A senior member of the Syrian opposition and her daughter have been found stabbed to death in their Istanbul flat in what their family says was an assassination.
Orouba Barakat, 60, was reportedly a former member of the Syrian National Council opposition group while her 23-year-old daughter Halla wrote for Orient News, an anti-Assad website.
No group claimed responsibility for the killings and Turkish police said they had made no arrests. At least four Syrian journalists have been murdered inside Turkey in killings claimed by the Islamic State (Isil).
The mother and daughter, US citizen, were found dead in their home in Uskudar, in central Istanbul, late on Thursday night.
Detectives believe they may have been killed two or three days earlier and that their killer covered their bodies in caustic lime to prevent the smell, according to the Hurriyet newspaper. Unconfirmed reports said their throats had been cut.
The elder Ms Barakat was a longtime Syrian dissident and journalist who spoke out vocally against the Assad regime. Her daughter worked for several media outlets, most recently Orient News.
“The hand of tyranny and injustice assassinated my sister Doctor Orouba and her daughter Halla in their apartment in Istanbul,” said Orouba’s sister, Shaza.
“Orouba wrote headlines in the first page and she pursued criminals and exposed them. Her name and her daughter’s name, Hala, now made front page headlines.”
The family had reportedly lived in both the UAE and in the UK before settling in Turkey, where nearly three million Syrians have fled since the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011. Halla was born in the US and was an American citizen.
Orouba and Halla were also reportedly related to three young Syrian-Americans who were murdered in North Carolina in 2015, in a case that shook the US and caused international outrage.
Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor and her sister Razan were allegedly shot to death execution by Craig Hicks, a neighbour. Mr Hicks faces a potential death penalty if convicted but his trial has not yet begun.
Orouba and Halla were also friends with Kayla Mueller, the young American aid worker who was kidnapped by Isil and died in their custody in early 2015. “An amazing friend with a pure soul that was taken from us too quickly, too soon,” Halla wrote on Facebook.
Syrian opposition activists and friends of the women took to social media to mourn their deaths. “I’m confused, speechless, afraid,…