Gov't wants to get Dutch kids out of Syrian camps

Refugees at the Lebanon-Syria border (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/H. Murdock)Child asylum seekers (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/H. Murdock)

The Dutch government is looking into whether children of Dutch jihadists can be removed from camps in Syria, Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security said on television program Pauw. "The children have to leave. They should not be in a camp there", he said, according to RTL Nieuws.

The Minister is working with the National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism and Security to investigate how the children can be brought out of the camps in a safe manner. "It is an extremely difficult matter", Grapperhaus said. "I find it terribly wrong that children are in these areas."

According to the National Coordinator, there are at least 145 kids with a Dutch link in Iraq and Syria. They were taken from the Netherlands by their parents, or were born there. Some of them live in camps, where the conditions are often appalling with too little food and hardly any medical care. 

The Children's Ombudsman recently also called for these children to be brought back to the Netherlands. The matter has the government parties divided. The D66 and ChristenUnie want the children to be brought back, but the VVD and CDA are against it calling it a too risky operation. According to RTL, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that Dutch shouldn't be risked to correct the wrong choices made by these children's parents.