Stuck in Syria with IS: How a Malaysian Family’s Turkey Vacation Turned into a Nightmare

(source: Benar News)

Horror struck when a Terengganu-born woman realised that her husband was actually bringing her and their kids to Syria so that he could join infamous terrorist organisation, Islamic State (IS). Luckily, the woman (who wants to be known as Aisyah), together with her 5-year old daughter and 2-year old son, were repatriated from Syria on 6 Oct–after two years of being there. They are the first Malaysians to be repatriated from the war torn country.

According to The Star, Aisyah stated that her husband who is a former technician told her that they would be holidaying in Turkey. At the time in 2016, she was pregnant with her son as they travelled to Turkey for a 9-day vacation. Right after, her husband brought them over to Istanbul then to Uzbekistan where she found out about his real intention to go to Syria.

(source: Alaraby)

At the special press conference held at Bukit Aman yesterday, Aisyah said that she even gave birth at a rented house in Turkey instead of a hospital for fear of being caught by authorities. A year after, the family made their way into Idblib, Syria using a secure passage.

While her husband fought for IS, Aisyah struggled to take care of her children as there were no basic necessities. She said that each house only got electricity between 6pm and 11pm daily. Also, fresh water had to be bought for RM8/200 litres. The first three months were a nightmare as they were literally stuck in a war-zone.

In February this year, her husband was killed in combat. With her actions no longer under his scrutiny, Aisyah contacted her parents–her one single goal since involuntarily arriving in Syria had been to get her two children safely back home.

(source: Bernama)

“My parents managed to call Bukit Aman and not long after that, officers from the Counter Terrorism Division contacted me… Nothing could described the relief I felt hearing such news,” Aisyah said.

Upon returning home, she had to undergo counselling as part of her rehabilitation. Aisyah hopes to start a new life with her children in her hometown.

The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said it took three weeks to plan the operation as it involves the Bukit Aman’s Counter Terrorism Division, the Malaysian Embassy in Turkey and the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation.

(source: The Malaysian Insight)

“We had to act fast as the situation at her settlement in Idlib, Syria was getting more volatile with Syrian forces, assisted by the Russian army, preparing to launch their largest attack on the area to free it from militant control,” he said.

The Malaysian Special Branch Counter Ter­rorism Division has so far identified 54 Malaysians including women and children that are still in Syria. Mohamad Fuzi also added that authorities were genuinely concerned about these Malaysians and hoped for them to seize this opportunity to come home.

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