Abu Dhabi: Syrian and Lebanese publisher and journalist Riyad Najeeb Al Rayyes died Saturday of COVID-19 at the age of 83, Lebanese media outlets reported.
The Lebanese newspaper Al-Nahar indicated that Al Rayyes, who was born in Damascus in 1937 and the son of the late journalist and politician Najeeb Al Rayyes, was “suffering from illness” and finally received treatment in a Beirut hospital.
Historian and researcher Fawaz Trabelsi wrote: “Today I lost my brother and my companion, since my school days, and my friend and publisher, Riad Najeeb Al Rayyes,” and attributed his death to his suffering “from complications from his COVID-19 infection in the hospital,” and Traboulsi described him as a prominent Arab journalist and writer.
In an interview, Al Rayyes said that he was a “travelling reporter in trouble spots”, including Vietnam in 1966, for “Al-Hayat” and “Al Nahar” newspapers.
He covered the Greek military coup in 1967, the Cyprus events in 1974, and the war between the republicans and the monarchists in Yemen.
He was the first Arab journalist who arrived in Prague and was able to enter Prague after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.
When the war broke out in Lebanon in 1975, he left for London, where he published a weekly publication in English, Arabia and the Gulf, then Al Manar newspaper in 1977, which was the first Arab weekly to be published from Europe.
After Al Manar stopped, he started writing for Al Mustaqbal magazine, which was published by his late friend Nabil Khoury.
In 1986, he established in the British capital Riyadh Al-Rayyes Books and Publishing House, then moved his business to Beirut with the end of the war there in the early 1990s.
His books include: The Arabian Gulf and the Winds of Change, The Winds of the South, The Winds of the Soxom, The East Winds, Journalist and Two Cities, Before the Colors Faded, Journalism for a Third of a Century, Qur’ans and Swords, The Winds of the North and The Oases and Oil Conflict: Arab Gulf Concerns, The Critical Period, The Land of the Little Dragon: A Journey to Vietnam, and The Death of Others.