In this Alhurra Television footage, the wives of missing Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cüneyt Ünal during a recent demonstration at the Syrian Consulate in Istanbul.
Arzu Kadumi and Nuran Ünal have been leading weekly demonstrations seeking the release of the two journalists who went missing in Syria on August 20.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors has called on the Syrian government to release all information it possesses about the two.
Fahmi and Ünal were in Aleppo reporting for Alhurra Television on August 20 when a firefight erupted and they were caught in the crossfire. Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto of Japan Press was killed in the skirmish, while the two Alhurra journalists were reportedly taken by Syrian forces. Six days later, Ünal appeared on Syrian television with what appeared to be bruises under his eyes. On Sept. 4th, the Syrian Information Ministry said it had no knowledge of the whereabouts of Fahmi.
The journalists’ wives recently told Alhurra that the ordeal has had a devastating psychological impact on themselves and their families. Here are some recent quotes from Kadumi and Ünal, translated from Turkish:
Kadumi: “I’m worried about my husband’s life. I did not get any information. Alive or not, I do not know. If he’s alive, being held in which conditions. Every day when I wake up in the morning, I think how to respond to my kids. They always ask, when their father would come. 37 days has passed. Still no news. My son’s psychological situation is not good. My daughter is 5 years old. She is little, so it is easier to distract her. Responsibilities on my shoulder are much heavier now. I pray to Allah to relieve, not increase these responsibilities. I pray and trying to be patient. I have no other choice running out of patience.”
Ünal: “My psychological situation is not good. I live only half a life with my daughter for 37 days, also my husband too. I was told last week that, “30 days have been stolen from our life” but now it is 37 days. 37 days have been stolen from our life. Still, Cüneyt is not free without any reason. I want Syrian government to break its silence. Syrian government is aware that Cüneyt is a journalist. Why did they not free Cüneyt? Why do they still keep him? I’m looking for the answers for these questions. I want him free as soon as possible. I want the Turkish government to get them back. As Syrian government is responsible for Cüneyt Ünal’s life, bringing them back is the responsibility of the Turkish government. I want all effort to be made to bring them back.”