There are 175 children who are Dutch nationals in Syria and Iraq. The Netherlands children’s commissioner Margrite Kalverboer is demanding that these kids, many now in camps in the region, should be brought back. She says failure to do so is a breach of their human rights.
But Rob Bertholee, a director of the country’s intelligence and security agency AIVD, warns these children – despite their very young age – pose a longer term threat.
Whether they are young or old, they are exposed to violence. In a number of cases they have been trained, either in camps or because the parents were already enthusiastic about it. So you can not just put the children into a class at primary school.
The AIVD estimates that two thirds of the children were born in the conflict area and are therefore four years old and younger. As previous reports have shown, toddlers have been indoctrinated into carrying out executions and using weapons.