The Netherlands has legalized the alliance between Dutch citizens and foreign military forces in the theater of war, so long as said foreign forces are not fighting against the Netherlands. The new law is a response to demands from a biker group named “No Surrender,” whose members have been joining Kurdish soldiers in the fight against the Islamic State.
According to the Agence France-Presse, the spokesman for the public prosecutor told the news agency that new laws would make it legal for Dutch citizens to join armed forces elsewhere around the world and fight. “Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable, now it’s no longer forbidden… You just can’t join a fight against the Netherlands.”
According to their website, the No Surrender Motorcycle Club has chapters all around the world–mostly in Holland, Germany, and Spain, but in as far-off places as Turkey and Suriname, as well. It is not known how many No Surrender members have made the pilgrimage to Syria and Iraq to fight the Islamic State, nor has the Islamic State made any public statements specifically regarding the group. According to the Daily Mail, Klaas Otto, the head of the organization, has confirmed that at least three members of the gang have traveled to Syria to fight the Islamic State. Some have been seen on social media posing with Kurdish fighters, including one identified as “Ron”:
Ron uit Nederland heeft zich bij de Koerden aangesloten om het IS ongedierte te bestrijden. Respect! pic.twitter.com/xES1nmJg8h
— Koerden in NL (@KoerdenNL) October 9, 2014
— AustynZOGS (@Austynzogs) October 15, 2014
Members of the group have also been seen on Kurdish television, though more often they have made waves on Dutch television, of course, and regularly host social events for their members.