Dutch authorities arrest suspected Islamic State security chief

Dutch authorities arrested a Syrian man on Tuesday who is suspected of having been a security chief for the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra extremist groups during Syria’s grinding civil war, prosecutors said.

“It is suspected that from his position at IS he also contributed to the war crimes that the organization committed in Syria,” the National Public Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.

The 37-year-old man, whose name wasn’t released, was detained in the small village of Arkel, about 30 miles east of the port city of Rotterdam, prosecutors said in a statement.

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A road sign indicating the entrance of the southwestern Netherlands village of Arkel is pictured on Jan. 17, 2023 where Dutch police arrested a suspected security official from the Islamic State group suspected of links to war crimes in Syria, prosecutors said.
(Photo by Jeffrey Groeneweg/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

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The man is suspected of holding “a managerial position in the security service of IS” from 2015-2018, prosecutors said. For two years prior to that, he allegedly carried out the same work for Jabhat al-Nusra. Prosecutors say he held both functions “in and around the Yarmouk refugee camp” south of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The suspect applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 2019 and later settled in Arkel, prosecutors said. He was scheduled to appear before an examining magistrate in The Hague on Feb. 20.

It wasn’t the first time Dutch authorities arrested a suspect from the Syrian conflict. Last year, a Dutch court convicted two Syrian brothers of holding senior roles in Jabhat al-Nusra between 2011 and 2014.