‘Immense loss for Syria’: Gunmen kill Idlib activist Raed Fares | Syria News

Gunmen in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province have killed Raed Fares, a prominent activist who ran an independent radio station in the country’s last opposition stronghold.

Fares was shot on Friday along with his colleague Hamoud Juneid in the town of Kafranbel, according to their Radio Fresh station.

Fares and Juneid were “shot dead by unknown assailants riding a van in Kafranbel”, Fresh FM, which provides independent news and satirises both President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups, said in a post on Facebook. 

Salman, a 33-year-old mathematics teacher, who witnessed the attack, told the Middle East Eye website that attackers in a van driving “at high speed … fired shots from a machine gun, before speeding away”.

Juneid died during the attack while Fares died of his wounds at the Orient Hospital, Middle East Eye reported.

Fares gained prominence early in the uprising against Assad, which began with mass demonstrations in 2011 and slid into civil war, with protest banners that drew international attention on social media.

The banners targeted Assad, his allies Iran and Russia, Western powers that Fares portrayed as selling out ordinary Syrians through their response to the crisis, and the various armed groups who had emerged in the chaos.

Fares, who survived a 2014 gun attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) armed group, also distributed photographs and video clips showing the toll that war was taking in Kafranbel, providing a picture of life in rebel-held parts of Syria where it was dangerous for foreign media to visit.

In his last posts on Twitter on September 21, Fares wrote about a demonstration against “Russia, Assad and all kinds of terrorism”. 

He also posted a picture of himself with his two sons at the rally as thousands took to the streets across Idlib to protest against a potential full-fledged offensive by government forces and their allies.

In an opinion piece in June in the Washington Post, calling for the United States to resume financial support for Radio Fresh, Fares wrote that “the terrorist groups [and the government] see us as a direct threat”.

He told Al Jazeera in 2015 that Radio Fresh was the “most beautiful and important thing” he ever did. 

By his own account, his offices were targeted both by government bombardment and by armed groups, who abducted and tortured him several times.

But he told Al Jazeera that though he had the means to leave Syria, he intended to stay until Assad was defeated. 


News of Fares’ killing triggered an outpouring of grief on social media. 

Nasser Weddady, a US-based political analyst, called Fares’ death an “immense loss to the cause of freedom in Syria and beyond”, while Marietje Schaake, a member of the European Parliament, said she saw his “legacy as a task for all of us, to keep supporting Syrians who risk everything for democracy and liberty”. 

Others described Fares’ death as a “calamity”. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, has reported a succession of assassinations in Idlib over the past year targeting leaders from the area’s major factions and political dissidents who publicly disagree with their governance.

The Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham alliance is the most powerful of several groups present in Idlib province.

A Russian-Turkish deal to prevent further fighting in northwest Syria has for now averted a planned government offensive.

Source link

more recommended stories

  • Indonesia’s Prabowo challenges election result in court | News

    Defeated Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

  • India elections 2019: All the latest updates | India News

    Counting of votes is under way.

  • US charges WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with espionage | USA News

    The US Justice Department unveiled 17.

  • What you need to know about India’s BJP | India News

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is.

  • Pentagon ‘mulls sending thousands more troops’ to Middle East | News

    The United States‘ Department of Defense.

  • US House Speaker Pelosi says Trump is engaged in a ‘cover up’ | USA News

    Democrats in the United States House.

  • Washington says attacks ‘deterred’ as US-Iran tensions rise | News

    The acting US defence secretary says.

  • New Ukrainian President Zelensky calls early parliamentary polls | Ukraine News

    Ukraine‘s new President Volodymyr Zelensky called.

  • Water supplies restored to besieged Libyan capital Tripoli | Libya News

    Water supplies to the 2.5 million.

  • Trump loses lawsuit challenging subpoena for financial records | Trump News

    A US judge on Monday ruled.

  • North African filmmakers pushing boundaries at Cannes 2019 | France News

    This year’s Cannes Film Festival is.

  • US says warship sails in South China Sea amid trade tensions | News

    The United States military has said.

  • Saudi Arabia ‘seeks to avert war, ready to respond with force’ | News

    Saudi Arabia wants to avert war.

  • Eurovision vs Globalvision: An artistic response | Palestine News

    Bethlehem and London – Palestinian, Israeli.

  • Presidential hopeful Joe Biden calls for unity in inaugural rally | Elections 2018 News

    Former Vice President Joe Biden has.

  • US warns airliners flying over Gulf of ‘misidentification’ | Iran News

    US diplomats warned commercial airliners flying.

  • Australian election: Voting under way in key contest | Australia News

    Melbourne, Australia – Australians are heading.

  • An Iranian building bridges in wall-obsessed America | US & Canada

    A towering artist of his generation,.

  • Taiwan parliament to vote on same-sex marriage legislation | Taiwan News

    Amid deep divisions, Taiwan‘s parliament has.

  • The Philippines’ Duterte: In pursuit of an imperial presidency | Asia

    Although President Rodrigo Duterte‘s name was.

  • Venezuela government, opposition in Norway for crucial talks | News

    Envoys from the Venezuelan government and.

  • Alibaba earnings hint at China’s ability to weather trade war | China News

    China‘s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reported.

  • Iran halts some commitments under 2015 nuclear deal | News

    Iran has officially stopped some commitments.

  • PNG assesses damage from magnitude 7.5 earthquake | Papua New Guinea News

    Authorities in Papua New Guinea have dispatched.

  • Palestinian campaigners call for mass boycott of Airbnb on May 15 | News

    A Palestinian campaign has called on.

  • Spyware discovered targeting phones through WhatsApp calls | News

    Spyware crafted by an “advanced cyber.

  • Senior Palestinian official says she was refused US visa | USA News

    A senior Palestinian official has said she.

  • Sweden to reopen rape probe against WikiLeaks founder Assange | News

    Julian Assange is to be investigated.

  • Small lead for Australian opposition as election nears: poll | Australia News

    Australia‘s opposition Labor Party retains a.

  • Gunmen attack hotel in Pakistan’s Gwadar, kill five people | News

    Islamabad, Pakistan – Gunmen have stormed a.

  • India election 2019: Sixth round of voting under way for 59 seats | India elections 2019 News

    Voters in Delhi and elsewhere in.

  • Houthi rebels begin withdrawal from key ports in Yemen | Yemen News

    Yemen’s Houthi rebels have begun a.