A Former Dutch Soldier Explains Why He Joined A Jihadist Group In Syria

Syrian rebel fighter yilmaz cbsCBS Evening NewsScreen shot of Syrian rebel fighter Yilmaz.

“I would fight anybody. Even if it was my own father that was bombing these people, I would fight him and kill him myself,” a Dutch jihadi militant now fighting in Syria told CBS News.

Yilmaz, 26, spoke exclusively with CBS foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward and explained why he left the West to join Syrian jihadis.

“The West? Ugh, hypocrisy. It’s filled with hypocrisy,” Yilmaz said.

Syrian rebel fighter yilmaz cbsCBS Evening NewsScreen shot of Syrian rebel fighter Yilmaz.

Yilmaz, a former soldier in the Dutch Royal Army, left his home country to fight with rebels in northern Syria after learning of the Assad regime’s numerous atrocities.

“I felt the need as a person, as a human, and, of course, as a Muslim that I just had to stand up and do stuff,” Yilmaz told CBS.

His primary goal is to overthrow Assad. He told CBS that he fights with various rebel groups but that he is not affiliated with ISIS.

When asked about ISIS’s gruesome acts, Yilmaz explained that they pale in comparison to the Assad regime’s:

CBS: Beheading people, crucifying people, it is very difficult for people in the West and in the US to understand how those tactics could ever be justifiable. They are war crimes.

Yilmaz: War crimes? And what’s a war crime? More than 200,000 dead is not a war crime? Barrel bombs, chemical attacks, is that not a war crime?

The current US-led air strikes against al Qaeda-inspired militants in Syria are also are also drawing backlash from other Syrian rebels, Yilmaz explained.

Yilmaz is himelf opposed to the airstrikes. “We don’t want you, we want our own laws, we want our own rules … we want Islamic law,” he told CBS. “It’s the only solution.”

And the jihadist had a warning to the US as well:

CBS: Do you think there will be more terrorist attacks on America?

Yilmaz: If you keep on poking and cornering a a wild dog, that wants nothing but his freedom, wallahi, he will bite you and he will bite you hard. And this fight never ends. Never ends. This is our religion, this is our faith, this is what we believe in.

Yilmaz was born in the Netherlands, but he plans to continue fighting within the region and has not considered returning home. An estimated 150 fighters from the Netherlands have joined anti-regime groups in Syria.

Here is the full CBS News interview with Yilmaz:

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