Australia says it won't risk more lives trying to rescue citizens from northern Syria
Twenty women and more than 40 children are stranded in camps in northern Syria
But as Turkish troops mass on the border ahead of an expected invasion, a Sydney grandfather whose daughter and grandchildren are trapped in Al-Hawl camp argues Syria is “safer today than it will be tomorrow”. Kamalle Dabboussy said he had safely visited the camps recently, and urged Australia to repatriate its citizens while US troops are still providing a measure of security in the region.
The US government has consistently urged foreign governments to “take responsibility” for their nationals held in Kurdish-controlled internally displaced persons camps and prisons in Syria. The US president, Donald Trump, has repeatedly castigated allies for refusing to repatriate their citizens, even threatening to dump Isis prisoners at the borders of Europe.
The Australian defence minister, Linda Reynolds, said on Tuesday the Australian government was in “close contact” with its allies, including the US, after the shock announcement from Trump that America would be withdrawing its troops from the region as well as support for Kurdish allies, effectively green-lighting a Turkish invasion of northern Syria.
“It is too early yet to speculate on the consequences this might have for Australian policy in the region, as it is a very rapidly evolving new situation,” Reynolds said. “We will continue to monitor and act accordingly when we have more information to hand.”
She said the Australian government was “very concerned” about the plight of Australians held in the region.“But I would emphasise that consular support in the area is limited if not non-existent. Any consideration of action by the Australian government will have to take into consideration the lives of anyone else we might send into the region. We will not jeopardise the lives of any other Australians.
“It is a very difficult situation. It is a very dangerous area, we will not be endangering the lives of other Australians. It’s that simple.”However, Dabboussy, whose daughter Mariam and three grandchildren are being held in Al Hawl camp in northern Syria, said a repatriation mission of Australian women and children was possible, particularly now while US troops remained.
“I think they can do it, to say that it is dangerous, you have to remember I made it in there safely, other Australians have been there, and I believe the Americans have offered support for countries repatriating their nationals,” he told the Guardian.
“I do believe it can be done, it’s the will to do it that is lacking.”Dabboussy said the future of the region was uncertain, but that the current security arrangements were holding in the wake of the Trump announcement. “It is safer today that it will be tomorrow.” There are 20 Australian women held in Al-Hawl, and 44 children, most aged under five.
Reports from the region say Turkish forces have begun massing on the border. The Turkish president has previously outlined a plan for a military incursion 32km into Syria, creating a “safe zone” for Syrians displaced by war to resettle.News of the US withdrawal has been met with confusion, fear and panic by Australians in Al-Hawl, which falls outside the parameters of the proposed safe zone, and so may not be directly affected by a Turkish military incursion.
“They are by themselves and they desperately need the help of the Australian government for their survival,” Dabboussy said.Beyond the risk of disease and lack of medical care, Dabboussy said there were extremists inside the camp and “sleeper cells” beyond its fences, putting his family and others at risk of death.
“We have been saying for some time that if the Australians are left there much longer, there will be an Australian death – and I firmly believe that is the case,” Dabboussy said.His daughter Mariam and other women had been duped and coerced into travelling to Syria and did not pose a threat to Australia, Dabboussy said.
Australia has previously run repatriation missions for children. In June, the government repatriated eight children of two slain Isis fighters who were Australian citizens.Earlier this year, a US embassy spokesman urged Australia to take its foreign fighters and their families back.
“Repatriating foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin is the best solution to prevent them from returning to the battlefield,” the spokesman said.A spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Amjed Osman, said on Monday it was not clear what would happen to the prisoners and foreign nationals in displacement camps. “We repeatedly called for foreign states to take responsibility for their Isis nationals. But there was no response,” he said in a statement.
It is unclear if Turkey wants to – or has capacity to – take custody of the detainees being held in Kurdish jails and displacement camps. Running the prisons and camps has stretched the SDF to its limits and prompted warnings that militants are using the prisons to regroup.
Some 74,000 women and children of the caliphate are held at the Al-Hawl camp, where they are guarded by just 400 SDF soldiers. The camp is regarded as a hotbed of violence and extremist ideology, and has seen recent outbreaks of militant violence.Australian Associated Press contributed to this reportRead more: The Guardian »
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Yeah and ? I agree why should we risk our Australian lives when we have our own problem here in Australia. It's the responsibility of a country to clean up it's own mess mate not another country. Why won't they rescue people in Australia So instead of soldiers helping the women and kids they will leave the women and kids to die, for fuck's sake when will our worthless media say it like it is.
Hello_world There_are_people_Making Revolution_now_in_iraq ! Show_your_support_for_the right_of_Iraq_people_to protest_peacefully Save_the_Iraqi_people HELP_Iraq saveIraqipeople Australia is wise
Trump plans to withdraw troops from northern Syria as Turks prepare operation to clear out KurdsAnnouncement signals an abandonment of Kurdish fighters who allied with US to fight Isis Not Kurds but YPG/PKK terrorists. What have YPG/PKK to in the region who most of Arabs living? The refugees wil back to this areas. See the facts YPG/SDF another name for the disgusting PKK. Turkey TurkeyCleansTerrorFromSyria TurkeyMovesForPeace Putin approves. Not the 'Kurds', 'Terrorists' will be cleared out!!!
US to let Turkish forces move into Syria, abandoning Kurdish alliesWhite House reveals sudden shift in policy, which follows conversation between Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan they are not alies they are kurdish terorist They are not kurdish people or representing them. They are terrorist pkk branches which is known as terrorists at nato and us. This is not genocide this is cleaning the mess and terrorist from the are as US should have done before us. Sounds like a betrayal of the worst kind. Abhorrent
Trump gives Turkey go-ahead to invade N Syria & take custody of ISIS jihadisDONALD Trump has given the go-ahead for Turkey to invade Northern Syria and take custody of ISIS fighters captured over the past two years. In a major shift in US military policy in Syria , the Whit… Just don't betray those brave Kurdish fighters. They're actually more of an ally than Turkey is.
US will not be involved in Turkey plan to invade northern Syria - White HouseSky News is an unrivalled, world class breaking news service with a spirit of innovation and a fresh approach to news broadcasting. As the UK's first dedicated 24-hour news channel, Sky News has built a deserved reputation for being the first to break major news as well as offering insight and analysis on the latest stories. It is renowned for the speed of its coverage and flexibility of reporting news live across all its platforms - TV, mobile, online, social, connected TV and radio. Trump Rosja nie będzie ingerować w żaden plan stanów. Zjednoczonych. = The US will not stop the slaughter of the Kurds Why does the US allow this behavior by Turkey?
US to play no role in Turkish NE Syria operation Turkey will become responsible for all Islamic State prisoners in the area, the US says. 😳 Go Turkey! Despicable. On the bright side, Trump Tower Istanbul is safe for another year.
Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from SyriaMitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham lead condemnation of foreign policy move that could prove ‘disaster in the making’ Republicans feign horror (to save face) BUT then saddles up and aligns with Trump. Gotta ask why are they so scared? This maybe his undoing, and Republicans who dont really like him will cross the floor to impeach.