There are real concerns about the fate of the young activist Anas Alshughri, who managed to hide from the public view after the raids by the regime into his home town Banyas and his arrest on April 14 2011.
Anas was born in 1988, in a village called al-Baida, near to Banyas. He is a 3rd year university student at the faculty of Economics at Tishreen University. Anas became known to Syrians and other people through numerous appearances on different Arab and international media, as an eye witness reporting what is happening in his city and its surrounding towns. His statements were brave declaring his real name and asserting that it is his natural right to express his own opinions.
On the other hand, revealing his true identity would refute the allegations of the official/semi-official Syrian media when it claims that witnesses who speak to the media channels are fake.
The role of Anas Alshughri far exceeded the role of the media. With his charismatic and remarkable leadership skills he gained the confidence and respect of others in his city, which enabled him to play a pivotal role in leading the protests in the city.
He was one of the first who called for demonstrations in Banyas and helped ensure its peaceful and organized nature. Exercising his role in public, led the official media to initiate organized campaigns against him accusing him of being a leader of a terrorist gang, a smuggler, and other empty and inconsistent charges.
At the same time when al-Baida village was raided on April 12, 2011 and its people were humiliated and abused in the famous video aired by world stationshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWsvx6YAq3E, al-Dunya semi-official station announced that the goal of the raid was to arrest Anas al-Shaghri. The Press Office for the Committees was communicating closely with al-Shaghri on several occasions in order to review latest developments in the city and its surroundings. He repeatedly stated that the peaceful nature of Syrian protest movements is its strongest feature, and that there is no sectarianism in Syria, but it is the regime that creates sectarian tensions and divisions between different sects and faiths of the population with its inhumane practices trying to turn people against each other. The image of Anas al-Shagri evolved among Syrian youth as a symbol for peaceful resistance and for the peaceful protest movement. Several facebook pages have been setup in solidarity with him after his arrest especially with circulating fears of being subjected to brutal torture because of his leadership role in the peaceful protest movement in Banyas.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMsliZr8XYI