Native Dutch try joining Kurds in ISIS fight

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No image availableNL Times

More than 20 native Dutch men have tried to join the fight against terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria in recent months. They approached the Federation Kurds in the Netherlands (Fedkom) to make contact with military leaders.

At least four of these men are former soldiers. A former army captain (46), who claims to speak on behalf of "a number of volunteers" who want to join the fight against ISIS, asked in his email about "weapons and ammunition upon arrival" and "contact with the Kurdish army for cooperation and support".

Most of the men claim that they can no longer just watch the injustice happening. "For me watching is no longer an option." one man emailed on October 11th. "I am a healthy young man of 31 with a thriving business that I will terminate and leave behind to join the fight."

Fedkom encourages these men not to actively take part in the conflict. "We tell them that them that the warring Kurds not so much need manpower, but heavy weapons," said board member Egid Korkmaz. "After that we lose contact with most of them. If they really want to there, they'll find another way."

It is certain that some Dutch men have indeed joined the fight. Omer Zawity, chairman of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of the Netherlands (KDPNL), knows of three Dutchmen fighting against ISIS. "I ran into them six weeks ago in the area of Duhok in Iraq. The three were former soldiers."

Three members of the motorcycle club No Surrender have been known to fight on the side of the Kurds since the beginning of this month. In an interview with Kurdistan TV one of them said: "We came with a large group. The Kurds have long been suppressed. At the moment Yezidis are also being killed, and if you see in what way, then you can not continue to sit at home on the couch."

Defense claims to have no problem with former soldiers who join the fight against ISIS. "Defense respects the freedom of former staff to fill in their own post-active existence. How they do that is not the responsibility of Defense. Should active duty personnel join the fight against ISIS in Syria, that will be investigated by Defense, and will be dealt with according to circumstances."

The Public Prosecution is monitoring the situation in Syria and Iraq closely. "That applies to both the jihad goers and the people who fight against them," said spokesperson Wim de Bruin. "In principle they are punishable, because it often involves murder and manslaughter. But under the circumstances that can be justified."