The Current

Canadian mom Alison Azer fears abducted kids in Iraq with their dad

Alison Azer has not seen her kids in seven months since her ex-husband took them to Europe, and she believes they are now in northern Iraq and in danger. She's calling on the Canadian government to do more to find them.
It was meant to be a European vacation with their father, but Alison Azer has not seen her kids since and fears her ex-husband has them in northern Iraq. (The Canadian Press)

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What started as a summer vacation in Europe for her four kids and their father, has become a seven-month-long ordeal for Alison Azer when her children were not returned to their home in British Columbia.

The children — Sharvahn, 11, Rojevahn, 9,  Dersim, 7, and Mietan, 3 — are now believed to be in northern Iraq with Azer's ex-husband, Dr. Saren Azer, held in a dangerous war zone.

I don't think many Canadians would tolerate four little Canadian kids coming out of a war zone in body bags from the place that the Canadian government knew, for months, that they were being held captive.- Alison Azer says the Canadian government is not doing enough and has only done as much as it has due to her going public

Prior to their abduction, Azer was already on alert with the children's father and had been granted custody of their passports. She saw the high possibility for parental abduction years ago when Saren told her "very bluntly" that he would not accept the children being raised in the West, nor would he accept co-parenting. 

Dr. Saren Azer was once known as a respected physician and humanitarian in Canada, after emigrating from Iran more than two decades ago. He's since been a passionate advocate for the cause of his fellow Kurds. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

A B.C. court granted Azer's ex-husband permission to travel internationally with the kids twice, given they contact her every 48 hours. The first trip, to Paris during spring break, went according to the restrictions imposed, which Azer believes was to establish credibility in preparation for the summer trip to Europe.

Azer has been working hard for her kids' return — she's been to Ottawa, Washington, and Iraq to meet with authorities. Then in January she was told to stand down and hold tight since there was enough diplomatic momentum. Azer has yet to hear of any further progress in getting her children out of Iraq.

This segment was produced by The Current's Willow Smith and John Chipman.