Home Dutch News Two Dutch IS women ask embassy for help say ministers

Two Dutch IS women ask embassy for help say ministers

Published on November 11, 2019

Two Dutch women who joined the Islamic State group in Syria have reported to the Netherlands’ embassy in Turkey and asked for consular assistance to return, the Dutch government said Thursday.

The two women and their three children aged between three and four approached the Ankara-based Dutch embassy on Wednesday, two government ministers said in a letter to parliament.

“They asked for consular assistance to return to the Netherlands,” Foreign Minister Stef Blok and Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said.

The woman escaped from the Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria “a few weeks ago, before the Turkish military action,” the ministers said.

“Both women (previously) travelled to Syria and are suspected of terrorist activities,” they said, without giving further details.

“Currently they are in Turkish detention, awaiting prosecution and/or expulsion by the Turkish authorities,” the ministers said.

One of the women lost her Dutch citizenship the day she arrived at the embassy, but still has a Moroccan passport.

There are currently 15 Dutch men, 35 women and 90 children being held in camps by Syria’s Kurds after they expelled the extremist groups from its last patch of territory in March.

Dutch Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Annemijn van den Broek said it was “not the first time” that Dutch citizens who joined IS asked for assistance to return.

“If they report, the Dutch government could assist in a controlled return,” she told AFP.

After years of leading the US-backed battle against the jihadists, the Kurds also hold thousands of suspected IS male fighters in separate jails.

But a Turkish cross-border attack against Kurdish-led forces since last week has sparked international fears that their guards would be called up to the front, allowing for a mass jihadist breakout.

More than 70,000 people, mostly women and children, live in Al-Hol. Among them are thousands suspected of supporting IS, from Syria, Iraq and foreign countries including Belgium, France and the Netherlands.