By Evie Andreou
A WOMAN from Limassol is desperately trying to get her two small children back from Syria after they were kidnapped by their father around a month ago.
The two children, a boy aged six and a four-year-old girl, went missing along with their father from their Limassol home last month and after reaching war-torn Syria the father contacted the mother to let her know of their whereabouts.
“My son told us that they went to Turkey in a boat and from there to Syria,” the mother told the Cyprus Mail.
She added that her husband told her that he had wanted the children to see his parents and had then asked her for money to arrange to bring them back to Cyprus.
But after she sent him the money he asked for more, the mother said, €5,000 this time.
The mother is worried about her children’s health and safety and is making a plea to for their safe return.
Limassol police spokesman Ioannis Soteriades said that an arrest warrant was issued for the father and they were waiting for approval from the Attorney-general’s office to issue European and international arrest warrants.
Syria however, is not a signatory country of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which means that it has no obligation to take action for the children’s return.
“Such cases are usually handled by the ministry of foreign affairs through the nearest embassy. But since there is no Cyprus embassy in Syria, it will be dealt by Cyprus’ embassy in Lebanon. But it is up to the abductor’s willingness to cooperate,” an official at the Children’s Rights Commissioner’s office said.
The foreign ministry in Nicosia told the Cyprus Mail on Tuesday they were dealing with the case and that they had followed all of the necessary procedures.
Child abductions by one parent are not uncommon. Around 140 such cases have been reported to police, while the House human rights committee heard last year that 2,500 children’s names were on the stop list in airports and ports in Cyprus to prevent them from being taken out of the country by one of their parents.