Pharmacist who treated jihadists begs to be allowed back into Britain

‘Let me bring my wife and children back home’: Disgraced pharmacist, 40, who treated ISIS jihadists in Syria begs to be allowed back into Britain

  • Mohammed Anwar Miah left Birmingham in 2014 to sneak into ISIS territory 
  • He is a suspected jihadi but denies swearing allegiance to the terrorist group
  • Kurdish forces have imprisoned him in northern Syria along with the ‘Beatles’ 
  • He said he is proud to be British and wants to return with his wife and children
  • Miah believes the UK has a responsibility to bring back and rehabilitate citizens 

A British pharmacist locked up in northern Syria for treating Islamic State jihadi fighters said last night that he wants to come back home – and bring his teenage wife and two children with him.

Mohammed Anwar Miah, 40, who renamed himself Abu Obayda al-Britannia inside the group’s caliphate, left Birmingham in September 2014 to sneak into territory held by IS.

In his first newspaper interview, he claimed he never swore allegiance to the group and had gone there, illegally, for ‘humanitarian work’.

Miah lived in the town of Mayadin under IS rule for four years. He claimed to have worked there as an assistant orthopaedic surgeon, learning from a book as he went.

Mohammed Anwar Miah, a pharmacist from Birmingham, is a suspected jihadi in a Kurdish prison in northern Syria

He was detained after escaping from Mayadin last August on a motorbike with his Syrian wife, whom he will not name, and their nine-month-old daughter, Mariam.

He has never met his second child because he was separated from his wife, who was five months pregnant, and daughter after they were picked up by the Syrian Democratic Forces. 

Miah does not know where they are now, but he said his children are British citizens and he wants them to come back to the UK with him.

Miah is one of six suspected jihadi Britons being held by the Kurdish-led SDF, along with two members of the notorious ‘Beatles’ gang responsible for beheading British hostages.

Speaking at an intelligence building in Al-Hasakah province a short drive from his prison, he said: ‘I want to go home. I’m proud to be British. Britain has got good human rights and that is a good thing.

‘In an ideal situation I would like to take my wife and my children back to Britain with me and just live a normal life. If she can live there and she’s not allowed health care OK so be it. I’ve never claimed any benefits in my life. I’ve always worked for a living and paid taxes.’

He was caught by Kurdish-led SDF forces (arrest pictured) who are holding him along with two members of the notorious ‘Beatles’ gang who beheaded British hostages

Wearing a grey djellaba, a loose robe, Miah said Britain had a responsibility to take all its citizens back and rehabilitate them. His comments came after Jack Letts, 23, the Oxford-born Muslim convert known as ‘Jihadi Jack’, said he wanted to go home and missed his mother. Letts is being detained in Syria.

A row broke out earlier this month over what should happen with foreign fighters and their jihadi wives after Shamima Begum, 19, who left her home in east London aged 15, was found in a Syrian refugee camp begging to be allowed back into Britain.

After she expressed ‘no regret’ for travelling to Syria and marrying an IS fighter, Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of her British citizenship.

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Miah claims he is innocent of any crimes. ‘I’m not a danger to the public,’ he said. ‘But if they feel that I am a danger I am more than happy to enter into any rehabilitation programme.

‘If they want to punish me, they can punish me. If they want to monitor me I have no problem. I am in remorse for coming to Syria and if I could go back in time I wouldn’t come to Syria.’

Like Begum, Miah was born in Britain but his mother was born in Bangladesh. He said he would rather stay in prison than be sent to Bangladesh: ‘I have been to Bangladesh two or three times in my life. 

I don’t have a Bangladesh passport, I only have one nationality – British.’ Miah was left jobless in 2013 after he was struck off the pharmacist register for inventing ‘phantom’ employees, which enabled him to work more hours in contravention of EU legislation.

In his first newspaper interview with the Daily Mail’s Larisa Brown (left), Miah said pleaded to be allowed to return to Britain and bring his teenage wife and children with him 

He told his mother he was going on ‘holiday’ for three weeks and never returned. He has not spoken to her since.

He crossed the border from Turkey in September 2014, 27 days after British executioner Jihadi John beheaded US journalist James Foley. A video of the killing was published on the internet.

But Miah claimed he had not heard of any of the extreme violence before he set off – despite the barbaric murder sparking headlines across the globe.

Although he was unable to speak Arabic when he arrived, Miah said he worked in a hospital for nearly four years in Mayadin, which was constantly being bombed.

The town, in eastern Syria, was the scene of a string of executions under IS control while Miah was there, another fact he claims to be largely unaware of.

He claimed that even as Mayadin was on the verge of destruction, with all civilians having fled, he never knowingly treated an IS fighter – though when pushed he admitted he ‘probably’ did. 

‘You would get people coming in who were probably fighters but they would come in as a normal civilian who needed medical care and you would just treat them,’ he said.

When Miah was detained by the British and US-backed SDF, footage showed him blindfolded and handcuffed as he told his captors that he was a ‘doctor’.

In early 2017, he married a Syrian whom he met at the hospital. It was customary under IS for members of the caliphate to be ‘gifted’ their pick of younger brides.

But Miah insisted: ‘I married her because I felt she was a nice person and a good person. She is nothing to do with IS. My wife would have given birth now. I don’t know if it is boy or girl. I don’t know where they are.’

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