SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Two Dutch children, orphaned in Syria after their IS-supporting parents were killed, have been handed over to the Dutch authorities, the foreign ministry confirmed on Monday.
The children, aged two and four, were part of a group of children removed from a camp in Syria by the French authorities and transferred to Dutch care. Their mother, who was Dutch, died earlier this year at a camp and their father, who was Belgian, was killed some time ago, broadcaster NOS said.
It is unclear from the reports exactly how the transfer was arranged. According to senior Kurdish representative Abdulkarim Omar, a Dutch foreign ministry delegation had been in Kurdish controlled territory last week.
A further 12 French orphans were involved in the transfer, Abudlkarim said.
However, Dutch justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus said last week that the area where the children were was too dangerous to send Dutch representatives.
The ministry said on Monday that the rescue was a French operation and that contacts between the French and the Dutch had made it possible to transfer the two orphans to the Netherlands.
There are at least 170 children with Dutch parentage in Syria, and 55 adults and 85 children are said to live in the camps. MPs gave a mixed reaction to the news.
The CDA said the fact that the children are orphans is key, while D66 MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma said children should not be the victims of ‘their parents’ terrible choices.’