Dutch nationals try to sign up to fight alongside Kurds in Syria, Iraq

Some 20 native Dutch nationals have tried to join groups fighting against militants of the Islamic State over the past few months, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

They have all approached the Dutch Kurdish federation, looking for introductions to local militia leaders, the paper says. It is not known if any of them have actually gone to Iraq and Syria.

At least four of the men are former soldiers and one claims to speak for ‘a number of volunteers’ who want to fight against IS.


Most say they want to fight because they cannot deal with injustice. ‘I am a healthy young man of 31 with a good business which I will stop and leave behind in order to fight,’ one email said.

The federation is urging people not to get involved. ‘We tell them the struggle needs heavy weapons rather than manpower,’ board member Egid Korkmaz told the Volkskrant. ‘But then we usually lose contact with them.’

Omer Zawity, chairman of the Kurdish Democratic Party in the Netherlands, says he knows of three Dutch nationals who have gone to join the Kurds. ‘I met them in Iraq six weeks ago,’ he said. ‘They were all former soldiers.’

Three members of bikers gang No Surrender are also known to be in the region.

Criminal acts

A spokesman for the public prosecution department said officials are monitoring the situation closely.

‘That goes both for jihadis and people who oppose them,’ he told the Volkskrant. ‘In principle they face criminal charges because it is about murder and manslaughter. But that can be justified in some circumstances.’

The Netherlands is prosecuting Dutch nationals who join up with Islamic militias, saying they are committing terrorist offences and several people are in custody awaiting trial.

The Dutch secret service declined to comment, the Volkskrant says.

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