The Australian government is preparing to launch a mission to rescue dozens of Australian women and children trapped in Syrian detention camps following a secret mission by the country’s security intelligence agency, media reported on Monday..
More than 20 Australian women and more than 40 children – the widows, sons and daughters of slain or jailed Islamic State combatants – remain within the al-Hol and Roj detention camps in north-east Syria. The government did not immediately confirm reports that 16 women and 42 children of dead or jailed Islamic State fighters who have been held in camps for three and a half years would be repatriated.
Many of the women held in the camps claim they were coerced or tricked into travelling to Syria by husbands who have since died. Most of the Australian children are under the age of six; several were born in the camps.