Close friends of Syrian blogger Ahmad Abu al-Khair reported that he was arrested this morning at 5:00 am local time on his way back to Damascus from the coastal city of Banias. Security forces allegedly have also confiscated his personal computers. Currently his whereabouts and the reason behind his arrest are unknown.
Abu al-Khair is veteran blogger who started writing in 2005. His blog ملتقيات أحمد Ahmadblogs covers a plethora of subjects ranging from book reviews to comments on recent uprisings in the Arab World. He is a co-founder of the popular Syrian blogs aggregator Almudawen, and an administrator at Ektob, a blogging platform. Abu al-Khair has a B.A. in Islamic Studies and Arabic. He specializes in media, and according to his Facebook profile he's interested in alternative media and citizen journalism.
The Syrian blogosphere is already buzzing with the news, and a Facebook page in support of him now has over a hundred members.
Abu al-Khair's arrest comes a few days after the sentencing of Syrian blogger Tal al-Mallouhi to 5 years in prison for allegedly leaking info to a foreign country. This effectively puts an end to all hopes for an open and free internet in Syria after Facebook, Youtube, and Blogspot were recently unblocked.