The Netherlands is coming under increasing pressure to bomb strategic IS targets in Syria, armed forces chief Tom Middendorp told parliament on Thursday.
The international coalition against IS has made a ‘major appeal’ for help in crushing the jihadist movement, Middendorp is quoted as saying in the Volkskrant. On Wednesday, the British parliament voted by a large majority to carry out bombing missions in Syria and launched its first attack just an hour later.
The Netherlands has so far resisted calls to expand its current bombing mission in Iraq to Syria, saying there needs to be an international mandate.
The international coalition wants to ‘hit IS where it hurts’, Middendorp said. They want to ‘damage their military capacity, and that is mainly in Syria where the training camps and their commanders are’. It would be ‘militarily both logical and efficient to focus on where the need is greatest’, he said. ‘That is currently Syria.’
The Volkskrant said the military chief’s statement will only add to the pressure on the Dutch coalition. VVD defence minister Jeanine Hennis is known to be keen on a more active role in Syria but foreign affairs minister Bert Koenders, who represents the Labour party, is opposed.
He has said he first wants to see the establishment of a political agreement on the future of Syria before he would consider bombing.
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