Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters hopes for more rescues in Syria after sending private jet to reunite kidnapped boys with their mother

Roger Waters is hoping that more rescue missions will be carried out in Syria after he sent a private jet to bring back two stranded boys from Syria to be reunited with their mother. 

The Pink Floyd star flew a human rights lawyer and the boys’ mother to northern Iraq, where the pair, aged seven and 11, were picked up.

The Trinidadian boys – seven-year-old Ayyub Ferreira and his brother Mahmud, 11 – had been in Syria since being taken there by their father, an Isis fighter, in 2014 or 2015. 

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The father is believed to have been killed in 2017, and the boys were then abandoned by his Belgian wife, before being taken to a refugee camp in northern Syria by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. 

Waters became involved after Reprieve lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith told him about the boys’ situation. 

“Roger paid for a bunch of this stuff,” he told Channel 4 News. “He didn’t just do that, he came with us, and I have to say I have great gratitude to Roger, also a bunch of other people. We made a good team, beating up on people who didn’t want to get it done.”

A member of an NGO accompanies two Caribbean children and their mother (R) as they prepare to leave the northeastern Syrian Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli on January 21, 2018 (AFP/Getty Images)

“I’ve known Clive for a number of years and I’ve followed his human rights work pretty closely,” Waters explained. “We had some lunch and he told me about the predicament of Mahmud and Ayyub and Felicia, and it moved me deeply. And so I said, ‘I wanna help – is there anything I can do?'”

After failing to get a response from the goverment of Trinidad and Tobago or British authorities, Waters decided to charter a jet to send out a rescue party and helped persuade the Trinidadian government to issue travel documents for the boys. They are currently in London before travelling home to Trinidad. 

Waters said he wanted to help because “I’m privileged enough to at this point… to have the time because I’ve just finished a two-year tour and suddenly I’ve got some time to stop for a bit, so to be able to use some of the time getting these two kids out is great. 

“But also, it gives me some sort of platform to say, what about all the others? Why aren’t we doing anything?” he said to the BBC.

According to Stafford-Smith, Kurdish forces are holding more than 1,200 foreign children – at least 10 British – along with hundreds of adults suspected of fighting for Isis. Most governments have ignored calls from the Kurds to take the children back. 

“These are children we have to look after, and the countries their parents come from should be the countries that are looking after them,” Waters said. “And also we need to provide some sort of a legal framework to deal with the ones in the detainment camps who are committed Isis followers, because I’m not suggesting they should all be repatriated without any attention to the legal requirements.”

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