vendredi 18 avril 2014

Foreign Fighters, Rebel Side, in Syria. 2/Dutch

At least 20 Dutch went to fight in Syria since the start of the civil war and 6 have found death1. There are no organized networks so far recruiting Dutch Muslims there, but groups like Sharia4Holland, Behind Bars, Hizb al- Tahrir and Ibrahim Millatu use the conflict to promote their cause, which is a potential source of radicalization of their audience. It is also quite possible that the total number of Dutch parties in Syria actually exceeds one hundred. 20 people who were identified are from the Moroccan community, Somali and Turkish communities also, although one of them is from Bosnia. The majority nevertheless is from Moroccan origin. They come from Zeist, Delft, Rotterdam and The Hague (especially from the Schilderswijk neighborhood). Most men were recruited between 23 and 26 years, although two were minors. Support for the cause is expressed via a website and recruitment would be done by activists from Sharia4Holland Behind Bars that have already made the trip to Syria. Volunteers are going to Turkey via the Netherlands or Belgium and fall in northern Syria.


The first Dutch killed in Syria, of Moroccan origin, died in March 2013 he was part of a group of 20 young men from Delft, some with a criminal history ; himself clearly looking to "redeem their sins" starting fight in Syria. One of his friends, who played in the football team Delfia, is also killed in Syria, as well as his brother. A young woman of 19 years, known as Umm Usama, Zoetermeer, is suspected to recruit, and was arrested in July 2013. Another recruiter, Murat Ofkeli , monitored by the authorities since 2001 and who had sent in 2005 3 young Dutch for Chechnya, who were arrested in Azerbaijan, is not taken seriously until the press echoes the complaints of parents of candidates for jihad. Banned from the As-Soennah mosque in The Hague, Ofkeli have died in Syria in June 2013.

The head of Dutch jihadists in Syria, Abu Fidaa , gave an interview to the newspaper De Volkskrant in June 2013. Provides details that are impossible to verify, but they are interesting. They advise volunteers to read 48 Laws of Power and The 36 Stratagems of war, for example. According to him, once arrived in Syria, the volunteers are trained for six weeks ; they can then be candidates for martyrdom. The Dutch are mixed with other nationalities to promote the integration into a "global" jihad. It is believed that the Dutch are mainly in Aleppo but Abu Fidaa says they are also found in other parts of the country. 3 women have also made the choice to follow their husbands in Syria.

Abou Fidaa, à gauche sur la photo.-Source :

January 17, 2014, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs said that 10 Dutch have died in Syria ; 120 would still be there; and 20 have returned and are closely watched2.

Recruitment, the Netherlands , would be through networks more and more organized in 2014. There are Salafi mosques, especially in the Moroccan community, imams who belong to a Saudi Salafi organization, the Ahl al-Sunnah Foundation. Other Salafis operate more discreetly, outside mosques. Arrived in Turkey by plane, usually from Germany, volunteers reach the border and contact by telephone the persons indicated by the veterans who come back in the Netherlands. They receive weapons and equipment on site. The Dutch generally stationed in the province of Alep3.

Khalid K., first arrested by the Dutch authorities for terrorist activities in 2011, comes from the city of Almere, born out of nowhere in the middle of the 1970s in the Netherlands, a body of water of the Zuiderzee. Treated for schizophrenia and claustrophobia, Khalid is released for lack of evidence. Since then, it's probably gone off to fight in Syria, first with the front al-Nosra then with ISIS. Photo presents him, in all likelihood, posing before 5 heads from decapitated bodies, former comrades of the al-Nosra front4.

In February 2014, the Dutch counter-terrorism says a hundred people had left for Syria ; there would still be 70 on site, at least 11 were killed and twenty, who returned, are closely monitored. Most volunteers are young men, a little over 20 years, but some are minor -9 cases just for the La Hague. Zakariya al- Hollandi is part of Dutch converts, whose real name is Victor Droste. He joined al- Nosra. He comes from the village of Heeten in the province of Overijssel. The location and family background seem not conducive to a conversion. And yet this is what happens in 2010. Following year, he became interested in the British radical Salafi movement Islam4UK, created by Choudary, then the Dutch version established by him, Sharia4Holland. After meeting Choudary at a conference, Droste, who now chooses to call Zakariya al- Hollandi, joined a radical group in The Hague, where he heard the sermons recorded by Anwar al- Awlaki, a theologian from al-Qaeda, both Yemeni and U.S., who is killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in late September 2011. After an argument with his parents at Christmas of that year, Droste left for Syria.

En encadré, Victor Droste, un converti, alias Zakariya al-Hollandi.-Source :

In Arnhem, 60 miles southwest of Heeten , famous for the battles that took place there in September 1944, there is a large immigrant community, Moroccan and Turkish. At least two young from the Malburgen neighborhood left for Syria. Marouane comes from the Moroccan community while Robbin is a convert. So far, they were better known for their passion for rap. In July 2013, the tone of their rap videos begins to change. They take courses in Arabic to the association Omar al Khattab, led by Anoire Rharsisse, obviously recruiting for jihad. They look images and videos of the massacres in Syria ; two of their friends, Nadeem and Hakim (the latter arrested by German police) have already left. They read books, including that of Abu Muhammad al- Maqdisi, a Jordanian Salafi radical theologian, mentor of al -Zarqawi. On the Internet, they visit the site "De Ware Religi " (true religion), close the the Dutch volunteers of Syrian jihad, and that of Sharia4Belgium from Fouad Belkacem, another clone of Sharia4UK. In November 2013, the two youngs are going to Syria via Turkey. Robbin returned from Syria after 4 months in Aleppo, fleeing the internal struggle between the front al-Nosra, ISIS and other groups5.

Robbin, le jeune converti d'Arnhem.-Source :

Recently, the Dutch authorities have stepped up preventive monitoring of persons likely to become radicalized. Amsterdam, The Hague and Almere cities are especially monitored, followed by Rotterdam, Delft, Zoetermeer, Gouda, Arnhem and Zeist, whence the large part of the contingent of volunteers is coming from. 13 young people were stripped of their passports and dozens have been deprived of social benefits. The counter-terrorism speaks of 100 Dutch that may be present in Syria, but recognizes that the number may be several hundreds6.

1Samar Batrawin « The Dutch Foreign Fighter Contingent in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 10, octobre 2013, p.6-10.
3Foreign fighters from Western countries in the ranks of the rebel organizations affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the global jihad in Syria, Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, 3 février 2014.

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