Wednesday 22 March 2023

Jihadi women and children are a real threat: Dutch counter terrorism chief


Dutch women and children who have spent time in IS held territory in Syria are a ‘real threat’ to the Netherlands, according to the latest report by the Dutch counter terrorism unit NCTV.

Currently some 10 women and 25 children are being held in refugee camps in Syria and the government has said it will look at the options for bringing at least the children back.

‘These jihadi women present a real threat because they have been in the combat zone for several years and have filled facilitating roles,’ the report said. ‘Some of the children over the age of nine are also a threat, particularly if they have been trained or have combat experience.’

Even the women and children who have not had a role are a potential danger because of their structural exposure to ISIS’s bloody ideology, the report said.

Dutch jihadis can only return to the Netherlands if they manage to get to a Dutch embassy or consulate under their own steam.

The NCTV also said the threat level in the Netherlands remains at four. ‘There are still supporters of jihadi movements in the Netherlands who are planning to launch attacks,’ the report said, ‘even though up to now that has not lead to a concrete threat.’

300 men and women

Of the 300 men and women who left the Netherlands for Syria and Iraq, around 55 have returned home and 85 have been killed, the AIVD security service says.

Some 135 people with ‘jihadist intentions’ remain in the region, of whom 10 women and five men are in Kurdish camps, the AIVD said. In addition, there are 170 children in Syria and Iraq who are either Dutch or can make a claim on Dutch nationality.


In January, the Dutch children’s ombudsman renewed her call to the government to bring back children who are stuck in camps in Syria because their parents supported IS.

‘The development of these children has been seriously threatened by their parents’ choices,’ the ombudsman said. ‘If parents cannot protect their children, the government should step in.’

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation. has been free for 16 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.