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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Syria opposition activist and daughter found dead in Istanbul

Aroubeh Barakat had opposed the Assad regime in Syria since the 1980s

A senior Syrian opposition activist and her journalist daughter have been found dead at their apartment in Istanbul, with unconfirmed reports that their throats had been slit.

Police found the bodies of Aroubeh Barakat and her daughter Halla Barakat at their apartment in the Uskudar district on the Asian side of Istanbul after being alerted by friends who had been unable to reach them by telephone, the Dogan news agency said.

Aroubeh Barakat's sister Shaza confirmed the deaths in a Facebook post, saying the two "were assassinated at the hands of injustice and tyranny". She said that they had been stabbed to death.

She said her sister had opposed the Assad regime in Syria from the 1980s going back to the rule of president Bashar Al Assad's father Hafez.

The Yeni Safak daily said Aroubeh Barakat had carried out investigations into alleged torture in prisons run by the Assad regime.

It said she had initially lived in Britain, then the UAE before coming to Istanbul.

Halla Barakat, 22, was working for a website called Orient News and had also for a time worked for Turkish state broadcaster TRT.

Syrian activist Rami Jarrah, who tweeted the news of Aroubeh Barakat's death, wrote on Facebook that the family believed the killing could be due to her opposition activities.

Turkey has become home to almost three million Syrian refugees since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, many of them opponents of Bashar Al Assad's regime.

Syrian opposition activists and journalists have repeatedly complained of threats to their security.

Two Syrian journalists from the city of Raqqa who were opposed to ISIL were found beheaded in southern Turkey in 2015.

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