Jabhat al-Shamiya, an armed group in Syria which was supported by the Dutch Government, has been labelled as a terrorist group by the Public Prosecution Service. This is evident from research by Nieuwsuur and Trouw. 

Last year, the Netherlands secretly provided this group with pick-up trucks, uniforms and other items. However, next month a Dutch-Syrian gang is actually going on trial for participating in this group. How did they do it? Well, they sent these items by the state secret ‘Non-lethal assistance’ (NLA) programme. They supplied to 22 Syrian combat groups in 2015 – the start of 2018, however, according to research by Niuwsurr and Trouw, one of these 22 groups was the Jabhat al-Shamiya (‘Levant Front’).

Source and cover pic by T. Koster (cc): https://dod.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1527434/operation-roundup-targets-isis-remnants-in-syria/source/GovDelivery/

End of funding

According to NOS, they took the research very seriously as after a second interview last week, where Nieuwzuur and Trouw presented these findings, Foreign Affairs Ministers Blok and Kaag sent a letter to the Lower House, claiming that support for Syrian opposition groups will now be stopped. They also stated that the NLA should be stopped, due to insufficient supervision which has led extremist groups to get stronger.

There was supposedly only support for ‘moderate’ groups in Syria, all of which had strict criteria. Despite this, MPs have asked for information about the NLA program for years now, yet both the groups have the vehicles sent to Syria, have all be kept secret – now it’s clear to see why. The point of the programme initially is that it would be monitored, discussed with research and groups would be constantly examined so that they meet the criteria. They should not be cooperating with extremists.

Not only has the Jabhat al-Shamiya group considered a terrorist group but some of the other 22 that the Netherlands supported also had cooperated with extremists and had human rights violations against them.

Prosecution of group member

A Dutch man is currently being prosecuted for being a part of Jabhat al-Shamiya in 2015. This is because the group was considered ‘jihadist’ amongst other things. However, it’s not looking good for the Netherlands if they’re going to prosecute a guy which is part of a group which they in fact funded. Once this is made clear, there’s going to be a lot of legal complications in this case.

More information about this will be published by Nieuwsuur and Trouw today.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Quite amazing that it has taken the Dutch media such a long time to uncover Dutch government support to warring factions such as Al Nusra and the Assad regime. After the BBC Panorama report https://lnkd.in/gxf5SRT a few months ago and given the close integration and coordination of Netherlands and British aid not one Dutch media outlet bothered to follow up, Dutch media also failed to follow up reports of Dutch aid reaching the Assad regime through the UN system at scale, which was already reported in the Guardian in 2016 https://lnkd.in/bHCJjb7

  2. Netherlands is one of the main sponsors of extreme ideologies since the breakup of Yugoslavia and methods remained largely the same.

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