The Sydney grandfather of a 7-year-old boy pictured clutching the severed head of a Syrian soldier has urged the Australian Government to bring the boy home.

Truck driver Peter Nettleton told the Australian that he was "gutted" to see on its front page on Monday a photograph of his grandson lifting the head with both hands by the hair.

The newspaper reported that the image was taken in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa and posted on Twitter by the boy's convicted terrorist father, Khaled Sharrouf.

Nettleton, father of Sharrouf's wife Tara Nettleton, told the Daily Telegraph he had thought his five grandchildren had been living in Malaysia while Sharrouf fought with Isis (Islamic State) in Syria and Iraq.


"I'm scared for the children," Peter Nettleton said. "What life are they going to have now?"

"Can't the Government do something to pull these kids away from that man?" he asked.

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Sharrouf, 33, also posted a photo of his three sons posing with him in camouflage fatigues and armed with assault rifles and a pistol in front of an Isis flag. He also has two daughters, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Nettleton said he became estranged from his daughter nine years ago after she converted to Islam and married an Australian born to Lebanese immigrants.

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the ABC that the family could face legal action if they returned to Australia. She did not say whether her Government would try to secure the children's return.

Sharrouf used his brother's passport to leave Australia last year. The Government had banned him from leaving because of the terrorism threat he posed. Bishop was asked but failed to explain how his wife and children came to be allowed to leave the country. AP