Boy abducted by ISIS reunited with his family in Winnipeg after eight years

Eight years after Ayad Alhussein was abducted by the terror group ISIS, he has been reunited with his family in Winnipeg.

On Thursday at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, Amal and Leila Alhussein hugged their little brother Ayad for the first time in eight years.

“We’re just so excited to welcome him to our new home here in Winnipeg,” Amal said.

They were last together at their home in Iraq when in 2014, ISIS arrived in the Yazadi family’s community. Amid the carnage, the family of 20 was reduced to just four. Ayad, who was only six years old at the time, was abducted by the terror group.

“He spent almost five years in captivity where torture and violence was a daily occurrence,” said Jamileh Naso, president of the Canadian Yazidi Association. “By some miracle he managed to escape ISIS captivity.”

Ayad made it to a displaced person’s refugee camp in Iraq where he would spend almost another three years waiting.

His parents and most of his family were gone. But in that time, his two sisters Amal and Leila had made their way to Winnipeg.

“(They were) sponsored (to come) here under the 2017 Yazadi refugee program that the government initiated,” Naso said.

Following work by a multi-faith coalition and the Canadian Yazidi Association, this family is now reunited.

After embracing his family for the first time in eight years, Ayad said, “It still feels like a dream and doesn’t really feel real yet.”

Now that Ayad is in Winnipeg, he said he is excited to be with his sisters and is looking forward to starting school. 

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