Few Dutch jihadists returned to NL after fall of ISIS caliphate: report

Very few Dutch jihadists who went to join terrorist organizations in Syria or Iraq, returned to the Netherlands after the fall of the Islamic State caliphate, according to research from the Egmont Institute, an independent think tank in Brussels, ANP reports

An estimated total of 280 Dutch went to fight in the Syrian Civil War. At the start of 2015, 40 had returned to the Netherlands. By the end of 2017, that number gradually increased to 50, according to the Egmont Institute. Those figures correspond to data from Dutch intelligence service AIVD and American think tank Soufan Center

In all of Europe, some 1,500 jihadists have returned in different phases since 2012. They returned for various reasons, ranging from being traumatized and disillusioned to coming back to do harm. The researchers believe that seasoned jihadists will no longer return to their home countries in large numbers. The most recent returnees were mainly women, sometimes returning to Europe with a child. 

Since bombings in Brussels in March 2016, no further attacks were committed by jihadists returning from Syria. Though the institute warns that this does not mean the threat is over. Radicalized people who grew up here in lower socio-economic environments still pose a threat, according to the researchers.

So far this year, three suspected Dutch jihadists were separately arrested crossing the border from Syria into Turkey, including two women. A man and a woman have already been extradited to the Netherlands, and arrested at their arrival on Schiphol. And the Netherlands requested the extradition of the second woman, Xaviera S. from Apeldoorn. 

Late last month Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported that ISIS trained at least three women, including one Dutch, to commit attacks in Europe. This report was based on transcripts of American soldiers interrogating a Belgian jihadist.