A well-known Syrian activist renowned for broadcasting independent news to counter propaganda from both the government and extremists was assassinated by gunmen in rebel-held Idlib province on Friday, The Washington Post reports. Raed Fares was the founder of Radio Fresh, a U.S.-funded news station providing coverage of the conflict to both Syria’s northern province and the outside world. Fares’ work made him a target for al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, and he survived at least one assassination attempt in 2014. Friends interviewed by the Post said they had begged him to leave Syria due to mounting death threats, but he refused. “‘What can they do? Kill me? [Well] let them kill me. I’m not going to leave and leave them the country,’” one friend recalled Fares saying. He and a colleague were reportedly sprayed with gunfire Friday by a group of armed men believed to have followed them from the Radio Fresh office. In an op-ed for The Washington Post earlier this year, Fares warned that Washington’s decision to cut funding for Syria’s opposition-held areas, including his news station, would only fuel extremism, but he vowed not to give up. “If it weren’t for us and other independent voices, terrorists would be the only source of information about Syria locally and internationally,” he wrote.
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