Turkey has asked the Syrian government to locate two of its nationals, working journalists, who have gone missing in the war-torn country.
Adem Ozkose has been covering the developing civil war for the Milat newspaper. Hamit Coskun, a freelance photographer, has also been working for Milat. Both were last heard from on March 11, when they checked in with the paper from the northern Syrian province of Idlib, near the border with Turkey.
The Syrian Army seized control of the rebel hotbed three days later.
A spokesman for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party, Justice and Development (AKP) told reporters Monday he has also asked Damascus to ensure the safe return of the two journalists.
However, Huseyin Celik added the Turkish government has yet to receive a reply from Syria on the matter.
Reporting on the Syrian civil war has become a near-impossible feat, and estimating the death toll nearly as difficult, even for the United Nations. The Damascus government rigidly controls all political and media access in and out of the country, and has not allowed representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross to move about freely.
Idlib, which has been a center of anti-government rebel support since the uprising began a year ago with the advent of the Arab Spring, is considered especially dangerous.
New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid lost his life earlier this year in Idlib, trying to escape Syria on horseback through the border with Turkey together with colleague Tyler Hicks. Shadid, an asthmatic, apparently did not realize at the time that his allergy to horses was severe enough to kill him; he died racing to reach the other side of the border, attempting to escape Syrian government forces.
Numerous other journalists have been wounded and killed in their attempts to keep the world informed about the atrocities committed against the Syrian people by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Two French journalists – reporter Edith Bouvier and photographer William Daniels – were finally smuggled out of the country and flown to Paris earlier this month after they were trapped in the Baba Amr section of Homs for days.
The house in which they and other journalists were holed up had been targeted by heavy shelling from Syrian government forces, who followed up by aiming constant rocket attacks at the makeshift media center.
On February 22, American correspondent Marie Colvin and French photographer Remie Ochlik were killed in that attack
– but it was impossible to extricate their bodies for days, due to the government siege on the city.
Wounded British photographer Paul Conroy, on assignment for The Sunday Times, was evacuated from Baba Amr at the cost of 13 lives a few days later; a 35-member volunteer rescue team from the Avaaz global activist group entered the district in order to free him. Only 22 made it out.
Javier Espinosa, reporting for Spain's El Mundo newspaper, managed to make it through the border into Lebanon after rebels helped him out of Homs.