A Malaysian woman and her two young children have been rescued from the rebel-held area of Idlib in Syria.
On Thursday (Oct 25), New Straits Times (NST) reported that the 31-year-old’s relatives had sought help from Malaysian police, after the woman’s husband died while fighting for the Islamic State (IS).
Identified as Aisyah, the woman had contacted a family member about wanting to return home with her children, aged two and five.
The Royal Malaysia Police’s Counter Terrorism Division then made arrangements with the Malaysian Embassy in Turkey and the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) to rescue the trio, who did not have any valid travel documents.
They were repatriated on Oct 6.
During a press conference, the Terengganu native said she was tricked into going to Syria by her late husband, a former technician at an oil and gas company.
According to The Star, she said she had boarded a flight for Turkey while pregnant in 2016 because she thought she was going on a family holiday.
She only found out about the truth when she was there.
In Syria, the family had to endure heavy shelling and shooting, and a lack of amenities and electricity where they lived.
The Star also reported that Aisyah’s husband had told her not to take the children back to Malaysia.
“I cannot honour his wish. I contacted my parents and told them I wanted to come home,” she was quoted as saying.
Citing Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun, The Star reported that four other groups of Malaysians were seeking to be rescued from Syria.
“It is still in the planning stages. We have to consider security and risks faced by the team sent to help them,” he was quoted as saying.
In 2013, it was discovered that 102 Malaysians had gone to Syria, he added.
While 11 have returned, 37 men are known to have been killed.