Although fewer Antwerp residents have left for Syria this year, police forces note that for the first time families travelling with very young children are going too, reveals Radio 2’s Antwerp branch on Wednesday. During 2015, three men and five women from Antwerp Province have made their way to Syria, compared to seven men and six women in 2014. This is the first year (six) infants have travelled over the border, according to deredactie.be.
“Young males growing up in Jihadist environments end up marrying girls with the same convictions and then bring up their children to follow the same rules,” explains Peter Bruneel of the federal police on Radio 2. “This is not an immediate security threat but it is a real societal issue,” he adds.
Over the past three years some 100 Antwerpners have left for Syria. Most are still either there and alive, or reported dead. 14 of the 100 have returned home and they are currently under police surveillance.