They are the forgotten wives and offspring of Australian ISIS fighters and they are pleading to be allowed to return home. Their parents back in Australia have also come together to urge the Australian government to intervene to protect who they deem as victims of ISIS.
They confess their daughters were duped and trafficked into Syria by the ISIS network and deserve the right to repatriation.
The women and children are currently being held in the foreigners section of the Al-Hol camp in Northern Syria and are facing dire conditions. The camp was initially built to host 20,000 people, yet following the fall of ISIS and nearby tensions in the region, it quickly swelled to a population of over 70,000.
Inside the camp, there are a total of 63 Australian women and children, 36 of them being below 6 years of age, 8 of them between 7-17 and the remaining 19 are over 18 years old.
Those living in the camp face extreme shortages of food, open sewage, infested water and a severe lack of hygiene facilities. According to the WHO, in the past year alone, 406 deaths were registered in the camp, including 313 children.
The camp is also subject to intolerable weather conditions in both the summer and winter. The tents provide little to no protection against the extreme heat and cold, and thus pose a serious threat to the well-being of those inside.
Female ISIS fundamentalists also heavily patrol the camp, unabated by the meager 400 Kurdish guards responsible for the camp of 70,000. These loyalists often threaten and abuse those who speak against ISIS and accuse those wanting to return home as traitors. There have been reportings of women being burnt to death, stabbed and killed.
Surrounding Arab tribes vengeful of ISIS also pose a significant threat to the women, whereby many of them suspect all foreign women of being ISIS affiliated regardless of their positions. It has been reported that rogue guards have attempted to carry out indiscriminate killings in the foreigners section of the camp for this reason.
To date the Australian government has been reluctant to assist in bringing them home, yet their parent’s campaign continues. The parents warn that if that if the government fails to act quickly, the lives of the women and children will be at stake. They are insisting that even if their children were guilty of any wrongdoing they should be tried following due process and not be left stranded in Syria.
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