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Captured Turkish cameraman released by Syrians

18 November 2012

A Turkish cameraman has been released from capture in the city of Aleppo, one of the largest cities in Syria. Cuneyt Unal and journalist Bashar Fahmi, a Palestinian who is a citizen of Jordan were captured in August. Both were staff of US based Alhurra TV. Unal’s release was negotiated with Turkish delegates and Syrian President Bashar Assad.
It was reported on Saturday that Mr Unal was currently in Damascus and would be returning to Turkey later that day with the Turkish delegation. Currently, the whereabouts of the reporter Bashir Fahmi are unknown.
In an emotional telephone interview with Turkish NTV television, Mr Unal said that he and Mr Fahmi were trapped by the fighting in Aleppo on August 20th. He said that Fahmi had been seriously injured in the fighting. A Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto died in the same skirmish.

Unal said that he had carried his injured colleague to an apartment building and had been helped by Aleppo residents. Afterwards he had left the building to get more help but was then captured by a group of people who handed him over to Syrian government forces.
He said that he had been imprisoned on his own in Aleppo for the past three months and had existed on a diet of potatoes and bread. However he said that he had not been ill treated and that he had even been taken to hospital by his captors when he became ill.
Mr Unal arrived in Damascus three days ago. He said that he was still in shock but happy that he had been released.
Turkish legislator, Hasan Akgol told reporters in Damascus that the Syrian authorities were investigating what had happened to the journalist Mr. Fahmi and would hand him over to Turkey if he is found.
In the United States, the US funded Broadcasting Board of Governors said they welcomed¬†news of Mr. Unal’s release but were concerned about the unknown status of Mr Fahmi.

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