Dutch parliament now backs bombing IS targets in Syria

Operation Iraqi FreedomA majority of MPs now support the involvement of Dutch armed forces in bombing IS targets in Syria after the ruling Labour party had a change of heart.

The party’s defence spokesman Michiel Servaes said on Tuesday afternoon the PvdA now supports possible military intervention in Syria. Dutch bombers are currently involved in missions over Iraq but the government has so far resisted calls for a direct role in Syria.

Servaes told broadcaster Nos that the Labour party ‘sees opportunities to intensify efforts to combat IS’. This must be an ‘effective contribution’ to the well-being of the Syrian people, he said. ‘It is up to the cabinet to come up with a proposal.’

Ministers are now expected to reassess the situation and decide what official position the Netherlands will take at Friday’s cabinet meeting.

Cross border

The PvdA’s coalition partner, the right-wing Liberal VVD, has backed military intervention in Syria for some time. The party argues that restricting efforts to Iraq is artificial given that IS operates a cross-border campaign.

Labour’s doubts have also partly been removed by the start of peace talks between Syrian president Assad and the moderate opposition parties on Friday, Servaes said.

However any Dutch contribution is likely to be short lived because the Netherlands is due to hand over its roll to Belgium in June, the NRC points out.