Australian teenager who was presumed to have been killed in Syria is reportedly alive after a video of him has emerged, according to a British daily The Guardian.
Yousuf Zahab was born in southwest Sydney and brought to Syria by relatives when he was 11 years old in 2015.
Zahab, then 14, has been separated from his family since March 2019 when he was detained with hundreds of other boys at Al-Sina’a prison, run by the United States-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the city of Al Hasakah.
Zahab, aged about 19, is assumed to have been killed in a January 2022 airstrike on Al-Sina’a prison by ISIL fighters, in an effort to dislodge the imprisoned rebels.
Yusuf Zahab was pictured before he left Australia at age 11. Photo: Human Rights Watch
But a video passed to Australian officials shows Zahab introducing himself, talking about his parents, giving the date September 15, 2022, and appearing to be in relatively good health.
As per a report by The Guardian, Zahab’s family expressed happiness and hope that they would be reunited with the teenager, but also expressed fears that he was still “unsafe” in the harsh conditions of prisons run by the SDF.
His family has also called on the Australian government to bring home Zahab and other innocent Australians from Syria.
Both Zahab’s mother and sister are currently being held in a detention camp in north-east Syria. His brothers, Khaled and IS recruiter Mohammed, were killed in airstrikes.