Belgium to begin airstrikes against ‘Daesh’ in Syria

May 13, 2016 3:30 pm

’s Minister for Defense and Public Service Steven Vandeput (L) gets ready for a test flight onboard an F16 fighter jet following a press conference on the results of Operation Desert Falcon in Iraq on July 20, 2015 in Peer. (AFP photo)

Belgium has decided to extend the scope of its contribution to the US-led air campaign allegedly targeting Daesh, saying it will launch attacks on the Takfiri militants’ positions in .
A spokesman for Belgium’s government said Friday that the airstrikes by the western European nation, which were previously limited to the positions of Daesh in Iraq, will now cover areas in Syria where terrorist groups, including Daesh, have swaths of land under their control.
“In accordance with UN Resolution 2249, the engagement will be limited to those areas of Syria under the control of IS (Daesh) and other terrorist groups,” Prime Minister Charles Michel’s spokesman said, adding that the strikes will begin on July 1.
Belgium is still reeling from attacks claimed by Daesh at Brussels airport and the metro on March 22 that killed 32 people.
Foreign Minister Didier Reynders had warned in early March that it did not make sense to attack Daesh in Iraq but not in Syria as Belgium nationals recruited by Daesh have also been fighting alongside the group in Syria and that their return threatens Belgium’s security.
Belgian officials said the objective of the new mission will be to destroy the hideouts of Daesh and other terror groups in Syria, meaning that the air strikes will not only be limited to Daesh.
Other European members of the US-led coalition against Daesh have also decided to extend their airstrikes against Daesh into Syria with the Netherlands, Denmark and Britain having already launched sorties against the positions of the group in the Arab country.
The attacks continue without any approval from the Syrian government which routinely accuses the Western governments of having a hand in more than five years of militancy in the country.
Daesh and other terror groups have thousands of militants in their ranks from European nations, with Belgium, which is home to a significant population of refugees from and Africa, being the prime source of such recruits in Iraq and Syria.
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