Women buying food in the Al Hawl camp in Syria. The majority of women still wear full Islamic dress, to avoid violence or death by still radicalised women. Picture: Tessa Fox/AAP
Women buying food in the Al Hawl camp in Syria. The majority of women still wear full Islamic dress, to avoid violence or death by still radicalised women. Picture: Tessa Fox/AAP

Australia urged to evacuate women, children

LABOR is urging the Morrison Government to speed up the evacuation of more than 60 Australians detained in a Syrian camp.

There are fears the women and children will soon be exposed to much greater risk, as a US withdrawal paves the way for a Turkish invasion of northern Syria.

Opposition frontbencher Kristina Keneally has met people who have family members in the al-Hawl camp.

"Some of these people are genuine victims," Ms Keneally told ABC radio this morning.

"What I would encourage is that the Government continues to work with the families and with our national security agencies to consider if anything can be done to extract these children to safety."

Women buying food in the Al Hawl camp. Picture: AAP/Tessa Fox
Women buying food in the Al Hawl camp. Picture: AAP/Tessa Fox

Ms Keneally believes the looming US withdrawal makes the task far more urgent.

"The opportunity, the window if you will, to safely extract the children and indeed those people who are adults is coming to a close," she said.

"The decision by the Americans to withdraw could certainly be hastening that time frame."

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has expressed concern for the Australian women and children but warns the Government will not rush to evacuate them.

"We will not put Australian officials, forces or our public in danger, so any repatriation will occur only if safe to do so," Ms Payne said.

Meanwhile, a notorious Jihadi bride has been stripped of her Australian citizenship.

Zehra Duman, who fled Australia at the age of 19 to marry an Islamic State fighter, has been notified the Government has cancelled her citizenship.

She was a dual Turkish and Australian citizen.

There are concerns the decision could leave her children, aged one and three, stateless.

In February, Duman's mother Ossie spoke to Dateline and begged the Government to bring her daughter home.

Duman's mother told Dateline she wanted her daughter to be brought home. Picture: SBS
Duman's mother told Dateline she wanted her daughter to be brought home. Picture: SBS

"I have spent every second of every day since Zehra left in fear for her life and the lives of my grandkids. It's a nightmare. I know my daughter's heart, and I know this isn't who she truly is," she said.

"I am not proud of what my daughter has done and I don't defend her actions, but I want her brought home."

The Government declined to comment on the case. However, a spokeswoman said that in general terms, cancelling a parent's citizenship did not sever their child's ties to Australia.

"Nor is there any power for the minister to revoke the child's Australian citizenship in these circumstances," the spokeswoman said.


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