Reality TV became almost lethally real on an Australian show that brought locals all the way to a war zone in Syria, nearly getting the participants killed by Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists.
An upcoming episode of the show, entitled "Go Back to Where You Came From" and broadcast by the Australian SBS, is to premier next Tuesday. It had three participants and their film crew cross into Syria with Kurdish fighters and enter an active warzone, coming to a mere half-mile from ISIS terrorists who began shooting at them.
The show was meant to change perceptions among the participants – who were mostly anti-immigration – about refugees coming in to Australia by following the path they take to come Down Under over the course of three weeks. However, it nearly cost them their lives, bringing them under fire in an area even war correspondents have been shunning.
A trailer for the episode next week can be seen below.
The cast of the show was brought into Syria by Peshmerga fighters and hosted at their camp, before being transported to the battle lines.
"When we crossed the border from Iraq into Syria, I kind of thought we would maybe go to a refugee camp near the border, meet some families, but once we crossed the border we drove for like four hours and it kind of dawned on me we were going to an active war zone," participant Nicole, a 25-year-old activist, told News.com.au.
The participants, outfitted in bulletproof vests but with no helmets on, were a mere 900 yards from local towns when ISIS terrorists spotted them and started firing on them.
"We had to move because they were shooting at us," Nicole said. "Then we decided as a group – stupidly, I think – that we would go closer."
Another participant told the Syndey Morning Herald that "probably the worst part was going as close as we could and knowing that their bullets could reach us. We were told to listen for any whistling sounds coming through the air and that would mean a mortar had been fired. We were told we had 30 seconds to run 100 meters."
The participant said that despite the danger, she would have stayed and fought alongside the Kurdish fighters if she didn't have family commitments back in Australia.
In fact, Australia has its own local ISIS problems without the need to fly to Syria; local citizens have been increasingly joining the terror group, and in one notable incident in Sydney last December an Iranian-born terrorist who had pledged loyalty to ISIS took a cafe hostage before being killed along with two of his victims.