Dutch understand US bombardments of Syria, undecided on own role

The Dutch cabinet understands the reasons behind the US-led bombardment of Syria but has still not decided how it will contribute, according to prime minister Mark Rutte.

Rutte was speaking in New York where he is attending the United Nation’s general assembly. The prime minister confirmed the Netherlands is still working on a briefing to outline what action the Netherlands can take in international efforts to combat the Islamic State, broadcaster Nos said.

Rutte said the briefing will also look at the international mandate for such action, which he said makes the question more complicated.

‘We are not alone. We are talking about a large number of countries working together,’ he said. ‘We need time. If you are considering asking Dutch soldiers to make a contribution to the battle against IS, then that has to be done very carefully.’

Dutch deaths

Dutch counter-terrorism chief Dick Schoof on Monday confirmed three Dutch jihadists had died in the US attacks on Aleppo. All three were known to be in Syria, he said.

‘These lads were there and had joined up with al-Nusra or IS or one of the other terrorist groups operating there,’ he said.

The killings led one Dutch jihadist, said to be part of al-Nusra, to place a video on line calling for attacks on Dutch government targets. He also confirmed the three Dutch deaths.

Last week, newspaper Trouw claimed the Netherlands will provide F-16 fighter jets to the international alliance taking shape to combat the Islamic State militia. In addition, the Netherlands will supply weapons to the Kurds, Trouw said, quoting foreign affairs and defence ministry contacts.

The Telegraaf said on Wednesday the Dutch cabinet will take a decision on its role on Friday, once the UN has given a mandate.

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