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Family's relief after mother and five children rescued by Syria rebel group

Published 23/09/2015

The Foreign Office said a British woman and her five children have been reported missing in Turkey
The Foreign Office said a British woman and her five children have been reported missing in Turkey

The family of a British woman who fled Islamic State with her five children, and was later kidnapped, have spoken of their relief at her being rescued by a Syrian rebel group.

Shukee Begum, 33, from Manchester travelled to Syria with her children to find her husband who had joined IS, also known as Isis or Isil.

But 10 months later Shukee Begum, 33, and her children aged nine, seven, five, three and 11 months, had to flee from IS territory in June, but they were taken hostage on the Turkish border.

According to rebel group The Levant Front, Ms Begum was reunited with her "people" on Monday and is in good health.

Speaking to Channel 4 News, the law graduate's family said they had spoken to her and now just wanted her home.

Her sister Shopna, said: "We heard from Shukee this morning. She still sounds exhausted and weak, but she sad that the people who are helping her now are going to take her and the children to the doctor to get their health checked."

Asked how they felt on hearing from her, she continued: "Obviously it was a very emotional moment, my mum and dad breaking down. She was breaking down on the other side of the phone, telling us that she had got set free."

Another sister, Shiblee, added: "When you don't know if your sister is even alive, and then to get that call and hear her voice, I can't describe it."

However, the sisters said they would not be completely happy until Ms Begum had returned to the UK.

They insisted she had only travelled to Syria to find her husband, and that she was not a supporter of IS.

In a letter passed to Channel 4 News she wrote: "All I keep thinking was I don't want the kids never to see their father again, and I don't want the baby to never have meet his dad.

"I suggested we meet in Turkey but he said it was unsafe. So I came (to Syria).

"I intended to see him then go back.

"On my way in my bag was snatched - it had my phones, passports and my travel money.

"I thought I'd be allowed back and didn't think he would stop us... But he says he didn't want us to leave so therefore will not help us back."

The Foreign Office said a British woman and her five children have been reported missing in Turkey, but a spokeswoman would not confirm it is the same case.

She said: "We continue to work closely with the Turkish authorities on the whereabouts of a British national and her children, originally reported missing in Turkey, and stand by to provide consular assistance."

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