubstantiated rumors. My very best wishes (talk) 17:17, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
So the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights website is considered a garbage source? The archive doesn't invent sources. --92slim (talk) 00:40, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Here is interview with Rami Abdulrahman by New York Times, and the article shows photo of Rami Abdulrahman. Now, an internet posting signed "admin" tells that Rami Abdulrahman does not exist. ??? My very best wishes (talk) 01:52, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Do you realize that Rami Abdulrahman is a moniker and not an actual name? --92slim (talk) 09:43, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
Really? [6] SaintAviator lets talk 21:54, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

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Rami Abdulrahman and alleged covert activitiesEdit

This article from the official website (it's on WebArchive, it's been removed now) claims that the current owner (Osama Suleiman) was an unknown person who joined the website in 2010 (4 years after its founding) and then simply stole the keys to the website and made it his own. According to the saved link, he also took over the nickname "Rami Abdulrahman which used to represent many people.

The same website mentions Anas Al-Abdah as a member of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (before it was allegedly taken over by Osama Suleiman). Anas Al-Abdah, arguably the most important former member of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights according to the archived article, is a member of the Secretariat of the Syrian National Council (a group supported by Turkey) and the founder of Movement for Justice and Development in Syria, the Syrian-opposition group that is closely connected to Barada TV, a TV channel that was covertly funded by the US, according to WikiLeaks. Someone care to elaborate on this? It seems too relevant not to include in the article, since it comes from the official website of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 92slim (talk) 01:27, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

This is a primary source - that's a letter to the editor. Can't use it, can't do original research based on it.Volunteer Marek (talk) 01:51, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
But it's on the official website. Which means, it's not a primary source; it's the official website, and there is no OR at all. --92slim (talk) 00:41, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
That's actually the definition of a primary source.Volunteer Marek (talk) 05:58, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
Another thing, this article actually has Category:2011 in London in it. How come? I thought it was based in Coventry. --92slim (talk) 01:00, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Marek dont us OR and such to block what WP:youdontlike SaintAviator lets talk 01:13, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
Don't make completely pointless comments whose only purpose appears to be causing annoyance for other editors. Not what the talk page is for.Volunteer Marek (talk) 05:58, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
Its only completely pointless to you when youdontlikeit. The argument is sound SaintAviator lets talk 22:09, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
I also cannot grasp the point of reverts like this [7]. It reintroduced Category:2011 in London which was explicitly invalidated in the very source.Paul Keller (talk) 12:59, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
That was obviously not the primary purpose of the revert, but incidental to it. If you cannot grasp that, well... (BTW, the category has been in the article since 2012 - perhaps it was correct back then, though it is misleading now and should be gone. I have deleted it). Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 21:31, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

It is on other websites as well [8], [9], of questionable RS though, and is mentioned here [10] and content on it has been on this article in the past [11]. Needs some digging for more info, I think. Surely there should be something prior to the 2011/2012 period. The history of the various domain names,, seems interesting - the last commentary post here [12] suggests they were once operated by different groups during the supposed split. That may be why the archived copy is no longer on the current site. And RS primary sources (which the archived page is) can be used, with care. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 20:59, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

The way you worded it ("one man operation") does not accurately reflect the source. Also, since by restoring that info you effectively reverted, I believe you broke 1RR on this article. Wanna self-revert? Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:47, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
You are wrong - "one man operation" is how the original German ("ein Ein-Mann-Betrieb") is translated using Google Translate. It is also how my German-English dictionary translates it. And no. It is RS, it does not duplicate stuff originally there, my restoration is not an revert (the wording is different and it removed the editorializing) and the original inserter is now blocked for being a previously blocked account so an unconnected account is needed to take ownership of that content. If you want to present a legitimate reason why that content should not be there, then please do so. It is not as if "one man operation" is contentious - the NY times source describes the SOHR as "virtually a one-man band" [13]. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 22:00, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
This source also contains content relating to the split in the organization. [14] And has links to other articles. I think we have enough here to justify content about it in the article. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 21:55, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
As Tiptoe said, there is nowhere near enough information on this news organization, and those details need to be conveniently clarified. --92slim (talk) 15:07, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

No legitimacy or credibilityEdit

SOHR is a small 2 man UK based propaganda cell. It has no legitimacy or credibility. The imaginary SOHR sources inside Syria can't be verified. This should be mentioned in the Article. DerElektriker (talk) 11:59, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Should the criticism section be reinstated?Edit

  • Support motion as per debate above Reaper7 (talk) 16:13, 30 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Per my notes above, the history of this organization is murky enough to warrant the reinstatement of the criticism section. --92slim (talk) 03:05, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Unless I am wrong, nothing forces me to sign in to add my assent to this. Who exactly has decided that Wikipedia should obfuscate criticism of what may indeed be a propagandist outlet? (talk) 21:29, 12 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Qualified Support - content critical of the organization should certainly be in the article, but whether it should be in a separate section depends on the extent of that content. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 15:05, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support In answer to above 'Who exactly has decided that Wikipedia should obfuscate criticism of what may indeed be a propagandist outlet?' Volunteer Marek. SaintAviator lets talk 20:23, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support motion to reinstate. --Caygill (talk) 00:53, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

A reminder that this is not a vote. Consensus is based upon policy-based reasoning. There's already a discussion going up above, which is the best place to discuss this. Stickee (talk) 12:43, 19 November 2016 (UTC)

The previous discussion stalled about three months ago. You are welcome to make policy-based arguments here. Fitzcarmalan (talk) 12:04, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
@Fitzcarmalan: Thanks for this clear explanation. Hiding or censoring a clear discussion is surely not the way to go about things in a Talk Page. If there are any objections to the almost unanimous voting (that is there for a reason) that took place it should be mentioned here. --92slim (talk) 07:59, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

It looks like this has been completed, with this edit. A slight change in heading, since it covers both positive and negative reception. Stickee (talk) 06:55, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

SOHR have no credibility whatsoever!Edit

Why you keep censoring this fact? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)


92slim has reverted my edits, saying that they are POV. Could you explain why you think this? Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 10:23, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

Because there is already a discussion to revert a Criticism section that was previously deleted, and you are removing anything that remotely resembles criticism, that was left in the article. 92slim (talk) 08:01, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

1RR applies to this articleEdit

A reminder to 92slim and Absolutelypuremilk that 1RR applies to this article, as per WP:GS/SCW. That is, you may only make 1 revert per 24 hour period. You have both made 2 reverts already. Thanks, Stickee (talk) 10:29, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out, could we make this clear in the article, in the same way that Syrian Civil War does? When you edit it, then it comes up with a big notice saying that 1RR applies. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 13:15, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
Only admins or template editors can add an edit notice, so I've requested it be added. Stickee (talk) 06:52, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
  Done here. Stickee (talk) 02:10, 23 December 2016 (UTC)

RfC about adding "pro-opposition" or "anti-Assad" to first sentence in the leadEdit

* There is clear consensus that "pro-opposition" and/or "anti-Assad" should be included in the article.
  • There was inadequate attention to the "and/or" aspect to find a clear consensus. The soft summary is that those who did address this aspect favored including both. The others appear to passively endorse or accept this option.
  • A majority supported placement in the lede, but I find it too close for a consensus as the first sentence. A more accurate rough consensus is to include it later in the lede. I recommend moving the current language "described as being pro-opposition and anti-Assad" up as the final sentence of the lede. Alsee (talk) 11:39, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should the terms "pro-opposition" or "anti-Assad" be used to describe the SOHR in the lead sentence?

As in:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, founded in May 2006, is a UK-based pro-opposition (and/or) anti-Assad information office that has been documenting human rights abuses in Syria which has focused since 2011 on the Syrian Civil War.

P.S. If you stumble on any more sources, let me know and I'll add it. Étienne Dolet (talk) 05:52, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

Uhh, how about "neither"? Please formulate the RfC in a neutral manner.Volunteer Marek (talk) 05:54, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
Uhh, users are welcome to express their disapproval to the proposal altogether. Étienne Dolet (talk) 06:06, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
That's not how it works. From Wikipedia:Requests for comment#Request comment on articles, policies, or other non-user issues: "Include a brief, neutral statement of or question about the issue". If you then want to make your case later then you can do that, but the RfC should be phrased in a neutral way. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 09:28, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it is how it works. It's phrased in a neutral way, to discuss how to render the article free of bias. If you don't want to contribute, feel free not to. --92slim (talk) 09:47, 20 December 2016 (UTC)


Include both pro-opposition and anti-Assad. There's just so many reliable sources that describe it as such. I fear that not describing it the way reliable sources do would be POV. And I must say that if we were to stick to just one term, I suggest pro-opposition since, based off of the sources provided, it's more common. 92slim (talk) 08:14, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

No - however including a sentence somewhere in the article would be useful. Making sure to attribute such a thing is critical, however. Stickee (talk) 11:00, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

No but should be somewhere in the article. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 12:59, 20 December 2016 (UTC)'

Include because thats what SOHR is. SaintAviator lets talk 21:43, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

Include’'’ both pro-opposition and anti-Assad The Happy Warrior (talk) 18:47, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

Neither, in the form presented here, however more neutral phrasing could be used later in the lead or in the body. The SOHR tends to document government/Russian violations, however that does not make it inherently pro-anyone. The existence of these sources using the term does not invalidate the hundreds of mentions in RS that do not use this descriptor, or give a more nuanced one. This is putting an aspect of their identity, (which is certainly NOT pro-Assad) into 'pole position'. I agree that this is not a neutrally phrased RfC. Pincrete (talk) 00:40, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

Oppose both as WP:UNDUE. Summoned by bot. I reviewed the last 25 WP:RS sources on Google News. I found

  • 0 source agencies in 0 articles using "anti-Assad" or similar terms,
  • 1 source agency in 1 article using "pro-opposition," "supports the rebels" or similar terms (Tribune News Service) [15]
  • 1 source agency in 1 article using "independent" (AFP) [16]
I didn't include the World Socialist Website (anti-Assad), the Rudaw Media Network (neutral), the Daily Caller (neutral), and ("so-called"). You could argue about removing the Turkish sources and/or inserting the Iranian one, but it would not change the analysis: The current discussion lower in the article is fine. Putting a political label in the encyclopedic voice and/or in the lead section is not consistent with the way this group is described in reliable sources; in fact, it's not even close. Chris vLS (talk) 06:28, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

Include: This is relevant and due. While I thank Chrisvls for the survey above, this is not quite how WP:DUE works: I don't expect that most routine news reports mention that SOHR was founded in 2006 either, but we still have it in the lead. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 04:32, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

Include as per The Happy Warrior, based on breadth of RS. DarjeelingTea (talk) 13:37, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

Include Yes in the lede, though not necessarily in the very first sentence - but if not placed in the first sentence, then preferably it should be in the second or third. I don't see undue weight issues - the subject is just being classified according to what sources say and that classification is an important part, arguably a central part, of the subject's identity. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 18:02, 31 January 2017 (UTC)


  • Thanks for the thanks, User:Finnusertop. I agree that my survey is rough approximation, and wouldn't have included it if the results weren't so one-sided. That said, I don't really follow your entire analogy. Sure, these articles don't contain the founding date and the lead section should. But I see this as an NPOV/due weight question, not a relevance question. In the extreme case, we don't offer fringe theory rebuttals of scientific theories in the lead section, because that would be undue weight; we determine this by looking at the prevalence of the view. In this case, the majority, by a very lopsided margin, of reliable sources don't feel that the group is so partisan that it should be labelled (let alone introduced) as "anti-Assad" or "pro-opposition" -- both when the article is primarily based on information gathered by the group and when it is not. This reflects the journalists' (and others') editorial judgment that the information the group provides is sufficiently reliable to not require such a label. Elevating one of these labels into the first sentence of the encyclopedia article is substituting a different editorial judgment for theirs. I could see doing that if it were a close call -- if say, a third of them did. But it's not close, 12 to 1. It's rare to see these labels applied at all, let alone as the label when the group as first mentioned. I think the information should be included, but not in the first sentence and probably not in the lead section. Chris vLS (talk) 02:18, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

"run by one man"Edit

Flemingi added that the SOHR is "run by one man". I reverted this, but Dbdb has re-added it, with the NYT source. However, this is misleading as the source says "virtually a one-man band", not that it is run by one man, and later explicitly says "He does not work alone. Four men inside Syria help to report and collate information from more than 230 activists on the ground....." Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 10:18, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Something along these lines would be OK, "virtually a one-man band", SaintAviator lets talk 21:22, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Unexplained content removalEdit

It appears Volunteer Marek is using the above RfC about the lede to justify removing criticism from the body of the article. His vague edit summaries make it difficult to say conclusively:

Pinging those involved: @Étienne Dolet: @Absolutelypuremilk: @92slim: @SaintAviator: @The Happy Warrior: @Pincrete: @Chrisvls: @Finnusertop: @DarjeelingTea: @Tiptoethrutheminefield: @Alsee: James J. Lambden (talk) 16:55, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand Volunteer Marek's edit summary either. I agree with the deletion of the AsiaNews source, it's terrible. (Aside from making claims without showing any reporting, it says, as a matter of fact "Mainstream international media like the BBC, al-Jazeera and al-Arabya, have relied on it as their sole source of news." Not sure it's true that those orgs have no reporters in the region.) The other criticism is tricky to handle -- the edit makes it sound like SOHR is lying, which is a simplification of what the (opinion) piece in MEPC says.
As an aside, I also don't really see that the article merits the POV tag. Even if you disagree with my reading of these sources, the article reads like a fair treatment to me. Most readers will be surprised, given the way SOHR is used by most sources, that there is criticism from fair sources. And a reader will also see that, despite their biases, SOHR has kept the trust of many sources for getting at least some information out of an impossible situation. Chris vLS (talk) 03:23, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
Well, since this is a controversial article, the best way to garner consensus would be through an RfC. For those considering removal, I suggest to open one up. Étienne Dolet (talk) 03:54, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
Even in controversial articles, it's best to discuss the merits on the talk page before calling an RfC, per the Before Starting section of WP:RFC. So far, we have had an edit made, then undone with a edit summary that others didn't agree with. Happens all the time. Now let's discuss the merits. (So far, the only argument on the content appears to be mine, but I think the idea of this section was to clarify the RfC scope, which is fine.) I'll start with the Asia News source. Give me a moment... Chris vLS (talk) 07:22, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
I am the RFC closer. To clarify: The RFC only addressed what should or should-not appear within the lede section. My close should not be interpreted as establishing any position for or against any content anywhere else.
And as Chris vLS just said, it's best to discuss an issue here before starting an RFC. RFCs are great from resolving intractable local disputes, but it's far faster and far less work and far less drama if the involved editors can peacefully sort it out themselves. A few reverts just means it't time to move to the Talk page and assume good faith the other side is willing to reasonably explain and discuss and resolve the issue together. Alsee (talk) 09:00, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

This material was not in the article. Etienne dolet inserted it claiming "per RfC on talk page". Clearly the above rfc did not say that the material had consensus and indeed wasn't even concerned with it. So the excuse for inserting this material is bogus. Hence I removed it. And yes, it's shitty sources.Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:30, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

And oh yeah, nice job of WP:CANVASSing there James. You pinged every single user you could think of that would come and agree with you here. You sure you didn't miss anyone? Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:32, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

In particular, EtienneDolet reinserted text which had no consensus in this edit claiming "per RfC consensus on TP" - obviously the RfC above doesn't even address this text! So it was just trying to use the RfC about something else to re-add some POV text into the article when nobody was watching.Volunteer Marek (talk) 22:23, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

Volunteer Marek, regarding "canvassing", your edit summary made specific reference to what a recent RfC decided, so it is not unreasonable for an editor to ping all those who expressed an opinion at that RfC. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 20:01, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I pinged all involved in the RfC and only those involved in the RfC, hardly canvassing. Volunteer Marek: that's an unjustified accusation and not your first, please strike it from your comment. My talk page history alone shows you accusing me of violating 1RR on an article not under 1RR, and violating 3RR when my 4 edits did not occur within a 24 hour span. Whether these repeated false accusations are an issue of competence or an intentional tactic I'm not certain, but I am certain they are disruptive – find a way to solve it. James J. Lambden (talk) 16:36, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
My apologies, Volunteer Marek, I understand the flow better now. In this edit [40], EtienneDolet added the "accused of reporting militant anti-government fighters among dead civilians" in addition to "described as being 'pro-opposition' and 'anti-Assad.'" and cited the RfC. Then, in this edit [41], Stickee pointed out that the RfC only covered the second half (pro-opposition/anti-Assad) and removed the first part. Then in this edit [42], Volunteer Marek deleted the "accused" sentence from later in the article, again stating that the sentence did not gain consensus in the RfC, which was Etienne's edit summary for placing it higher in the article. EtienneDolet and James J. Lambden then protested that the RfC did not discuss the body of the article. The sentence, or some form of it, has actually been in that part of the article since back in December. It all looks like simple misunderstandings to me. Marek thought that Etienne was citing the RfC to re-include it. Etienne and James didn't understand why Marek was even mentioning the RfC. Now we can do the work of actually writing a good consensus treatment lower in the article. Chris vLS (talk) 02:20, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the detective work! Stickee (talk) 03:55, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
@Chrisvls: Thank you for the rundown. It makes much more sense now. That bit of information was there before the RfC was initiated, and I don't believe anyone ever contested that clause to begin with; hence why I reinserted it into the article. It was also located in the body of the article, so I just readded it in the lead. I do understand now that my edit-summary may be misleading in the sense that the RFC did not discuss that particular bit of information though I did reinsert it saying "per consensus at RFC". With that said, I also don't think it should be removed on the basis of it not being discussed during the RfC, since (as you mentioned) the RFC was never about the body of the article. Also, that "selective reporting..." bit that I reinserted into the lead was removed by Stickee awhile ago. So if we scrutinize edits that insert information on the basis of it was not being part of the RfC, we should equally scrutinize edits that remove information on the basis of it not being part of the RfC as well. But when it comes to the latter, I find the reasoning for its removal largely misleading since not only was that part of the lead removed by Stickee awhile ago, the information in the body of the article was also removed on the basis of it not being part of the RfC even though the RfC was never about the body of the article in the first place. Regardless of it all, the best way to go about things here is to discuss. I believe that the "SOHR has been accused of selective reporting..." bit should remain. Other users have remarked that the source is reasonable and I'm on board with them. And since we're on the search for other sources, there are other sources that simplify things even further. I know that this source says in plain English that: "..virtually all sides accused SOHR of bias." He appears to be a pretty prolific scholar who has specialized in topics concerning the Arab world and particularly Syria. I think this is something that should be discussed in another section. Étienne Dolet (talk) 04:15, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

Thks for the ping. SOHR is biased or selective if you like. Hes certainly busy I'll give him that. But a neutral truth seeking investigative outfit SOHR is not. SaintAviator lets talk 21:19, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

AsiaNews sourceEdit

Per WP:RS, the AsiaNews source does not appear to be the quality of source we need to sustain a major criticism in a controversial article. First, the article doesn't really fall under standard journalism, describing several incidents as having occurred without describing how the (unnamed) author discovered their occurrence -- no quotes, no sources, etc. In other cases, weasel words are the only reference ("sources interviewed" or just "sources"). Second, the article makes extreme claims that are demonstrably exaggerated, such as "For nearly two years, SOHR has reported only acts of violence by the regime against the rebels. Mainstream international media like the BBC, al-Jazeera and al-Arabya, have relied on it as their sole source of news." A cursory examination of those agencies show that they have reporters and sources in the region and have not relied on SOHR as their only source. Such sloppiness (bald assertion: "most fighters do not even speak Arabic" -- no source) is not what we rely on here to uphold important parts of controversial articles. Third, reading the wiki article on this agency, it is not clear that they are even considered a news source for Syria -- they should be considered not just a WP:RS, but a notable one to garner "according to AsiaNews" in the encyclopedic voice.

If the statements in the encyclopedia article are true, we can find better sources for them than this. So let's do the work. Chris vLS (talk) 07:39, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

I agree, this does not seem like a reliable source, especially for such a controversial topic. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 07:57, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
I just took a glance at My superficial impressions is that it seems like it would be reasonably reliable with editorial oversight, although it is explicitly driven by a Catholic-missionary agenda. That agenda could be a problem in some cases, but it doesn't seem to be so here. Asianews had a self-serving reason to criticize SOHR for not providing more reporting of abuse by Islamists, but I'd be surprised of the claim itself isn't credible. It doesn't seem unusual or controversial that SOHR was primarily focused on documenting governmental human rights abuses, rather than comprehensive reporting of any criminal/abusive act by anyone in the entire region. If a better source can be found, of course that's always good. Alsee (talk) 09:01, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
I agree with your discussion of AsiaNews. This particular article seems like a mix of opinion and reporting. The statement is offered without sourcing, which, if it's an unsigned opinion piece, would be a problem. But it's not really a reporting piece either, unless it's true that the BBC has no reporters covering Syria. I haven't found the claim supported anywhere else. I think it should be removed if a better source isn't found. Chris vLS (talk) 02:30, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
I think it's reasonable as well. As I've aforementioned, since we're on the search for other sources, there are other sources that simplify things even further. I know that this source says in plain English that: "..virtually all sides accused SOHR of bias." He appears to be a pretty prolific scholar who has specialized in topics concerning the Arab world and particularly Syria. It can provide a bit of context to the whole bit about the "anti-Assad" and "pro-opposition" bias of the SOHR that's widely characterized by numerous (western) news agencies. Étienne Dolet (talk) 04:02, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
Yes, let's go with other sources and summaries of the critiques. I don't think the claim about SOHR's first two years is important, if it were, it would be mentioned (and sourced) elsewhere. It's weird that this obscure, wobbly claim about the past is the lead sentence. The "accuse" sentence has other issues, will start a separate section. Chris vLS (talk) 05:27, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
Great, I'll just replace that Asianews stuff with a simple critique from Sorenson if there are no objections. Let's not forget, however, that the critique should not be limited to Sorenson and if there's more criticism to be added, we should not refrain from doing so, provided that it carry WP:WEIGHT and is worthy of inclusion. Étienne Dolet (talk) 06:04, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
Well, first this is an ABC-CLIO source which makes it borderline. Second, there's that very important qualification "not surprisingly given the polarization of the conflict" - basically he's saying that yeah, in a war like this everyone's gonna call you biased. And what exactly do you want this to say? We already have it that they've been described in such and such a way.
AsiaNews needs to go. There was never consensus to include it. It was reinserted under the false pretense that RfC supported this inclusion. I have no idea why you're invoking the RfC now when it has nothing to do with it. Which means it stays out since it doesn't - and never had - consensus. Ditto for mepc.
One more time. EtienneDolet, you reinserted this text with an edit summary "per RfC consensus on TP". The RfC was NOT about AsiaNews or mepc. Hence your edit summary was misleading and false. Now, it seems you are claiming "The RFC was strictly concerning the lead", which is correct but why in the world does that give you the right to reinstate text that didn't have consensus. Text which you originally reinserted claiming that... the RfC justified it. What are you doing???
Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:09, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
(ec) Also, ED, don't try and jump the gun. What you really should do, is self-revert here, removing the AsiaNews and mpec stuff you reinserted without consensus and then we can discuss how to proceed. How about showing some good faith here then, esp. after those "per RfC ... RfC was strictly about the lead" edit summaries? Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:09, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

I'm also wondering how in the hades Etienne Dolet got, quote:

" It can provide a bit of context to the whole bit about the "anti-Assad" and "pro-opposition" bias of the SOHR that's widely characterized by numerous (western) news agencies. "

(note especially the "widely characterized by numerous news agencies" part which asserts that these news agencies accuse SOHR of bias)

from, quote,:

"yet, not surprisingly, given the polarization of the conflict, virtually all sides accused SOHR of bias".

Being accused of bias is not the same thing as being biased.

And "virtually all sides" is not "pro-opposition" or "anti-Assad".

Btw, best I can tell this is the only mention of SOHR in this 203 page book.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:21, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

(ec) Wait, what are you trying to say? "I have no idea why you're invoking the RfC now when it has nothing to do with it."? You're the one who mentioned it, not me. The "Asianews stuff" never even existed in the lead, and I never even added it (as you can see in that edit). The only thing added by me was from MEPC, and that was removed by Stickee from the lead almost a month ago. Neither you or I made a fuss about it then, so why's this such an issue now? But more importantly, I reverted you because your edit-summary was entirely misleading. You claimed that the RfC didn't discuss the Asianews source and that I somehow added it to the lead when I never actually added it. So what's your reason for removal again? I added the MEPC stuff thinking that that material already found in the body would be fine for a little bit of context in the lead as well. That was then removed by Stickee so that ends that discussion anyways. However, you now removed it from the body of the article under that basis alone. Again, why? The RfC was not only strictly about the lead, and the Asianews source was never added to the lead at all. So no, your basis to remove the Asianews source is wrong. And you're continuing the same rationale, hence why your reasons for my self-revert are also wrong. Look, the bottom line is we can continue going around in circles with this but I see no point from hereon. It's better to leave it behind and sort whatever we have now and work to make the article better. As for the source, I could see using it in this way: "...numerous parties within the Syrian conflict have accused the SOHR as biased." That's all that can be said about that particular piece of information from that source anyways. Until we find more thorough critique, this should suffice for now. Étienne Dolet (talk) 06:30, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
"You're the one who mentioned it, not me." - no. In this revert you restored text which did not have consensus with the edit summary "per RfC consensus on TP". And nobody made a "fuss" because nobody noticed (this is similar to what you tried to do at the Putin article). And you contradict yourself, again, when you first claim "the RfC was about the lede" and then "the RfC was not only strictly about the lead". Which one is it? Whichever one is convenient? Neither the AsiaNews nor mpec have or have had consensus. You used the RfC as an excuse. It was a bad excuse. So it needs to be removed. That's how we make the article better.Volunteer Marek (talk) 13:31, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
Firstly, that wasn't a revert. Second, that was from more than a month ago. Thirdly, that was added after the RFC was concluded. So why are you rehashing these points now? "So it needs to be removed."? It was already removed by Stickee. And Asianews was never added by me, what are you trying to get at here? Can you point to one diff that shows I added Asianews because of the RFC? You know, the more I look into this matter, the more I see that your rationale to remove Asianews doesn't make sense, and these excuses are nothing but deflections. Again, I ask: do you still believe that removing Asianews from the body of the article was justified under the basis that "it was not part of the RFC" when in fact it was never added to the article because of the RFC and that the RFC was strictly concerning the lead? Étienne Dolet (talk) 17:06, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
Yes, yes it was a revert. It involved restoring content which you knew had no consensus. Under the false pretense of "per RfC". Secondly, so what if it was a month ago? What does that have to do with anything? You waited till activity on this article died down then snuck back here and reinserted content which you knew etc. etc. etc. Thirdly, what am I "rehashing"? The RfC had nothing to do with your content. The only connection between this content and the RfC, as has been explained multiple times, is that you used a misleading edit summary claiming the RfC supported it when it didn't. And this isn't about just Asianews but also mpec, as you well know, although the text from both is similar.Volunteer Marek (talk) 03:02, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
You specifically said that I added the Asianews part to the lead, and therefore you removed it on that basis. So again, please provide a diff that shows that I added Asianews to the lead. Do you admit that you were in the wrong when you said that, or are you going to keep deflecting? And I'll ask again: do you still believe that removing Asianews from the body of the article was justified under the basis that "it was not part of the RFC" when in fact it was never added to the article because of the RFC and that the RFC was strictly concerning the lead? Étienne Dolet (talk) 05:54, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
"You specifically said that I added the Asianews part to the lead" - no I didn't. Can't really discuss anything with you if you just make stuff up.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:07, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
Great. Then why are removing the Asianews on the basis that I did so as you did here? Étienne Dolet (talk) 06:11, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
Because, as stated at least half a dozen times by now, there was never consensus to include it but you waited till others stopped paying attention to this article, came back a few months after discussion concluded and reinserted it under a bullshit pretext ("per RfC"). I mean, I've said that like five times already.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:13, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
Now. Why are you saying I said something which I clearly didn't say? Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:15, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
When have I "came back a few months after discussion concluded and reinserted it under a bullshit pretext"? Can you show me the diff? Étienne Dolet (talk) 06:17, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, you did that with the mepc source, not AsiaNews (your constant misrepresentations have confused even me). You did it here.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:20, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
The AsiaNews stuff was re-added by conveniently anonymous IP here. Then you and James Lambden edit warred to try and keep it in.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:24, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
Okay, that's what I'm trying to tell you. And there's no misrepresentations to be made here other than you claiming that I did something I clearly did not do. And look at the date of that IP address diff. The Asianews stuff was added BEFORE the RFC, not after (to the body of the article might I add). Hence, what I'm trying to tell you is that the RFC has NOTHING to do with the Asianews source which is why removing it on that basis was wrong. But I'm assuming in good faith that you thought that I added the Asianews source to the lead with that edit of mine. That's understandable. But I still find your removal of Asianews unjustified on the (mis)understanding that it was added as part of the RFC. Now, if you think it's an unreliable source etc. etc., that's a different rationale and can be discussed accordingly. But removing it because it was added by me after to RFC is not correct because that simply did not happen. Étienne Dolet (talk) 06:33, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
I removed your re-addition of the mepc source, which you re-added without consensus claiming that it was covered by the RfC. It wasn't. AsiaNews should be removed as well but for a different reason.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:57, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
Just to be clear: the MEPC stuff that I added was already removed by Stickee nearly a month ago. Also, my edit dealt with the lead, not the body. So you actually never removed anything that I added. Étienne Dolet (talk) 07:02, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
Here is my edit. It removes the text " with AsiaNews saying that they covered only violent acts of the government forces against the opposition for the first two years of its existence" cited to AsiaNews. And it removes the text "SOHR has also been accused of reporting militant anti-government fighters among dead civilians", cited to mpec. The latter was added by you here. So again, false.Volunteer Marek (talk) 19:59, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
Again, you are wrong. Are you not looking at those edits? Compare them for once. I copied and pasted material from the body to the lead. The MEPC stuff was already in the body of the article for several months now, and that wasn't added by me. I don't know who added it but it was there before I even made that edit you keep bringing up (for example it's found in this version). So you never really reverted any of my additions. The RFC stuff about the anti-Assad and pro-opposition one-sideness remains in the lead. That's all that matters. Étienne Dolet (talk) 21:45, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
I think it would be fair to tell that SOHR provides unreliable numbers of casualties, just as all other sources. It does not mean SOHR is worse than other sources. None of them provides reliable data about it. My very best wishes (talk) 03:30, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Chris that the source is not sufficiently strong. But there is also something else. Consider this source which suppose to be OK. But what it actually tells? Yes, it "criticizes" SOHR just as all other sources of information about the casualties in the sense that the precise number of casualties can not be reliably determined by any sources. Yes, sure, however using the publication to criticize specifically SOHR (rather than simply telling that numbers produced by any sources are unreliable) is POV. My very best wishes (talk) 15:16, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
P.S. Someone just inserted more criticism with a reference to even weaker, outright propaganda sources... My very best wishes (talk) 03:08, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

Asia news is more credible than SOHR. SaintAviator lets talk 21:21, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

The idea that they consider sources like WaPo and CNN to be credible and free of any conflict of interest pretty much destroys the validity of their argument. The 2016 election showed, as if it wasn't apparent already, that the mainstream media lies constantly and is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Nikolai Romanov (talk) 03:34, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
Let's be frank. Do you really suggest that RT (TV network) and Maria Zakharova (your sources) are WP:RS on this subject? Come on. This is Big lie. This is not CNN.My very best wishes (talk) 04:06, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
RT is certainly more reliable than they are. Every media outlet has its own spin, and the Western MSM lies the most often. RT is so successful because most often they just provide the truth, which is why they are becoming more popular while the MSM has been only becoming more and more irrelevant. After all of the Western corporate MSM's lies and propaganda, how can it be considered RS while RT is not? Screams of POV to me. Also, it wasn't only Zakharova but a German diplomat as well. Nikolai Romanov (talk) 04:24, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, this is a pointless argument.Volunteer Marek (talk) 00:37, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
So RT is a reliable source then. Nikolai Romanov (talk) 16:49, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
No.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:06, 16 April 2017 (UTC)

No, RT is not a reliable source. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 17:37, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

The reason? Nikolai Romanov (talk) 20:14, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
From its article, it is funded by the Russian government and normally considered to be propaganda. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 20:26, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
While most Western MSM are owned by a small group of corporations that are connected to the US government and do not question its decisions on major geopolitical events. They are not technically owned by the government, but their actions reduced this fact to a mere formality. And you're telling me this is any different? Nikolai Romanov (talk) 21:17, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
Of course CNN CBS Fox etc most of western media is controlled by a few mega wealthy proxies like Murdoch who are Deep State assets. We all know that and if you dont you're naive. RT is more balanced than say the NYT or Washington post. RT is banned here for political reasons because Wikipedia is part of the Deep States propaganda oulets. SaintAviator lets talk 23:13, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't say that, but yes, you would have to be very naive or very ignorant to not understand Wikipedia has a pro-liberal, pro-globalist bias. Ironically they claim they are neutral and then only show one point of view, the US government's. Al Jazeera is government-owned by Qatar, but I've seen it used on multiple articles, because Qatar's position more or less aligns with the globalist one. So much for neutrality, they should at least be honest about their bias. But Wiki is still useful for things like history, science, and other topics that are not too politicized. Nikolai Romanov (talk) 15:00, 15 April 2017 (UTC)
This is not really a matter of who "controls" or "owns" whom, but a matter of reputation for fact checking and so on (as WP:RS tells). The RT (and modern Russian TV media in general, excluding only a few channels, such as "Rain TV") has an extremely poor reputation of intentionally inventing and reporting something that simply never happened. This is much worse than poor fact checking. My very best wishes (talk) 04:08, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
Can you give some examples of RT posting lies or inaccuracies? With the sole exception of the story of a Russian girl getting raped in Germany by a migrant that was circulating and reported on by RT and may or may not have actually happened, I am not aware of any. But I can give you plenty of examples from the Western MSM, which has become infamous for lying and being inaccurate yet is somehow still considered RS. Nikolai Romanov (talk) 04:20, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
Again, this is a stupid conversation, especially once someone starts mumbling incoherently about "Deep State assets" and "Wikipedia is part of the Deep States propaganda oulets" (sic). If you wish to discuss the reliability of RT there are other venues for that. And it has been discussed. And they're not reliable. Like I said, this conversations is a waste of time.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:08, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
Can you link me to those other venues? Also, I'm not the one who said "deep state assets", in case you haven't noticed, I am saying you are claiming RT is unreliable because it has allegedly has false information when most of the Western mainstream media you use as sources also have false information, in fact far more than RT. The fact that no one has yet effectively addressed this point and most I talk with try to ignore it makes it quite obvious that you have a POV. It certainly is strange that most outlets that post articles questioning the Western establishment's main narrative are marked as "unreliable" by Wiki admins. Oh but I'm sure that is just coincidence. Nikolai Romanov (talk) 19:04, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
Yes wikipedia is good for lots of useful stuff. But its hopeless for political 'fake' stories like the gas attacks, conflicts involving the West or longstanding bias that has become altered history and other stories that can be influenced by elites. However we have seen in time over years lies like the WMDs in Iraq deception get exposed and corrected, but it takes a long time. If we survive the coming war the entire Syria conflict if reported neutrally, correctly, will show the involved powers from the West, Turkey, Israel and some Arab states in a very negative light for creating terrorists and false flag attacks. SOHR is a joke and a good example of how collusion by MSM promotes what is clearly an M16 asset and allows this one man blog to become a reference for fake reports. Bellingcat is another. NYT,CNN, Wasington Post, all western MSM are all 'controlled' like SOHR. Its all a game and dont tell me wikipedia is neutral and RT and the like can be discussed somewhere in a fair venue. Ha. You're fooling yourself or spouting fake news. SaintAviator lets talk 20:28, 16 April 2017 (UTC)

Content from Washington PostEdit

What is going on with the content added from the Washington Post article? It has focused only on the criticisms, and ignored the VDC saying that its estimates seem realistic and that the UN had based its estimates on their figures. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 12:09, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Yes, exactly. If anyone wanted to provide a fair summary of the source, that would be something different and a lot more positive. But instead of doing just that, some participants take out of the context a few critical statements and put them into the page. That's why I removed it. My very best wishes (talk) 14:19, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Fair point but why remove the critiscisms? Just add the other. SaintAviator lets talk 02:39, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

RFC regarding Washington Post critiqueEdit

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
There is a concensus to include the material in some ammended form; but to include the proposed text, as it stands now, is opposed.Winged Blades Godric 06:21, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Should the following critique be added in the Accuracy section of this article?

A common criticism of SOHR has been that it is "difficult, if not impossible" to fact check SOHR's data since its director, Rami Abdulrahman, "does not share his data or methodology". Syria conflict expert James Miller has criticised the SOHR suggesting that it knew "field reporters who have never encountered a SOHR source in Syria." When presented with a chart showing the number of war dead in April 2014, Miller made several remarked: "There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of examples why [SOHR] is a terrible source" and "Everything about that chart screams BS!"

The source is Washington Post: 200,000 dead? Why Syria’s rising death toll is so divisive

Also, the entire quote doesn't have to be placed in the article. If you would like a modified rendition of the critique, feel free to propose it. Étienne Dolet (talk) 21:44, 1 May 2017 (UTC)


  • No, misrepresentation of what is said per the discussion below. Stickee (talk) 12:07, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Support the inclusion of the amended text. Whether other material should be included is another, unrelated question. But this one's a no-brainer, really. Khirurg (talk) 17:49, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose inclusion of the text in its current form, but would support inclusion without the last sentence and with some balancing material. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 19:12, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written. The quotations in the proposed language are all messed up. All quotations should be attributed in-text to their sources so we know who said those things. At least one of the quotes ("does not share ..." is incorrect. And too much use of quotes to begin with; most of this stuff is readily paraphrased and put into our own voice. (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:14, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written. Poorly sourced, too many uses of quotes (and poorly chosen quotes), and fails to include relevant context. The Washington Post article is a good source but this text is not a good reflection/summary of it. For example, the Post article notes a number of (valid, significant) criticisms, but also extensively talks about the difficulty of verifying casualties in any war, especially Syria; how reliable data is hard to come by; and how "it appears that there are few critics who think SOHR's estimates are too low. Some think they should be higher." Go back to the drawing board on this. Neutralitytalk 03:24, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
  • @Neutrality: would you be willing to propose a new text that would take into consideration all the concerns you've raised? As nominator of this RFC, I'm willing to revise it on those means. Étienne Dolet (talk) 05:03, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. I don't have the time at the moment; also in any case I don't want to put a new text forward while this RfC is pending. (I find it confuses matters to introduce new proposals halfway through.) Neutralitytalk 05:15, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Try this :

Criticisms of SOHR include difficulties fact checking SOHR's data (despite being little to check against) and that it doesn't share data or methodology. Syria conflict expert James Miller has criticised the SOHR in a letter to the Washington Post suggesting that it was less objective than other groups with an unclear bias. Miller also criticized SOHR for listing moderate rebels as civilians in it's data.

La Force (talk) 08:51, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written. Such summary is misrepresentation of the source, as I already explained on this talk page. Even the title of the RFC is misleading. This sounds like critique only when someone create quotations out of context. The article is actually supportive of SOHR if someone reads whole article. My very best wishes (talk) 01:17, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Support as long as we know who said what, I'm supporting the addition.--Caygill (talk) 12:19, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written. This is clear WP:Cherrypicking; it pulls all the negative quotes it can out of the source, while leaving out the larger conflict. (I'm especially alarmed by the fact that it leaves out the fact that Miller says that it has an unclear bias, which seems like vital context - omitting it makes it look like it has a clear bias for one side. Any quote or paraphrase of Miller absolutely must include the fact that he felt they had an unclear bias.) --Aquillion (talk) 11:22, 15 May 2017 (UTC)


I am happy for the content to be added to the article (apart from the last sentence, which I think is UNDUE and doesn't really add anything). However, I objected to the addition of this content without the addition of balancing content from the article, for example the VDC saying that SOHR's number seem realistic, or that most critics think that SOHR's numbers are too low, not too high. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 08:42, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

There's also a problem with the first sentence. "A common criticism" and "Perhaps the most common criticism" are not the same thing. The first one means that the criticism is common. The second one means that out of all the criticism that are made, whether as a whole they are common or not, this particular one is most frequent. So the sentence misrepresents the source to push a POV.Volunteer Marek (talk) 08:51, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes I also agree with this point. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 10:06, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I agree actually. I'll revise the wording. Étienne Dolet (talk) 05:01, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Ok, please revise it then and let's start over.Volunteer Marek (talk) 08:12, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
I revised it by crossing the word common out. Étienne Dolet (talk) 17:16, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

The common criticism line is this persons view. If thats made clear it not a problem. Thats minor. I dont know why some editors are so entrenched in not allowing a fair appraisal of things like SOHR. Its very uncool. It makes Wikipedia less. SOHR is what it is, a little outfit with certain flaws and biases. Just record this reality using the Refs availiable and stop trying to hide things. Its dishonest. Whats written here in a Wikipedia article cant change a thing in the Mid East by trying to make SOHR look better than it is. That sort of motive is grounded in Paranoia. This is a side show in a side show in a side show. The real decisions are not made by people who say look I saw this in Wikipedia about SOHR, lets bomb something. Its better to have some integrity in wikipedia rather than let wikipedia become a place where an article becomes a joke. I am a health professional BTW and Im starting to reappraise the editing on some articles with Obsessive–compulsive disorder in mind. Bear in mind what Im saying is significantly common, 1 in 4. [43] I would like to see a different, fairer more transparent admin approach to the problems exemplified here which are being openly talked about in several forums. SaintAviator lets talk 21:39, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

WP:NOTAFORUM.Volunteer Marek (talk) 22:09, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
I understand your concerns, change can be challenging. All I said is on topic. SaintAviator lets talk 00:23, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Accusing other editors of being paranoid and having OCD is not really on topic. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 07:32, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

It is on topic as there is continual edit war on many pages in wikipedia. Its not just the normal friction of moving forward from debate you find at meetings or at clubs, gatherings etc. Its nasty protracted divisive bickering. So whats your answer? Its reasonable to provide stats which exist in wikipedia pages themselves citing possible issues which then may help the situation. There should be no issue citing critiscisms of SOHR. Its RS and should be included. The blocking tactics are just edit waring at a permanent status. I think perhps we need a group of super admins, maybe the founder even, to define this sort of thing so people know where they stand and either grow wikipedia as a true NPOV Encyclopedia or abandon it as a biased flawed enterprise and go social media with the outcome. SaintAviator lets talk 06:07, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

There are good forces out there that agree with you, my friend. La Force (talk) 13:59, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
Brand new SPA, likely sock puppet account ^^^^. 17:20, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

SaintAviator, seriously, stop hijacking talk page discussions.Volunteer Marek (talk) 17:22, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

See use of language & contributions, timing, etc. Likely sock puppet accounts. ^^^^.

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


There is a gaping hole in this article: not a word about who is funding them.

Why are people so keen on keeping a lid on this? This was just removed:

The organisation says on its website that "The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is not associated or linked to any political body."[1] Peter Hitchens commented: 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.'"[2]

The number was later confirmed by email to Medialens.[3]

––Huldra (talk) 23:47, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

Try getting a better source than Peter Hitchen's blog. 1, 2, 3 I don't hold much stock in Medialens either. Stikkyy t/c 04:51, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
< The quote refered to by Huldra also appears in an article [44] in the Mail on Sunday which should be fine to use as a reference.

A 'Funding' section could be useful, I agree, but it needs reliable sourcing , and equally, needs to be phrased in an encyclopedic manner- mot a lengthy polemical quote from a blog. If there are reliable sources that describe its funding, we can and should add them. Firkin Flying Fox (talk) 15:08, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Totally agree with Firkin Flying Fox. There absolutely should be a section on funding, but it needs to be reliably sourced and concise. BobFromBrockley (talk) 16:57, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Per WP:BALASPS, I've thrown it into the earlier section about the organisation. Stickee (talk) 22:08, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
And a followup, I merged it with the Medialens sentence since they're saying the same thing, just twice. Stickee (talk) 23:33, 24 June 2018 (UTC)

Osama who?Edit

Daniele Ganser writes in his 2016 book that the real name would be Osama Ali Suleiman. He also characterized the SOHR as undurchsichtig (opaque, intransparent). Wakari07 (talk) 14:05, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

Return to "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" page.