Monday, September 14, 2015

Belgian troops ready for action in Syria

Belgium is prepared to deploy ground troops in Syria and will send six F16 fighter jets to the country next summer for the ongoing combat against the Islamic State, local media reported on Monday, citing two government ministers.

According to Sudpresse newspaper group, foreign minister Didier Reynders discussed airborne action in Syria at a foreign affairs committee meeting here last week. The six F16 fighters are due to be deployed at the beginning of July 2016.

The jets have already participated in action against the Islamic State in Iraq, which began in September 2014, Sudpresse added.

Meanwhile, Belgian defense minister Steven Vandeput told De Morgen newspaper on Saturday that "Belgian troops are ready" for ground action in Syria if necessary, but they would not be deployed during the initial combat phase.

Vandeput said Belgium would not "stand on the sidelines", adding: "We are not going to play Rambo, but there are clear conditions in which I am ready to send ground troops to Syria."

Belgium is part of the coalition of countries, which include France, Australia and Saudi Arabia, involved in the US-led action against the Islamic State.

  Xinhua -



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