Syria Remains A Dangerous Place For Australians To Travel

Syrian child victim
A boy receives treatment after he was wounded at a site hit by what activists said were two airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Douma in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus August 3, 2014. REUTERS/Badra Mamet (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Syria remains a dangerous place of travel for Australians with the Australian Government strongly advises not to travel Syria.

Australians are severely advised against travelling to Syria due to extremely dangerous security situation, highlighted by ongoing military conflict, kidnappings and terrorist attacks, the government said through the office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Since April of 2011, the government had been consistent in its call for Australians to leave Syria by commercial means.

"You should be aware that current international tensions may cause disruptions to essential services and further limit your options for departure by air and road," the government warns.

The government further underlined that it is illegal, under Australian law for Australian citizens, including dual citizens, "to provide any kind of support to any armed group in Syria. This includes engaging in fighting for either side, funding, training or recruiting someone to fight and supplying or funding weapons for either side."

The government cautioned that Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Syria and consular assistance is no longer available inside Syria.

Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Syria. Australian Government consular assistance is no longer available within Syria.

In a recent interview with ABC's Michael Brissenden, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that Australia, as well as countries in Europe, in South East Asia, in North Asia, is concerned about citizens, including dual citizens in a number of instances, fighting overseas in Syria. These fighters are threat in coming back to their country of origin as hardened home grown terrorists, extremists capable of carrying out terrorist activity in their own countries.

This week, Australia was shocked at pictures of Khaled Sharrouf and his son holding a decapitated soldier's head.

Sharrouf was able to travel to Syria on fraudulent passport and joined rebel groups fighting in Syria.

Scott Morrison, Immigration and Border Protection Minister, said that the government will be implementing "more rigorous processes to manage travellers subject to alerts" as it provides $150m of the $630m extra national-security funding pledged to "specifically deal with foreign fighter threats at our airports".

Morrison, through his spokesperson, blames Labor's policy for Sharrouf's case.

"Khaled Sharrouf departed Australia a few months after the 2013 election under the same policy settings that had been put in place by the previous Labor government. Labor cut nearly 700 staff and introduced budgetary cuts to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service of over $700m during their six years in government," the spokesperson said.

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