Syrian activists opposed to the so-called 'Islamic State' jihadist group have been found murdered in the city of Sanliurfa. The crime constitutes a rare attack by alleged IS sympathizers inside Turkey.
Activists said Friday that two young Syrians involved in a group opposing IS in northern Syria had been killed in neighboring Turkey.
Ibrahim Abdul Qader, 20, and his friend Fares Hamadi "were found beheaded at the friend's house this morning," Abu Mohammad, a founder of the "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently" group, told the AFP news agency.
The group, which documents abuses in areas under IS control in Syria, took to social media to accuse the jihadists of the murders in Turkey.
"We accuse the agents of the Islamic State in Turkey for killing these two activists," Mohammed al-Raqawi, a fellow activist using a pseudonym, told the dpa news agency.
The Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) group was formed in April 2014, not long after jihadist fighters seized control of the Syrian city from other opposition groups.
Abdul-Qadir's Facebook page was last updated at around 4 pm (1900 UTC) Thursday with a video posting showing the commander of the rebel group fighting against IS declaring the northern Syrian province a military zone under its control.
The private Dohan news agency reported Friday that "two Syrian journalists were beheaded" in Sanliurfa, and that seven Syrians had been arrested by Turkish police. But there has been no official comment by authorities.
Press group calls for justice
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) issued a statement Friday calling for the murderers to be brought to justice.
"We call for an immediate and thorough investigation by Turkish authorities into these heinous murders and to bring the culprits to justice," CPJ's Nina Ognianova said. "These murders show how the grave risks journalists face in Syria have metastasized across the porous border with Turkey."
Bad political timing
The killings are an embarrassment for Turkey, which is slated to hold snap elections on Sunday. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has long been accused by Syrian opposition activists, Kurdish political leaders and sometimes even Western partners of allowing IS to operate on its territory and slip back and forth between its border with Syria.
IS has carried out attacks in Turkey, including two suicide bombings earlier this month that killed 102 people in the capital, Ankara. But the AKP government has downplayed its presence in Turkey and has tried to assign blame on Kurdish militants, archrivals of the jihadists in Syria, for the bloodshed.
In recent weeks, Turkish police have raided suspected IS safe houses and made a number of arrests in cities across Turkey. Many of the suspects have since been released.
Sanliurfa is about 55 kilometers (35 miles) from Turkey's border with Syria's Raqqa province, a major IS stronghold in the country.
jar/(AP, AFP, dpa)