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Australia PM Says Won't Risk Lives Returning ISIS Members

Australia PM Says Won't Risk Lives Returning ISIS Members

Thursday, 14 March, 2019 - 18:00
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. AP file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
Australia's prime minister said on Thursday he won't put officials in danger by retrieving extremists from the Middle East after an Australian ISIS widow asked to bring her children home from a Syrian refugee camp.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's response came after the Australian Broadcasting Corp. interviewed the woman in one of the refugee camps in northern Syria where she has lived with her toddler son and malnourished 6-month-old daughter since they fled the Syrian village of Baghouz where ISIS has been making its last stand.

ABC said the 24-year-old woman refused to confirm her identity and wore a veil during the interview, but it identified her Thursday as Zehra Duman.

The woman said her daughter needs hospital treatment and she wanted to bring her back to Australia.

Morrison said Australians who take their families to war zones to fight with ISIS had to take responsibility for their actions.

"I'm not going to put any Australian at risk to try to extract people from those situations," he told reporters.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten, whom opinion polls suggest will likely be prime minister after the May elections, said his party would work constructively with the government on repatriating Australian children from Syria without "political point-scoring."

"We'll work it through. Do you separate kids from their parents? Who's going to look after them?" Shorten said to reporters.

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