Humanitarian diplomacy saves the Turkish journalists detained in Syria

Writer and Activist

Two Turkish journalists Adem Ozkose and Hamit Coskun who went missing in Syria about two months ago released on Saturday through intensive efforts of Turkish Authorities, NGOs and social media activists. They had been captured and detained by Syrian government forces while they were covering news and shooting a documentary on the public unrest in the country.

The delegation for humanitarian diplomacy formed by IHH (Humanitarian Relief Foundation) and Mazlumder, two well-known Turkish NGOs, had made intensive efforts to locate the missing journalists. As a result of these efforts, the delegation for humanitarian diplomacy found Adem Ozkose and Hamit Coskun after 58 days in a prison located in Damascus.

After negotiations, the parties reached an agreement to release Adem Ozkose and Hamit Coskun. As part of the process of their release, the journalists were sent to Tehran from Syria by plane. In the company of IHH’s President Bülent Yıldırım, the journalists and members of their families met in Tehran and flew from Iran to Turkey on Saturday by a plane dispatched by the Turkish government to pick them up.

Ozkose, a reporter for Milat, a new Turkish newspaper, said he and Coskun were abducted by militiamen who had blocked a road and were stopping cars and abducting passengers. “They would fire upon those who didn’t stop. They stopped our car,” Ozkose said at a news conference. “Then they blindfolded and handcuffed us and took us to a cellar.”

He said he and Coskun were later held separately at a prison in Damascus, where they slept on a concrete floor. “We were in a cell without sunlight. We woke up to the same thing every day. Nothing ever changed. I didn’t know what day it was when we landed in Tehran,” Coskun said. “Finding out what day it was made me happy. It made me appreciate freedom. Thank God we were saved but there are many others inside Syria waiting for freedom,” he said, AP reported.

IHH, which is an internationally operating humanitarian rights and freedoms humanitarian relief foundation, says in its statement issued after the two was released that it has been following the Syrian crisis from the beginning. “It has endeavored various efforts to protect and save the innocent civilians affected by the crisis and has carried out regular aid distribution to the refugees on the Turkish and Lebanese border. In this regard, negotiations had been carried out with all sides from Syria and Iran. As a result of two-month-long process, it was achieved to set free Turkish journalists Adem Ozkose and Hamit Coskun detained in Syria.

In the ongoing process of violations in Syria for a year, some of the journalists went to the region to make news were killed while some others were wounded. In the meantime, our endeavors to release 13 other detained journalists, who went to the region in order to follow what is going on currently in the country and inform the public about latest situation, have still been carried on.”

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