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Friday 24th of May 2019

Press Room

It shouldn’t take Pink Floyd to rescue ISIS fighters’ abandoned children

Friday 1st of February 2019
hrw.org
News

[...]

On 21 January, Roger Waters, co-founder of the British rock band Pink Floyd, helped rescue two young brothers from a camp in Syria that was holding wives and children of foreign Islamic State members. Mahmud Ferreira, 11, and his brother Ayyub, 7, have been reunited with their mother and are poised to return to their native Trinidad. The boys were taken to Syria by their father – reportedly now dead – in 2014. A few years later they were found abandoned on a roadside, and put in the camp run by the Kurdish-Arab forces controlling northeast Syria.

Waters pulled off Mahmud and Ayyub’s rescue with UK-based human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. If only the dozens of governments whose nationals are trapped in Syria because they are children of ISIS members would show similar concern. About 1,250 children from 46 countries – including at least 12 from Britain – have been held for up to two years in camps in northeast Syria with no end in sight. Many are toddlers. The children have not been charged with any crime, and the local authorities have repeatedly called on their countries to take them. Yet most governments balk at bringing them back, claiming they may be security threats.

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