The fate of foreign Daesh fighters and their families has become a significant problem for governments as the conflict against Daesh draws to a close. File photo/ AFP
Eight orphans of Australian Daesh fighters have been spirited out of a camp in Syria, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, in an apparent U-turn.
The children and grandchildren of two notorious extremists are now in the care of Australian officials, he said in a statement.
The children are believed to be aged between two and 17 and were living in a camp in northern Syria — making consular access all but impossible.
Morrison previously indicated his government would only help citizens if they approached an embassy or consulate but appeared to have had a change of heart.
“The fact that parents put their children into harm’s way by taking them into a war zone was a despicable act,” Morrison said in a statement.
“However, children should not be punished for the crimes of their parents.”
The group includes three surviving children and two grandchildren of Sydney-born Khaled Sharrouf — who came to prominence after posting a photo of one of his sons holding the head of a Syrian soldier.
There are also three children of Yasin Rizvic who travelled from Australia to Syria with his wife.
Both Daesh fighters are presumed dead.
Morrison did not name the children or elaborate on how they were removed, but confirmed they were “repatriated from the conflict zone into the care of Australian government officials.”
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the children had been moved to a country neighbouring Syria.
Their case had gained widespread attention after the grandmother of the Sharrouf children — 17-year-old heavily pregnant Zaynab, her younger sister Hoda, their eight-year-old brother Hamzeh, and Zaynab’s two young children Ayesha, three, and Fatima, two — had pleaded with Canberra to bring them home.
Grandmother Karen Nettleton even travelled to the camp earlier this year to meet them but was rebuffed by authorities, and Morrison said he did not want to put Australian lives at risk.
The prime minister on Monday repeated his concerns, adding that “repatriating these children was not a decision the Australian government made lightly.”
“Australia’s national security and the safety of our people and personnel have always been our most important considerations in this matter,” he said.
The fate of foreign fighters and their families has become a significant problem for governments as the conflict against Daesh draws to a close.
Several European countries, including France and Belgium, have repatriated children from Syria in recent months.Agence France-Presse
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday he was open to allowing the return of orphaned children of an Australian extremist in a Syrian refugee camp following their desperate plea for help.
An Australian grandmother to children of a notorious Daesh fighter has tracked down the orphans in a Syrian refugee camp in an emotional reunion she hopes will lead to their return home.
A friend recently remarked that the outpouring of grief and empathy from world leaders, peoples, and media over the destruction by fire of the roof of the 12th-13th century Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has greatly exceeded the outcry over the destruction by war and Daesh of more or equally historically,
A magistrate speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity said at least 4,000 people were arrested and held under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial.
A representative of the rescue service said it had not yet been possible to establish contact with the two cavers and concern was growing for their health due to their long exposure to extreme conditions.
Daesh said one of its fighters blew himself up at a "large gathering" in Kabul while others "detonated a parked explosives-laden vehicle" when security forces arrived, in a statement posted on the Telegram messaging app.