HomeAustraliaSydney mayors are told families of IS fighters will be resettled ‘where...

Sydney mayors are told families of IS fighters will be resettled ‘where they came from’

The mayors said they understood at least one of the relatives had been resettled in western Sydney.

Carbone thought the minister “took on board … the real victims are the refugees, those people who actually fled ISIS”.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil meets Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone (right), Campbelltown Mayor George Greiss (second from right) and Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun (fourth from right), Credit:Dean Lewins/AAP

Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun said the meeting had raised “a whole new set of questions”.

“What we have been told is there are numerous Australian citizens who are being held by the Syrian regime for laws broken in Syria,” he said. “Once they are released, the government can do nothing to stop them from coming into Australia. That is quite significant and raises many concerns.”

“There is no assurance … [as to] whether they committed a crime because there’s no evidence.”

O’Neil said the meeting, which was attended by Labor MP Chris Bowen and senior officials from ASIO and the Australian Federal Police, underlined the complexities the government faced in repatriating the relatives.

“We have thought about this very carefully. We had worked on this matter over a number of months.”

Bowen, whose federal electorate of McMahon covers parts of Fairfield, Penrith, Blacktown and Holroyd, said he was “utterly kept in the dark” when the Coalition repatriated family members of IS fighters in 2019.

O’Neil said no decisions had been made on repatriating more family members than had already been returned.


“The Australian government has a choice. We can bring these people back to Australia in a managed way where we can make sure that the community is kept safe.

“Or we can see these people return after a bunch of Australian children have grown up in a camp where they are subjected every day to radical ideologies that tell them to hate their country. That is not in the best interests of our country.”

Opposition home affairs spokeswoman Karen Andrews said O’Neil’s visit created “confusion instead of clarity”, and urged her to be transparent around security costs linked to the scheme.

“If monitoring costs will be managed with no additional funding then what programs managed by the AFP and ASIO will be dumped?” she said.


Cumberland councillor Steve Christou, whose local government area covers Granville, Greystanes and Wentworthville, said the council had been excluded from the meeting with neighbouring councils.

“To be snubbed and ignored the way we were is nothing but a slap in the face to the 240,000 residents that reside in Cumberland,” he said.

The four women and 13 children arrived in Sydney from the Roj refugee camp in northern Syria on October 29. They were the first Australians rescued from Syria since the collapse of the Islamic State fundamentalist terrorist group in 2019.

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