US-Born Journalist and Syrian Activist Mother Found Dead in Turkey

A Syrian activist and her U.S.-born journalist daughter have been killed in their home in Istanbul, relatives and Turkish media said Friday — the latest victims of attacks targeting Syrian activists in Turkey.

The bodies of 60-year-old Orouba Barakat, from Idlib in northern Syria, and her only daughter, 23-year-old Halla Barakat, were discovered late Thursday, state-run Anadolu Agency reported, after friends contacted police when the journalist didn't show up for work.

Anadolu said the bodies were stabbed. Homicide officers are investigating the deaths. The Hurriyet newspaper said police believe the women were killed two or three days ago.

Officials for the U.S. State Department confirmed the deaths in a statement released on Friday afternoon.

“The United States is deeply saddened by the deaths of Arouba and Hala Barakat,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in the statement, which had alternative spellings of their names. “Hala served as a journalist for Orient News and we remember the courageous work of her mother, Arouba, a Syrian activist who reported on the Syrian regime’s atrocities. The United States condemns the perpetrators of these murders and we will closely follow the investigation."

There have been four previous killings of Syrian journalists in Turkey, which the Islamic State group has claimed. A fifth journalist survived two attacks.

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