The Dutch police said Saturday that a former fighter in the Syrian forces, who obtained asylum in Netherlands, has disappeared over fears of being prosecuted, a Dutch daily said Saturday.
The Algemeen Dagblad said a Syrian refugee suspected of committing war crimes had suddenly disappeared, after he felt that he was being tracked by the Dutch police.
The Police International Crimes Team did not explain the reason for the arrest of the man before he was able to flee, nor his place of residence in the Netherlands, saying only that he had not yet been officially considered a suspect.
The report stated that in recent years, about 10 suspected terrorists and war criminals among the Syrian asylum seekers have already been arrested and tried in the Netherlands, all of these cases concerned groups that fought against the Syrian regime.
Dutch media outlets focused on former regime's fighters who obtained asylum in the Netherlands but none of them have so far been prosecuted as charged of war crimes.
The Dutch police said that the return of those who were fighting alongside the regime to Syria is easier than others, and if they flee to another European country, we can still transfer the file and prosecute them, but if they flee back to Syria, we will not have judicial authority.
On Syrian news sites and on Facebook, various asylum seekers in the Netherlands are openly accused of war crimes in Syria. The police guard against conclusions that are too quick. The team knows examples of false allegations about a family feud and sees photos being manipulated. "Then people photo-shop the logo or the flag of a militia on a uniform.
The Syrian refugee claims that he left his hometown years ago because he did not want to join the army. Because he didn't want to kill on behalf of Assad. But the latter is exactly what he is accused of by other Syrians. Mahmoud is said to have been a member of a militia. These regime fighters are called Shabiha, the executioners of Assad.
That accusation comes from the sleeve of Zaman al-Wasl. The website posted an article last year with photos of Mahmoud in combat outfit, surrounded by colleagues with Kalashnikovs. Mahmoud is said to have belonged to a militia that had to stop popular uprisings. Hundreds of protesters were arrested, tortured and murdered during a storming of the city.
It is one of the dark sides of the flow of refugees that came to Europe from Syria. It is now known that these Syrian asylum seekers also included terrorists from ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. About ten are being prosecuted in Dutch courts. But what about that other side, with the Shabiha? Thanks to them, thousands of detainees disappeared into prisons, never to come out alive. How many of them are being persecuted here? The answer: still zero.
That is not to say that the regime fighters are not hunted. Zaman al-Wasl has a huge archive of leaked documents from the Syrian army, security forces and allied militias. The outcome is a series of investigative stories in which one Syrian refugee after another is publicly accused.
The same is happening through Facebook groups set up by Syrians who have fled to Europe, who want the Assad faithful to pay for their actions. The format is almost always the same: on the one hand a photo of a man in uniform with a Kalashnikov in hand, on the other a photo of apparently the same man somewhere in Europe.
Zaman Al Wasl, Algemeen Dagblad
Zaman Al Wasl