Friday, 15 May 2015 - 09:51
Defense: Iraq ISIS mission extension possible; Syria back on the table
The Netherlands is considering extending the military mission in Iraq. There is also discussion on whether to extend air strikes to Syria, despite the Dutch government previously stating that this will not happen until Syria accepts an international law mandate. According to Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, it is "plausible" that the struggle against terrorist organization Islamic State will not be over by October, when the approximately 360 Dutch soldiers and 8 Dutch F-16's are set to return to the Netherlands, Volkskrant reports. "The job is definitely not done. We need to seriously look at what the coalition needs to drive ISIS further back", Hennis said after a three day visit to the Dutch F-16 detachment. She said that there should be more clarity on whether the mission will be extended this summer. Hennis also called it "crucial" that ISIS is not only fought in Iraq, but also in Syria. To date the Dutch government has not gotten involved in any military actions in Syria due to the lack of an international legal mandate. "Undoubtedly Syria will again be discussed in talks in the near future. I'm not saying no right away. From the beginning I have said that the door isn't locked, but we continue to watch the situation", Hennis said.