Turkish police detain a suspect over murder of Syrian activist in Istanbul


Turkish police arrested a suspect on Saturday in the killing of a Syrian opposition activist and her journalist daughter in Istanbul.

Turkish police detained a suspect on Saturday in relation with the fatal stabbings of a Syrian anti-Assad activist and her journalist daughter in Istanbul.

The bodies of Orouba Barakat, 60, and her 22-year-old daughter Hala Barakat were found in their apartment in Uskudar, a neighborhood on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus, on Sept. 21.

The police investigation reportedly concluded they had been stabbed to death, with unconfirmed reports of their throats being cut with the bodies lying undetected for up to three days.

The Syrian suspect, identified only by the initials Ahmet Barakat, was detained in the northwestern province of Bursa after being spotted in security footage near the apartment building, a police source said.

The arrest of Ahmet Barakat, believed to be a relative of the victims, followed analysis of hundreds of hours of security camera footage. Police captured him in the northwestern province of Bursa, according to the report, following several raids in the province. The suspect will be transferred to Istanbul police for further questioning.

The alarm was raised after Hala Barakat did not go to work for two days and colleagues contacted police.

In a Facebook post, Orouba Barakat's sister Shaza said they had been "assassinated" by the "hand of injustice and tyranny" -- a reference to Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The Syrian Revolution Network, an opposition media group, said Orouba Barakat had been a human rights activist who had opposed the regime of Hafez al-Assad and then that of his son Bashar since the 1980s.

The deaths are not the first tragedy to hit the family in recent years.

In February 2015, Deah Barakat, a cousin based in the U.S., was shot dead alongside with his wife and her sister in North Carolina.

Shaza Barakat's son was killed by the regime in Syria.

Halla Barakat had been working for a website called Orient News and had previously worked for Turkish state broadcaster TRT.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey, according to the government figures, has become home to 3.2 million Syrian refugees, many of them opponents of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

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