The Coalition government in Canberra has made clear it will do nothing to assist six Australian children trapped in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-held Syrian city of Raqqa, which is being bombarded by the US and its allies, including Australia.
Leading ministers have dismissed calls to help the children, aged eight months, 5, 10, 11, 13 and 14, return to Australia. Five are the orphans of two Australians, Khaled Sharrouf, a self-proclaimed ISIS fighter and his wife Tara Nettleton. The baby is their granddaughter, the child of their eldest daughter Zaynab.
The government bears a direct responsibility for the plight of these children. Last May, following reports that Sharrouf had been killed, the Liberal-National government, then led by Tony Abbott, rejected an application by Nettleton for her and her children to be permitted to return home.
Without any evidence of Nettleton, let alone her young children, committing any criminal offence, Abbott declared they would be shown “no leniency” because “crime is crime is crime.” Abbott insisted: “It is a crime, a very serious crime under Australian law, for people to go abroad and fight or assist terrorist organisations.”