The identity of the owner of the Twitter handle ‘@ShamiWitness’ has been exposed as that of a Bengaluru engineer only now, but for quite some time, he has been seen as an expert on the goings-on in Syria.
Going by the comments he has given to those who have sought his views, Mehdi Masroor Biswas is quite wise and knowledgeable for his 24 years. Information available about this tweeter suggests that he is considered an analyst on Syria and has been quoted pseudonymously by western media and is a contributor to blogs on jihad.
Writing in www.businessinsider.com in January 2014, Michael B. Kelley, an American journalist, described ‘@ShamiWitness’ as a civilian tweeting about Syria since at least November 2011. “Shami regularly interacts with some of the foremost experts of the increasingly complex conflict, and his access to and understanding of what’s happening on the ground make him a useful source of information.” Mr. Kelley says he became acquainted with Shami on Twitter in early 2012 and that they followed each other and their interactions were mostly amicable.
Shami was quoted by The Telegraph and The Daily Mail after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to an organisation that worked with the Assad regime in Syria to remove 1,300 tonnes of chemical weapons. Mehdi has received support from pro-IS twitter handles. A hashtag #FreeShamiWitness has been created. The tweets demanding his release suggest he is seen as a disseminator of information by his followers. “He isnt’ a poor guy.. he is a Truthful Media Hero, a freedom of rights analyst.. We are & All Media should be Proud of Him,” said a tweet by @IS_WorldPress.