Syrian and Lebanese publisher and journalist Riad Najeeb Al-Rayyes passed away on Saturday of COVID-19 at the age of 83, AFP said, quoting Lebanese media outlets.
Born in Damascus in 1937 and the son of late journalist and politician Najeeb Al Rayyes, Riad was “suffering from illness” and finally received treatment in a Beirut hospital.
In comments, Historian and Researcher Fawaz Traboulsi wrote: “Today I lost my brother and my school companion, my friend, and publisher, Riad Najeeb Al-Rayyes.”
Traboulsi said that Al-Rayyes succumbed to complications from his COVID-19 infection, describing him a prominent Arab journalist and writer.
In an interview, Al-Rayyes said that he was a “travel 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 the city following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.
When the war broke out in Lebanon in 1975, he left for London, where he published an English weekly publication, “Arabia and the Gulf,” then Al-Manar newspaper in 1977, which was the first Arab weekly to be published from Europe.
In 1986, he established Riad Al-Rayyes Books and Publishing House in the British capital, then moved his business to Beirut with the end of the war there in the early 1990s.
His publications include, “The Arabian Gulf and the Winds of Change”, “The Winds of the South”, “The East Winds”, “A Journalist and Two Cities”, “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.”