The police arrested a man in Kerkrade on Tuesday on suspicion of committing war crimes and other crimes against humanity in Syria. These are crimes from 2013, according to the police.
The arrested man is 34 years old and has resided in the Netherlands since 2020, where he applied for asylum. Later that year, police received tips about what the man was up to.
The Public Prosecution Service was then able to confirm that the man was involved in a violent arrest in Syria in January 2013. The victim was said to have been subjected to severe torture several times since then.
Police say the suspect was part of a prominent Syrian militia fighting for President Bashar Al Assad. The group, Liwa Al Quds, is said to work closely with Syrian intelligence services and the Russian armed forces.
The Public Prosecution Service says that the militia can be classified as a criminal organization “with the aim of committing international crimes”. That would mean, among other things, that the militia can be compared to Islamic State (IS).
The police speak of a unique arrest. “Never before has anyone who fought on the side of the Syrian regime been arrested in the Netherlands because of such suspicions.” The man will be presented to the examining magistrate on Friday.