Dutch ground forces should enter Syria, says CDA leader

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CDA faction leader Sybrand Buma thinks that the Netherlands should be intervening in Syria too, instead of only in Iraq. He wants to deploy Dutch troops to Syria to protect refugees and bring order. He also thinks that the establishment of safe havens in Syria, Iraq and Libya, where soldiers under the banner of the United Nations or the European Union can protect refugees a viable option.

The CDA leader said this in an interview with NU on Tuesday.

"Now we are leaving Syria be because we do not know what to do with it. We then stare in surprise at how many refugees are coming to Europe. That is absurd. Images of devastation in Palmyra we find horrible, severed heads we find horrible, Dutch in Syria who call for violence here we find horrible. But we let others do something about it. That can not be." Buma said to the newspaper.

Buma believes that the cause of the refugee influx is the "great chaos in Syria and Iraq, but also the instability in Libya. "The very least that should happen is the creation of safe havens in Syria and perhaps also in Iraq and Libya", the politician said. "These are places where people can live safely, so that they can be taken in as refugees and not fall into the hands of unscrupulous smugglers and then make the dangerous voyage."

The CDA leader realizes that deploying Dutch troops to foreign countries is a sensitive issue, but believes that it should be discussed. "If that means that we have to send ground troops, we should be willing. "

He also wants to amend the UN Convention on Refugees to give refugees the status of "displaced persons" and focus the convention on temporary shelter with the aim of returning them to their country of origin.

Most of the political parties have not yet responded to Buma's plea, but those who have are not very optimistic. SP parliamentarian Harry van Bommel called the CDA leader's suggestions "bullshit of the highest degree" and his plans "complete madness", NOS reports. "Safe havens have never worked anywhere in the world", he said. ChristenUnie calls the plan "unrealistic". "The CDA itself made a 1 billion cutback on defense, and for a mission in Syria, Assad's permission is required."

The creation of safe havens have been proposed several times since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, including by the European Parliament and the United Nations, but so far nothing has come of it, according to the Volkskrant. The conflict in Syria and Iraq is too cluttered to ensure the safety of refugees.

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