A parliamentary delegation led by a Member of Belgium’s federal parliament, Filip Dewinter, arrived in Syria on Friday, Syrian media reported. The aim of the trip is reportedly to investigate the current situation in order to better apprehend how they could provide support and convey a truer image of Syria “away from the false picture promoted by some Western media outlets,” Syria’s state-run news agency SANA reports.
Filip Dewinter, of far-right nationalist party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest), has visited Syria on various occasions and met with President Bashar al-Assad with whom his Belgian party has close ties.
“European governments picked the wrong side in the war in Syria”, Dewinter said to the Syrian officials upon his arrival. Instead of siding with the legitimate Syrian government, Dewilders said, Europe had stood by and “supported the Wahhabi terrorists.”
Filip Dewinter, a self-proclaimed islamophobe, is a controversial figure. He is the leader of Vlaams Belang party, a successor to the Flemish National Movement, many of whose members collaborated with the Nazis. According to Haaretz, Dewinter has not only paid his respects to the Nazi soldiers buried in Belgium but also opened a speech with an oath used by the SS.
Dewinter and two of his fellow party members were reprimanded for holding a speech and paricipating in a meeting with Greek party Golden Dawn. Members of the Greek party, defined as Neo-nazi and fascist by many scholars, have reportedly travelled to Syria to fight in Assad’s ranks together with many other Europeans from far-right and fascist groups.
President Assad has had many visitors and supporters of this kind, even before the war. Nick Griffin, former leader of the British National party, has also visited Syria and Vice news reported that white supremacist, holocaust denier and Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke held a speech in Damascus in 2005 where he told the Syrian leader that “Your fight for freedom is the same as our fight for freedom.”