Turkish NGO to visit Syria for captive journalists

A delegation comprising representatives of the Humanitarian Aid Association was set to leave for Syria on Thursday evening, according to Bülent Yıldırım, the head of the association.

Turkish NGO to visit Syria for captive journalists

World Bulletin / News Desk

Representatives of a Turkish nongovernmental organization will visit Damascus to hold talks with government officials in the country to negotiate the release of a Palestinian journalist and a Turkish cameraman being held hostage in the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

A delegation comprising representatives of the Humanitarian Aid Association (İHH) was set to leave for Syria on Thursday evening, according to Bülent Yıldırım, the head of the association. Yıldırım on Thursday organized a press conference with the wives of the captives, Turkish cameraman Cüneyt Ünal and Palestinian journalist Fahmi Kadumi at the headquarters of the NGO, located in İstanbul's Fatih district.

Yıldırım noted that the İHH has been doing its best to obtain the release of the Turkish cameraman and Palestinian journalist, adding that two representatives from the association have been holdings talks in Syria to that end and that a delegation would set out for the country on Thursday.

“No matter which side in Syria kidnaps or detains people, the İHH is ready to be a means for humanitarian diplomacy. The İHH thinks of the captive Palestinian journalist Fahmi Kadumi as a Turkish person. Both the opposition and [Bashar al-] Assad's forces have hostages in their hands,” continued Yıldırım. The director stated that the association will do its best for humanitarian diplomacy as both sides are requesting help from the İHH for the release of other captive journalists.

Yıldırım stated that the media ought to continue to contribute to efforts for the release of the two journalists as they did for Hamit Coşkun and Adem Özköse, two journalists who were kidnapped in March and held for two months in Syria while reporting on the uprising in the country.

Arzu Kadumi, the wife of the Palestinian journalist, noted that she and her children have been going through a difficult time. “My children have been waiting for their father for 53 days. I answer all the phone calls I receive with trembling hands,” she said.

“The people [who are held captive], whose job is journalism, only work for their children. I call on everybody who hears us, please pray [for us],” stated Kadumi, who also brought her children with her to the press conference.

Cüneyt Ünal, who works for Virginia-based Al Hurra TV, was kidnapped in the Syrian city of Aleppo by regime forces in August, while Al Hurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi has been missing in Syria since Aug. 20. The International Press Institute (IPI) has called for the immediate release of the two persons while the chairman of the Russian Journalists' Union, Vsevolod Leonidovich Bogdanov, issued a message in support of Ünal.

Ünal was seen in a video played on pro-government Syrian news channel al-Ikhbariya talking about how he had arrived in Syria and what he had experienced. The video first shows a photograph of Ünal with a rocket launcher in his hand, portraying him as a terrorist.

Two other Turkish journalists, Adem Özköse and Hamit Coşkun, were also kidnapped and held for two months in Syria while reporting on the uprising in the country. They were released in May.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Ekim 2012, 17:20
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