Australian Federal Police have warned the nation's Muslim communities that people will be breaking Australian law if they travel to Syria to take part in the country's civil war.
The AFP confirmed community liaison teams had distributed flyers in major capital cities cautioning that Australians could face jail if they went to Syria to fight with the rebels or the ruling regime.
Police have also cautioned local Syrians they risk breaching Australian law if they give funds to groups that buy weapons.
"Australians should not travel to Syria or border regions in neighbouring countries - the situation is extremely dangerous and the Government's ability to provide consular assistance is severely limited," the flyers say.
"The Government has introduced sanctions in an effort to limit the conflict in Syria. It is illegal under Australian law to engage in fighting for either side, fund, train or recruit someone to fight, or supply or fund weapons for either side in Syria."
Police would not say whether they had noticed any rise in the number of Australians travelling to Syria to take part in the conflict.
The flyer also warns Australians could face charges if they give similar support to conflicts in Lebanon or Iraq.
Last month, a Saudi-born cleric living in Sydney was killed after travelling to Syria. Local Muslim groups insist the sheikh was carrying out charity and humanitarian work and was not personally involved in fighting.
The AFP literature says the best way for local Syrians concerned about the conflict to show support for either side is to provide funds to United Nations agencies or legitimate non-government charities.
"Australia has imposed an arms embargo on Syria," the leaflets say. "This means it is illegal for any person in Australia, or any Australian citizen (including dual citizen) anywhere in the world, to provide any kind of support to any armed group in Syria - Government or opposition; Syrian or foreign."
Radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia said the ban showed hypocrisy on the part of the Federal Government. It questioned why Australian Jews were allowed to travel to fight in the Israeli army. A Sydney man was killed while serving in the Israeli army in 2006.
"Muslims in Syria and throughout the Muslim world will continue in their struggle to end Western-backed tyranny and establish the light and justice of Islam," the group said on its website. "The day is not far when the nefarious hand of the West in the Muslim world will be severed, putting an end to the brutal and exploitative foreign policies of Western powers permanently."