Husbands of missing Syria-bound sisters plead for their return

Husbands of missing Syria-bound sisters plead for their return
During an emotional press conference, two of the husbands of the missing Bradford sisters have asked for help in finding them and their children.
2 min read
17 June, 2015
The husbands made an emotional appeal for their families to return [Getty]

Two British fathers whose wives and children are suspected to have travelled to join the Islamic State group in Syria made tearful appeals for them to return home on Tuesday.

Sisters Sugra Dawood, 34, Zohra Dawood, 33, and Khadija Dawood, 30, travelled to Medina for a pilgrimage on 28 May with their nine children aged between three and 15.

One week later the husbands' lost contact with them and they were said to have boarded a flight to Istanbul, a popular transit point for foreigners travelling to Syria.

"All of you, I can't live without you. Please, please come back home," said Akhtar Iqbal, husband of Sugra Dawood at an emotional press conference in their hometown of Bradford.

Mohammed Shoaib, husband of Khadija Dawood, said: "We had a perfect relationship, we had a lovely family. Please contact me whenever you want. Please come back."

Balaal Khan, a lawyer for the children's fathers, said that they feared the three sisters have joined their brother in Syria who is fighting for either the Islamic State group or another extremist organisation.

Khan said the fathers last spoke to their children on June 8, and appealed for anyone with any information about the missing women to come forward.

"They have been distraught, crying, they don't know what to do," he said of the fathers.

The women and children were due to return to Bradford last Thursday.

An eight-year-old and a five-year-old in the group are not believed to have boarded the families' flight to Turkey.

The North East counter-terrorism unit is leading the investigation police said.

"We are extremely concerned for the safety of the family and would urge anyone with information to come forward and speak to us," said Russ Foster, an assistant chief police constable, in a statement.

He said the UK police are working with Turkish authorities to establish what has happened, and the possibility of the family attempting to travel to Syria is being explored. 

Foster added that the police are "keeping an open mind" about what might have happened, but the fear among the community in Bradford is that the mothers and their children have already slipped over the border into Syria.