U.S. pressuring Netherlands to “intensify” fight in Syria

Bert Koenders (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons). (Bert Koenders (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons))

The United States officially requested that the Netherlands "intensify" the fight against terrorist organization Islamic State by participating in bombarding in Syria. The Cabinet is considering it, Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs said in a parliamentary debate on Thursday. He called ISIS "an enemy that can not only be contained, but must be destroyed", the Volkskrant reports.

"There are a number of game changers that lead to a weighing time", Koenders said in the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament. "There is a French request on the basis of an EU treaty. And there is now an official request from the Americans. We have to see what value the Netherlands can add."

The Volkskrant expects that the Council of Ministers will discuss this topic this week still, and that a decision may be made next week. Minister Jeanine Hennis Plasschaert of Defense told broadcaster NOS that because the request is "so fresh", there are no plans to discuss it on Friday.

The Netherlands joined the international coalition fighting the terrorist organization in October last year. Four Dutch F-16's and 300 Dutch troops are participating in the fight. The Dutch troops are also training Iraqi and Kurdish forces. Until now the Dutch only carried out attacks in Iraq.