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A Syrian town's moving tribute to James Foley

Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy, both at home and abroad. Before coming to Vox in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world.

The residents of Kafranbel, Syria, are famous for their handmade signs protesting the Assad regime and calling for international intervention in the civil war. Today, they've released a tribute to James Foley, the American journalist murdered by the Islamic State (ISIS):

kafranbel james foley

Kafranbel Media Center

As is typical of Kafranbel protests, the sign is deeply heartfelt and sharply clever. They're expressing their support for Foley, who disappeared while reporting in the Syrian city of Aleppo in 2012, condemning his murder, and also taking a little shot at President Obama, who they see as dithering in the face of a war he could stop. Kafranbel's sign writers typically jump on recent news — last week, they did a tribute to Robin Williams. They hate ISIS, which they see as an outgrowth of Assad's brutal repression.

Kafranbel ISIS alieans

Kafranbel Media Center

It makes sense that they'd admire Foley, though. By making themselves into one of the most public faces of the anti-Assad and anti-ISIS wing of the Syrian rebellion, Kafranbel residents have also become a target. Kafranbel has frequently been hit by rockets and shelling, and Raed Fares, one of the leading Kafranbel activists, was very nearly killed in an assassination attempt. By doing his best to raise awareness about what's happening in Syria, Foley took the same heroic risks.

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