POLICE are on the hunt for the father of an Irish schoolgirl who is believed to have kidnapped her and taken her to civil war-torn Syria.
Devastated mum Louise Mary Monaghan (36) contacted police after her daughter May (6) disappeared with her father on Wednesday.
Swords native Louise, who lives in Cyprus, explained how her ex-husband Mostafa Assad contacted her a few hours after her child was abducted to say he was in Turkey and on his way to Syria.
Cypriot police have since issued an arrest warrant for Assad saying they believed he had arrived in Syria with May.
An emergency passport was issued for the little girl yesterday in the hope that she may be brought home. It is understood that Assad managed to get his daughter out of the country with a passport he took last year and which had been cancelled.
Louise's sister, Mandy Monaghan, flew over to Cyprus yesterday to support the devastated mum.
She explained that Mostafa had threatened Louise a few hours after May disappeared. He insisted that the devoted mother meet them in Syria and bring as much money along with her as possible.
"He told her not to contact the media and that she was to sell everything and get to Syria on Friday or she would never see May again," Mandy explained.
"He said she had to sell the two cars and everything she had and bring the money with her.
"She just agrees to everything. She said she would come as soon as possible, she was terrified for May."
Louise was so distraught when she heard that her daughter had been kidnapped that she collapsed.
While the mother-of-one was glad to hear her daughter's voice, she was extremely concerned about the little girl's welfare.
"He put May on the phone and she sounded very upset," Mandy said.
"She said: 'Mammy I don't know where I am, are you coming to me?'
"Louise was in bits. She knew she was missing her and she could do nothing.
"He's taken May to a country where everyone's killing each other, a country where there's war, and he hasn't thought once about her safety," Mandy added.
Violent protests have taken place in Syria since January after part of the population started demanding greater political freedom. The stand-off has led to more than 2,200 deaths over the past nine months.
Louise is certain that Mostafa took their daughter to his hometown of Idlib, near the Turkish border, as she could hear his parents' voice in the background during the phone call.
"All we can do now is pray that the Irish government step in and do something." Mandy said.