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Dutch mission in Iraq will resume 'as soon as possible'

2020-01-17T18:22:05.155Z

The international coalition against IS has decided to resume the Dutch training mission in Northern Iraq and Baghdad, write Ministers Bijleveld of Defense and Blok of Foreign Affairs in a letter to Parliament on Friday.



The international coalition against IS has decided to resume the Dutch training mission in Northern Iraq and Baghdad, write Ministers Bijleveld of Defense and Blok of Foreign Affairs in a letter to Parliament on Friday.

About two weeks ago, the operation was temporarily suspended due to tensions between Iran and the United States, after the Americans killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in an air strike.

About fifty Dutch people are active in northern Iraq. They train fighters from Iraqi-Kurdish militias, the peshmergas. In recent years they have played an important role in the fight against the Islamic State. Commands are being trained in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

With the decision, the international coalition, led by the US, ignores the call of the Iraqi parliament to recall all foreign soldiers as quickly as possible.

Foreign minister Stef Blok told the Lower House on Wednesday that "the Iraqi prime minister did not approach the Netherlands to leave". In any case, he is not enthusiastic about that call, because it can "affect the stability of such a crucial country," the minister said.

The American newspaper The New York Times wrote on Wednesday evening that the US had continued its activities in Iraq, "so that IS loses momentum". US military bases have been the target of Iranian air strikes several times over the past ten days, as retaliatory actions for the death of Soleimani. As far as is known, no deaths occurred.

Source: nunl

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