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Dutch military intervention against ISIL

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The Dutch military intervention against ISIL began in 24 September 2014, the Dutch government decided to participate in the military campaign against ISIL (known as ISIS or IS in the Netherlands).[19] According to, the Netherlands did not feel legally justified to fight in Syria.[20] The Royal Netherlands Air Force committed six F-16 fighter jets to the war effort.[21]

Dutch military intervention against ISIL
Part of the Military intervention against ISIL
Date24 September 2014 – 2 January 2019
(4 years, 9 months, 1 week and 4 days)
Status Ongoing
 Netherlands  ISIL
Commanders and leaders
Netherlands Mark Rutte
(Prime Minister)
Netherlands Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
(Minister of Defence)
Netherlands Frans Timmermans
(Minister for Foreign Affairs)
Netherlands Sander Schnitger
(Lieutenant General)
Netherlands Dennis Luyt
(Lieutenant General)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (WIA)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Alaa Afri 
(Deputy Leader of ISIL)[2][3]
Abu Mohammad al-Adnani 
Abu Ayman al-Iraqi 
(Head of Military Shura)[4][5]
Abu Suleiman 
(Replacement Military Chief)[5]
Akram Qirbash 
(Top ISIL judge)[3]
Abu Omar al-Shishani 
(Chief commander in Syria)[6][7][8][9]
Abu Sayyaf 
(Senior ISIL economic manager)[10]
Abu Khattab al-Kurdi 
(Commander of the assault on Kobanî)[11][12]
Units involved
Royal Netherlands Air Force Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Military of ISIL
Around 100,000 fighters (according to Iraqi Kurdistan Chief of Staff.)[14]
At least a few hundred tanks[15]
3 Drones[16][17][18]
Casualties and losses
None Unknown


Purpose and strategyEdit

The Netherlands joined the war against ISIL because ISIL’s advance in Iraq and Syria, displaying "unprecedented violence" and "perpetrating terrible crimes against population groups", posed "a direct threat to that region". ISIL’s advance in Iraq and Syria "causes instability at the borders of Europe", which threatens "our own [Dutch] safety".[19] The Dutch government, the US and its other partners (unspecified, except for France) would "stop ... the advance of ISIL" in Syria and Iraq and "break ... [its] military force".[19] The Dutch would attack ISIL from the air in Syria and Iraq and provide air support for Iraqi and Iraqi-Kurdish ground forces.[19] The Netherlands' contribution to that strategy would consist of six F-16 fighter jets for a maximum of one year, coordinated by the American Central Command (CENTCOM) and the Joint Forces Air Component Command in Kuwait.[19]

Legal basisEdit

The Dutch government named the request for military support from the Iraqi government, presented to the United Nations on 25 June 2014 and repeated on 20 September, as its justification under international law for joining the war.[19] It said that the United States had also appealed to the right of collective self-defense to justify US air attacks on ISIL in Syria to prevent an armed attack from ISIL in Syria on Iraq, and tacitly consented to the US action in Syria.[19] All but two political parties in the Dutch Parliament (150 seats) supported the war, with the Socialist Party (15 seats) and the Party for the Animals (2 seats) opposing.[22]


Dutch F-16 fighter jets, executing air attacks on tactical locations of ISIL in Iraq since October 2014, are being coordinated by the American Central Command (CENTCOM) and the Joint Forces Air Component Command in Kuwait.[19] The Dutch forces operate from Shaheed Mwaffaq Air Base in Jordan.[23] The Dutch conduct an average of one or two sorties per day;[24] by 17 November 2014, Dutch F-16s had dropped 75 bombs on ISIL targets in Iraq.[24]


December 2014Edit

The first update to Dutch plans concerning the war against ISIL was a 15 December 2014 letter from the government to Parliament.[25] The letter did not indicate whether ISIL’s military force had been broken since September, providing only two bits of information on ISIL activity: "the Syrian moderate opposition" in Aleppo "suffered from ISIL activity" (without explanation), and in Kobanî ISIL was battling Syrian Kurds.[25] No questions were asked by the Dutch Parliament if the September 2014 purposes had been achieved or approached.[26]

As part of an international coalition now consisting of "more than 60 countries" which met on 3 December 2014 in Brussels, the Dutch aims remained as described in September: stopping ISIL’s advance and breaking its military force.[25] Its strategy had expanded to include unspecified military support of the moderate Syrian opposition.[25] According to the government in February 2015, for Dutch purposes the "moderate Syrian opposition" meant some groups which were part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).[27] Dutch material support remained the same as in September: F-16 attacks in Iraq to destroy ISIL headquarters, storage depots, manufacturers of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), vehicles and troops.[25] The country's legal justification remained the same.[19][25]

June 2015Edit

In June 2015, the Netherlands decided to continue its participation in the allied war against ISIL until October 2016.[28] As of that month, 575 Dutch airstrikes had been carried out in Iraq in 1,000 sorties over more than 475 missions.[29]

January 2016Edit

On 29 January 2016, the Netherlands decided to intensify its contribution to the fight against ISIL with bombings in Syria.[30][31] Militarily, this included supplying non-lethal support to the Iraqi forces and the Iraqi Peshmerga forces; arming the Peshmerga forces, and F-16 air attacks in Syria on strategic ISIL targets on ISIL supply lines from eastern Syria into Iraq (avoiding air attacks which would benefit the Syrian Assad government).[31][30][32] Parliamentary opposition to the escalation from the Socialist Party (15 seats), GroenLinks (green-left) (4 seats), Partij voor de Dieren (Party for the Animals) (2 seats), Group Kuzu/Öztürk (2 seats) and representative Norbert Klein was larger than it had been in September 2014.[33]

End of missionEdit

On 2 January 2019, four Dutch F16's returned to their base at Volkel after finishing their mission.[34]


  1. ^ Abdelhak Mamoun. "ISIS leader al-Baghdadi is incapacitated, says the Guardian". Iraq News.
  2. ^ "Report: A former physics teacher is now leading ISIS - Business Insider". Business Insider. 23 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b "ISIS' Abu Alaa al-Afri killed alongside dozens of followers in air strike". Daily Mail Online.
  4. ^ "Military Skill and Terrorist Technique Fuel Success of ISIS". New York Times. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b Alessandria Masi (11 November 2014). "If ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Is Killed, Who Is Caliph Of The Islamic State Group?". International Business Times.
  6. ^ "Kadyrov Claims Red-Bearded Chechen Militant al-Shishani Dead". ElBalad. 14 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Kadyrov Says Islamic State's Leader From Georgia Killed". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 14 November 2014.
  8. ^ "U.S. confirms death of ISIS operative Omar al-Shishani". CNN. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  9. ^ News, A. B. C. (14 March 2016). "Official: Top ISIS Military Commander Believed Dead".
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference new US raid in Syria1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ "Islamic State's commanders killed in Kobane". ARA News.
  12. ^ "Abou Khattab, kurde, jihadiste et chef des opérations du Daech contre Kobané". Al Huffington Post (in French). 11 October 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Dutch Parliament commits soldiers, F-16s to fight ISIS in Iraq". NL Times. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  14. ^ "ISIS militants have army of 200,000, claims senior Kurdish leader". Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  15. ^ "U.S.-led forces drop nearly 5,000 bombs on ISIS". Al Arabiya. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  16. ^ "Now ISIS has drones?". CNN. 24 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Footage From an ISIS Drone". - Video. 30 August 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  18. ^ "ISIS: We Nabbed an Iranian Drone". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i Letter of the Dutch government to Parliament, 24 September 2014: "Fight against international terrorism" (Kamerstuk 27925 nr. 506). Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  20. ^ "Which Countries Are Doing What in the ISIS Coalition?". NBC News. 26 September 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  21. ^ "Nederland levert F-16's aan de internationale strijd tegen ISIS". Rijksoverheid. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  22. ^ ‘Tweede Kamer stemt in met IS-missie Irak’., 2 October 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  23. ^ "Belgian and RNLAF F-16s Go Dutch Supporting Iraqi Forces". Aviation Week. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  24. ^ a b ‘F-16’s werpen 75 bommen af boven Iraq’., 17 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  25. ^ a b c d e f Letter of the Dutch government to Parliament, 15 December 2014: "Fight against international terrorism" (Kamerstuk 27925 nr. 526). Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  26. ^ Questions from Parliament, answers from government. 4 February 2015: "Fight against international terrorism" (Kamerstuk 27925 nr. 527). Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  27. ^ Questions from Parliament, answers from government. 4 February 2015: “Fight against international terrorism” (Kamerstuk 27925 nr. 527). (Question 22.) Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  28. ^ Letter of the Dutch government to Parliament, 19 June 2015: “Fight against international terrorism” (Kamerstuk 27925 nr. 539). Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  29. ^ "Dutch Vipers: 1,000 sorties over Iraq". Airheads Fly. 23 June 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  30. ^ a b Letter of the Dutch government to Parliament, 29 January 2016: “Fight against international terrorism” (Kamerstuk 27925 nr. 570). Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Nederland gaat IS ook in Syrië bombarderen". 29 January 2016.
  32. ^ "Dutch to Join US-Led Airstrikes Against IS in Syria". ABC News. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  33. ^ ‘Steun voor inzet F-16’s tegen IS in Oost-Syrië’. Website Tweede Kamer (Dutch Parliament), 10 February 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  34. ^