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Syrian militants in Netherlands: Rawad Hanoun's profile

Zaman al-Wasl sheds the light on Rawad Imad Hanoun, a former militant in the Syrian Social Party, who was involved in gruesome crimes  against the Syrian people before fleeing to Netherlands and obtaining a refugee residence. 

Hanoun is originally from the town of Sadad in the southeastern countryside of Homs. His brother is an agent in the Military Intelligence Division, in the terrorism department, and was an active participant in the displacement of the people of Homs, especially in the neighborhood of Al-Hamidiya and Bustan Al-Diwan between 2011 until 2016.

 Hanoun participated in the so-called Eagles of the Whirlwind militia associated with the Syrian Social Party which has been fighting alongside the Regime. Many of the Shabiha (pro-Assad militias) members fight because they embrace the belief in the Party’s hardline ideology and others fight for the sole reason of collecting money through armed robberies. 

Examining his social media publications, one of them stood out revealing Hanoun’s previous criminal actions of beheading people during his fighting days with the regime. He wondered why he has not yet deleted an old picture which could be used as a record of his criminal behavior. The publication goes: “Nothing matters now that I have received residency. But how come I didn’t delete such a picture? I could have been prosecuted because of it” a smiling emoji follows these words, “I feel nostalgic to the days of cutting off heads” he adds. 

An activist preferring to remain anonymous said that Hanoun first sought refuge in Spain, in early 2017, in which he obtained residency claiming that he is a civilian refugee, after he deleted everything related to his involvement with the regime’s militia on his social media page and the page of his wife Helen Dagher who followed him, with their young daughter, under the reunification program two years after his asylum. He studied Spanish at ROC Nijverdal School. 

When he felt that people from his place of residence are starting to recognize him, he moved with his family to live in Enschede, the province of Over Ijssel, in the east of the Netherlands. Enschede is a focus for Assad supporters who have held many activities in support of the regime since 2012, including the demonstration that took place in front of an old municipality building held against the deployment of Patriot missiles on the Syrian-Turkish border and against the Netherlands sending 360 Dutch soldiers to the Syrian-Turkish border. 

Hanoun, along with with his brother, attacked the neighborhoods of Hamidiya, Bustan al-Diwan and the old neighborhoods of Homs with the help of the National Defense militia and its armed group, Eagles of the Whirlwind, killing and robbing inhabitants, especially in the neighborhoods containing a Christian majority. Later, they headed to the Al-Sha’er field in the eastern countryside of Homs. 

Then, alone, Hanoun settled in the checkpoints close to his own town Sadad, where the carnage and hijacking of vehicles crossing neighboring towns and villages, from Sadad towards the city of Homs, began. He managed to get to Lebanon and from there to Turkey, which he left, shortly after, to go to Greece and then to Spain, to settle, finally, in the Netherlands. 

The Eagles of the Whirlwind belongs to the armed military wing of the Syrian National Social Party. It includes 6 thousand supporters. This militia has participated alongside the regime forces since 2012 and its emergence was particularly prominent in the countryside of Hama, Homs countryside, Lattakia and Aleppo. 

Their presence has spread, later, in the areas that were attacked and robbed with the civilians’ properties being sold in the black market. These robberies constituted a major source of income for the militia members in addition to the salaries they received from the Al-Bustan Charitable Society by Rami Makhlouf.

Several European countries have begun to scrutinize the files of many Syrians, to whom residency was given, who are suspected of committing practices against human rights, including the Netherlands, which has already begun to withdraw residency from dozens of Syrian refugees after proving their involvement in war crimes. 

The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that it received a letter from the Dutch Ministry of Justice in which it seeks to notify the Parliament of the importance of making changes in the refugee protection policy, which essentially includes a re-examination of the files of the Assad regime's militia members who are involved in human rights violations and crimes against civilians in Syria.


Zaman Al Wasl
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