AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch Labour Party, the junior partner in the coalition government, now supports extending air strikes against Islamic State to Syria, creating a parliamentary majority for approval, an official said on Tuesday.
The Dutch government, which already approved sending warplanes to target Islamic State in Iraq under a U.S.-led bombing campaign, has been weighing the possibility of expanding its role for months.
“We discussed the issue today and decided to support efforts to intensify the fight against Islamic State,” party spokesman Michiel Selten said. “It is now up to the Cabinet to come up with a proposal, but we are willing.”
The Netherlands contributes a squadron of six F-16 aircraft to the bombing of the Islamist group’s positions in Iraq, but Labour is traditionally warier of foreign military engagements than the larger conservative Liberal coalition partner.
France and Britain widened their bombing campaigns in the region into neighbouring Syria after the attacks in Paris in November, claimed by the Islamic State.
Foreign military interventions are especially sensitive in the Netherlands, which led a disastrous peacekeeping mission in Bosnia in 1995, when 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered by Bosnian Serb forces.
A previous Dutch government collapsed in 2010 over participation in military operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan, where 2,000 troops were active.
Reporting By Anthony Deutsch, Editing by Angus MacSwan