BEIRUT

Middle East

Dutch arrest returning 'Syrian jihadist', 20

A Free Syrian Army fighter fires his weapon during clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in the old city of Aleppo April 27, 2014.REUTERS/Jalal Al-Mamo

THE HAGUE: The Dutch authorities have arrested a 20-year-old man suspected of going to Syria to fight on the rebel side of the conflict, the public prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.

The man from Amsterdam was arrested on April 23 for wanting to fight in Syria "under the flag of a terrorist organisation" and "possessing terrorist tracts," the prosecutor said in a statement.

It did not say when the unnamed suspect had returned from Syria or that he had actually seen any combat. He is only allowed contact with his lawyer and can be held for 14 days.

The Dutch authorities have refused passports to at least 10 young Dutch citizens suspected of wanting to become jihadist fighters in Syria's deadly conflict.

More than 100 young Dutch citizens have so far travelled to Syria to fight against President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the near three-year conflict in which 150,000 people have now died, according to NGO figures.

At least seven have been killed in fighting so far, and at least one has carried out a suicide attack.

The European Union warned earlier this year that the number of young Europeans going to fight alongside extremist groups in Syria and countries such as Somalia and Sudan, was growing fast.

The fear is they will return home radicalised and well versed in the use of weapons and guerrilla tactics, posing a security risk.

Last year, the Dutch government's anti-terror organisation NCTV raised the national threat level to "substantial" as a result of would-be jihadists travelling to Syria.

Upon their return, they are "closely being monitored," the NCTV added.

 

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Summary

The Dutch authorities have arrested a 20-year-old man suspected of going to Syria to fight on the rebel side of the conflict, the public prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.

The Dutch authorities have refused passports to at least 10 young Dutch citizens suspected of wanting to become jihadist fighters in Syria's deadly conflict.

More than 100 young Dutch citizens have so far travelled to Syria to fight against President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the near three-year conflict in which 150,000 people have now died, according to NGO figures.


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