by Laura Stuart
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
Adem Özköse left and his camerman Hamit Coşkun right are missing in Syria. Adem works for Gerçek Hayat magazine as their Middle East reporter. The magazine says they have had no contact with Adem or Hamit who is only 21 and a student at the Istanbul faculty for communication, for the last five days. Adem and Hamit were in Syria to make a documentary.
Since September 2011 eight journalists have been killed whilst reporting in Syria where the Syrian uprising against Bashar al Assad has turned into a bloodbath with Assad turning his army on the protesters. Because of the role that Syria plays in the region there are outside forces with opposing interests some to keep Assad in place and some wanting him removed, the legitimate rights of the Syrian people to bring changes to their country are forgotten as they are used as pawns to further the interests of International players.
After Bashar al Assad’s forces brutally suppressed the uprising in Homs the target has moved to Idlib a city near the Turkish border. Today there are reports of houses being shelled and sprayed with machine gun fire. One report says that people trying to leave the area were killed and their bodies put in a mosque, when people tried to get to the bodies they were also killed.
The estimated number of deaths in Syria is over 8,000 and more than 230,000 Syrians have fled as refugees. Presumably to try and stem the flow of refugees crossing into Turkey, a few days ago Syrian forces mined the border area.
Adem Özköse who is aged 34 and from Samsung, was a participant in the Viva Palestina 3 convoy which travelled from London to Gaza in 2009/10 and also a passenger on the Mavi Marmara as part of the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010. All of us in the Mavi Marmara and Viva Palestina family are praying for their safe return.
UPDATE Adem and Hamit were released following negotiations with Iran, they were flown to Tehran where they were met by Bulent Yildirim from IHH, from there they were flown back to Turkey to be met by their families, officials from the Turkish government and IHH.