Syrian Network for Human Rights

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Syrian Network for Human Rights
Arabic: الشبكة السورية لحقوق الإنسان
FoundedJune 2011 (2011-06)
FounderFadel Abdul Ghany[1]
FocusHuman rights[3]

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR, Arabic: الشبكة السورية لحقوق الإنسان‎) is a UK-based[2][6][7] independent monitoring group,[8][9][10] which monitors casualties and briefs various United Nations agencies.[11] It monitors Syrian casualties of all the parties in the Syrian civil war.[12] The SNHR was founded in June 2011 by Fadel Abdul Ghany, who is the chairman of the board of directors.[13] Members have been detained, and many now live outside Syria.[1]

Its reports have been cited by news media,[14][2] non-governmental organizations,[15][16] as well as by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.[17][18]


Fadel Abdul Ghany stated that figures will be vital if peace comes to Syria in establishing transitional justice.[1] In tracking deaths, Ghany has said he used similar tactics to those of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, but the SNHR only count civilians.[1] Ghany said accurate counting was immensely challenging due to a number of factors including the complexity of the conflict, the lack of direct access to conflict areas, and ethnic and political divisions.[1]

During the month of March 2017, according to figures released by the SNHR, more Syrian civilians were killed by United States-led coalitions than by ISIS or Russian-led forces.[12] The SNHR acknowledged the real number of civilians killed in the conflict could be much higher because of the difficulties in keeping track of victims.[12]

In 2018, The Violations Documentation Center in Syria (VDC) counted nearly 9,500 deaths in detention since 2011, compared to over 13,000 counted by the SNHR.[19] The VDC acknlowledged its estimates were more conservative than the SNHR as its methodology was to only document deaths once information like the name of the victims and the circumstances surrounding their deaths were confirmed.[19]

As of May 2019, according to the SNHR, nearly 128,000 people have never emerged from Bashar al-Assad's secret network of prisons – and nearly 14,000 were killed by torture.[8][9] The New York Times reported that the SNHR's tally, described as the most rigorous, was probably an undercount.[8] Anne Barnard of The New York Times was asked how the SNHR compiled their figures.[9] Barnard said the reason they were considered the most rigorous and reliably conservative numbers is their numbers were actual counts of reports they received, and they were not extrapolations or estimates.[9] Barnard said a death had to be reported by a family member or a direct witness and they did not take third party accounts.[9] She added that they took phone calls and had a form on their website, and then they went through and verified what they could in the detailed report.[9] They also went back and called people listed as possible family members of people who were missing for a long time to find out if they were still missing.[9]

It has been used a source in reports by Amnesty International and the US State Department.[20]


SNHR is registered as a non-profit limited liability company in the United Kingdom, and a non-profit organization in the United States.[20] It is governed by a Board of Directors with five members and its executive director manages seven divisions.[20] As of 2019, it has 27 full-time employees as well as over 70 volunteers.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Specia, Megan (April 13, 2018). "How Syria’s Death Toll Is Lost in the Fog of War" The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c Tran, Mark (2015-12-03). "Beyond the military jargon: who will monitor airstrikes in Syria?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  3. ^ Osborne. Samuel (October 7, 2015). "Syrian government forces responsible for more civilian deaths than Isis, human rights group claims" The Independent.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Organizational Structure" (PDF), Syrian Network for Human Rights, archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-07-12, retrieved 2020-08-10
  5. ^ Al-Khalidi, Suleiman (April 7, 2020). "Syria slow to free prisoners despite coronavirus risk in crowded jails: rights groups" Reuters.
  6. ^ Naylor, Hugh (September 5, 2015). "Islamic State has killed many Syrians, but Assad’s forces have killed more" Washington Post.
  7. ^ "Safe No More: Students and Schools under Attack in Syria" Human Rights Watch.
  8. ^ a b c Barnard, Anne (May 11, 2019). "Inside Syria’s Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent" The New York Times.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Chotiner, Isaac (May 13, 2019). "A Times Reporter Documents the Horror of Syria’s Torture Sites" The New Yorker.
  10. ^ Lynch, Colum (January 13, 2016). "The War Over Syria’s War Dead" Foreign Policy.
  11. ^ Al-Khalidi, Suleiman (July 7, 2019). "Russian-led assault in Syria leaves over 500 civilians dead: rights groups, rescuers" Reuters.
  12. ^ a b c Roberts, Rachel (April 3, 2017). "US-led coalition killed more Syrian civilians than Isis or Russia in March, figures show" The Independent.
  13. ^ "About Us" Syrian Network for Human Rights.
  14. ^ Shoumali, Karam; Barnard, Anne (2014-10-01). "ISIS Takes a Kurdish Village in Syria as Car Bombs Kill Dozens in Homs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  15. ^ "Syria 2019: Everything you need to know about human rights in Syria" Amnesty International.
  16. ^ "World Report 2017: Syria" Human Rights Watch.
  17. ^ "Pillay castigates "paralysis" on Syria, as new UN study indicates over 191,000 people killed". United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  18. ^ "Statement to the Security Council by the High Commissioner on Human Rights on Missing Persons" OHCHR.
  19. ^ a b "As Assad claims victory in Syrian civil war, families learn fates of disappeared loved ones" The Intercept. September 10, 2018.
  20. ^ a b c d Owens, K. (2018). "Improving the Odds: Strengthening the Prospects for Accountability in the Syrian Conflict by Regulating the Marketplace for Information on Atrocity Crimes." U. Miami Int'l & Comp. L. Rev., 26, 369.

External links[edit]