A British mother of two fears for her children’s safety after they were allegedly kidnapped by their father and taken to Syria.
Alaa Azzam, 33, didn’t know when she dropped off Kamal, eight, and Kefah, 10, at Church Stretton train station in Shropshire on Valentine’s Day that it would be the start of a “nightmare” living.
Mrs. Azzam and the children’s father agreed to spend part of the vacation with him.
But just two days later, she received a call from a relative to say her husband had been seen in Jordan, raising fears that her children had been kidnapped.
Detectives are now investigating the incident, and the children, who have dual British and Jordanian citizenship, are being treated as “high-risk missing persons”.
Azzam has since flown to Jordan in a bid to find them, but fears they have been taken to Syria “where there are no laws or courts”.
Alaa Azzam (pictured) with her two children, Kefah, 10, and Kamal, eight.
Alaa Azzam (pictured right) with her two young children. They moved to Shropshire two years ago.
Speaking to MailOnline, Ms Azzam said: “I am a mother, I will take any risk to bring my children home safely. My children are my life. There is nothing I can do but go to Jordan and save them.
‘My lawyers will be bringing an application to the High Court, but I can’t wait until then. “I don’t know how my kids feel.”
There is a court order stating that Ms Azzam’s children cannot be removed from the country without the consent of the parent responsible for them or the permission of the court, MailOnline understands.
Mrs Azzam believes her husband has taken the children as a form of “punishment” and admitted she has “never been separated” from them.
He fears the children have been taken to Jordan because the Middle Eastern country has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office confirmed they are assisting a British woman following a situation in Jordan.
Mrs Azzam pictured with her two young children, who have British-Jordanian citizenship.
Mrs Azzam left her former home in Swansea two years ago after her ex-husband of eight years “wanted them to move abroad to Jordan to live with his family”, she said.
The relationship had allegedly been abusive before she moved to Shropshire and moved into a refuge with the help of the police.
When asked about her husband, Mrs Azzam said: “He never allowed me to have any environment or community around me. I had no friends until I came to Shropshire. “For eight years, he was my life.
She added: “He was very controlling with my daughter. She had very long hair, so he said, ‘Mom, I want to donate my hair to Cancer Research.’ I said, ‘It’s totally up to you.’ It’s your hair. And “You can do whatever you want, my love.”
‘She raised £250 for the community. When her father saw her hair so short he told her “it’s not your place to do that to your hair.”
Azzam claimed that her husband kidnapped the children as a form of “punishment.” In the photo: the united family.
In August last year, the court granted Azzam custody of his children, while his father was granted access to see them fortnightly and during school holidays.
Her husband, who is an emergency consultant, reportedly returned to Jordan last year after 20 years in the UK.
Azzam received a message from him in January 2024 saying that he was returning to the UK and wanted to continue with the court proceedings.
“I didn’t want to go back to court,” Mrs. Azaam explained, “I didn’t want to have this again.” She was already fed up and just wanted to live in peace with my children.’
Mrs Azzam agreed to let her husband see their children and it was arranged for the end of February, during the half term holidays.
Kamal and Kefah (pictured) just before Christmas with a friend dressed as The Grinch. The two are now being treated as high-risk missing persons.
‘On February 12 he sent me a message telling me that on the 14th he would come to pick up the children, I told him, ‘it’s fine, it’s fine with me.’
‘My daughter starts crying and tells me: “I don’t want to go back to dad. I don’t want to go and I don’t want to see him.”
“And then I tell him, please try to enjoy your time with dad and that ‘we’ve agreed that you need to build a relationship with him.’
“Now I feel like I’ve let my daughter down and given her away.”
Mrs Azzam explained: “I came home and on Friday, my cousin who lives in Jordan and is a neighbor of her parents, called me and said: ‘There, where are the children?’ I said ‘the children are with her father having his half-vacation. “She told me that the father is in Jordan.”
Mrs Azzam frantically began calling her husband, asking him to speak to their children, to which he allegedly responded: “the children will talk to you in an hour.”
‘My worry started to rise again because something is not right. I called him again and said “where are the kids?” and he told me “shut up and listen to me carefully.”
“And then I started yelling and screaming at him on the phone, and when I got off the phone I called the lawyer. Call the police.’
A West Mercia Police spokesperson said: “On Friday 16 February, we received a report that two children from Shropshire had been illegally taken abroad by a family member.
‘An investigation has been launched and the children, aged 10 and 8, are being treated as high-risk missing persons. Extensive investigations are underway to locate them and ensure they are safe.
“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is supporting his family.”
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