'To be free': Syria residents release touching tribute to Robin Williams

Residents of the Kafranbel town used a quote by Genie in Aladdin

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The Independent Online

The people of Kafranbel, Syria, have released a poignant tribute to the late actor Robin Williams, in a bid to draw international attention to the bloodshed within the crisis-hit country.

Kafranbel is a town in northwestern Syria, and a bastion of support for anti-Assad rebels. Residents there regularly produce banners and art work and post them on social media, highlighting the plight of those trapped in the conflict, Vox has reported.

Their latest banner is one of the many tributes that came pouring in after Williams was found dead earlier this week after an apparent suicide. The star's wife said he had been suffering from anxiety and depression before his death and “was not yet ready to share publicly” his struggle with Parkinson's disease.

The handmade sign is held by residents of the town and contains a quote about freedom said by Genie in Aladdin, which reads: “To be free. Such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in the world."

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The quote is followed by: “RIP Robin Williams.”

The Occupied Kafranbel group have created various banners in response to events across the world, including ones marking the death of black teenager Trayvon Martin and the Boston bombings.

Kafranbel activist Raed Fares says on the group's website that they choose to write in English in order to reach an international audience. "It's very important to send our message to all the world," he said. "And English is the public language."

People in the area are also heavily critical of the Obama administration for not intervening in the crisis. Previous signs have included:  "Who wants to protect the war criminal Assad and ignore his crimes against humanity? Do you, President Obama?"