Western Sydney no ISIS 'dumping ground'

Western Sydney won't be a "dumping ground" for a group of wives and children of Islamic State fighters but questions remain on their final destination.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil on Friday met face to face with three western Sydney mayors concerned about their residents, including Syrian and Iraqi refugees, being saddled with former ISIS affiliates.

While scant on detail due to national security concerns, Ms O'Neil said there was "a lot of misinformation" about where IS family members were being resettled, suggesting not exclusively in western Sydney.

"The people are coming back to where they left from," she told reporters.

"We have thought about this very carefully. We have worked on this matter over a number of months."

The federal government last month repatriated four Australian women and 13 children stranded in Syria's al-Roj refugee camp since the defeat of ISIS.

Ms O'Neil declined to comment on their condition or the cost of monitoring, which would be covered by existing ASIO and federal police funds.

Cabinet colleague Chris Bowen, whose electorate of McMahon covers some of the mayors' local government areas, defended the government's stance as more transparent than the previous administration.

Mr Bowen said he only learned this year a similar resettlement had occurred in 2019 under the Morrison government.

"I was utterly kept in the dark. The mayors were utterly kept in the dark. The community did not know."

"As opposed to that veil of secrecy ... this minister within (privacy and security constraints) has been more transparent than any minister in the last 10 years."

Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone said the discussion with Ms O'Neill was open and honest.

"Hopefully they've learnt a lot about ... the concerns we have here in this region," he told reporters.

"The minister took on board ... that the real victims are the refugees, those people who actually fled ISIS."

No repatriations were occurring in Fairfield, he said.

"It's clear to me after this discussion western Sydney will not be used as a dumping ground."

"If the families (of the returnees) are in Melbourne, they will be repatriated in Melbourne. They will be repatriated in Perth and Queensland (if that's where they travelled from)."

Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun said the security briefing also attended by ASIO agents didn't paint a complete picture.

"Whilst we have had questions answered, there are a lot more questions because of it," he told AAP.

Cr Mannoun said the government should be addressing as a matter of urgency the issue of Australian citizens locked up by Syria.

He said in some cases authorities had "intelligence" but not necessarily "evidence" the person had committed a crime, meaning if they were to be released they could freely return to Australia.

"We could know they committed crimes over there but if we don't have evidence, we can' trial them through the legal system," he told 2GB.

Friday's meeting came after the mayors told Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of their concerns.

Their resettlement has raised fears refugee communities, such as Yazidis and Assyrians who were targeted by ISIS, could be re-traumatised.

Cr Mannoun said many recently arrived refugees from Iraq and Syria had fled the ISIS militia.

Earlier this week, Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw confirmed investigations were underway into whether the returned wives had broken laws on travelling to war zones, including to Syria.

ISIS was ousted in 2019 from the last of the territory it held across Syria and Iraq. At its peak, the group controlled large swathes of both countries.

The violent movement attracted thousands of foreign fighters, including Australian citizens.