British Family Say They Joined ISIS By Mistake After Going On Holiday In Turkey

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British Family Say They Joined ISIS By Mistake After Going On Holiday In Turkey

A family from Manchester who have ended up detained in Syria for links to the Islamic State are now begging to come back to the UK for a better life for their children.

Mum Safiya Zaynab, 51, and daughters Shabina Aslam, 29, and Alireza Sabar, 17, said they were told by a relative they were going on holiday to Turkey back in 2014 - but instead they 'ended up in Syria'.

During an interview with Channel 4 journalist, Jana Andert - conducted after the family were picked up by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the eastern Syrian town of Hajin - Shabina said: "We don't know how it happened and since then we have been trying to escape, but it has not been possible."


According to The Telegraph, who revealed the family's identities, Shabina had two daughters - Khaulah Waseem, three, and Sarah Waseem, one - while living within the caliphate. Alireza had one child, one-year-old son Qasem.

"We all miss our life before, we miss freedom, independence, no fear," said Shabina. "We want to go back to England, back to my family, I want my children to have a normal life."

She added that she finished a degree in teaching at Manchester University, 'but then everything changed' when she travelled to the region, explaining that life was very difficult within the ISIS territory.

She said: "You can't trust anyone, we asked the Syrians and Iraqis to leave but no one wanted to help us. The culture was completely different.


"The Arabs never help the women, they just pushed them towards marriage," adding that the jihadist group was 'unIslamic' and 'extreme' because of its adoption of suicide bombing.

Credit: Channel 4
Credit: Channel 4

Safiya's husband Sabar Aslam is still living in Didsbury where the family had travelled from, and revealed to The Telegraph that he thought they were living in Saudi Arabia.

He said: "They left me four years ago and that's the end of the story. She wasn't happy with me.


"They are not brave people they are very soft people. I don't think they would be joining something like Isil.

"The police have interviewed me many times. They asked me questions about them but they never said they were in Syria.

"I thought she had gone to Saudi Arabia as all the time Safiya was talking about it. I thought she went there."

Right now it's unsure whether the family will be allowed to come home or not.


The video interview in question sees journalist Jana speaking to a number of women lured to ISIS-territory from the UK and elsewhere, the synopsis of which states: "Hundreds now find themselves with children, unwanted by the countries of their birth. Are they prisoners of war or refugees? Or both?"

Featured Image Credit: Channel 4

Topics: Turkey, Family, ISIS, Syria

Daisy Phillipson

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