The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on the Turkish government to find those responsible for the murder of Syrian-American journalist Halla Barakat and her mother, Syrian opposition activist Orouba Barakat.
“We call on Turkish authorities to find those responsible for the murders of Halla Barakat and Orouba Barakat, and bring them to justice,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said in a statement issued on Friday.
“Turkey must ensure the protection of Syrian journalists who have fled to the country seeking safety,” added Ognianova.
Barakat and her mother had received threats on social media and email from supporters of the Syrian government but never paid them much attention, a reporter who knew Halla Barakat and who has not been named for reasons of safety, told CPJ.
The US State Department has also condemned the murders of Syrian-American journalist Barakat and her activist mother. In a statement on Friday evening, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said: “The United States is deeply saddened by the deaths of Arouba and Halla Barakat.”
“Halla 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. The United States condemns the perpetrators of these murders and we will closely follow the investigation.
“The United States continues to seek a peaceful, political resolution to the Syrian conflict that can be supported, owned, and led by the Syrian people,” the statement read.
Syrian opposition activist Barakat and her 22-year-old journalist daughter were found early Friday morning with their throats slashed in their İstanbul’ apartment.
According to reports, Orouba Barakat conducted interviews to investigate alleged torture in prisons by the Syrian government and published interviews in English and Arabic to raise awareness about the situation in Syrian prisons. Barakat lived in Britain and the United Arab Emirates before coming to Istanbul.
According to P24, Halla Barakat is the fifth Syrian journalist to be killed in Turkey since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. Turkey hosts almost 3 million Syrian refugees, many of whom oppose President Bashar al-Assad. (SCF with turkishminute.com)