Middle East

Please Come Home: Husbands Appeal To Wives Who Fled To Join ISIS

The fathers of children believed to have been taken to Syria by their mothers have made an emotional appeal for their wives to return to Britain, with one saying: 'I can't live without you'.

In a dramatic press conference in which the two husbands begged for information about their missing families, Mohammad Shoaib told his wife Khadija Dawood: 'Please come back. Come back to normal life please.'

He was joined by Akhtar Iqbal, who wept as he urged wife Sugra Dawood, 34, to 'please come home with the kids'.

Appealing directly to his family, he said: 'All of you, I can't live without you.'

The husbands' teary messages came amid fears that the missing dozen - which includes three sisters and their nine children - have fled to the Middle East to join ISIS.

The three women, whose children are aged between three and 15, went missing after going on an Islamic pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia from their homes in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

The husband of the third sister, 33-year-old Zohra Dawood, is in Pakistan and was not at the press conference.

Mr Iqbal - whose five children Ismaeel, three, Mariya, five, Zaynab, eight, Ibrahim, 14 and Junaid Ahmed, 15, are among those missing - added: 'Please, please contact with me. Please, please call me. It's been eight, nine days, you are out and we don't know where you are. I miss you, I love you.'

He made a special appeal to his eldest son, Junaid, saying: 'You are 15. Please, if you watch this video, please ring me. Please contact me. I love all of you and I can't live without you.'

Mr Shoaib, whose children five-year-old Muhammad
Haseeb and Maryam Siddiqui, seven, are missing, added: 'Please come back home with the kids, I know the kids can't live without me and you, please bring them home, they can't live without me.

'We've been married 11 years, and we were in a perfect relationship, she knew it, please come back.'

He added: 'I'm not angry, please come back, everything is normal, come back to normal life please. They are young kids, seven and five. We had a perfect relationship, we had a lovely family, I don't know what happened. Please contact me whenever you want.'

Police believe the three sisters may have followed in the footsteps of their brother, who travelled to Syria to fight for ISIS two years ago.

The family's lawyer Balaal Khan said he believed a police investigation into the women's brother had begun before the family went missing but declined to comment further.

Mr Khan said there was 'no inkling' that anything was wrong within the family.

He said: 'There was no indication whatsoever from family members, even while in Saudi Arabia, they were in regular contact.'

He added: 'The family members are law-abiding citizens, there's never been any trouble, never been any suggestion of radicalisation, The children were going to school, doing everything normally.'

Mr Khan said the family are 'non-political' and follow 'a moderate version of Islam'

The solicitor said the fathers of the children had no contact with their brother-in-law but asked him to get in touch if the family were with him.

Mr Khan said the family had discussed the possibility of travelling to Turkey to try to find the sisters and children but police had advised against it.

He said: 'West Yorkshire Police advised strongly against that course of action. The families feel helpless here.'

He added: 'There are clearly safety issues, unfortunately I have to agree with West Yorkshire Police.'

The sisters had been expected to return home to Bradford last Thursday but officers believe they instead boarded flights to Istanbul in Turkey two days earlier.

The last photos of the missing families show them smiling happily at the airport before their trip to Saudi Arabia.

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