Hero-Journalist Raed Fares Assassinated in Syria as Russian Trolls Attack Memory

Published November 25th, 2018 - 12:16 GMT
Some of the tweets that were seen spreading after Raed Fares and his friend Hammoud Junaid were shot killed in Kafrnabl in the last rebel-held area in Syria. (Twitter)
Some of the tweets that were seen spreading after Raed Fares and his friend Hammoud Junaid were shot killed in Kafrnabl in the last rebel-held area in Syria. (Twitter)

By Randa Darwish

While many Syrian and international activists around the world are mourning Raed Fares and his friend Hammoud Junaid after being shot dead on Friday, many social media users were seen rallying to attack him and accuse the murdered journalist of cooperating with “foreign agendas."

Raed Fares, a prominent Syrian journalist and radio host who founded 'Radio Fresh' to be the first independent radio station reporting news from inside an opposition-held area in Idlib, was targeted along with his friend and work colleague Hammoud Junaid on Friday by gunmen in the town of Kafranbel, northwestern of Idlib.

The two journalists were leaving the mosque after Friday prayer when gunmen riding a van crossed by and shot them to the ground.

Later on the same day, dozens of people gathered for the funeral. Videos of the “Silent Funeral” as it was called, were circulated on social media amid grief and anger.

Translation: “The silent funeral of the martyr Raed Fares to his resting place.”

Fares and Junaid were known for their peaceful activism since the beginning of the revolution which had caught the attention of both militants as well as the Syrian regime.

For others, the assassination was a chance to attack Fares, or spread Russian propaganda talking points about his ties to foreign US interests.

For militant armed groups like the Islamic State (IS) and Nusra Front - the former al-Qaeda affiliate - Fares and his radio station that broadcast music and had female presenters were a source of ire. In 2014, ISIS gunmen attacked Fares and shattered several bones and punctured his lung. However, Fares survived the attack and continued his activism.

Meanwhile, Fares was a vocal critic of the Assad regime and his government for seven years and until the end, Fares kept his stance on calling for freedom for his town and country.

In a last Facebook post Fares posted, he called for the end of Assad regime in a protest took place in his city on October 5.

Translation: “Kafranbel: October 5, 2018. People of Kafranbel in the square of freedom and their voices are calling: Asha'b yourid isqat al-nithaam [the people want the fall of the regime- a political slogan related to the Arab spring]. We started it [the revolution]  in 2011 and will continue it and our martyrs and detainees have increased our determination to continue it.”

Fares was mourned by Syrian activists from around the world.

Fares’ and his friend assassination provoked an outcry and reminded Syrians and the world that the war in Syria did not end yet, and will never end.


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