IS brides won’t return to Australia

Nearly 70 Australian Islamic State (IS) brides and children will remain stranded in Syrian camps for now due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 47 children and 20 wives of captured Islamic State fighters are currently living in refugee camps in northeast Syria following the defeat of the terror group in the region.

The Australian government now says the COVID-19 pandemic makes it too dangerous to repatriate them, both due to the international travel situation and the lack of domestic resources required to monitor radicalised people.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne was questioned about the matter at a joint press conference following the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations in Washington, DC on Tuesday.

"Movement in Syria and in the region is now more complex than ever and at home, we see our states and territories very stretched, as an understatement in some cases, because of the impact of COVID-19 infections," Ms Payne said, as reported by SBS.

"We will not put our communities at home at risk, nor our officials abroad, to extract people from Syria under current conditions."

RELATED: Why Islamic State brides should be shown no mercy

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Kamalle Dabboussy with his daughter Mariam and her daughters Aisha and Fatema Picture: Supplied
Kamalle Dabboussy with his daughter Mariam and her daughters Aisha and Fatema Picture: Supplied

 

Conditions in the camps are said to be poor, with lack of running water. Picture: Supplied
Conditions in the camps are said to be poor, with lack of running water. Picture: Supplied

 

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed his country wanted to see any fighters repatriated to their home countries and prosecuted.

"We've made very clear our expectation is that the places that these fighters are being detained may not be sustainable and that we need to work with each host country to bring those people back and bring them to justice back in their home," Mr Pompeo said.

Save the Children chief executive Mat Tinkler told SBS there was no excuse not to bring the "Aussie kids" home. The organisation has warned about poor conditions in the camps, such as lack of running water.

"There aren't any excuses left," Mr Tinkler told the broadcaster. "The Australian government needs to bring these Australian children and their mothers home. The alternative - leaving Aussie kids languishing in a war zone - is unthinkable."

Kamalle Dabboussy, whose daughter Mariam is in one of the camps with his grandchildren, told SBS they faced a "horrendous situation" and that the Australian government "continues to ignore the plight of these vulnerable women and children".

frank.chung@news.com.au

 

Originally published as IS brides won't return to Australia

Save the Children says there are 47 children and 20 women in camps in Syria. Picture: 60 Minutes
Save the Children says there are 47 children and 20 women in camps in Syria. Picture: 60 Minutes


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