QAMISHLI, Syria – Two young boys who were abducted by their father when he joined ISIS, have finally been reunited with their mother.
Brothers Mahmud, 13, and Ayyub Ferreira, 8, were born in Trinidad. Their father Abebe Oboi Ferreira abducted them in 2014 and brought them to Syria to live in the so-called caliphate.
Under ISIS, they were taught how to use weapons and, as time passed, they forgot their mother’s name.
Their father is believed to have been killed in the battle for Raqqa. Their stepmother abandoned them. The boys were found by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Deir ez-Zor.
They have been living in a camp for months.
“I’m really, really grateful and I wish I could meet them all in one and embrace them,” said mother Felicia Perkins-Ferreira about the people who helped reunite her with her children who she had not seen for four years.
Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters helped fly her to Syria, according to AFP.
British human rights lawyer and founder of Reprieve, Clive Stafford Smith, arranged the reunion. Reprieve provides free legal and investigative help to vulnerable around the world facing rendition, torture, and extrajudicial imprisonment or death.
With Smith’s help, Mahmud and Ayyub were in the arms of their mother on Monday.
“I am extremely grateful for them rescuing these children on a human, personal level. I can only say thank you,” said Smith.
The Kurdish administration in northern Syria is holding hundreds of foreign ISIS fighters, women, and children. Only a handful have been repatriated by their governments. Most Western capitals are resisting bringing their ISIS fighters home, worried about the security risk and the challenge of prosecuting them based on slim evidence.
“We hope this is a message for all countries in the world to take ownership of their citizens, children and women in ISIS. We are besieged and we can’t do much,” said Fenar Kyet, deputy head of external relations for the administration of autonomous northern Syria.