Amongst those Syrian fighters returning to Belgium in recent years, one in five has been a woman or a minor. This is stated in an update of the register held by OCAM, (the Organisation for Coordination of Threat Analysis). On Thursday the minister, Jan Jambon (New Flemish Alliance), indicated this in response to a parliamentary question by Veli Yüksel (Flemish Christian Democrats).
Some 621 individuals currently appear on the OCAM register. Amongst these, 121 are suspected by the organisation of returning to Belgium after a stay in Syria, including 23 woman and one child. This vulnerable group represents 20% of such returns from Syria to Belgium.
Veli Yüksel stated that, “These increasingly frequent returns of woman and children are worrying.” He stressed, “Such minors have either been brought back from the region by their parents, or were conceived in Iraq and Syria. Given that the first Belgians left to fight in Syria five years ago, this deserves our attention.”
The Minister for the Interior, Jan Jambon, seems to agree with this observation. He indicated in response to Veli Yüksel’s parliamentary question, “There is indeed a specific approach to deal with these numerous returns of women and children.” Jan Jambon says that local security cells may, in this case, play an important role. Such an approach is currently being discussed as part of the task force concerning the issue of the return of Syrian fighters to Belgium.