Late Thursday, the chief of the Netherlands’ top intelligence agency warned that dozens of Dutch citizens are fighting with Syria’s rebels and could return home battle-hardened, traumatized and radicalized.
General Intelligence and Security Service chief Rob Bertholee told the Dutch show Nieuwsuur that hundreds of people from around Europe and dozens from the Netherlands have travelled to Syria to join rebels fighting Assad.
He said propaganda romanticizing the civil war is helping draw foreigners into Syria’s maelstrom of violence.
Syria’s crisis began with peaceful protests in March 2011 and evolved into a civil war as the opposition took up arms to fight a government crackdown on dissent. The U.N. said last month that more than 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict.