Vic nurse who fought Assad regime jailed

Adam Brookman (left) has been sentenced to more than six years' jail but is eligible for parole.
Adam Brookman (left) has been sentenced to more than six years' jail but is eligible for parole.

A Victorian nurse who supported Chechen fighters on the frontline against the Assad regime's "demons" in Syria may be released on parole after spending nearly six years in custody.

Adam Brookman, 45, pleaded guilty to performing acts in support or promotion of the commission of an offence under foreign incursion laws.

Brookman, a trained nurse who once worked as a paramedic for Ambulance Victoria, went to Syria in 2014, telling police he intended to use his healthcare experience to help the local Muslim community.

Justice Jane Dixon on Wednesday in Victoria's Supreme Court sentenced him to a total of six years and eight months in prison, with a non-parole period set for five years.

Brookman has already spent 2161 days in custody, meaning he is now eligible for parole.

"It is difficult to predict your future path," Justice Dixon said.

Australian authorities first became aware of Brookman's activities in Syria - which included providing medical supplies and performing reconnaissance for Chechen fighters - through a phone call his brother made to the national security hotline about photos that appeared to show him in a war zone.

The father of five initially provided medical services in the Aleppo area and later joined a Chechen group in Latakia.

He performed guard duty and weapon maintenance while also providing medical services before travelling on a reconnaissance mission with them in July 2014.

Brookman, who can speak Arabic, made a social media post about attending frontline combat as an armed medic that month.

He mentioned a "hair-raising" experience transporting injured combatants in an ambulance during "night time assaults against bashars demons (sic)".

Brookman also posted a photo of his AK-47 rifle and a bag of medical supplies, with the caption: "Preparation is key even for a medic".

Later in July 2014, Brookman uploaded an image of his rifle and his stethoscope and said they were his "essentials".

Brookman's barrister Peter Morrissey SC earlier said while supporting foreign fighters was against the law in Australia, Brookman's activities were very different to someone supporting a terror organisation.

He said Brookman's offending was tempered by the fact the Chechen group was fighting against Syria's "barbaric" Assad dictatorship.

"If the Chechens were seeking to resist Hezbollah taking over a town and punishing its inhabitants, that's different to him going somewhere with ISIS to massacre the entire population," Mr Morrissey said.

"You could do much worse than what he is proven to have done."

Brookman left Syria in mid-2015, using smugglers to travel to Turkey where he contacted Australian authorities and negotiated his arrest on his return to Australia.

He had been in custody since his return to Melbourne in July 2015.

Australian Associated Press