An Australian woman trapped with her two young children in a refugee camp for Islamic State families faces the full force of the law if she returns home, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.
The woman, believed to be Zehra Duman from Melbourne, is being held at a refugee camp in north-east Syria and says she wants to come home because her baby is sick.
“Both of my kids are sick. [My daughter is] very malnourished, she’s … very skinny,” she told the ABC.
“I have no money, I’m not allowed to have money, they don’t give us food here and they don’t let us contact our families.”
However, Mr Morrison has pushed back against pleas for help.
He declared he would not put any Australians at risk by helping home-grown extremists who wanted to come home from the Middle East.
“They have made their decisions and if they are Australian citizens, well there’s a process for us to deal with them under Australian law, and they will face the full force of Australian law, should they be in a position to seek to come back to Australia,” he told 3AW radio in Melbourne on Thursday.
Mr Morrison said it was a “great tragedy” Islamic State sympathisers had dragged their children into war zones.
“They have placed their children in this horrendous position,” he said.
“They have to take responsibility for those decisions to join up with terrorists who are fighting Australia.
“The children are innocent victims in the terrorist acts of their parents.”
The story of the Australian woman in Syria’s Al Hawl camp appears to match that of Zehra Duman – who left Melbourne in November 2014 to join the Islamic State group.
She married Australian fighter Mahmoud Abdullatif, who has since died. After that, Duman married another Islamic State fighter, who died in fighting two months ago.
She told the ABC said that she wants to come back to Australia.
“I want to go back to my country. I think everybody’s asking for that because I’m an Australian citizen,” she said.
“I understand the anger that they have towards a lot of us here, but the kids don’t need to suffer. You know, my kids have a right at least to be treated like normal kids.”