Two Australian women held in Syria have made desperate pleas for help as a notorious army closes in.
“Until now Australia hasn’t done anything for us,” sobs one young mother of two children.
“And we understand the world has hate, but we’re asking just as regretful humans, don’t let us fall into the hands of the regime, please.”
She’s among more than 60 Australian women and children living in the vast al-Hawl camp for relatives of Islamic State members.
Syrian government soldiers and militia are moving in as part of a deal to protect Syria’s Kurds, but they’re expected to show little regard for anyone connected with IS.
Syrian government troops crossed into Kurdish-controlled territory after a deal was struck to protect the Kurds from a Turkish invasion.
They entered frontline towns yesterday in the back of lorries, cheered on by some locals.
The Assad government executes IS prisoners and no-one is sure what it will do to the group’s women and children.
“Don’t let us fall into the hands of the regime. If this happens, Everybody in the world knows the war crimes this guy does.
“Please don’t let us fall into this. It won’t be able to be rewinded, it won’t be able to be taken back. If this happens that’s it for my kids.”Sahra Ahmed has been living in a tent in al-Hawl with her three young boys since the fall of IS’s caliphate in March.
Sahra’s aunt, Sonya Abbas, urged Australian officials to help the women and children before they were captured by the Assad regime.
“How will they treat them, I’m a bit afraid. Will they get their revenge that way because will they get their revenge that way, towards the women? Even though the Australian women and children are not (ISIS), the regime wouldn’t understand that.”
It’s unlikely there’ll be a rescue effort — the government wouldn’t send in a team to collect the women and children when north-east Syria was reasonably stable, and now the region is a warzone.
Sonya Abbas said all she needs is a letter from the Australian Government consenting to their release, and she’ll go in and get them.
“I’m begging the Government. They need to repatriate the women and children as soon as possible, before it’s too late,” she told the ABC.
She’s already gone into al-Hawl several times to see Sahra and her extended family. She has ten relatives in the camp — including six children.
“It’s very very concerning. Maybe a week or two ago we could have had them out of there, or out of danger, now it’s become more complicated, even though we probably can get them out,” she said.
“I’m hoping that our Australian government can make a decision, and make it fast.”