Crime

Syrian Pro-Democracy Activist Raed Fares Assassinated In Idlib

Syria

Veteran activist Raed Fares was renowned for standing up to both the regime and Islamist militants in Idlib as well as setting up protests that combined Syria's human tragedy with biting humour.

An activist who organised pro-democracy protests in opposition-held Syria has been assassinated by an Islamist faction. Raed Fares was shot by masked men in a car in Idlib alongside fellow activist Hammud Junayd late on Thursday.

Mr Fares grabbed the attention of the world’s media for his gripping, sometimes sarcastic protests and pro-democracy banners in the town of Kafranbel. They included English language banners which called for peaceful revolution in Syria, and often promptly responded to events taking place outside of Syria. One from 2013 expressed sympathies with those killed in the Boston bombings. “Boston Bombings represent a sorrowful scene of what happens every day in Syria. Do accept our condolence.”

Fares also set up Radio Fresh, an opposition radio station critical of both the regime, and Islamist extremists.

In June, he wrote for The Washington post about how the radio station was training a new generation of Syrian journalists. “Radio Fresh is more than a radio station: We provide media training for more than 2,500 young men and women. We are helping them become the citizen-journalists that are so badly needed in Syria,” he wrote.

“We employ more than 600 people, giving them the opportunity to think critically and join the nonviolent movement. That means we are directing people to be citizens that have the skills to contribute to a democratic society.”

Opposition activists blamed the formerly Al Qaeda linked group Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) for the attack, though they have yet to claim responsibility.

It was not the first attempt on Fares’ life, in 2014 he survived being shot in the chest by masked militants. He survived numerous other attempts on his life throughout the Syrian Civil War.

Picture of Fares’ body was circulating on social media early Friday, and the news of his assassination prompted an outpouring of grief online.

Fellow Syrian activist Asaad Hanna tweeted “Raed Fares, was a revolution by his own.

“He was against Assad, Nusra, ISIS, he was against all terrorists, and for that they killed him.”

Article: The National

Image: Twitter/@AsaadHanna