Sunday 20 June 2021

‘Jihadi wives have taken refuge in Syrian villa,’ lawyer confirms


Around 15 Dutch jihadi women have escaped from a prison camp in northern Syria and taken refuge in a villa in Idlib, the women’s lawyer has confirmed to the Telegraaf.

According to Dutch security service AIVD figures, some 35 women who had joined the caliphate from 2014 were being kept at the al-Hol and al-Roj prison camps.

A number of the women at al-Hol are now said to have escaped to Idlib, allegedly with the help of smugglers, to await a chance to cross the border with Turkey. That border is currently closed but if they do make it across, they can appeal to the Dutch embassy and possibly return to the Netherlands.

The AIVD and the justice ministry are not commenting on the story and it is unclear exactly how many women got away, and how many children are with them.

André Seebregts, the women’s lawyer told the paper that women had escaped ‘out of desperation’. ‘Many women fear that as their children grow up, the Kurds will see them as a threat, take them away and lock them up in prison. That is why they left,’ he said.

If the women manage to reach the embassy, the Netherlands will have to take them back, the paper said. They will then be arrested on arrival and stand trial.

Earlier attempts

Earlier Seebregts and the women tried to get a court decision to force the Dutch government to bring 23 women and their 56 children back but it came to nothing.

The return of jihadi wives and their children is contentious. Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus said at the time that the safety of Dutch officials would be at stake if they were to travel to northern Syria to bring the women and their children back. The Dutch want a local tribunal to decide the fate of the women.

Calls to bring back children under six without their mothers have been rejected by the VVD and CDA coalition parties.

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