Journalist who met Suhayra Aden in Syria says she tried to back out of joining

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Feb 2021, 7:46PM
Image shows bombardment in Syria caused by Turkish bombing in late 2019. (Photo / AP)
Image shows bombardment in Syria caused by Turkish bombing in late 2019. (Photo / AP)

Journalist who met Suhayra Aden in Syria says she tried to back out of joining

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Feb 2021, 7:46PM

An ABC journalist has cast light on Suhayra Aden, the woman detained in Turkey who is at the centre of a diplomatic stoush between New Zealand and Australia.

Aden travelled to Syria several years ago to live under Islamic State and, while there, married and had three children to two Swedish men, who both died.

One of those children died of pneumonia. The other two - aged two and five - are being detained with her in Turkey.

The 25-year-old was a dual citizen of Australia and New Zealand until last year, when Australia revoked her citizenship.

ABC’s Dylan Welch met Aden alongside other Australian woman who had joined ISIS while reporting from the Al Hawl camp in Syria.

He told Heather du Plessis-Allan that Aden had met with people in Turkey to take her to Syria, but then decided she didn't want to go and tried calling her mum.

"The people who were taking her into Syria, and she ultimately was taken into Syria in an area under ISIS control in 2014." 

Welch says as far as he is aware, she was not a fighter - and he does not know of any women who were considered fighters.

"She had three children in the five odd years she was in Syria, so I don't think she had any spare time for anything other than caring for them." 

He says that Aden had an Australian accent when he spoke with her, and she had lived in Melbourne since she was six 

The case has also raised concerns about the status of other New Zealanders who joined ISIS. 

Back in 2016, SIS confirmed that 12 Kiwi-born women had fled Australia to join with ISIS.

Security analyst Paul Buchanan told du Plessis-Allan that, given the Australian's response so far, it would be "50-50" that more women could return her. 

He says Welch's account means that Australia should reconsider her stance. 

"If what she's saying was true, she was forced into some form of sex slavery." 

Buchanan says that Aden's case will be a test case, though he doubts that all 12 will come back. 

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