Posted on January 20, 2017 by Editorial Staff in Kurdistan
A Danish soldiers 2014. Photo: Courtesy/7th Army Training Command/Flickr
COPENHAGEN,— Denmark will deploy up to 60 special forces to fight Islamic State in Syrian Kurdistan, the Danish government said on Friday.
NATO member Denmark is part of the U.S.-led operation “Inherent Resolve” against Islamic State and already has ground troops operating in Iraq.
“Based on a concrete approach from the coalition, the government has decided to expand the tasks of our special forces in Iraq and Syria,” said foreign minister Anders Samuelsen.
Denmark agreed in April last year to send troops, including special forces, to the area. They have operated from the Al Asad air base in Iraq.
At the time the Danish government failed to win political agreement for its forces to operate inside Syria, but on Friday parliament gave its backing to the deployment of the 60 special troops there.
“I’m glad that a majority in parliament is backing this,” Samuelsen said, adding that the Danish troops would operate in the border area with Iraq.
In addition, Denmark said it would let a frigate operate jointly with a U.S. aircraft carrier from February to May.
Several hundred U.S. special force soldiers have been supporting Kurdish and Arab fighters of the Syria Democratic Forces that are trying to push back Islamic State militants in northern Syria. France also said in June that its special forces were advising rebels in the same area.
U.S. regards the Kurdish YPG of Syrian Kurdistan as key ally against Islamic State and the most effective fighting force against IS in Syria and has provided them with arms, air support as well as the military advisers. The Kurdish militia has seized swathes of Syria from IS.
Last month, Denmark said it would not extend military operations of its seven F-16 fighter jets in Syria and Iraq after six months in action.
In 2013, Syrian Kurds have established three autonomous zones, or Cantons of Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin and a Kurdish government across Syrian Kurdistan (northern Syria) in 2013. On March 17, 2016 Syria’s Kurds declared a federal region in Syrian Kurdistan.
Syrian Kurds on Dec. 30, 2016 have approved a blueprint for a system of federal government in Syrian Kurdistan, reaffirming their plans for autonomy in areas they have controlled during the civil war.