TRINI-BORN brothers Mahmud and Ayyub Ferreira are said to be in London receiving counselling as they prepare to return home after being rescued and reunited with their mother in northern Syria on Monday.
According to a report in the UK news outlet The Guardian, the brothers who are aged seven and 11 were taken out of their homeland about four years ago by their father who went to fight with ISIS in Syria. The father is believed to have been killed in the fighting.
Mahmud and Ayyub spent several years living in the IS caliphate before ending up in Kurdish custody. On Monday, they were released into the care of their mother Felicia Perkins-Ferreira.
According to the Guardian's report, the brothers and their mother crossed the Iraqi border with human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith and they were then flown to Switzerland with the help of Roger Waters from the rock band Pink Floyd.
The boys and their mother were reunited in the Syrian Kurdish administrative capital, Qamishli. “That was the first time I’ve slept properly in four years,” Perkins-Ferreira told The Guardian journalists.
On Tuesday, the family travelled to London where the two boys are to undergo counselling to help them recover from their ordeal. “I’m really, really grateful and I wish I could meet (all the people who helped) all in one and embrace them,” Perkins-Ferreira said.
The boys were found on the side of the road by the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces and held at Camp Roj with the families of dead or imprisoned militants.
Stafford Smith, of the international legal nonprofit Reprieve, enlisted the financial help and private jet of Waters to get the Ferreria boys out of Syria, after asking the Trinidad and Tobago authorities to issue emergency travel documents for the children.
However, in a release issued earlier this week, the TT Government claimed to be actively involved in the brothers' rescue. The National Security Ministry, in the release, said the boys' rescue was as a result of efforts by a special team created by National Security Minister Stuart Young and named Team Nightingale.