An American-born journalist and her Syrian activist mother were reported to have been stabbed to death in their home in the Turkish city of Istanbul, 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, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported, when friends worried that the journalist had not showed up for work alerted police.
Hala Barakat was raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, according to The Washington Post.
Arouba Barakat (left) and 22-year-old Hala Barakat (right) were reported by their family members to have been stabbed to death in Istanbul overnight on Thursday
They were cousins of Deah Barakat (far left), 23, one of three young Muslims who were fatally shot by a neighbor in Chapel Hill in 2015. His wife, Yusor Mohammad (center), 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha (far right), were the other two killed in the shooting
She and her mother were cousins to Deah Barakat, 23, one of three young Muslims who were fatally shot by a neighbor in Chapel Hill in 2015.
Deah Barakat was a second-year dental student at the University of North Carolina. His wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, were the other two killed in the shooting.
‘Numbness. Confusion. Shock. Disbelief. I can’t think straight,’ Suzanne Barakat, Deah’s sister, wrote on her social media.
‘How many more beloved family members will I lose to hatred and violence?’
The pair are the latest in a list of Syrian activists taking refuge in Turkey who have been murdered
Hala Barakat was most recently working as a journalist for Orient TV, which is affiliated with the anti-Assad opposition in Syria.
It is not clear how long she and her mother were in Turkey, although the country has been home to almost three million Syrian refugees – many of them opponents of the government of Bashar al-Asad – since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
Homicide officers are investigating the latest deaths – there have been four previous killings of Syrian journalists in Turkey, all of which the Islamic State group said it carried out.
A fifth journalist survived two attacks.
According to Syrian opposition sources, Arouba (left) was a member of the Syrian National Council while her daughter was a journalist working for an opposition organization
Orouba’s sister, Shaza, said on Facebook they had been stabbed to death ‘by the hand of tyranny and injustice’.
‘Orouba wrote headlines for the front page, and she pursued criminals and exposed them. Her name and her daughter’s name, Halla, are now in the front-page headlines,’ she said.
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 the Syrian president but had also criticized some in the opposition.
She was reported to have been investigating alleged torture in prisons run by the Syrian government
Some Turkish reports also said the women were stabbed.
Hurriyet newspaper quoted an unnamed neighbor as saying the women were found with their throats slit.
The media advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, has called on Turkey’s government to protect Syrian journalists in exile in the country.