If Australian man Ashley Dyball, who is fighting Islamic State (IS) in Syria, returns home, he will be sent prison for decades.
His family said they hoped he stayed overseas in battle, rather than facing persecution under Australia’s terrorism laws.
Dyball, along with friend Reece Harding, both 23, left for Syria to be part of “humanitarian work” earlier in 2015.
It was there that he joined the Kurdish armed group, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and not much has been revealed about his activities besides the odd social media post.
The Nine Network’s 60 Minutes program re-united Dyball with his parents, Scott and Julia, which aired on Sunday night.
They said their son didn’t tell them that his “humanitarian mission” would take him to a war-torn country.
“If he’s going to spend 25 years in jail I’d rather him stay overseas than be put in prison,” Mrs Dyball told 60 Minutes.
The former Brisbane man described IS as a “cancer” that needed to be “killed completely”.
He denied being a fighter after he was questioned about social media posts showing him holding guns and weapons.
“We help with the restoration of civilian life for villagers … everyone is entitled to their opinion. They can take it as they please,” Dyball replied.
His friend, Harding, hadn’t been so lucky – reportedly killed in July when he stood on a landmine.
Dyball’s parents were shocked when they arrived to the war-torn country – and wanted their son to come home.
But they knew that wasn’t going to happen any time soon, and if he did come back, he would face a long prison term under new Australian laws which attempt to stop Australians from joining IS in Syria and Iraq.