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Saturday 23rd
posted by Morning Star in World

Turkey urged to do more to stop killings of Syrian opposition

TWO Syrian journalists were found murdered in Istanbul on Thursday night, becoming the latest victims of attacks on exiled activists in Turkey.

Dr Arouba Barakat and her daughter Hala Barakat were found stabbed to death in their apartment in Istanbul’s Uskudar suburb, however Turkish police have not issued any information regarding the murders.

Sources say the pair were found wrapped in blankets with their throats slit and doused with chemicals to stop their bodies decomposing.

The murders were discovered after colleagues raised concerns when Ms Barakat failed to arrive at work. It is believed that they may have been killed four or five days ago.

The International Journalists Federation (IFJ) condemned the brutal murder and called on the Turkish authorities to conduct an “immediate and thorough investigation” bringing those responsible to justice.

Dr Barakat fled Syria in the 1980s and was a high-profile critic of the Syrian government.

She was a member of the Syrian National Council — an opposition group including exiled members of the Muslim Brotherhood based in Istanbul seeking the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.

She was well-known in Turkey for her appearances on television and spoke regularly regarding allegations about the torture and killing of Syrian prisoners.

Dr Barakat supported the 2011 uprising against Mr Assad but has since criticised reactionary elements of the opposition.

Her daughter Hala Barakat who worked for Orient TV was also a campaigner for human rights in Syria.

People close to the family said the pair had been receiving death threats from unknown sources.

Terrorist group Isis has previously claimed responsibility for the killing of four Syrian journalists in Turkey, however Turkish police said they had not yet identified any suspects.

Dr Barakat’s sister, Shaza Barakat, wrote on Facebook: “The hand of tyranny and injustice assassinated my sister … and her daughter Hala in their apartment in Istanbul.”

IFJ general secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “As we mourn the tragic loss of Hala and Orouba Barakat today, we also call on the Turkish authorities to make sure that their killers are brought to justice as swiftly as possible.”