Dutch plan support center for jihadists' families

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The Netherlands plans to set up and independent support center for the families of jihadists and potential Syria-goers. The needs of the parents are so high that the National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism and Security (NCTV) has appointed a "quartermaster" to set up such a facility.

"That will work closely with existing social initiatives. That must be carefully and expertly done." said a spokesperson for NCTV. The support center will be operating early next year.

According to Karima Sahla of Support Center Sabr, which guides the parents of jihadists in the Hague, there is a great need for this. Sahla is regularly approached by parents from other cities. "Many have the feeling that they are sent from pillar to post. For them it's five minutes to midnight. They isolate themselves, and are going under. There is often no appropriate help."

Aid workers must be trained in dealing with the specific target group. "There are complaints about lack of quality, lack of empathy. There's no click with the target group." Sahla says. She says that some parents have their phones with them 24/7. There is always the fear of a phone call stating that their child has become a torturer. Parents are sometimes so distraught that they themselves travel unprepared to the border between Syria and Turkey in the often false hope to retrieve their children.

On Friday Minister Plasterk of Internal Affairs stated that thus far twenty Dutch jihadists have been killed in Syria and Iraq. These are the people whose identities are known by the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD). These cases have been confirmed, according to Plasterk.

An estimated 160 people have traveled from the Netherlands to the Middle East to join the struggle of the extremist Muslims. According to Plasterk, that number increases by about 10 a month. It is not impossible that even more jihadists have traveled there that are not on the government's radar. Most of these people join the terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS).

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