A 47-year-old man nicknamed ‘Jitse Akse‘ by Dutch media has been arrested in Arnhem by the Dutch police upon his return from Syria. According to the presecutor’s office, he is suspected of having killed ISIS terrorists during an offensive by the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) in northern Syria last year. Therefore, he has been charged for murder under Dutch law.
‘Jitse Akse‘, as he has been dubbed, appeared in a Rotterdam court on Friday, where he was provisionally released. “The man is a former soldier whose case was extensively reported on last year in the media and on Facebook due to his involvement in the fight against the Islamic State,” a statement released by the prosecutor said.
In a message on his Facebook account quoted by the Dutch television channel NOS, he reportedly wrote that “I had the chance to make a difference”, and added that he: “had used his military skills of flexibility & improvisation to help the Kurdish people,”.
The prosecutor’s office said there was an important difference between people who travel to Syria under their own steam to fight ISIS and the Dutch military, which is training fighters and carrying out bombing missions in neighbouring Iraq.
The Netherlands has been taking part in coalition operations in Iraq since October 2014, including using four F-16s to fly close air support missions for the Iraqi army. Ironically, a Dutch decision is expected this month on whether to join US-led airstrikes in Syria.