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Dutch police arrest alleged commander in Syrian Nusra Front

File photo of Al-Nusra / Jabhat Fath Al-Sham fighters
Al-Nusra/Jabhat Fath Al-Sham fighters [File photo]

Dutch police have arrested a 47-year-old Syrian suspected of being a commander for the Nusra Front, formerly al Qaeda’s wing in Syria, prosecutors said on Tuesday, reports Reuters.

The man, identified by his nom-de-guerre Abu Khuder, is accused of committing war crimes and terrorist crimes in Syria, where he allegedly commanded a battalion known as Ghuraba’a Mohassan, or Strangers of Mohassan.

Dutch war crimes prosecutors said the suspect had been in the Netherlands since 2014, where he was granted a temporary asylum permit. A criminal investigation against him was started based on witness testimonies provided by German police.

In a coordinated action with German police, six residences of other suspected members of the Ghuraba’a Mohassan battalion in Germany were also searched on Tuesday, the prosecutors said.

READ: Turkey deports journalist after receiving Dutch tip-off

Abu Khuder will appear before a judge in The Hague on Friday.

Under Dutch law, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on foreign soil can be prosecuted under universal jurisdiction if a suspect resides in the Netherlands.

The latest incarnation of the Nusra Front, which was part of al Qaeda until 2016, is Tahrir al-Sham. An amalgamation of Islamist groups dominated by the former Nusra, it is currently the most powerful armed group in Syria’s northwest.

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