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Momentous events in northern Syria show the New Zealand government continues to be irresponsible in its handling of New Zealand jihadist Mark Taylor, Professor Robert Patman says.
United States (US) president Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from the northern border of Syria has allowed Turkey to launch an assault on what it considers to be Kurdish terrorists in Syria.
The Kurds, who fought with the US against Islamic State (IS), in Syria, say they are no longer able to control prisons in northern Syria where thousands of captured IS fighters and their relatives were held, including Taylor.
Prof Patman, a University of Otago international relations specialist, says the Government of New Zealand, which experienced terrorism first-hand in the Christchurch mosque shootings on March 15, is behaving irresponsibly by not bringing Taylor to account.
"I think it becomes doubly irresponsible in light of what has now happened,'' Prof Patman says.
"With the release of these prisoners, the likes of Mark Taylor and other hardened jihadists will be able to regroup, reform and reinitiate their activities of terror.''
New Zealand should ask for help to arrest Taylor if it does not have the resources itself, he says.
"It should ask sympathetic governments in the region, and there are plenty, to detain this individual and make sure he is on the next plane straight back to New Zealand, where he should face the full rigour of the law.''