Netherlands bringing back two ISIS orphans from Syria: report

Children in a refugee camp
Children in a refugee campPhoto: radekprocyk/DepositPhotos

Two Dutch orphans from ISIS families were transferred to a Dutch government delegation in Ain Issa in Northern Syria on Sunday, Abdulkarim Omar, who is responsible for foreign relations as a director of the Kurdish region in northern Syria, said on Twitter. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not confirm the transfer on Monday morning, ANP reports.

"At the request of the Dutch government, the self-administration of North and East Syria handed over on June 9th, 2019, two orphaned Dutch children from ISIS families to a delegation from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the town of Ain Issa", Omar said on Twitter.

According to Omar, 12 French orphans were also handed over to a delegation of the French government.

The children were staying in refugee camps in Syria, which are housing tens of thousands of people. 

According to Dutch intelligence and security service AIVD, there are currently around 85 Dutch children in refugee camps and detention centers in Syria and Iraq. And at least another 85 children are with Dutch jihadists who are still active in the combat zone. 90 percent of these kids are below the age of 9 years, most of them were born in the combat zone. 

Children's Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer has made multiple calls on the Dutch government to bring these children back to the Netherlands, expressing concerns for their wellbeing and development. Last month special UN envoy for Children in Armed Conflicts, Virginia Gamba, called on the Dutch government to "show grace and mercy" and bring these children home

The parents of Dutch who went to become rebel fighters in the Syrian civil war also established a foundation called Achterblijvers with the goal to convince the Dutch state to bring their children and grandchildren back to the Netherlands. "Of course our children will have to account here for what they did and to prevent them from doing anything dangerous here. But we don't want our grandchildren, like the children of NSB people 70 years ago, to pay for the actions of their parents", a prominent member of the foundation said to the Volkskrant in April.