Netherlands to expand airstrikes against Islamic State to Syria

The Netherlands will join a US-led international coalition in bombing Islamic State targets in Syria, the government said in the Hague on Friday.

The strikes will target radical Sunni Islamic State militants in Syria's east in order to stop the ongoing supply of fighters in Iraq.

"We are convinced that only a united approach to Iraq and Syria can bring renewed stability," Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said.

The Islamic State militant group, active in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Egypt, has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks around.

The Netherlands has already contributed four F-16 fighter jets to airstrikes against the group in Iraq, but both the US and France have called on the Dutch to widen their participation to Syria.

The Dutch government's Social Democrats have dropped their reservations about a mission expansion, meaning that the measure will likely achieve the large parliamentary majority it needs to pass.

In addition to Prime Minister Mark Rutte's right-liberal party, a large portion of the Dutch opposition is in favour of the Syrian expansion of strikes.

Last update: Fri, 29/01/2016 - 17:14
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