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Dutch Warplanes To Begin Strikes On IS Targets In Syria

The Netherlands has agreed to extend its role in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State (IS) militants to include the bombing of targets in Syria.

Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert announced the expanded mission for Dutch forces in the region on January 29, saying that "the progress that has been made in Iraq won't stand if IS remains in a position to support the fight in Iraq from eastern Syria."

The Netherlands is also considering sending more military equipment to support Iraqi fighters who are battling IS militants.

A Dutch squadron of six F-16 warplanes is already stationed in the region, but has been limited to air strikes against IS positions in Iraq.

Expansion of the operation was made possible after the Dutch Labor Party, the junior partner in the coalition government, said this week that it was open to the idea.

That created support from a parliamentary majority on the issue.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP