Dutch protestors demand bread not bombs for Syria

Dutch protestors demand bread not bombs for Syria
Activists and lawmakers in the Netherlands have protested against the Dutch government's decision to take part in airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.
2 min read
30 January, 2016
Protestors argued that military intervention only causes more destruction [The New Arab]
A demonstration has taken place in the Dutch capital Amsterdam after the government announced it would take part in US-led airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Activists marched on Friday evening in Dam Square asking their government not to take part in the wars in Syria and Iraq and to help ensure humanitarian aid reaches besieged towns.

They called for a peaceful solution to the conflicts, arguing that military intervention only brings about more destruction.

Dutch MP, Sadet Karabulut, told The New Arab that the government's decision to intervene in Syria would only bring more death, starvation and destruction to Syrians.

She said they would ask the Dutch government not to use force in Syria and help ensure food and medicine reaches besieged areas instead.

Senior policy advisor for Middle East affairs in the Dutch peace movement PAX, Jan van Oosterzee, told The New Arab the Dutch government's decision was wrong. He called for military aircraft to be used to drop food, milk and medicine to besieged towns instead of bombs.

The Dutch air force has been bombing Iraq for a year, however Iraqi forces have failed to show any progress on the ground and IS has continued to expand, Oosterzee said.

Military force has failed to end the suffering of civilians in Syria and Iraq, said Dutch activist Guido van Leemput.

Leemput argued that the Assad regime is the main cause of the Syrian conflict and responsible for the war there, not IS.
The Assad regime is the main cause of the conflict and is responsible for the war there
- Dutch activist
After the November Paris attacks last year, the US and France asked the Dutch government to broaden its campaign against IS.

"The recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Istanbul and Jakarta clearly show that ISIS (IS) is a danger to our security and our way of life," Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told journalists on Friday.

"We are going to deploy F-16s above Syria, in particular to stop the pipeline leading from Syria into Iraq," he said, referring to the movements of IS fighters.

The Netherlands is already taking part in coalition airstrikes in Iraq using four F-16 aircraft that specialise in providing close air support to ground operations by Iraqi forces. However, it had previously said it would not extend airstrikes over Syria without a UN mandate.