Australia has decided to accept an extra 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees and will begin airstrike on ISIS targets within a week.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the commitment to shelter 12,000 refugees as one of the world’s largest to date and added that women, children and families from persecuted minorities would take priority. However, he denied Christians would receive preferential treatment and only said that “it’s those who can never go back that we’re focused on.”
The Prime Minister has been under constant pressure lately to boost the country’s generosity and, although he initially resisted an increase in the overall humanitarian intake, Mr Abbott eventually announced Australia would “move quickly” to resettle refugees. The government will also spend $44 million AUD supplying 240,000 refugees with food, water, blankets and money in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.
The government has decided that Australian combat aircraft would join bombing raids in Syria. Mr Abbott said the military action was “very much in Australia’s national interest” because “we cannot defeat Daesh in Iraq without defeating Daesh in Syria, too” and refused to exclude the possibility of boots on the ground in the future.
Australia received a formal request from the United States to join the air operation against Islamic State in Syria late last month.