Netherlands to deploy more than 100 troops to Erbil
The Dutch government said on Friday, November 20, that 100 to 150 service members will be sent to Erbil to secure the Erbil International Airport in the Kurdistan Region’s capital, Erbil, in the context of the US-led Coalition’s advisory role.

Recently, the US-led Coalition Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve decided to shift its training mission into an advisory role for the Kurdish forces.

The Netherlands is a part of the international coalition established in 2014 to combat Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Iraq and Syria.

The Netherlands will take the helm of the international coalition’s advisory role from next year, according to Amsterdam-based De Telegraef newspaper.

Head of Peshmerga Affairs Ministry’s Communication and Culture Major General Babakir Faqe told the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official media that the Dutch force “will train the Peshmerga force and help the Peshmerga ministry in the reform process.”

In coordination with international partners, the Peshmerga ministry launched a 35-point reform plan in February 2018, which was developed with the US, UK, and Germany.

The reform purportedly aims to integrate all the Peshmerga forces affiliated with different political parties into an integral military force, and it also encompasses reforms in Peshmerga forces’ salary, allowance, and perks and to remove illegal salary receivers and pensions.

In April 2020, the Dutch forces suspended their 20-soldier training mission in the Kurdistan Region due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the troops returned to Netherlands.

The Dutch protection unit is working with the US to protect coalition personnel and equipment at the airport. Furthermore, the first soldiers will probably leave at the beginning of January, according to the Dutch newspaper.

In December, 2017, Iraqi federal security forces, in cooperation with the Peshmerga forces and covered by the US-led coalition airstrikes, declared victory over Islamic State.

The militant group has resorted to guerrilla hit-and-run tactics after losing all its territory. It is especially active in the disputed areas claimed by Erbil and Baghdad, where security is not as tight.

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