CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Police say they have arrested the alleged Sydney ringleader of a criminal network that sends Australians to fight in Syria.
Police estimate that about 100 Australian residents and citizens have traveled to Syria to fight in contravention of Australian law, some taking up arms with terrorist-linked militias.
Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Peter Drennan said Tuesday that two Sydney men were the first arrests in an investigation into Australians attempting to travel to Syrian to fight in the civil war.
The 39-year-old suspected ringleader and a 23-year-old suspected recruit are to appear in Sydney courts Tuesday charged under the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act. The act outlaws Australian residents or citizens from traveling overseas to fight or recruiting others to fight. It carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.