Kurds want NZ to take Mark Taylor home, journalist says

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 Mar 2019, 8:07PM
Mark Taylor has been captured by Kurdish authorities. (Photo / AP)

Kurds want NZ to take Mark Taylor home, journalist says

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 Mar 2019, 8:07PM

Kurdish authorities are lax when it comes to interviewing Islamic State prisoners because they want them take off their hands, according to one reporter on the scene.

As the US-led coalition closes in on IS strongholds across Iraq and Syria, sympathisers are turning up in prisons and refugee camps as they flee from airstrikes and the collapsing caliphate. 

One of them is 34-year-old Kiwi Mark Taylor, who spoke to the ABC Middle East correspondent Adam Harvey.

He told Larry Williams that they know there are a lot of Australians and New Zealanders in the area. 

"We had various contacts looking for where these people might end up, and we were told a New Zealand jihadi in one of the prisons."

The Kurdish authorities want New Zealand and Australia to take these people off their hands.

Harvey says IS fighters have been in Syria causing pain for a long time, and the local people have had enough.

"There's not the resources the money,even the legal structure that would allow for complicated trials here. They want people like Mark Taylor to go back to New Zealand and be tried there."

Taylor told Harvey that he does want to come back to New Zealand.

"He says he has had contact with New Zealand intelligence officials shortly after he allegedly surrendered in December, but he has not had contact since," Harvey says.

He says that he only showed sympathy for what had happened to him, such as a lack of food and money, but distanced himself from the crimes of IS.

"One of his regrets he said is that he did not have a money to buy a slave."

Harvey says Taylor does not have a grasp of how much trouble he is in. 

When asked about Taylor's potential futures, Jacinda Ardern says all New Zealanders have rights if they wish to come home, but she says we have no diplomatic representation in Syria to assist Taylor.

She says she's confident we have the means to keep Kiwis safe, in the event of someone like Taylor coming home.