Saudi authorities succeeded in returning two young siblings home after their father abducted them to join ISIS in Syria.
The kidnapping of Saudi citizens Abdallah and Ahmed took place five years ago, under the pretense that they were going on holiday to Turkey, from where they were then taken to Syria. A month after their arrival, the father handed his children to ISIS and proceeded to commit a suicide bomb attack.
The boys’ mother told Al Arabiya that she could not stop the abduction because she had been divorced from her husband years before they traveled.
“My problem is that I was not around my children nor their father. We got divorced way before they traveled,” she said.
The return of Abdullah, 16, and Ahmed, 113, to their hometown of Riyadh was made possible by a strategic and dangerous mission by Saudi authorities who helped them escape from Syria to Turkey.
“If you are in Saudi Arabia, you are in bliss, safety, and comfort. You are in God’s mercy,” says older sibling Abdullah as he expresses his relief to be back home. Pointing at his younger brother’s eye, he adds: “Ahmed doesn’t see with this eye.”
Ahmed injured his eye during a blast during the last few days he spent in Syria. “We experienced an attack that caused a piece of metal to cut my eye. They (ISIS) did not treat it; they just sewed it up and told me to go. If anything, they kicked me out and told me to be on my way,” he said.
The mother of the kidnapped boys warned other parents to keep an eye on their children and take note of any odd behavior because “if you remain silent, you are causing them more harm than good,” she said.
Al Arabiya captured the moment Abdullah and Ahmed reunited with their family at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. The entire family was present to receive the children, in a reunion mixed with joy and pain.
The boys and their family are thankful for the ongoing efforts made by Saudi authorities to retrieve children from criminal groups abroad.