Ruling party supports using troops to protect refugees

CDA leader Sybrand Buma's idea of sending troops into Syria and creating safe havens for refugees is getting some support from ruling party VVD, though other parties are less than enthusiastic.

VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra stated that the Netherlands can send troops to protect safe havens for Syrian refugees, though it would be wiser to create such havens in Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan, and not necessarily in Syria. The VVD leader said this in The Hague on Tuesday, the Volkskrant reports. "We have always said that you should create safe havens in the region, descent places to shelter people so that they do not need to come to Western Europe", Zijlstra said, adding that he is happy that the CDA seems to be approaching the VVD's position.

In an interview with NU earlier on Tuesday, Buma proposed the creation of safe havens in Syria, Iraq and Libya, with troops under the banner of the United Nations or European Union to protect these havens. He also thinks it a good idea for the Netherlands to send ground troops into Syria to create order and to intervene in the situation in the country, and not only in Iraq.

PvdA leader Diederik Samsom is less enthusiastic about Buma's proposals. "To now become active in Syria with ground troops, seem somewhat premature. Rash proposals on ground troops do into seem sensible to me." he said in the television program Brandpunt on Tuesday. He does not, however, completely rule out military intervention in Syria. Samsom believes that the solution to the constant inflow of refugees will be "a combination of diplomacy, development, and sometimes, if necessary, joint military power". This should initially happen "in countries where this is possible, but eventually also in Syria".

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold also rejects Buma's plans. According to him, Buma seems to have followed a "course on being a general" over the summer. "If you were to send ground troops, you are instantly stuck there for 20 to 30 years. And what do you do with Syrian President Assad? If you depose him as a dictator, you'll end up with something like in Libya."

PVV leader Geert Wilders thinks that the CDA should first be concerned about their own country. "First, lets make sure we organize the Netherlands as a safe haven. The borders should be closed. Make the Netherlands safer. Buma thinks that the people who come here are refugees. But that is not so. There are also terrorists. And many come here because they want a Miele, or a house and a benefit." According to the VVD leader the only solution is for them to stay in their own region. "Turkey is also a safe country. They do not need to come to the Netherlands or Germany."


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