Iran wins release of 2 Turkish journalists held in Syria

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Syrian refugees watch the border from Oncupinar Refugee Camp on April 9, 2012 in Kilis. Two other Syrians and Turkish translator were wounded near a refugee camp in the same area when shots were fired from Syria, as border tension escalated ahead of a visit by top international mediator Kofi Annan.

Credit:

IHA

Two Turkish journalists held captive in Syria for two months arrived in Istanbul today following their release mediated by Iran, reported the Associated Press

Journalists Adem Ozkose and Hamit Coskun landed in the Turkish capital from Tehran, where they had been taken after being freed thanks to invention by Iranian authorities, said AP

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Istanbul's ties with Damascus are strained over the Syrian regime's crackdown on an ongoing anti-government uprising there, so authorities asked Syria-friendly Iran to help with the case, according to Reuters

The two disappeared in March after illegally entering Syria by way of Idlib province, the scene of an ongoing military offensive led by embattled President Bashar al-Assad, said Reuters. The UN says as many as 9,000 Syrians have died since protests broke out there over a year ago, and tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have since fled to neighboring Turkey. 

Ozkose told reporters today that he and Coskun were kidnapped by militants. “They stopped our car," AP quoted Ozkose as saying, "then they blindfolded and handcuffed us and took us to a cellar.”

The pair said they were most afraid when the militants had guns pointed to their heads, according to AP.

Thirty-four-year-old Ozkose works for a new Islamic-leaning newspaper called Milat, and 21-year-old Coskun is a freelance cameraman, said Reuters.

They were being held in a Damascus prison and were flown to Iran on Saturday, said AP