Dutch citizen Yakhoci Riedijk of Arnhem had been working as a blacksmith when he made the decision to leave his home and join the so-called Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL/ISIS), a decision he would later come to “regret.”
In an exclusive interview filmed for Ruptly at an SDF camp for IS members near Qamishli in Syria’s Jazira region on Monday, Riedijk recounted how he stumbled upon IS ideology on the internet and reached out to militants through Twitter.
“I said I wanted to go to Syria.”
He wrote to someone called Abu Yousef Al-Holandi, who then gave him the number of a smuggler who took him into Syria in 2014.
He sat inside the smuggler’s van alongside men from Indonesia and Bosnia.
“We were taken to the borders, from the borders we were told to walk on foot,” recalled Riedijk.
After having joined the Caliphate, Riedijk married. Ten days later, IS authorities charged him with espionage for the Dutch government, imprisoned him and tortured him.
“I was set free after seven and half months, my body was in very bad condition,” recounted Riedijk. He was then assigned to the second brigade.
“I wish to return home, spend the due time in jail, then go back to normal life with my wife, with no troubles, no wars and no poverty,” said Riedijk as he tried not to sleep.
“I feel regret, I want to go back to my normal life and improve myself, I would never go back to such error.”
Ruptly has not been able to verify the authenticity of the statements made by Glass and his account only provides his own personal perspective on events.