World: 'I want to come back to my country': Australian jihadi bride in Syrian refugee camp speaks out - - PressFrom - Australia
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World'I want to come back to my country': Australian jihadi bride in Syrian refugee camp speaks out

23:46  13 march  2019
23:46  13 march  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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'I want to come back to my country': Australian jihadi bride in Syrian refugee camp speaks out© ABC News/Tom Hancock The Australian woman says her baby daughter is sick and she wants to bring her children home. An Australian woman trapped with her two young children in a refugee camp for Islamic State group families says her daughter needs urgent medical care and she wants to come home.

The woman refused to confirm her identity, but it's believed she is 24-year-old Zehra Duman from Melbourne. She is being held at Al Hawl refugee camp in north-east Syria.

'I want to come back to my country': Australian jihadi bride in Syrian refugee camp speaks out
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In an interview exclusively obtained by the ABC, the woman said she wants to bring her two-year-old son and six-month-old daughter back to Australia.

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"Both of my kids are sick. [My daughter is] very malnourished, she's … very skinny," she said.

"I have no money, I'm not allowed to have money, they don't give us food here and they don't let us contact our families."

The Australian woman said her daughter's life was in peril. "My daughter needs milk and I don't have money to buy her milk.

I don't know what to do now," she said. She also said that she wants to come back to Australia.

"I want to go back to my country. I think everybody's asking for that because I'm an Australian citizen.

"I understand the anger that they have towards a lot of us here, but the kids don't need to suffer.

You know my kids have a right at least to be treated like normal kids," she said.

'There was no way out'

The Australian woman said that she tried to flee the so-called Islamic State for two years and return to Australia, but she had no way of getting out.

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"It's very dangerous to leave like that. If you get caught from one side or the other side, it can put you into a lot of trouble," she said. "People tell you 'oh just go walk over', but you can't do that. It's not safe.

You're looking for a way out, and there's no way out until somebody makes a way for you.

"Nobody understands that you cannot leave that place without money, and no money is allowed to be sent in, so you're kind of left in a hole," she said.

The Australian woman's story appears to match that of Zehra Duman — a 19-year-old who left Melbourne to join the Islamic State in November 2014.

'I want to come back to my country': Australian jihadi bride in Syrian refugee camp speaks out© Twitter An account linked to Zehra Duman tweeted "catch me if you can" in 2015. It has since been suspended.

Ms Duman moved to the IS Syrian capital of Raqqa and married Australian fighter Mahmoud Abdullatif.

She was a vocal supporter of the IS group's violent rhetoric on social media, as well as an effective recruiter.

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In 2015 Ms Duman, calling herself Umm Abdullatif Australi, posted a picture of a woman holding an automatic rifle, with the caption: "catch me if you can".

A Twitter account believed to be operated by Ms Duman was suspended in 2015, after she called for violence against 'kuffars' or non-Muslims.

'I want to come back to my country': Australian jihadi bride in Syrian refugee camp speaks out© Twitter It's believed that Zehra Duman made these threats on Twitter in January 2015

In February, the ABC obtained exclusive footage of a woman believed to be Zehra Duman and her daughter in Syria, who then appeared to be healthy.

The video was filmed by American humanitarian worker David Eubank in northern Syria.

The woman in the refugee camp, who refused to confirm whether she was Ms Duman, said she followed her boyfriend to Syria.

'I want to come back to my country': Australian jihadi bride in Syrian refugee camp speaks out© Supplied Australian woman Zehra Duman (centre) with aid workers from the Free Burma Rangers in Syria.

"I knew him from when I was a teenager from school," she said. "I started speaking to him online — got back in contact with him — and he was religious and stuff.

I wasn't Muslim my whole life. I came here to marry him," she said.

"Then when you come, your husband dies and there's no way out. If you're going to get out, maybe you're put into jail."

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After Abdulatiff's death, Ms Duman married another Islamic State fighter who died two months ago in the battle for Al Soussa, a town near Baghouz.

"My husband got killed and I was just looking for a way out. I just packed my bags, and I walked out with my kids by myself," she said.

'I am an Australian citizen'

'I want to come back to my country': Australian jihadi bride in Syrian refugee camp speaks out© ABC News "I am an Australian citizen," the woman says.

Last month, the Syrian Democratic Forces negotiated with the Islamic State to allow civilians to leave.

The woman believed to be Ms Duman left on a convoy and arrived at the processing area three weeks ago.

She said the journey from Baghouz to the al Hawl camp was difficult.

"We were on the truck for two days. It was raining on us, there were no blankets and it was freezing.

My daughter was cold, so I was just making her warm with my body heat," she said.

The woman claimed to have had no contact with the Australian authorities.

"I have not seen any embassy [official] or anything. We don't know what's happening. We're not allowed phones here, we're not allowed to talk to our families," she said.

"The world is talking about taking us back and whatever and we're just really [praying] that we can get out of this place" She said her family knows she's in the camp because she contacted them before she left Baghouz.

"They're trying to see what's going to happen with me, it's a hard situation," she said.

Authorities in northern Syria have been overwhelmed by around 30,000 IS family members who've come out of Baghouz in recent weeks.

They said they provided three meals a day to the women and children, and they were doing their best to give basic medical care.

But the Kurdish authorities said they desperately needed help from western nations, and they wanted countries like Australia to step up and take back their citizens.

Scores of children have died in the camps. Earlier this week, lawyers for 19-year-old British IS bride Shamima Begum announced that her newborn son had died.

The baby's death has triggered a debate in the UK over whether to allow the children of Islamic State fighters to return to their parent's home country.

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