The Director of the Belgian State Security service, Paul Van Tigchelt, confirmed on Wednesday the escape of two Belgian jihadists from a Kurdish-controlled prison camp in northern Syria.
The two men were reportedly accompanied by three women and six children who escaped from a prison camp in the town of Ain Issa in Syria.
The camp located in Ain Issa, where the escapees were formerly held as prisoners, has become the site of clashes between the Turkish military and Kurdish forces, reports RTBF.
The Belgian State Security Service estimates that there are 55 foreign terrorist fighters and 69 children with links to Belgium in the region, reports Nieuswblad.
“All of these people are not equally dangerous: some have abjured their ideology, [while] others are still ‘hard-core’ terrorists,” said Tigchelt.
However, the Belgian State Service has no reason to believe that foreign terrorist fighters are en route to Europe with terrorist intentions, added Van Tigchelt.
The Turkish military offensive in northern Syria, which “risks devastating humanitarian consequences and further destabilisation of the region” according to Amnesty International’s Europe Director, prompted a meeting of the Belgian National Security Council to discuss repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters.
The Brussels Times