I might go to Gazza, freed journalist says
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Cüneyt Ünal says he would continue his profession after taking a short rest with his family. AA photoThe Turkish journalist the Syrian administration handed over to Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies Nov. 18 after 90 days of captivity in an Aleppo prison said he was considering going to Gaza.
Cüneyt Ünal said he had been captured by a group who later handed him over to Syrian government forces. He said he had been confined in a prison cell in Aleppo for the past three months but was not ill-treated. His captors even took him to a hospital for treatment when he became ill, he said in an interview with private broadcaster NTV yesterday.
Ünal, who works for the U.S.-funded al-Hurra broadcaster, went missing with his Jordanian colleague Bashar Fehmi Kadumi soon after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border on Aug. 20 to report on the civil war in the country.
The two journalists were caught in the fighting in the city of Aleppo on Aug. 20 that killed Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto. Ünal said Kadumi was injured in the fighting.
When asked about a photo published by the Syrian state media channel after his capture in which he was allegedly carrying a flame thrower, he said it was doctored with a photo-editing program and even the arm in the photograph did not belong to him.
Ünal looked emotional during the interview, as did his wife, Nuran Ünal, and their daughter, Sahra. “I did not sleep the day I came home, I had not known if I could ever see my family again. My daughter, Sahra, she has changed a lot. She could not recognize me when she saw me and even hesitated to come embrace me,” Ünal said.
Ünal said he would continue his profession after taking a short rest with his family.
“After spending some time with my family, I will continue to do my job. I am checking the news from Gaza in secret from my family and am considering going Gaza,” Ünal said. Intense clashes between the Israeli Army and Hamas continue there.
Meanwhile, Kadumi’s wife, Arzu Kadumi, said her worries continue as there has been no news from her husband despite Ünal’s return to Turkey.