Monday, September 29, 2014 - 14:47
Risks to Dutch troops in Iraq "Limited": Defense chief
Chief of Defense Tom Middendorp said to the Second Chamber on Monday that the risk to Dutch soldiers participating in the mission in Iraq is limited. The terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS) shot down some helicopters, presumably with light air defense systems they captured in Syria. Thus far the security services haven't seen any heavier weapons which they can use to bring down planes flying at a higher altitude, such as F-16's. According to Middendorp there is limited opportunity for Dutch military trainers to be abducted. Only incidental attacks or that they get involved in other incidents. They train in secured locations and the teams' movements are limited. At the moment ISIS is taking precautionary measures, Middendorp says. Fighters and equipment are being moved to reduce damage by air raids wherever possible. The attacks thereby limit ISIS's movements. It is unlikely that ISIS will conquer cities like Arbil and Baghdad. Dutch efforts there are directed to assist in breaking down ISIS's advance and power and to enable Iraqi and Kurdish troops to drive ISIS back. Next week logistic units will go to the region to prepare for the mission. It is not yet certain from which airport the Dutch F-16's will operate. Defense is considering Jordan, but a decision has not been made yet. The F-16's are expected to depart this week for Iraq. Middendorp also defended his advice to soldiers to not wear their uniform in public if it is not absolutely necessary. According to him many countries such as Great Britain and France are taking the same kind of measures.