Syrian opposition activist, journalist daughter found dead in Turkey

Syrian opposition activist, journalist daughter found dead in Turkey

Turkish media reports say Arouba and Hala Barakat were stabbed; IS has previously claimed responsibility for attacks on journalists

Arouba and Hala Barakat, were found stabbed to death in Istanbul, Turkey, September 2017.
Arouba and Hala Barakat, were found stabbed to death in Istanbul, Turkey, September 2017.

ANKARA, Turkey — A Syrian activist and her journalist daughter have been killed in their home in Istanbul, Turkish media reports said Friday, the latest victims of attacks targeting Syrian activists in Turkey.

The bodies of 60-year-old Arouba Barakat and 22-year-old Hala Barakat were discovered late Thursday, state-run Anadolu Agency reported, after friends worried about the journalist who hadn’t showed up for work, alerted police.

Homicide officers were investigating the deaths. There have been four previous killings of Syrian journalists in Turkey, which the Islamic State group has claimed. A fifth journalist survived two attacks.

According to Syrian opposition activists’ pages on social media, Arouba was a member of the Syrian National Council. She had backed the uprising against Syria’s president but also criticized some arms of the opposition.

Her daughter was a journalist working for the opposition’s Orient news. Earlier this year, she took part in a talk titled “Russia destroyed Syria.”

Anadolu said the women were stabbed. Hurriyet newspaper quoted an unnamed neighbor as saying the women were found with their throats slit.

In a Facebook post picked up by international media, Arouba’s sister Shaza said: “The hand of tyranny and injustice assassinated my sister Doctor Arouba and her daughter Hala in their apartment in Istanbul.

“Arouba wrote headlines in the first page and she pursued criminals and exposed them. Her name and her daughter’s name, Hala, now made front page headlines.”

According to the Telegraph, Hala was born in the US and was an American citizen. The family had also lived in the UK and the UAE.

The mother and daughter had known and had befriended American national Kayla Mueller, before her kidnapping by the Islamic State terror group. Mueller died in captivity in 2015.

The family was also related to three Syrian-Americans who were killed in North Carolina in 2015 in what is believed to have been an anti-Muslim hate crime.

The media advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, has called on Turkey’s government to protect Syrian journalists in exile in the country.

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