At least 70 Dutch children are living in parts of Syria and Iraq controlled by jihadis, most of whom are in IS territory, according to a report by the Dutch security service AIVD.
The report Leven bij ISIS, de mythe ontrafeld (living with ISIS, the myth unravelled) aims to explain what life is like living under the control of the terror group.
Most of the Dutch children have been taken to the Middle East by their parents although around one-third were born there. More may have been born in Syria and Iraq but the AIVD says it is difficult to assess how many.
The lives of children in IS territories are full of death and destruction as well as the trauma of being bombed, the AIVD says. ‘They are regularly confronted with the fact that their father or another family member has died.’
The children are also taken to executions and beatings and boys from the age of nine are trained to become fighters. They learn how to use guns and practise executions.
Girls are married off from the age of nine and wear a full veil, AIVD chief Rob Bertholee told broadcaster Nos. ‘With all my experience, that has really shocked me,’ he said.
Seen too much
A close relative of one family with three children who left for IS territory told Nos they know they will never see them again. ‘Even if they wanted to, they can’t come back. It is not allowed,’ he said.
The boys, he said, are taken to the front line from the age of 13. ‘They probably won’t grow old,’ he said. ‘And if they ever come back, they will have changed. They will have seen too much. It is very sad.’
The report says that while most men end up as fighters, the women are expected to marry and to have lots of children. Their second primary duty is to recruit other people to become jihadis.
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