Security forces have stepped up a search operation for a couple belonging to the Chaldean Catholic minority group in Turkey's southeastern Şırnak province (story).
No sight or sound have been caught of Hurmuz and Şimuni Diril, ethnic Assyrians living in the remote village Kovankaya near the town of Beytüşşebap, since Jan. 11.
"Search and rescue efforts to find the missing individuals continue with determination despite negative weather conditions," said a statement by the governor's office in Şırnak on Jan. 16.
"Search operation resumed after the village road, which was closed due to heavy snow, was reopened today. The efforts to open the roads continue slowly because of avalanche risk," it added.
Gendarmerie special forces, crime scene investigators, sniffer dog units, unmanned aerial vehicle operators and volunteers have been carrying out the search operation together around Mount Kato, local media reported.
The couple may have been kidnapped by ransom seekers or PKK terrorists, according to security sources quoted by daily Milliyet.
Remzi Diril, the couple's son and a priest at Istanbul Chaldean Church in Istanbul, arrived in Şırnak to help the efforts.
Chaldo-Syriac, an ethnic and religious minority indigenous to northern Iraq, northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey, have migrated to western countries in large numbers during the 20th century.
Less than 10 percent of more than half a million Chaldean population lives in Turkey.