'Hubby tricked me into going to Syria': Malaysian IS widow

KUALA LUMPUR - The widow of a Malaysian Islamic State (IS) militant, who was tricked into going to Syria, said her one single goal had been to get her two children safely back home.

The woman, who wished to be known as Aisyah, said her husband - a former technician of an oil and gas company - died in February.

Clad in black jubah (robe) with her face covered in a veil, the 31-year-old said she was told they would be holidaying in Turkey.

While pregnant with her son, she travelled to Turkey with her daughter in 2016.

"My husband bought a nine-day tour and we left on March 16," Aisyah said.

"We stayed at a hotel in Istanbul for five days before my husband moved us to another house belonging to a family from Uzbekistan.

"It was then that I uncovered his real plan to go to Syria," she told a special press conference in Bukit Aman yesterday.

Aisyah gave birth to her son on June 3 at a rented house in Turkey instead of at a hospital for fear of being caught by Turkish forces.

"We finally made our journey to Syria a year later after securing safe passage, " Aisyah said.

Once in Idlib, Syria, she claimed she was left with her son while her husband fought for IS.

"He had sworn allegiance to an Indonesian militant, Abu Jihad, while a Pakistani militant - Abu Bakar - taught my husband how to handle weapons," she said.

"He mostly fought in the Hama district before he was killed."

While in Syria, she said, there was hardly any amenities or basic necessities.

"Each house only got electricity between 6pm and 11pm daily.

"Fresh water could only be bought from a merchant, who sold 200 litres for RM8," she said.

The widow said the first three months were the most harrowing because of heavy shelling and shooting in Idlib.

She also remembers the air raid sirens going off frequently.

She had begged her husband to return to Malaysia, but his last words to her were "Don't take my children back to Malaysia".

"I cannot honour his wish. I contacted my parents and told them I wanted to come home," she said in-between sobs.

The press conference had to be halted a few times so that Aisyah could composed herself.

"My parents managed to call Bukit Aman and not long after that, officers from the Counter Terrorism Division contacted me.

"They asked a lot of questions, including if I really wanted to return.

'After they were convinced, I was told to get ready," she said.

"Nothing could described the relief I felt hearing such news."

Late last month, she took her children to the Turkish border, some 90-minute travel from Idlib.

"We were met by authorities from Malaysia and Turkey who rescued us and eventually brought us home," she said.

Aisyah was not arrested but had to undergo counselling as part of her rehabilitation.

She hopes to start a new life with her children in her hometown.

"I want to help my mother with her sundry shop business and ensure that my children receive proper education."

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