Dutch Air Force Sergeant Joins Islamic State In First Such Desertion

From The Telegraph:
A serving member of the Dutch air force may have joined Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in Syria, the Netherlands Defence Ministry has said.

The 26-year-old air force sergeant has been suspended from service and his access to “information, systems and military sites” has been revoked, the ministry said in a statement.

"The case is currently being investigated by the Public Prosecutor," it said. "The defence ministry will of course investigate any risks or damage associated with the sergeant's position and take any necessary and appropriate measures."

Dutch authorities said on Thursday that this is the first time a serving member of the country’s armed forces is known to have joined Isil.

The extremist group’s spread across the Middle East and North Africa has been bolstered by the military expertise of former servicemen, many of them former members of the Iraqi army.

There are believed to be Dutch citizens fighting on all sides of the conflict. Several are known to have joined the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra.

A notorious Dutch motorcycle gang, known as No Surrender, has also fought alongside the Kurdish forces who now lead the fight against Isil in northern Syria.

There are estimated to be around 70,000 Kurds living in the Netherlands. Most fled from Turkey, which has fought a decades-long war against militant Kurdish separatists.

In a statement, defence minister Jeanine Hennis Plasschaert said it would be "unpleasant if it turns out that somebody has joined up with evil, while colleagues risk their lives for other people's freedom."

Thousands of foreign fighters have travelled to Isil-controlled territory in the year since the Sunni group announced the establishment of what it calls an Islamic caliphate across parts of Iraq and Syria.

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