Dutch court tries first ISIS woman repatriated from NE Syria

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – The first woman to be brought home from Syria to stand trial in the Netherlands received a three-and-a-half-year prison term on Wednesday for joining the Islamic State group.

The 28-year-old, identified only as Ilham B. was repatriated last year from the Al-Roj detention camp in northeast Syria after she joined the IS and Jabhat al Nusra jihadist groups with her husband in 2013.

Rotterdam District Court said Ilham B. “is sentenced to 42 months in jail of which 12 suspended, for taking part in terrorist organisations and preparing various crimes.”

“The court is satisfied she participated in Syria in the Islamic State and Jabhat al Nusra terrorist organisations,” it said in a statement.

Prosecutors, who demanded an eight year sentence, said Ilham B. also sent out jihadist propaganda on social media and carried guns during her time in Syria.

Ilham B, from the western Dutch city of Gouda, left the Netherlands in September 2013 to travel to Syria via Turkey, court papers said.

Captured by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in 2017, she was eventually found in the sprawling Roj camp where she had a second child.

In June 2021 she was brought back to the Netherlands by Dutch officials through Iraq, and arrested upon arrival at Schiphol airport.

The return of jihadist fighters to stand trial in the Netherlands is a politically sensitive subject and the Dutch NCTV anti-terror agency has warned that returning women may give an “impulse to connecting and supporting jihadist activities”.

In February the government fetched five women from Roj camp to put them on trial in the Netherlands.

The move came after a Rotterdam court last year warned it may have to drop charges against the women if they were not brought back within a matter of months.

Some 300 Dutch jihadists travelled to join fighters of the now defunct Islamic Caliphate during the height of the Syrian civil war, according to Dutch government figures.

About 120 still remained, many in camps and detention centres in northern Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

The Hawl Camp, around 40 kilometers east of Hasakah, is a house for 56.775 individuals, most of them are Iraqis.

The number of the wives and children of foreign ISIS fighters and detainees is estimated at thousands, and they live in a special sectors in the camp.