Dutch jihadist joined ISIS to protect people from Assad regime: open letter

Suspected Dutch jihadist Marouane B. traveled to Syria in 2014 in order to "help children, women and men who are being terrorized by the tyrant Assad", he wrote in an open letter in the hands of RTL Nieuws. "With my whole mind I chose to become a soldier in Syria", he wrote, adding that he joined as a soldier in a 'fighting party'. "But I did not chose for a trial in which I am called a terrorist by the Public Prosecutor and media in the Netherlands."

The letter from the Arnhem man is dated June 29th and was written in Raqqa. His lawyer confirmed the authenticity of the letter to RTL Nieuws. 

According to B., he is "protecting a nation" and he wonders whether this is a punishable offense. "Because the army I am part of wants to depose [Syrian president] Assad. Most of the victims in Syria are killed by Assad. Even  ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām [ISIS] killed fewer civilians (by accident)", he writes. 

B. writes that his letter is not intended to prove his innocence. "I'll try do that if I get a fair trial on my return to the Netherlands". But he wants to make clear that he never confirmed or denied joining ISIS. And he wanted to have his say in case he dies in Syria. "I am innocent and proud because I have given my life to protect others. If I die, realize that I died smiling. Because smiling about a defeat is a final victory."

According to B.'s lawyer, he wrote this letter because he knows he might not survive the battle in Syria and wanted to tell his side of the story, the lawyer said to RTL Nieuws.

Last week the court in Rotterdam decided to postpone the trial against ten suspected jihadists, including B., because the suspects have the right to attend their trials.