The family of a pair of rare conjoined twins are celebrating their ‘rebirth’ after they were separated successfully at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Yigit and Derman Evrensel were born in Antalya, Turkey, with their heads joined to each other.
The twins, who will turn two on 21 June, were brought to the UK last year where they have undergone a series of operations and were finally separated on 28 January.
They were flown back to Turkey on Wednesday with their parents in a special air ambulance.
Their family are now celebrating what they see as the twins starting life again.
Their father Omer Evrensel said: “'When I saw them separated, I burst into tears. This was our only dream. Now they can play, do whatever they want like their peers.
“They'll start life again, they're almost reborn. We'll start everything from scratch.”
His wife Fatma described how overjoyed she was by the successful separation of the twins.
She said: “I could never leave them for a second, but I also couldn't hug them or cradle them. I am overjoyed that their agony is over.”
Twins joined by the head, known as craniopagus twins, are incredibly rare and most do not survive.
Conjoined twins are rare to begin with – occurring at a rate of about 1 in 2.5 million births worldwide — of those, only 5% are craniopagus and separations are notoriously difficult.
Evrensel reportedly said he and his wife had been asked to terminate the pregnancy once medics realised the twins were conjoined but they refused.
The family are said to have been helped to get to the UK by Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife, with reports also suggesting that a Turkish businessman and Turkish doctors in the UK had lent money to pay for the surgery.
It’s not the first time Great Ormond Street has carried out rare surgery on craniopagus twins.
In July last year surgeons at the world-leading children’s hospital carried out surgery on two-year-old sisters Safa and Marwa Ullah, from Charsadda, Pakistan, when they were 19 months old.