Dutch F-16 fighters to join bombing of IS targets in Syria

The Hague, Jan 30 (IANS) Dutch F-16 fighters will join the bombing of Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Friday.

The Netherlands has six F-16 fighters stationed in the region.

“We have decided to heed the call of our allies for expansion of the operational area of our F-16s to the east of Syria to further weaken IS’ supply lines and ability to advance,” said Rutte at his weekly press conference, Xinhua reported.

“We can only prevent attacks if we remove IS’ safe havens in Iraq and Syria,” he said, adding “the recent terrorist attacks in Paris make it clear that IS remains a threat to our security and our way of life”.

The Netherlands is already participating in the coalition by carrying out airstrikes in Iraq, with four F-16 aircraft specialising in close air support of ground operations by Iraqi forces.

In Syria, the Netherlands had confined its role to providing diplomatic help and humanitarian aid, arguing that there is no clear international mandate for military intervention.

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