Report: Toowoomba teen in Syria wants to come home
A TOOWOOMBA teenager linked to an al-Qa'ida-backed terrorist group in Syria has reportedly entered into talks with his distraught parents in Toowoomba in a bid to come back to Australia.
The Courier Mail reports that Oliver Bridgeman has communicated with them over the internet to assure them that while he was in an area controlled by al-Nusra Front, he had not taken up arms and he denied fighting in the struggle.
Reports have emerged that the 18-year-old stressed he travelled to the Middle East to perform humanitarian work, and was helping out in orphanages and performing manual labour.
His parents said in a statement that they had no indication he was making plans to travel to the Middle East.
"However we now know that he is probably there.
"We do not believe he is participating in fighting of any kind, nor do we believe he is supporting or participating in terrorist acts.
"We love our son very much and will continue to contribute to all efforts being undertaken to see our son return home safely."
He was described as a talented rugby league player by Brothers club president Joe Hannant.
Mr Hannant said the teenager was intelligent and a "good kid".
The Australian Federal Police said in a statement, "The AFP is aware that a teenager from the Toowoomba area of Queensland left Australia recently and may be in a Middle East conflict area.
"The AFP is continuing to engage with his family, and are looking at ways that we might be able to communicate with him in an effort to convince him to return home.
"While these efforts are occurring no further comment will be made."