The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) has issued a statement clarifying the nature of some of the attacks against it over the past eight years, in particular the recent orchestrated campaigns by pro-Russian journalists aimed at justifying the crimes committed by Russian and Syrian Regime forces, which question the reports and statistics documenting these crimes.
Since its foundation in June 2011, the SNHR has worked to document violations against the Syrian citizens and state. Through years of daily documentation, we have accumulated an extensive database of various types of violations. The statement also notes that SNHR’s transparent methodology and its regular provision of primary data and evidence to international organizations and institutions, which forms the basis for SNHR’s reports, have earned SNHR an excellent reputation as a highly credible information source with international organizations and United Nations bodies, as well as resulting in partnerships with international data analysis centers, with SNHR’s work shared and cited extensively in local and international media.
The statement includes information on the misrepresentation that the SNHR was subjected to by the media of the Syrian regime in particular in 2011 and 2012, and later by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, in addition to the threats by individuals affiliated with the ISIS terrorist organization. The statement reveals that the SNHR’s website has been subjected to cyber-attacks, while there have also been attempts to hack the SNHR account on the Twitter social networking platform, in addition the group being subjected to regular, scathing and slanderous attacks by the Russian Foreign Ministry and pro-Russian media outlets, against the backdrop of SNHR’s issuing at least 61 reports documenting violations committed by Russian forces in Syria since the start of the Russian intervention on September 30, 2015.
The statement notes that SNHR has also issued nearly 18 reports on the violations by US-led International Coalition forces, as well as dozens of reports and news bulletins on violations by Armed Opposition forces, adding that SNHR has not been subjected to any false or slanderous statements attacking its work by those parties, or to any orchestrated campaigns of misrepresentation or accusations of treachery such as those used in the campaigns against SNHR by the Syrian regime, Russia, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or al Qaeda organization.
The statement suggests that the SNHR’s latest report on Russian and Syrian air forces targeting medical facilities in northwest Syria, unprecedented since World War II, appears to have played a role in inspiring the Russian media malicious campaign of attacks against the SNHR.
The report notes that Russia has resorted to its usual and now globally notorious strategy in such campaigns of publishing ‘news’ reports containing ludicrous amounts of disinformation, falsehoods and slander on little-known propaganda sites and blogs, which are then cited as credible and supposedly independent sources in reports published by widely known Russian and Russian-affiliated ‘professional’ news media and agencies such as Russia Today and Sputnik news agency, with the objective of giving this ‘fake news’ greater respectability and disseminating it more extensively on a global scale.
The statement reaffirms that SNHR is committed to continuing to document human rights violations against Syrian citizens to the best of its capabilities and resilience, and will continue to expose and unmask the criminals despite the various grave dangers and threats that SNHR continues to face. The statement adds that having faced and still facing the genuinely lethal threats of the Syrian regime and ISIS, SNHR will not be intimidated by the shameful propaganda disseminated by journalists supporting the concealment of the Syrian regime’s and Russia’s crimes. In this context, the statement confirms that three of SNHR’s members are still forcibly disappeared by the Syrian regime
Finally, the statement notes that the media and research centers affiliated with the Syrian regime, Iran and Russia use their media workers, journalists, writers and researchers to justify or deny crimes against humanity and war crimes for the main objective of propagating a false narrative about the course of events, as well as promoting historical revisionism which denies the root cause of the conflict in Syria, namely a popular uprising against the hereditary dictatorship of the ruling regime, to which the regime reacted by killing and destroying the Syrian society and the state simply in order to cling to absolute dynastic power. The report concludes by stating that the regime has also been and remains wholly reliant on unlimited Iranian and Russian support, fearing any change towards democracy, human rights, dignity and freedom.