BEIRUT: Well-known media activist and artist Raed Fares was in stable
condition at a field hospital in the northwestern city of Idlib Wednesday after being shot in the
back by Islamist fighters.
Fares, 41, attracted worldwide attention with
witty cartoons and banners from the rebel-held city of Kafranbel, in Idlib
The messages were frequently written in English, mocking the
Assad regime, the international community, and more recently, the Al-Qaeda linked fighters with the
Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). Kafranbel remained an icon of the Syrian revolution
long after the popular uprising descended into civil war.
Fares was driving
home from the Kafranbel Media Center just after midnight Wednesday when he came under gunfire from
two masked men, according to his friend and fellow activist Kenan
Rahmani recently completed a successful tour of the United States
with Fares, exhibiting his banners.
Rahmani said he believed that Fares had
been followed and pointed to ISIS as the culprits.
Fares had become a
target for the group after publicly condemning its heavy-handed tactics and accusing it of working
for the Syrian regime.
In December, the media center had relocated after it
was raided by the group. ISIS maintained a limited presence in the town until it was pushed out
earlier this month during battles between it and other rebel groups across northern
“In general, Raed is one of the most wanted people by ISIS,” Rahmani
“He went on all media and said the raid was ISIS’ fatal mistake. He
organized protests against ISIS across many Syrian towns and cities,” he
Well wishes poured in for Fares across social media
“Raed took this tiny town of Kafranbel, of 30,000 people, a town
that no one had heard of, and made it into an icon of the nonviolent revolution,” Rahmani
“When he publicly stated that ISIS was working with the Assad regime,
he set the stage for a massive shift. This is now being talked about at Geneva and ISIS has zero
public support. Raed has played a huge role in that.”