The orphaned children of notorious Islamic State terrorist Khaled Sharrouf could soon be granted travel documents to return to Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would not put lives at risk to extract them from the Syrian conflict zone.
But if Sharrouf’s family can get out of Syria and to an Australian embassy, they will likely be given passports to return.
“When they might be in a position to return to Australia, we will cooperate with that process,” he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
Mr Morrison said he was working with the Red Cross to get the children out of a Kurdish-controlled refugee camp, and security and identity checks would then be undertaken.
“We would follow the normal processes for issuing of travel documents after all those other matters have been addressed,” he said.
“Where there are Australians who are caught up in this situation – particularly as innocent children –we will do what I think Australians would expect us to do on their behalf.”
Terrorist’s kids ask for Australia’s help to leave Syria
Hoda Sharrouf was just 11 when she was taken to Syria along with her siblings and is now asking the Australian government for help.
Hoda, who is now 16, is being held in a Kurdish-controlled refugee camp with her older sister, Zaynab, and eight-year-old brother Hamza.
Zaynab, 17, is heavily pregnant with her third child and at risk of dying in the Al-Hawl camp.
“I want to see my brother grow up as a normal kid,” Hoda told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I want to see my nieces with a happy life with good treatment. I want to see my sister give birth safely.”
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Federal Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen said he sympathised with the children, but not with the parents who put them in their precarious position.
“Every western country has somebody in this situation – that’s a conundrum being dealt with by many like-minded countries,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“We provide bipartisan support to the government.”
‘We’re Australians too’
Houda is urging the Australian government to “step up”.
“What about the children? What about the people that didn’t want to come here? What about the people that are stuck here and never wanted to be here in the first place?” she said.
“We’re Australians too. Australia needs to do something about it. They need to step up.”
Sharrouf and his two eldest sons were killed in a US air strike on Syria in 2017.
The children’s mother died of a medical condition in 2015 after following Sharrouf to the Middle East with their five children.
Zaynab was married off to Sharrouf’s best friend and fellow jihadist Mohammed Elomar when she was just 13.
She has two daughters, Ayesha, 3, and Fatima, 2.
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