Joining the Jihadists

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Why are Australians being drawn to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria?

"Abdullah" is worried. The Melbourne man has a 17 year old son who has completely changed in the last year or so.

The teenager has grown a long beard and talks constantly about Shias and Sunnis.

"I’m worried - he wants to go to Syria and join those groups and he kill some innocent people and he (might) die himself," Abdullah tells Insight.

"He's quiet and depressed."

Australian authorities say there are around 60 Australians fighting in the conflicts in Syria. And the Federal Government is nervous.

'We are deeply concerned that this domestic security challenge will mean that Australian citizens fighting in these conflicts overseas will return to this country as hardened home-grown terrorists who may use their experience, the skills that they’ve gained, to carry out an attack in this country," said Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop.

In response, the government is introducing new counter terrorism measures and has cancelled the passports of dozens of Australians.

Jenny Brockie asks why are Australians being drawn to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, either to do humanitarian work or join the fight?

Where are the influences coming from and what should be done about it?

Credits

Web Extra: Islamic State explained

The Islamic State, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was established in April 2013 and is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

For a comprehensive look at the situation in Syria and Iraq, read these fact sheets by the BBC and ABC News.

Exit Syria

Since the eruption of the conflict in Syria in 2011, millions of refugees have fled their homes.

Za’atari, located on the border of Syria and Jordan, is growing into a metropolis and now hosts around 120,000 Syrian refugees. So what is daily life like for them?

Click here to experience Exit Syria, a real-time interactive documentary by SBS which takes you on an immersive journey into the heart of Za'atari.

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