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“Belgium was the main purveyor of European IS fighters”

Hans Bonte, the Mayor of Vilvoorde (Flemish Brabant), is seeking a meeting of the National Security Council in our country. Mr Bonte was speaking after it emerged that hundreds of relatives of IS fighters had fled the camp where they were being held in northern Syria as a result of Turkish attacks on the Kurds.

The fleeing relatives include a Belgian woman. Hans Bonte, mayor of a city that was the home of several Belgian IS fighters is concerned: “To me it seems more than logical that the National Security Council should meet.  It’s strange it hasn’t yet happened.”

Mr Bonte points to warnings that IS fighters will return and recommendations that they should be brought back under supervision.  He fears that sooner or later they will turn up here. Mr Bonte says the council should provide a clearer view of the situation in Belgium and existing tensions and how all this can be dealt with.

“The security council should give the local authorities and the police guidelines on how to deal with tensions.  There isn’t a lot of tension at the moment, but in Brussels there have been strong words”.

“The situation in Syria works on the emotions here too, in communities where Turkish and Kurdish people live together with Moroccans and others. Belgium was the main purveyor of European IS fighters. Some 50 children have been born to Belgian parents with links to Vilvoorde. You see the camps being opened.  A lot of people are trying to contact each other and there is hope once again.  People are looking at what they can do because they want their grandchildren back.  The children had nothing to do with the conflict.”