Halla Barakat, an American-born journalist, and her mother, Orouba Barakat, were found dead in Istanbul, Turkey, on Thursday. The two were activists opposing the Syrian regime and had also been known as good friends of Kayla Mueller, the American humanitarian aid worker who was captured by ISIS and killed at age 25 by a Jordanian air strike in February 2016.
According to ABC News, the mother and daughter dissidents were killed about five days ago. They were strangled and stabbed to death and then doused in a chemical and burned in an attempt to cover up the crime, reports in Turkish media said. The two hadn’t been heard from in days, and authorities made the grim discovery inside their apartment after friends had raised concerns about their whereabouts. On Facebook, Orouba’s sister said that Halla and Orouba had been assassinated “by the hand of tyranny and injustice.”
According to the BBC, Orouba had been investigating allegations of torture in prisons run by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and Halla had been working as an editor for Orient News, a pro-opposition website. According to sources cited by ABC News, Assad operatives are the prime suspects in the killings.
Last year, Halla and Orouba were featured in an episode of ABC’s 20/20 on Kayla Mueller last year. The two, who were working on launching a charity in Mueller’s honor that was aimed at raising funds for Syrian women living in refugee camps in Turkey, sat down for an interview with investigative reporter Brian Ross. Watch the interview below, which begins at the 3:28 mark.
Read the full story at ABC News.