Netherlands to deploy F-16s in international operation against ISIS

The Council of Ministers has decided to deploy six F-16 fighter jets against ISIS. The lack of international consensus to date on a mandate for military intervention in Syria means that operations will be confined to Iraq.

Press conference following Council of Ministers meeting

The decision was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher following a special meeting of the Council of Ministers on Dutch involvement in the international operation against ISIS.

For the first phase of the campaign the Netherlands will deploy six F-16s for up to one year, with another two aircraft being used as backups. The Netherlands will also help train Iraqi and Kurdish forces in Iraq and step up its humanitarian aid efforts.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the ISIS threat goes beyond Iraq, Syria and regional borders. ‘It also has implications for security elsewhere, including the Netherlands. ISIS may target our society and the rule of law, which we have built together and cherish. That’s why broad national and international support is needed to combat this.’

Threat to the Netherlands

The Netherlands’ involvement may raise its profile among jihadists. ‘The Netherlands is prepared for this,’ Mr Asscher said at the press conference. ‘We are constantly monitoring the threat and our security services are on standby. As part of our integrated approach to combating jihadism, measures have been taken not only to tackle the hard core of violent jihadism but also prevent the spread of ideological propaganda.’