The non-lethal aid the Netherlands provided to various armed rebel groups in the Syrian Civil War "could have gone better", Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said in a parliamentary debate about the NLA program on Tuesday. However, he does not think it went "unreasonably wrong", and he rejected the suggestion that the Netherlands gave large-scale support to terrorist groups that violated human rights, NU.nl reports.
The Netherlands was well aware of human rights violations committed by Syrian rebel movement Jabhat al-Shamiya when the country started offering them logistical support, Nieuwsuur and Trouw report based on emails sent between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and human rights organization Amnesty International in the summer of 2016.
The Dutch government supported Jabhat al-Shamiya, an armed group in Syria that the Public Prosecutor labeled terrorist, according to research by Nieuwsuur and Trouw. A Dutch man is currently being prosecuted for participating in this group. The indictment states that Jabhat al-Shamiya is "salafist and jihadist", "strives for the establishment of a caliphate", and "can't be otherwise qualified" than as a "criminal organization with terrorist intent", Nieuwsuur reports.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs temporarily halted the Netherlands' support for an aid project in Syria due to concerns that some of the money ended up with extremist groups. Since 2014 the Netherlands contributed 12.6 million euros to the Access to Justice and Community Security Project, which includes the Free Syrian Police, AD reports.
Dutch animal caretaker Juno van Zon is currently in Karacabey, Turkey to help care for nine lions, tigers, bears and hyenas recently rescued from the destroyed Magic World zoo in Aleppo, Syria. The animals' rescue was planned by international aid organization Four Paws.
NATO is joining the coalition fighting against terrorist organization ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the 28 NATO member states decided on Wednesday. The Netherlands will contribute two planes to the fight against Islamic State this year, Ministers Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs and Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert announced.
The Dutch government "understands" the United States' cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base in retaliation to a poison gas attack in Syria earlier this week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher and Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders all said before the cabinet meeting on Friday, NU.nl reports.
Ahmed M., a sergeant of the Dutch Air Force who defected in 2015 and is suspected of joining terrorist organization ISIS, was placed on the national terrorist list, RTL Nieuws reports. This means that his assets were frozen and he can no longer get money from anyone else in the Netherlands.
Two weeks ago the Dutch Public Prosecutor issued a summons for 10 suspected Dutch jihadists to appear in court today. As the suspects are believed to be in Syria or Iraq, the summons could not be personally delivered. So the Prosecutor found other ways to try and reach the suspects, including social media.
The Public Prosecutor issued an official and public summons to 10 Dutch men believed to be fighting for terrorist organization ISIS in Syria and Iraq. These men are summoned to attend a pretrial hearing in the court of Rotterdam on March 23rd, the Prosecutor said in a statement on the police website.
Last year the Dutch immigration and naturalization service IND performed 170 investigations into asylum seekers suspected of committing war crimes. In 20 cases the investigation led to the refusal of refugee status and a residency permit, according to figures the Ministry of Security and Justice sent to parliament on Thursday, AD reports.
Some cases are currently being investigated by the Public Prosecutor's International Crimes Team. These suspects may end up being prosecuted in the Netherlands.
The Dutch Public Prosecutor wants to prosecute jihadists before their return to the Netherlands, while they are still in Syria and Iraq, national coordinating prosecutor Ferry van Veghel said in Nieuwsuur. "Given the high risk of people who come back from this area, we do not want to wait until they come back before opening criminal investigations. We want it all to start now and continue in their absence", he said.
The National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security Dick Schoof is very concerned about at least 80 children of Dutch jihadists that are growing up in ISIS territory, he said to the Telegraaf on Wednesday. According to him, these kids are at risk of being severely traumatized. And Dutch security forces are seriously concerned that young boys are already a threat to the Netherlands.
Hani Al Rawi, a Syrian refugee now living in the Netherlands, spent about six months in the notorious Saydnaya prison in the Syrian capital Damascus. "I hung six hours per day with my wrists tied together", he said to broadcaster NOS about the experience.
A vigil showing support to the people in Aleppo, Syria will be held on Amsterdam's Dam Square on Wednesday. The organizers plan to turn the square into a "sea of candles", with each participant holding one. So far over a thousand people indicated that they will attend.
The Netherlands is giving another 4 million euros to support the Syrian rescue workers the White Helmets, Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs announced in The Hague on Monday at a screening of a documentary about the White Helmets, NU.nl reports.
Suspected jihadist Rachid el J. from Huizen had information about the military on him when he was arrested almost two years ago, Gooi-en Eemlander reported on Friday.
The asylum agreement between Turkey and the European Union seems to be bearing its first fruits. Since the agreement took effect last month, only 101 Syrians submitted their first application for asylum in the Netherlands - a much lower number than the 5,249 Syrian applications received at the peak in October last year
Between 15 and 20 Dutch soldiers are actively fighting in Syria and Iraq, according to annual figures for 2015 from military intelligence service MIVD.
"Seeing is believing. But it could be a positive step", is Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders' response to the news that Russia plans to withdraw forces from Syria from Tuesday.
The Dutch government made another 45.4 million euros available for emergency aid to Syrian refugees living in the region, Minister Lilianne Ploumen of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation announced in a letter to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, on Monday. "The situation in many places is downright pitiful." the Minister said.
The total number of asylum requests the Netherlands received in 2015 reached 54 thousand in November, the Ministry of Security and Justice announced
Forty suspected jihadists are roaming about the Netherlands under the supervision of the probation service, or managed to sneak off to Syria.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte once again called the fight against ISIS a war during the parliamentary debate on the Paris terrorist attacks. But he stressed that citizens of the Netherlands should not let fear rule their lives and should keep making plans and go out on weekends.