By Ariana Braccia,
International News Writer
A mother has taken her two young children, an eight-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl, from the Netherlands to Syria in order to join Islamic State, Dutch prosecutors said on Monday.
The 33-year-old Chechen native, who was not identified, took her two children Luca and Aysha from their hometown of Maastricht without telling her ex-husband. The trio have not been seen since October 29 of last year, according to the BBC.
“She is most likely in Syria now. We are probing a kidnapping case,” Elsbeth Kleibeuker, a spokesperson for the public prosecution service, said in a statement to the AFP.
Dutch prosecutors stated that this is the first known case in the Netherlands of children getting abducted and taken to Islamic State to join the militant group with one parent leaving without the other’s consent.
Deutche Well reports that the father of the two children was alerted by the head of the children’s Islamic school after the mother printed plane tickets to Greece.
Bart den Hartigh, a spokesperson for the public prosecution service, said that “the mother has taken the children against the wishes of her ex-husband who has custody.”
Authorities and the father of the children were unable to prevent the mother from leaving the country. According to Dutch officials, the woman and her children most likely traveled across Europe using false passports with help from foreign recruiters. She had called her mother from Syria to tell her she made it to Raqqa in northern Syria.
No one has heard from the Chechen mother in months. She was last seen withdrawing cash from an ATM in Istanbul in December, as reported by the Dutch Limburger.
The last social contact she had with anyone came through a Facebook post in January in which she claimed that she had arrived in Syria with her children.
No family members were aware of her plans to flee to Syria, and there is no other information available concerning where she and her children are.
Prosecutors are treating it as a case of kidnapping, and have issued an international arrest warrant. However, as reported by the BBC, authorities have stated that there is little that they can do to bring the family back to the Netherlands that if the mother and her children are already across the border in Syria.
Over the past four years, the Dutch Justice Ministry has stated that a total of 180 Dutch adults are known to have left their homes in the Netherlands to join ISIS, including multiple families with children and about a dozen minors who have fled from the Netherlands on their own..
The Islamic State is based primarily in Syria and Iraq, and has established a self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate that follows a puritanical form of Islam in the territory that it controls.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 24th print edition.
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