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My young children were ‘abducted by their father and flown to Syria’ – I’m absolutely petrified I will never see them again

A British mother of two fears for the safety of her children after they were allegedly kidnapped by their father and taken to Syria.

Little did Alaa Azzam, 33, 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 living ‘nightmare’.

Ms Azzam and the children’s father agreed that they could spend part of the holiday with him.

But just two days later, she received a call from a relative that her husband had been seen in Jordan, raising fears that her children had been kidnapped.

Detectives are now investigating the incident, with the children – who have dual British-Jordanian citizenship – being treated as ‘high risk missing persons’.

Ms Azzam has since flown to Jordan in an attempt to find them, but fears they have been taken to Syria ‘where there are no laws and no courts’.

Alaa Azzam (front photo) 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

Alaa Azzam (pictured right) with her two young children. They moved to Shropshire two years ago

Ms Azzam told MailOnline: ‘I am a mother, I will take any risk to get my children home safely. My children are my life. There’s nothing I can do but go to Jordan and save them.’

“My lawyers will petition the Supreme Court, but I cannot wait until then. I don’t know how my children feel.’

A court order has been issued stating that Ms Azzam’s children cannot be taken out of the country without the consent of the parent responsible for them or the permission of the court, MailOnline understands.

Mrs Azzam believes her husband took the children as a form of ‘punishment’ and admitted she had ‘never been separated’ from them.

She fears the children were 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 & Development Office confirmed they are helping a British woman following a situation in Jordan.

Mrs Azzam pictured with her two young children, who have British-Jordanian citizenship

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 to Jordan to live with his family”, she claimed.

The relationship had reportedly been abusive before she moved to Shropshire and into a refuge with the help of 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. He was my life for eight years.

She added: “He had a lot of control over my daughter. She had very long hair, so she said to me, “mom, I want to donate my hair to cancer research.” I told her, “it’s all 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 with your hair.’

Mrs Azzam claimed that her husband kidnapped the children as a form of 'punishment'.  In the photo: the family together

Mrs Azzam claimed that her husband kidnapped the children as a form of ‘punishment’. In the photo: the family together

In August last year, the court granted Ms Azzam custody of her children, while allowing their father access to visit them fortnightly and during school holidays.

Her husband, an A&E consultant, is said to have returned to Jordan last year after 20 years in Britain.

Ms Azzam received a message from him in January 2024 saying he was returning to Britain and wanted to continue legal proceedings.

“I didn’t want to go back to court,” Ms. Azaam explained, “I didn’t want to go through this again. I had had enough, and I just wanted to live in peace with my children.”

Mrs Azzam agreed to let her husband see their children and this was arranged at the end of February, during the holidays.

Kamal and Kefah (pictured) just before Christmas with a friend dressed as The Grinch.  The pair are now being treated as high-risk missing persons.

Kamal and Kefah (pictured) just before Christmas with a friend dressed as The Grinch. The pair are now being treated as high-risk missing persons.

‘On February 12, he sent me a message saying he would pick up the kids on the 14th. I told him, ‘Okay, that’s fine with me.’

‘My daughter starts crying and says to 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 say to her, please try to enjoy your time with Dad and that ‘we agreed that you should build a relationship with him’.

“Now I feel like I failed my daughter and handed her over to him.”

Mrs Azzam explained: ‘I went back home and on Friday my cousin, who lives in Jordan and is his parents’ neighbor, called me and said to me: “Alla, where are the children?” I said to her, “The children are with their father and are on half-term vacation.” She told me the father is in Jordan.”

Mrs Azzam began frantically calling her husband asking if she wanted to speak to her children, to which he allegedly responded: ‘the children will speak to you in an hour’.

‘My concern started to rise again that something was wrong. I called him again and said, “Where are the kids?” and he said, “Shut your mouth and listen to me carefully.”

“And then I started yelling at him on the phone, and when I hung up, I called the lawyer. I called the police.’

A spokesperson for West Mercia Police said: ‘On Friday, February 16, we received a report that two children from Shropshire had been taken abroad illegally by a relative.

“An investigation has been launched and the children aged 10 and 8 are being treated as high-risk missing persons. Extensive research is being done to locate them and ensure they are safe.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is supporting their family.”

Do you have a story that needs investigating? Email megan.howe@mailonline.co.uk.