If you want to know the impact of Dutch bombs on Syria, ask the refugees here

Lennart Hofman and Marrit Woudwijk explore the ‘lesser truth’ of the remote warfare waged by the Netherlands in Syria, as interpreted by Syrian refugees in the Netherlands.

“If you don’t see the war, you won’t feel it. And then you think everything is fine. But that is not it. What happened is not correct. Nobody should close their eyes and ears to that.”

Distance is a fundamental characteristic of remote warfare. This applies not only to those waging it but also to those it is waged on behalf of. This physical distance from harm may also engender a psychological distance, one which drastically alters perceptions of harm and responsibility. In this article for De Correspondent, Hofman and Woudwijk explore how coalition airstrikes in Syria are uniquely perceived by those who fled this conflict.

The testimonies of those seeking sanctuary in a country intimately but obscurely connected to the war they fled provides a vital but often overlooked voice to those displaced by remote warfare. Their stories, interwoven with a broader timeline of the international coalition fighting IS in Syria and Iraq, are a timely reminder of the globalised nature of modern wars. War conducted at a distance may be closer to home than you think.


Woudwijk, M., & Hofman, L. (2020, February 17). Wil je weten wat de impact van Nederlandse bommen op Syrië is, vraag het de vluchtelingen hier. De Correspondent.