The Dutch police arrested a Syrian asylum seeker in Kerkrade today on suspicion of committing war crimes in the Syrian civil war. It is the first time that a Syrian has been arrested here who is said to have been a member of a militia linked to the regime of Syrian President Assad.
The Syrian (34) came to the Netherlands in 2020 and was granted asylum here. It now appears that, according to the Public Prosecution Service, he may have been involved in war crimes in Syria in 2013. The man is alleged to have been involved in the violent arrest of a civilian who was subsequently tortured in prison.
According to Justice, the suspect belonged to the Liwa al-Quds militia. “That group worked closely in Syria with the Syrian intelligence service and the Russian army also present there,” the OM writes. ‘In January 2013, the suspect, along with other members of his unit, the Syrian military security service and the intelligence service of the air force in the al-Nayrab camp, allegedly arrested a civilian in his home. The civilian was mistreated during the arrest and later taken to a Syrian Air Force intelligence prison, where he is said to have been tortured.’ The al-Nayrab camp is located near the city of Aleppo.
20 years in prison
In recent years, a handful of Syrian asylum seekers have been arrested in the Netherlands on suspicion of committing war crimes in their home country. Until now, these have always involved men who fought for (jihadist) militias that fought against President Assad’s regime. For example, Ahmad had already spent 20 years in prison for K. because he was allegedly involved in the execution of a captured Syrian soldier.
It is now the first time that the International Crimes Team of the police has arrested a suspect who allegedly fought on the side of the regime. There have been indications for some time that Syrian asylum seekers in the Netherlands also include men who were part of the feared pro-Assad militias in that country. Most of the casualties in the Syrian civil war were caused by Assad’s army or affiliated militias.
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