Aussie ISIS wives, kids removed from camp

 

The entire Australian group of women and children held at the al-Hawl camp in northeastern Syria have been removed from the camp.

The group of around 67 women and children have been held in an annex in the camp since the final defeat of Islamic State in March last year.

It's believed the Australians have been taken, or are on their way, to another camp, al-Roj, where conditions are better than the cramped and dangerous al-Hawl, which currently houses around 70,000 women and children who are families of Islamic State members.

It's believed the Australian Government had made overtures to the Kurdish administrators of the autonomous region, including speaking to key Kurdish official Abdul Karim Omar, however the Kurdish took upon themselves to move the Australians in recognition they were an ill fit with the other women detained who are deemed more hard core militants.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne's office declined to comment.

As reported last week, a group of 19 women and children had been taken suddenly from the camp in a midnight security raid last week but the removal of the remaining women and children was more orderly.

Approximately 14 women and 31 children were moved overnight Monday Australian time. The whereabouts of one family is not clear.

Kamalle Dabboussy, a Sydney-based spokesman for the families in the camp, welcomed the Government intervention.

 

Australian women and children at the al-Hawl camp in northeast Syria. Picture: Supplied
Australian women and children at the al-Hawl camp in northeast Syria. Picture: Supplied

 

"We have been told that the facilities and services are better at al-Roj. We trust this is correct but that no child be incarcerated or left in a war zone-like situation,'' he told News Corp.

Mr Dabboussy's daughter Mariam and three of his grandchildren were among those moved out of al-Hawl on Monday night.

Save the Children Australia Deputy CEO Mat Tinkler confirmed al-Roj camp was less crowded and detainees may have better access to services.

"In theory, it also makes repatriation easier given its proximity to the Kurdish Region of Iraq," he said.

"But the real issue isn't which camp in the Syrian desert these innocent Aussie kids are in, it's that they are there at all. These 47 children are some of the most vulnerable kids on the planet - they are stuck in an extremely fragile region, exposed to the elements in a brutal climate, and they face the risk of COVID-19.

 

 

 

"Australia must ensure the safety of these children and that of their mothers, and the only way to do that is to repatriate them to Australia as soon as appropriate quarantine has been cleared."

Kurdish language media has been reporting that Syrian Democratic Forces, which control the camp, have been moving some of those who pose a lower security risk out of the camp.

The Kurdish administrators of the autonomous area where the camps are based, and the United States have been lobbying Australia to repatriate, and where appropriate, prosecute, the Australian women and their children but the Government has refused to remove any of the families, citing safety concerns for Australian officials.

Around 20 Australian men, mainly Islamic State fighters, remain locked up in Kurdish jails.

Meanwhile, Australia's first Islamic State bride and jihadist recruiter Zehra Duman and her children have fled their Syrian refugee camp to now be detained in Turkey where the children are being DNA tested for proof of parentage.

The Australian Government has confirmed the Melbourne-born Duman, who was stripped of her Australian citizenship after she joined ISIS, is being held in a jail in Sanliurfa in south eastern Turkey after fleeing the Syrian Kurdish run Al-Hol refugee camp.

Duman, who actively used social media to appeal to would-be jihadists to attack nonbelievers from Australia, American and the United Kingdom, is believed to also hold Turkish citizenship.

But how she left the guarded camp in Syria remains unknown.

 

 

Originally published as Aussie ISIS wives, kids removed from camp



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