Nepal | July 05, 2020

Australia repatriating 8 youth from Islamic State families

Share Now:

CANBERRA, Australia: Eight Australian offspring of two slain Islamic State group fighters had been removed from Syria in Australia’s first organized repatriation from the conflict zone, Australia’s prime minister said on Monday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the eight children being repatriated were in the care of Australian government officials. He would not identify the children or say when they would reach Australia.

Australia Islamic State

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison holds a press conference Monday, June 24, 2019, in Perth, Australia. Photo: Australian Broadcasting Corporation via AP

Media reported that they include five children and grandchildren of Sydney-born convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf and three children of Islamic State group fighter Yasin Rizvic, from Melbourne. Both men and their wives died in the conflict zone.

The children had been taken by an aid agency on Sunday to Iraq, The Australian newspaper reported.

“The opportunity now is for these young children who are coming back to Australia, they can’t be held responsible for the crimes of their parents,” Morrison told reporters.

The children would be provided with support services so that “they can fully integrate into a happy life in Australia,” Morrison said.

“They’ve got off to a horrible start in life as a result of the appalling decisions of their parents and they’ll find their home in Australia and I’m sure they’ll be embraced by Australians and as a result of that embrace, I’m sure they’ll live positive and happy lives,” Morrison added.

Morrison had for months said he would not risk any Australian official to rescue Australians from Islamic State group-held territory.

Critics had argued that he had not been prepared to take the political risk of repatriating families of Islamic extremists until he won a narrow election victory on May 18.

Morrison said on Monday he had kept his government’s efforts “very low-key” in the interests of the safety of everyone involved, including the aid agencies that had helped the government.

Sharrouf’s Sydney-based mother-in-law Karen Nettleton has launched several attempts to rescue the children from Syria and has led the campaign for Australian government intervention.

Her lawyer Robert Van Aalst said he hoped Nettleton was with the children in Iraq, but had no direct communication with her due to security concerns.

The eldest child, Zaynab, turned 18 last week and has been expecting her third child. Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported she’d yet to give birth.

Zaynab would return to Australia with the newborn, her two children — Ayesha, 3, and Fatima, 2 — her 16-year-old sister Hoda, and her 8-year-old brother, Humzeh.

“There will be medical examinations and various other support provided by the government which they have told us about to help the children acclimatize,” Van Aalst told ABC.

“There are also some wounds that may need to be attended to. Young Hoda was wounded in the leg. Zaynab, I believe, had shrapnel wounds. It is not just physical wounds that have to be looked into but there is some other psychological issues, no doubt, that will have to be looked into,” he added.

The Rizvic children are two boys and a girl aged between 6 and 12, The Australian reported.

Clarke Jones, an Australian National University criminologist who specializes in radicalization, said the children would need treatment for trauma and could be radicalized. They could also be threatened by elements of the Australian community.

“There are a lot of people who don’t want them back at all,” Jones said. “Because of that, they would also be under threat.”

Australian National University counterterrorism researcher Jacinta Carroll wrote in a research paper last week that Zaynab had become both a victim and supporter of terrorism in a case that was legally and morally complex.

Zaynab became a prominent Islamic State group propagandist making social media posts supporting atrocities and the activities of her father and her husband Mohamed Elomar, an Australian Islamic State group fighter who was killed while she was pregnant in 2015, Carroll said.

She had lived a relatively privileged life under the Islamic State regime in Syria in a house with slaves, posting photographs of herself with other veiled women with assault rifles and a luxury BMW sedan. She boasted a “luxury jihad” life in Syria, Carroll said,

Carroll said disengagement services, also known as deradicalization programs, were available in Australia to help the children integrate into the mainstream Australian community.

“I think that will be very challenging for the Sharroufs,” Carroll said. “The profile and the publicity around this family will also make it quite problematic for them to just integrate back into normal life in Australia.”

Mat Tinkler, director of the Save the Children Fund charity, said there were at least 50 Australian women and children in Syrian refugee camps and all should be repatriated.

Khaled Sharrouf horrified the world in 2014 when he posted a photograph on social media of his young son clutching the severed head of a Syrian soldier.

Then-US Secretary of State John Kerry described that image as “one of the most disturbing, stomach-turning, grotesque photographs ever displayed.”

Sharrouf’s wife, Tara Nettleton, brought their five children from Sydney to Syria in 2014. She died in a hospital a year later of a perforated intestine. Her husband and two eldest sons later died in an airstrike.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Locusts devour crops on 1,100 hectares

KATHMANDU, JULY 3 Desert locusts have damaged crops cultivated on 1,100 hectares of land across the country. According to the Locusts Information Centre, eight districts have reported damage caused by locusts till date. Of them, Dang is the worst hit and Palpa the least. The locusts devoure Read More...

World Bank elevates Nepal to ‘lower middle income economy’

Country saw its GNI per capita rise to $1,090 in 2019, but economists says it doesn’t mean much in terms of development KATHMANDU, JULY 3 Nepal is now officially a lower-middle income country, an upgrade from its previous status as low income nation, according to the World Bank’s latest coun Read More...

Oli, Dahal in bid to save NCP unity

If the two co-chairs fail to act as per the spirit of the party unity document, maintaining party unity will be difficult  - NCP leader Mani Thapa KATHMANDU, JULY 3 Co-chairs of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) — Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli — held talks for thr Read More...

Kailali's Bhajani Municipality, Joshipur Rural Municipality inundated

KAILALI, JULY 3 Bhajani and Joshipur of Kailali have been inundated after floodwaters gushed into the settlements. According to eyewitnesses, many houses in Wards 2, 3, 6 and 8 of Bhajani Municipality have been inundated. Local Ganga Chaudhary said floodwaters from local Kandra and Kadha ri Read More...

Ministry develops guidelines for rehab centres

KATHMANDU, JULY 3 The Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens has developed guidelines for operation of rehabilitation centres to ensure that vulnerable persons at the centres do not contract COVID-19. MoWCSC said the new guidelines would be effective until Nepal was declared coronavir Read More...

Nepali Congress Ram Chandra Paudel

Country pushed into crisis: Paudel

DAMAULI, JULY 3 Senior Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel said sudden prorogation of the Parliament was unfortunate for the nation. “At a time when the nation is fighting a deadly disease, the decision to prorogue the Parliament has pushed the country further into the crisis,” said t Read More...

Holding centre in Khotang

KHOTANG, JULY 3 A 10-bed holding centre has been established in Diktel, the district headquarters of Khotang, for returnees. According to Chief District Officer and District COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre coordinator Shaligram Sharma Poudel, Nepali Army personnel and Red Cross staff jointly Read More...

Visit Nepal 2020 mascot, yeti

Former Visit Nepal secretariat seeks more budget from Tourism Ministry

KATHMANDU, JULY 3 Even after the government has scrapped the secretariat of the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign, the secretariat has submitted more unpaid bills to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA). Addressing a press meet today to unveil the ministry’s work progress dur Read More...