MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — An Australian who joined Kurdish forces in their fight against Islamic State militants in Syria has returned to Australia where he was questioned by police after being deported from Germany.
Ashley Dyball, 23, was met by Australian Federal Police at Melbourne Airport late Sunday night and interviewed for four hours before he was released to his family early Monday morning.
His lawyer Jessie Smith told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that Dyball was interviewed and “released without charge pending further inquiry.”
Australian Federal Police said in a statement: “The public can rest assured that any Australian who is identified as a threat to security will be investigated by the relevant agencies.”
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Dyball had traveled to the Middle East in May to join Kurdish forces, known by the acronym YPG, despite Australian government warnings that it was an offense for Australian citizens to involve themselves in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
Dyball’s mother Julia Dyball told reporters at the airport on Monday that her son was a hero who had risked his own life by defusing land mines.
“Countless people and children that have been killed by land mines and I don’t see what’s so criminal about dismantling land mines so people can return home,” Julia Dyball said.
Ashley Dyball was also welcomed at the airport by the parents of Reece Harding, a 23-year-old Australian who died in June when he stepped on a land mine in Syria where he had been fighting Islamic State militants with Kurdish forces for two months.
Harding’s mother Michelle Harding said Ashley Dyball should not be charged.
“When they went over there, they knew the laws were in place but thought they were for terrorists,” Michelle Harding said.
ABC reported Ashley Dyball had been taking a break from the battle field when he traveled to Germany and was deported because of his links to Kurdish militias.
A 28-year-old Melbourne man Jamie Williams has been charged with preparing to travel to a foreign country in order to commit a hostile act after he tried to leave Australia a year ago allegedly to join Kurdish fighters in Syria.