Domestic Abuse: Belgium Faces the Return of Former Daesh Veterans
AP Photo/ Militant websiteEurope19:36 30.01.2018Get short URL
As the terrorist organization known as Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) continues to lose ground in Syria, many of its adepts of European descent are now apparently seeking to flee the proverbial sinking ship and return to their countries of origin.
Belgium appears to be facing a serious domestic problem as dozens of its citizens who previously left for the Middle East to join the ranks of Daesh now return home as the so called caliphate built by the terrorist group crumbled.
According to Deutsche Welle, out of all European countries Belgium boasts “the highest per capita number of so-called foreign terrorist fighters”, and the prospects of dealing with a large number of people who received combat training and were possibly indoctrinated by a violent terrorist group does not sit well with Belgian authorities.
The resulting nervousness is apparently further exacerbated by the fact that the returning members of the terrorist group prove reluctant to speak about their experience or to discuss their reintegration in the Belgian society.
“Many of them came back with a huge feeling of shame. And they don’t want to show that or to show their name or to be on TV to say ‘OK, I went there and I was a fool and I came back.’ They are trying to build a new life and a new beginning,” Antwerp City Councillor Hicham El Mzairh told DW.
Some returnees also show no regret about being members of one of the most notorious terrorist organizations that currently exist. For example, Daesh convert Michael “Younes” Delefortrie who was arrested in 2014 after he returned to Belgium to visit his wife told media that the only thing he regrets is actually returning to his home country.
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El Mzairh however noted that the real problem is not outspoken Daesh sympathizers like Delefortrie but those who keep quiet.
“They don’t want us to see that they are back. To be honest, they don’t show any feeling of shame,” he said, adding that these people are “more frustrated” about the fact that Daesh is losing “but they are [stuck] here.”
Pieter van Ostaeyen, a researcher of the Belgian jihad movement, also warned about significant activity on social media exhibited by Daesh supporters.
“How strong is their influence? Well, basically we’ll only know when the next attack happens,” he remarked.
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Earlier Europol Executive Director Rob Wainwright told Sputnik that the number of Islamist militants returning to Europe after fighting abroad for terrorist groups has witnessed only a marginal increase following Daesh’s military defeats in Iraq and Syria.
Europe has been a significant source of foreign fighters for Daesh, with the Soufan Group think tank estimating that some 6,000 people left Europe side up with the terrorist organization. Hundreds of fighters have since returned home, and Syrian authorities have also warned that terrorists are likely to pose as refugees to get into Europe.