Friends remember 'reckless and funny' Tara Nettleton believed dead after taking family to ISIS

Friends and family of Australian ISIS bride Tara Nettleton have shared fond memories of the "reckless and funny" schoolgirl who died leaving her children and grandchild in the terror state.

It was reported earlier this week the 31-year-old mother of five and grandmother-of-one had died of appendicitis in September last year while living with her family in the ISIS stronghold Raqqa in Syria.

Former school friends shared photos and memories of their classmate who they said was a "lovely, quiet lady" who "chose a different path" after being "brainwashed" by her husband, the dead ISIS terrorist Khaled Sharrouf.

Friends remembered Tara Nettleton as she used to be while reacting to news of her reported death on Facebook.


"Rip TARA very sad!!! You deserved so much better! Although you chose a different life. I will remember you As the reckless funny teenage girls we were," Jade Koda posted.

"Having fun and living life ... I hope your in a better place now. LONG LIVE THE MEMORIES CHESO GIRLS (sic)."

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australian authorities were unable to confirm reports on Thursday that Tara Nettleton had died in Syria in September from complications stemming from an appendix operation.

"If confirmed, this is a tragic circumstance for the children, who are in a war zone through no fault of their own," Ms Bishop said, describing them as "victims of their parents' extremist ideology and reckless decision to travel to Syria".

"Due to the extremely dangerous security situation there, the Australian government has no capacity to confirm Nettleton's death, and no capacity to provide consular assistance to the children."

Widow of Australian ISIS terrorist reportedly died in Syria following appendicitis complications

It's understood, however, that Australian authorities believe the children could be assisted if they were able to reach the Turkish border.

Whether that is at all possible is unclear.

It was also reported on Thursday afternoon, by News Corp, that Ms Bishop had ordered an appraisal of ways the children could be extracted.

The Sharrouf children, who are believed to be stranded in Syria after their mother and father reportedly died. Photo: 7 News

Speaking on behalf of Ms Nettleton's mother, Karen Nettleton, lawyer Charles Waterstreet said he believed the children, who are "victims of crime", would willingly come home.

"On my own behalf and on her behalf I request the Australian government do everything that they possibly can to get those children away from danger," he told ABC Radio.

Mr Waterstreet said that while Australian authorities may not be able to act overtly to rescue the children, it could act covertly.

"Tara was a very young girl when she married, and now grandchildren and a young baby are left without anyone to look after them."

Tara Nettleton and her five children joined Sharrouf in Syria in 2014. The eldest daughter, Zynab, then married Sharrouf's friend and Islamic State fighter Mohamed Elomar, who was killed in a drone strike last June before their daughter, Ayesha, was born.

Karen Nettleton's lawyer, Charles Waterstreet, said the children were living in 'a hell hole'. Photo: 7 News

Reports that Sharrouf - who gained notoriety when he posted photos on social media of his and Tara Nettleton's son holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier - had also been killed have not been confirmed.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the government would have to consider what horrors the children may have been exposed to, or if they presented a threat.

A recent IS video purports to show four alleged spies being blown up by a 4-year-old British boy. Photo: 7 News

"Ultimately the government's clear objective is to keep the Australian public safe, and we'd have to look at the individual circumstances to see what the kids may have been through, what they've been exposed to, whether or not later in life they'd pose a threat," he told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.

"It's a very complicated mess."

News break – February 12