A British family from Manchester who are being detained in Syria are begging to be allowed to come home, saying they joined ISIS by accident.
Safiya Zaynab, 51, along with her daughters Shabina Aslam, 29, and Alireza Sabar, 17, from Didsbury said they missed their freedom and wanted to be allowed back home.
After leaving the UK in 2014, they thought they were on a family holiday after a relative said they were going to Turkey, but ‘ended up in Syria’.
According to The Telegraph, Ms Aslam said:
We don’t know how it happened and since then we have been trying to escape, but it has not been possible.
The family were interviewed by Channel 4 last month, but their identities were only revealed last night by The Telegraph.
Aslam told Jana Andert – a freelance journalist for Channel 4 – ‘we all miss our life before, we miss freedom, independence, no fear,’ after being picked up by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the town of Hajin.
Both daughters had children while they were living within the caliphate and Aslam, whose husband was killed a year ago, spoke of the difficulty of living where she did:
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.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Aslam told Channel 4:
I don’t regret anything because we came on holiday, which then turned into this. I don’t know how, it’s never been explained to me.
The family claim they tried to escape but had been unsuccessful, with Aslam adding:
We want to go back to England, back to my family, I want my children to have a normal life.
Zaynab’s husband, Sabar Aslam, who’s still living in Didsbury, revealed he’d split from his wife in 2014, and thought the family were in Saudi Arabia.
Mr Aslam, who claims he didn’t recognise his wife and daughters in the Channel 4 video, 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 ISIS.
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.
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A sports enthusiast with a BA (Hons) in Sports Journalism, who can be found predominantly at Villa Park. Having completed a Masters in Broadcast Journalism, she then went on to work at Sky Sports, the BBC, and the Mirror. When not engrossed in sport, it’s animals, guitars, and Liam Gallagher which take main focus.