Australia lets ISIS brides and their children home after political

Australia lets ISIS brides and their children home after political rehearsal: ASIO in Syria

A top-secret spy mission in refugee camps in Syria has prompted a policy shift that will allow stranded Islamic State brides and their children to return to Australia – reversing a years-long Australian government ban.

The women left Australia to join their husbands who were fighting for the Islamist terror movement before their short-lived ‘caliphate’ collapsed in March 2019.

Most Australians who joined or tried to fight were either killed in action or settled in refugee camps.

The Australian government had an uncompromising policy of denying these citizens re-entry and having many of their passports revoked under strict anti-terrorism laws.

But now intelligence agencies believe that leaving Australians in the run-down camps could pose a greater threat to national security than leaving them there, as their plight could be used to attract more Australian Muslims to join to recruit terrorist organizations.

As a result, 16 women and 42 children being held in northeast Syria’s al-Roj detention center near the Iraqi border will be repatriated in the coming days and weeks following “risk assessments” in August and September, The Australian reported.

A top-secret spy mission in refugee camps in Syria has paved the way for stranded Islamic State brides and their children to return to Australia – reversing a year-long Australian government ban (ISIS fighters pictured).

Most Australians who dared to join the fight or support the cause were either killed in action or fled to refugee camps (pictured, al-Hol refugee camp, Syria 2017).

Most Australians who dared to join the fight or support the cause were either killed in action or fled to refugee camps (pictured, al-Hol refugee camp, Syria 2017).

The controversial move is likely to divide opinion in Australia.

All those brought home are understood to be subject to intense surveillance by security agencies and some to face terrorism charges, as it was illegal for many to travel to Syria and Iraq at the time.

“The Australian Government’s overriding priority is protecting Australians and advising Australia on national security,” a spokesman for Home Secretary Clare O’Neil said on the matter.

“Given the sensitive nature of the matters involved, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

Many women who fled Australia to marry or join their husbands with ISIS fighters have been forced to leave the country.

One such woman was West Sydney woman Mariam Dabboussy, who left civil life here to work in childcare for the war-torn Hell Hole with her 18-month-old baby aged just 22, after marrying Kaled Zahab in 2015 .

The Australian government had an uncompromising policy of denying citizens re-entry and having many of their passports revoked due to strict anti-terrorism laws (pictured, al-Hol refugee camp, Syria 2019).

The Australian government had an uncompromising policy of denying citizens re-entry and having many of their passports revoked due to strict anti-terrorism laws (pictured, al-Hol refugee camp, Syria 2019).

Many women who fled Australia to marry ISIS fighters or join their husbands have been forced to leave (pictured an Iraqi refugee in al-Hol camp in 2017).

Many women who fled Australia to marry ISIS fighters or join their husbands have been forced to leave (pictured an Iraqi refugee in al-Hol camp in 2017).

“It started out like a normal holiday,” Ms Dabboussy previously told ABC’s Four Corners.

“My husband had never left the country at the time. So it was the first time he had agreed to take me abroad.

“We had planned a really nice holiday. We went to Malaysia, took me to Dubai, we went to Lebanon.’

Ms Dabboussy was first taken from Lebanon to a home in southern Turkey near the Syrian border.

From there she was driven to a dusty patch of land.

“There were other people and there was… there was a man,” she said.

“And he started telling us, ‘Run before they shoot, run before they start shooting.’ And we didn’t know what was going on.”

Mariam Dabboussy was not a devout Muslim, but her life changed at 22 when she married Kaled Zahab (pictured).  The former childcare worker and migrant worker went to the Middle East with her husband and 18-month-old child in mid-2015

Mariam Dabboussy was not a devout Muslim, but her life changed at 22 when she married Kaled Zahab (pictured). The former childcare worker and migrant worker went to the Middle East with her husband and 18-month-old child in mid-2015

“I looked around and thought, ‘What should I do?’ I’m in the middle of nowhere, I don’t even know where I am. There are shots. Now I just started walking.’

She didn’t get far, men loaded her into a car and took her to a house on which a black IS flag was hanging.

“When I walked into this house and I saw a flag, I saw a flag and I kind of asked around,” Ms Dabboussy said.

“Some women spoke very broken Arabic, they didn’t really speak. They were kind of surprised that I didn’t know what was going on. Some of them laughed at me.

“I mean, over time we just found out that we were being tricked by the boys.”

Kamalle Dabboussy with his daughter Mariam Dabboussy (right) and their daughters Aisha (left) and Fatema in the al-Hawl camp in northeastern Syria

Kamalle Dabboussy with his daughter Mariam Dabboussy (right) and their daughters Aisha (left) and Fatema in the al-Hawl camp in northeastern Syria

Ms Dabboussy and her three children are now being held in al-Roj refugee camp and are awaiting repatriation.

Her father Kamalle said they have yet to be officially informed of their return but “look forward to receiving further information from the government”.

“As always, we stand ready to work with the government on the process,” he said.

“If true, this will give vulnerable children an opportunity to be protected and be consistent with what we have been demanding for almost four years.”