Speaking with Channel 4’s Jackie Long, Roger Waters has disclosed some details of the rescue operation of seven-year-old Ayyub and 11-year-old Mahmud, two boys from Trinidad, who were stuck in Syria after their father from Daesh* died.
“While Clive [Stafford Smith] and the others went across the Tigris and went to the camp and got the boys, it took hours and hours, and hours, and hours, much longer than you would imagine, to get them back and through all the police check-points…”, he told the TV host.
These children, finally reunited with their mother after 4 years in #Syria after being dragged there husband who joined #ISIS. It took a private jet, a rock star and much more to get them back. @rogerwaters @CliveSSmith Full story on @NPR soon. #PinkFloyd #Music pic.twitter.com/ZaExmj3bld— Ruth Sherlock (@Rsherlock) 22 January 2019
Not only did the rock legend fund the op and the private jet, as human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith revealed, he also flew to the Iraqi border and witnessed the long-awaited reunion of mother Felicia Perkins-Ferreira with her boys.
“When I heard they were on the road I was entirely overcome and I treated myself a glass of cheap white wine and waited for them, and they got back at about midnight, and to see those two beautiful children and Felicia… it was deeply, deeply moving and satisfying”.
If truth must be told @rogerwaters had a couple of glasses of cheap white wine, & when I got to Erbil with the two kids, I had two or three myself… So glad we got those young boys back to their mum Felicia with the help of an awful lot of people @Reprieve https://t.co/Vpqp2KeO7k— Clive Stafford Smith (@CliveSSmith) 23 January 2019
Ahead of the rescue mission, Waters wrote a letter to the government of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, although they never replied.
After he died, supposedly fighting in Daesh’s self-proclaimed capital Raqqa in 2017, the boys were sent to Turkey together with their Belgian stepmother, who eventually abandoned them on the side of a road.
They were later picked up by the US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who brought them to Camp Roj in northeastern Syria, where the kids lived among the families of dead or imprisoned terrorists.
*Daesh, also known as IS/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State, is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.