US Offers to ‘Rescue’ Australian ISIS Families If Australia Wants

US conditions effort on Australia's willingness to take them back

Centering on the fate of eight Australian ISIS fighters and 60 of their family members currently held in the al-Hawl prison camp in northern Syria, the US has offered to “rescue” the Australians, but on condition that Australia is willing to take everyone back.

Before Turkey’s invasion of Syria, when the camp was more accessible, Australia repatriated a number of orphans. US official Nathan Sales, however, argues Australia has a responsibility to take more.

It’s not clear Australia is willing to take anyone else, nor indeed that they’d need the US to “rescue” the people in question. Sales said the US might use military assets to rescue the Australians, but didn’t indicate that was for certain, only a possibility.

The fate of everyone in the camp is something the US has been focusing on, since the Kurdish security has mostly fled in the course of Turkey’s invasion. The US is demanding a number of countries, mostly in Western Europe, agree to take back large numbers of them.

The US has historically been very wary of taking back ISIS fighters, and other nations expected to absorb a much larger group are calling for more time to sort things out. The US, however, is insisting everything happen quickly.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of