Syrian opposition activist, daughter murdered in Istanbul


New York, September 22, 2017-Syrian-American journalist Halla Barakat and her mother, Syrian opposition activist Orouba Barakat, were found dead yesterday in their Istanbul apartment, the Turkish news agency DHA reported today. The Hurriyet newspaper said police believe the women were killed two or three days ago.

The bodies of 60-year-old Orouba Barakat and her US-born 23-year-old daughter Halla were found overnight in their apartment in Istanbul's Uskudar neighbourhood in the Asian side of the city. A fifth journalist survived two attacks.

Ms. Barakat was a former member of the opposition Syrian National Council and she was known for her support to uprisings against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The coalition released a statement saying: "The hand of terrorism and tyranny is the prime suspect in this heinous crime of assassination".

The head of the Syrian Journalists Association Ali Eid called on the Turkish authorities to conduct a swift investigation in order to find and punish the culprit.

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Riad Hijab of its High Negotiations Committee hailed their "revolution of pen, (and) restless pulse" vowing: "Their murderer won't succeed and shall be brought to justice".

In a Facebook post, her sister, Shaza Barakat, accused the Syrian government of being behind the murder.

"We mourn our sister, the ardent fighter that the Baathist regime has pursued since the 1980s until she was finally assassinated in a foreign land".

Turkish media reports said Orouba Barakat was investigating alleged torture in government prisons in Syria.

It said she had initially lived in Britain, then the United Arab Emirates before coming to Istanbul.

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Halla Barakat, an American citizen, had just graduated from Istanbul's prestigious Sehir University and was working for the Istanbul-based Syrian opposition-run television channel Orient News.

"Hala served as a journalist for Orient News and we remember the courageous work of her mother, Arouba, a Syrian activist who reported on the Syrian regime's atrocities".

Syrian opposition activists and journalists have frequent targets in the recent past in Turkey.

Syrian filmmaker Naji Jerf was assassinated in southern Turkey in December 2015 after producing anti-Islamic State documentaries.

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