EXCLUSIVE: SBS understands the Australian government is considering a visa application from a teenager who was kidnapped and trained as a child soldier by the terrorist group.
The Australian government is understood to be considering whether to allow a Yazidi mother resettled in Australia to reunite with her teenage son, who was taken from her five years ago in Iraq and forced to fight with the so-called Islamic State.
Shvan* was recently freed after spending almost five years being held by the terrorist group and is now with his extended family in a refugee camp in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
The teenager, who says he is 18, told SBS Kurdish via video call in Kurdish-Kurmanji: “They treated me unkindly by beating me a lot, their treatment was inhumane, and to them, we were their slaves.
“There was a lot of brainwashing on a daily basis like military and religious education.”
Shvan said he was interviewed by an Australian official at a hotel in northern Iraq on 10 July and that they told him to wait while the government considers his visa application.
The Department of Home Affairs would not confirm if his application is being considered and said it did not comment on individual cases.
He says he saw many dead bodies while fighting and that he “witnessed how [IS fighters] would beat Yazidi women”.
Since being set free in March, Shvan now longs to be reunited with his mother and five siblings, who were resettled in Australia last year under a refugee program.
“If I don’t see my mother I will die ... hearing her voice is not enough, I want to go to her, see her and cuddle her,” he said.
If I don’t see my mother I will die ... hearing her voice is not enough.
- Shvan, Yazidi teenager
Shvan’s mother is desperately pleading for the family to be reunited.
“My son is worth the whole world to me, and I am sure that my son would not do anything bad,” she said.
“When I heard my son was freed I was very happy, I could fly … He was freed from the hands of those infidels.”
Director of the Counter-Terrorism Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Isaac Kfir, said while not all children who were captured by IS will hold radical views and pose a potential security threat, some may.
“Over the past 15 years we have developed an exceptionally robust system of assessment and risk evaluation. Australia has some of the best people in the deradicalisation field in the world, we need to trust their assessment,” he said.
Read the full story at SBS Kurdish. SBS World News will also broadcast this story at 6.30pm on Tuesday 30 July.
*Not his real name