News National Australians in Syria made a choice, says Peter Dutton

Australians in Syria made a choice, says Peter Dutton

Australian women stranded in the al-Hawl camp in Syria. Photo: ABC Four Corners
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Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has rejected claims Australian women trapped in Syria were coerced into joining Islamic State.

Some of the Australian women at the al-Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria say they were tricked into joining the terrorist group.

They are pleading with the Morrison government to extract their families from the war-torn nation, fearing their children will die if they are not repatriated.

Mr Dutton has refused.

“People have made a decision to either go in themselves or tragically to take their children into such a zone – that’s a decision that they’ve made,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

“We issued very stern warnings about people that were going.”

Mr Dutton has repeatedly said he will not deploy troops or diplomats into Syria to rescue the more than 60 Australian women and children.

Peter Dutton has rebuffed claims Australian women stranded in a northern Syrian refugee camp were tricked into entering the country by Islamic State.

“It’s a very unstable environment and the agency advice to us is very clear that it’s not possible for us to send people in,” he said.

“We’re not going to put at risk people who are members of our defence force, of our foreign affairs department or, in fact, the home affairs department and we’ve been very clear about that.”

The al-Hawl camp is guarded by several hundred Kurds, but their numbers have halved in recent weeks, as the troops depart to fight Turkish forces that have invaded Syria.