Voluntarily Australian Adam Brookman returns from IS Syria conflict

The nurse will be the first Australian to return from Syria or Iraq since the country brought in new terror laws.

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Under Australian law it is a crime to be involved with proscribed militant groups play

Under Australian law it is a crime to be involved with proscribed militant groups

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An Australian nurse suspected of helping the so-called Islamic State is returning home under police escort.

Muslim convert Adam Brookman, who is returning voluntarily, says he travelled to Syria to do humanitarian work but was forced to work with IS.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said he was entitled to return but would be investigated.

The nurse will be the first Australian to return from Syria or Iraq since the country brought in new terror laws.

The laws made it a crime to assist militant groups in the Middle East.

Mr Brookman - who has not at this stage been charged - told Fairfax Media in May that he travelled to Syria to use his nursing skills in the civil conflict, which he believed was being ignored by the international community.

But he said he was forced to join IS after being injured in an airstrike and taken to a hospital controlled by the militants.

'Legally entitled to return'

Mr Keenan told Australia's ABC News all returning Australians were subject to the law. "The issue is if somebody has involved themselves in the conflict in Iraq and Syria," he said.

"If they've supported or fought alongside a terror organisation, what is it that we're going to do with them if they return to Australia as they're legally entitled to do?"

A spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said: "If there is evidence an Australian has committed a criminal offence under Australia law while involved in the conflict in Syria and Iraq, they will be charged and put before the courts."

Police said the nurse's return from Syria, via Turkey, was being managed "in co-operation with relevant local authorities". He was reportedly met in Turkey by Australian police, who accompanied him on a flight to Sydney.

Foreign Fighters

Under Australia's new Foreign Fighters legislation, it may be enough to simply have travelled to Syria or Iraq to face charges.

The legislation has also strengthened the offences of training with, recruiting for and funding terrorist organisations and made it easier to prosecute foreign fighters by making it illegal to travel to a declared area overseas.

In December, 2014, Australia specifically proscribed travel to Syria's Raqqa province, which is held by IS.

According to the government, at least 100 Australians are fighting with terror groups in the Middle East, and another 150 people in Australia are known to be supporting such groups.

Kurdish fighter

Meanwhile, the body of an Australian man killed fighting with a Kurdish group in Syria will be returned to Australia on Friday.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 23-year-old Reece Harding travelled to the Middle East in May to fight against IS militants and was killed after he stepped on a land mine.

A funeral for Mr Harding is expected to be held on Sunday.

Credit: BBC

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