For according to that paper, over 100 Australians, mostly of dual Aussie-Lebanese citizenship, have travelled to Syria via northern Lebanon to participate in the revolt against the Assad regime.
Thousands of Australian dollars are thought to be finding their way to the conflict arena, with some of that money lining the pockets of jihadist rebels.
It's known that two Australian combatants have been killed in Syria in recent months: first (in August) Sydney sheik Mustapha al-Majzoub, described by Aussie counter-terrorism personnel as a known Islamic extremist, and (in October) Melbourne kickboxer Roger Abbas, an apparent admirer of al-Majzoub.
The newspaper quotes Peter Drennan, the Australian Federal Police force's deputy commissioner in charge of national security, as saying, inter alia, of this steady Australian presence in Syria:
"These individuals then return with training in the use of weapons and explosives and experience fighting in armed conflict.
The individuals could well use these skills and knowledge for terrorism in Australia."Aussie experts believe, the newspaper adds, that
"Australians have been drawn to the conflict mainly for two reasons: sectarian loyalty with their fellow Sunnis or the desire to wage jihad. The latter reason is of most concern to counter terrorism officials.
Mindful of the precedent set in Afghanistan during the 1980s, when the struggle against Soviet occupation produced a generation of well-trained, highly radical jihadists who would later wage war against the West, officials worry the Syrian cause could produce a crop of Islamists with combat skills and training.
They stress the problem is not yet on the same scale as the Soviet jihad nor are there indications any of the returned Australians have evinced a desire to attack targets in Australia...."Read the entire article here
And on anti-western, antisemitic, Islamist developments in Syria read Professor Barry Rubin's article here