Turkish scribes missing in Syria are OK: guide
HATAY - Anatolia News Agency
A protestor holds banner of two journalists, reportedly hostages of Syrian militia. DHA photoTwo Turkish journalists who have been missing in Syria for three weeks are being held by militias loyal to the Syrian army and are in good condition, their Syrian guide said yesterday.
“I was in custody with Adem and Hamit for 10 days before they released me. They are both alive, and they are fine,” said Bahaddin Sharm, the Syrian guide.
No word has been heard from Adem Özköse, a 34-year-old reporter, and Hamit Coşkun, a 21-year-old cameraman, since the former was able to call Turkey on March 10. Both men were reporting on the Syrian violence for the Turkish “Gerçek Hayat” (Real Life) magazine when they went missing in the northwestern province of Idlib.
Sharm said around 50 Syrian militia detained him and the journalists on March 8 near the town of Binnish close to Idlib and kept them in Al-Fua village. Sharm said they were taken hostage at a house, where they were given bread and water, and added that some people believed to be members of the Syrian intelligence services had interrogated them.
“They wanted to hand us over to Syrian intelligence, but they were unable to do that because the roads were blocked by opposition forces and they were afraid of losing us to them,” Sharm said.
The two journalists had arrived in Idlib near the Turkish border to cover the violence and make a documentary, said Sharm, adding that the pair had asked him to guide them in the country.
Meanwhile, three Syrians accused of organizing an assassination plot against generals who defected from the Syrian army into Turkey were released pending trial. The three, who were trying to gain access to a refugee camp housing Syrian refugees in the southern province of Hatay, were detained after gendarmerie units allegedly discovered detonators on them.