Alison Azer (left) gets support from a friend

Alison Azer addresses community

Comox Valley mom reveals details of trip to Kurdistan in search of her four children

  • Mar. 5, 2016 5:00 p.m.

Erin Haluschak

Record Staff

Alison Azer feels everyday she’s getting closer to having her four children come back home.

Last Thursday evening, the Courtenay mother addressed and thanked a group of about 50 friends, family and community members at a community awareness meeting at Queneesh Elementary.

Azer recently returned from Ottawa where she sat in the House of Commons while Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns asked the Liberal government during Question Period what actions they are taking to ensure the safe return of her children.

“It did leave me with more hope then when I arrived,” she said prior to the meeting.

It has been six months since the Courtenay mother has seen her four children who were allegedly abducted by their father last summer.

In August, Alison received word her ex-husband – Dr. Saren Azer (also known as Salahaddin Mahummudi-Azer) – hadn’t returned to Canada from a court-approved trip to Europe with her children Sharvahn, 11, Rojevahn, 9, Dersim, 7 and Meitan, 3.

Comox Valley RCMP sought and obtained a Canada Wide Warrant of Arrest for Azer – who practiced at St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox.

Late last year, Alison travelled to Kurdistan, where, on Nov. 11, she found the location of her children.

Located in the Qandil Mountains in the northeast region of Iraq, Alison said the children are in an area governed by a group called the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).

She added learning of their location was helpful, as was getting insight on what the government is able to do.

“The Canadian government is very well-positioned in Kurdistan. We’ve got lots of assets on the ground, lots of resources. I got as close to my kids as I could get without setting off an international event. I went into the Qandil region – I cleared seven checkpoints. I presented myself to the leadership of the group that was harbouring Saren because I wanted them to look in the eyes of the mom.

“While I didn’t leave with my children, I know I made a difference by presenting myself. I know that I was able to get word back to the children that I was there. “

While she doesn’t know in detail their living conditions, she does know the area is very cold, with more than two metres of snow.

“They’re in an area where the buildings are made of concrete blocks and there no heating. They stay warm by burning crude in the middle of the room, which if you’ve ever tried to breath that in, it’s not healthy, and second of all, it’s dangerous. I’ve got a three-year-old walking around the room probably where there’s an open flame.”

Inside the meeting, Alison described in more detail the moment she found the location of the children. She received a phone call from her niece in Canada, frantically telling her to open her email.

There was a picture of Sharvahn and Rojevahn with a message in Kurdish that read ‘I’m about to make you very happy.’

“That was my first break. I never took the class in university ‘how to talk to informants 101’ but I had someone courageously reaching out to help my kids.”

The area is beyond the reach of the Kurdistan Regional Government and different efforts from political influences were made to negotiate with Saren, she said.

“But it didn’t work. The kids have not been in school since they left here in June. They have not held a pencil, they have not read a book.”

While she admits there is “a very clear line of sight to get these kids,” she admitted it will require the expenditure of political capital that many people would rather not spend.

“I told people in Ottawa I won’t accept no.”

On March 21, Alison will return to Ottawa for a vigil on Parliament Hill, as well as use the opportunity to attempt to get a face-to-face with every Member of Parliament to ensure they know about her missing children.

For more information, visit findazerkidsnow.com.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Merville resident looking for help to name original settler families

Janice Isenor is hoping to figure out which families settled where in Merville 100 years ago

Cultural sharing for Comox Valley School District song unveiling

After nearly a year in the making, a special gift was presented… Continue reading

Best of World Community Film Fest screens Tuesday

The votes are in from the recent World Community Film Festival and… Continue reading

Union Bay Improvement District board apologizes to trustee; deadline remains for other demands

UBID board complies with one of the demands of a letter threatening legal action

Valley’s Women’s Memorial March honours those missing and murdered

On Thursday morning shortly before noon, around 60 people gathered to honour… Continue reading

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Most Read