Opposition lawmakers have condemned the repatriation to Australia of 17 women and children from the al-Roj refugee camp in Northern Syria.

They are the wives, sons and daughters of dead or jailed Islamic State militants. They have spent several years in detention camps in northern Syria. Each of the women has been assessed by Australian intelligence agencies and some could face terrorism-related charges. The women are expected to agree to control orders, which limit the movements and activities of individuals.

Opposition lawmakers in Australia have argued the women could pose a national security threat.

Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Monday that the repatriation was a mistake and that, “It was too risky to send Australian personnel into the camps to bring these women and children out.”

Kamalle Dabboussy, the father and grandfather of some of those who flew into Sydney at the weekend, told reporters on Saturday that his daughter Mariam was tricked into travelling to Syria by her husband and has no links to extremism.

“Men went and took the women with them,” Dabboussy said. “The men have either died, are in jail and the women were then left behind. There is no evidence to say that my daughter joined any such organization.”

Another 40 Australian women and children could be brought home from Kurdish-controlled camps in Syria within a few months.

It follows similar moves by the United States, Britain and Canada, which have repatriated citizens from Syria, along with other countries including France, Germany and Russia.

In 2019, Australia undertook another secret mission to rescue eight Australian orphans, including a pregnant teenager, from the camps.

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