Raed Fares

Syrian pro-democracy and civil society activist

Raed Fares was a Syrian pro-democracy activist, citizen journalist, and civil society organizer. Fares became involved in the resistance movement during the Arab Spring when he filmed protests and distributed them to Arab TV stations. Known for his eye-catching writing and protest signs that mock both Assad and ISIS, Fares also used controversial English-language protest banners to address the West’s mediocre response to the Syrian crisis. From Kafranbel, a small village in northern Syria, Fares and his colleagues operated the radio station—Radio Fresh—that played a pivotal role in the retaking of the town from pro-Assad forces and the establishment of a new civil society there. In early 2014, Fares was attacked by ISIS militants near his home and shot at more than 40 times, taking two bullets to his right side. Despite his many injuries, he returned to Kafranbel a month later to continue his work. As a civil society leader in his town, Fares emphasized the importance of women’s education and training centers, which provide women with the skills to take active roles in their communities. Fares was assassinated by extremists on Nov. 23, 2018.

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