The 26-year-old man has been suspended and his access to information systems and military buildings has been blocked while an investigation is carried out, broadcaster Nos quotes the ministry as saying. “The defense ministry will of course investigate any risks or damage associated with the sergeant’s position and takes any necessary and appropriate measures”.
A 26-year-old Dutch Air Force sergeant is believed to have travelled to Syria to join ISIS insurgents, the Netherlands’ defence ministry said on Thursday.
There have been cases in the past of former Dutch soldiers travelling to join the IS group, including former Dutch soldier Israfil Yilmaz, who had originally gone to Syria to fight with the al-Qaida affiliated Jabat al-Nusra before joining IS.
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”.
Dutch military authorities are investigating radicalization within the ranks.
According to the Ministry, this is the first time that an actively serving Dutch soldier has left to join a jihad. In late September 2014, the Dutch government said it would contribute six F-16 fighter jets as well 250 troops to join in anti-ISIS airstrikes and provide training to Iraqi as well as Kurdish troops.