When “Driss M” left his home in the Netherlands to join the fight in Syria, he was, he said later, heading there to fight against ISIS, not with them, alongside the Free Syrian Army. He returned in 2017, expecting a hero’s welcome. He was arrested, instead, charged with supporting the Jabhat al-Shamiya terrorist group, and sentenced to three years in Holland’s high-security prison exclusively for terrorists.
Now it seems the government that convicted him may be guilty of the same crimes.
Extensive investigative reporting by Dutch newspaper Trouw and news program Nieuwsuur revealed that the government had sent support to 22 armed groups in Syria – including Jabhat al-Shamiya – to the tune of €25 million (almost $30 million).
The goal of the Dutch program, which began in 2015, was to provide “non-lethal support” to the Free Syrian Army – of which Jabhat al-Shamiya is a part. That support has included sending pickup-trucks, cameras, satellite telephones, food, uniforms, medical supplies, and even laptop computers, to rebel groups. The shipments, indeed much of the program, has been conducted “in the deepest secret,” Trouw reports