Dutch jihadist to ask Turkey's help in returning to Netherlands

Training camp for jihadists. (Jihadist training camp)

Dutch jihadist Victor D. is on his way back to the Netherlands, The Hague city councilor Arnoud van Doorn said to newspaper AD. The Dutch man plans to report to the Turkish army in the border region of Idlib in Syria, armed with a letter in which he distances himself from terrorist organization ISIS and asks the Turkish forces to help him return to the Netherlands.

Victior D., a convert from the Overijssel village of Heeten, left for Syria in 2013. Once he returns to the Netherlands, he will stand trial for joining an armed terrorist organization in Syria. Earlier this year D. wrote a letter saying that he wants to return to the Netherlands to defend himself in court. In June, the Rotterdam court decided to postpone a trial against ten suspected jihadists to give them the chance to attend their trials. 

Van Doorn, also a convert to Islam according to AD, told the newspaper that D. has now started that journey home. Van Doorn published the letter D. wrote on Twitter. "I distance myself from ISIS and the attacks in the west and other countries", D. wrote in his letter. "I have decided to return to Holland, but for that I have to go through your country [Turkey]. I intend to surrender myself to the Turkish soldiers who are stationed here in Idlib province. I swear by Allah that I did not come to harm the Turkish people nor its army, just want to go back home."

The Hague city councilor also told the newspaper that the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security and the Public Prosecutor were informed about D.'s planned return. The Coordinator refused to confirm this to AD, but did say that they know about the letter on social media. The Public Prosecutor also said they know about the letter.

D. will likely be arrested in Turkey, according to the newspaper. Then the question is whether Turkey will send him on to the Netherlands, or prosecute him themselves. Two other Dutch foreign fighters in the Syrian civil war are currently in Turkish custody, where a trial is underway against them.