KUALA LUMPUR: Clad in a black “jubah” (robe) with her face covered in a veil, a 31-year-old widow of an Islamic State (IS) militant recounts her life of torment in Syria for more than a year.
Since her fateful journey to the militant-infested country in March 2016, her only mission was to bring back her two little children to Malaysia following the death of her militant husband, who was a former technician of an oil and gas company, in February.
The woman, who only wished to be known as Aisyah, said she was tricked in going to Syria with her daughter when she was seven months’ pregnant, on the pretext of vacationing in Turkey.
“My husband bought a nine-day tour ticket to Turkey and we finally went on March 16, 2016.
“We stayed at a hotel in Istanbul for five days before my husband moved us to another house belonging to a family from Uzbekistan.
“At that time, I uncovered his real plan to go to Syria but it was too late. We finally made our journey to Syria a year later after securing safe passage,” the Terengganu-born Aisyah told a special press conference in Bukit Aman on Thursday (Oct 25).
Once in Idlib, Syria, she claimed she was left with her children while her husband fought for the terror group.
“He was mostly engaged in fire fights for the IS in the Hama district. He was killed in February,” she said.
Aisyah even had to give birth to her second child, a boy, in June 3, 2016, at a rented house owned by an Uzbekistan family in Turkey instead of a hospital for fear of being caught by Turkish forces.
In Syria, basic necessities are hard to come by, she added. Each house is accorded electricity between 6pm and 11pm daily.
“Fresh water could only be bought from a merchant, who sold 200 litres of water for RM8,” she said.
The widow added that the first three months were the most harrowing, marked by multiple explosions and gun fights occurring around Idlib.
“The children and I could not sleep as we were constantly awakened by the sound of loud explosions and gunfire.
“The constant alarms sounding to mark air strikes did not help matters as well. They often occurred at the break of dawn,” she said.
She often begged her husband to return to Malaysia with their children, but one of his last words to her before he went out for the final fight that took his life were: “Don’t bring my children back to Malaysia.”
“I cannot honour his wish as I have to think of the future of my children.
“Eventually, I managed to contact my parents and stated my wish to return home.
“They contacted Bukit Aman and not long after that, officers from the Counter Terrorism Division contacted me and formulated a rescue plan,” she said.