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Press Council calls to release journalists

The Turkish Press Council has called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to release two journalists being held hostage by forces loyal to Assad in the war-torn Middle Eastern country before the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.
In a letter recently delivered to the Consulate General of the Syrian Arab Republic in İstanbul, the council demanded the release of Turkish cameraman Cüneyt Ünal and Palestinian journalist Fahmi Kadumi before Eid al-Adha, which starts around Oct. 25.

Cüneyt Ünal, who works for Virginia-based Alhurra TV, was kidnapped in the Syrian city of Aleppo by regime forces in August, while Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi has been missing in Syria since Aug. 20. The International Press Institute (IPI) has also called for the immediate release of the two men, while the chairman of the Russian Journalists' Union, Vsevolod Leonidovich Bogdanov, issued a message in support of Ünal.

Ünal was seen in a video played on pro-government Syrian news channel al-Ikhbariya talking about how he had arrived in Syria and what he had experienced. The video first shows a photograph of Ünal with a rocket launcher in his hand, portraying him as a terrorist.

Two other Turkish journalists, Adem Özköse and Hamit Coşkun, were also kidnapped and held for two months in Syria while reporting on the uprising in the country. They were released in May.(todayszaman)