Dutch support for Syrian Jihadists unacceptable

12 September 2018

Dutch support for Syrian Jihadists unacceptable

SP Member of Parliament and foreign affairs specialist Sadet Karabulut is demanding a thorough enquiry into how it is possible that Dutch support for rebel groups in Syria has gone directly to Jihadists and human rights abusers. “Dutch support for extremist rebel groups in Syria is completely unacceptable,” she says. “The Syrian president Assad must be driven off the political stage, so western powers have joined Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar in supporting radical Islamist militias. Yet while millions in taxpayers' money has gone to Jihadists, Assad sits ever more firmly in the saddle and the war in Syria has been prolonged. That's not only disastrous for Syrians, but means that peace has been shoved further out of sight. The SP urges the end of this permanent war, so an enquiry which turns over every stone is crucial and it's vital that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is completely open about its findings.”

In recent years the Netherlands has provided so-called 'moderate' armed groups in Syria with materiel. In total, there are twenty-two different groups which have been supplied with, amongst other things, pick-up trucks, communications apparatus and battle suits, to a total value of €25 million.

Exhaustive investigations by journalists at national daily Trouw and public broadcaster NOS's Nieuwsuur have shown that amongst these twenty-two groups are Jihadists as well as others guilty of serious war crimes. Groups enjoying Dutch support have even been found to cooperate with Al Qa’ida. 'Year in year out the SP has asked the government for clarification in regard to support for armed groups in Syria, but none has ever been forthcoming,” says Karabulut. “We have also repeatedly expressed the fear that rebels would be cooperating with Al Qa’ida and that materiel would fall into the wrong hands, but that has never been taken seriously. And now this. Unbelievable!”

Foreign Minister Stef Blok has said he will look into the truth of Trouw and Nieuwsuur's findings and communicate his conclusions shortly to Parliament. “The minister must come clean on this, however, and not hide behind state secrets or whatever,” Karabulut insists. “There must be no cover-up. If we don't get complete openness in the wake of these revelations, Parliament must force the government to tell us the truth.”

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