US Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Friday lauded Belgium’s announcement that it will begin conducting airstrikes in Syria as part of the coalition air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
In a statement, Carter commended Prime Minister Charles Michel and Defense Minister Steven Vandeput for today’s announcement.
“Belgium is an important member of the coalition, and this contribution comes at a key moment in the campaign,” the secretary said. “Belgian aircraft played a key role in the air campaign over Iraq from October 2014 to June 2015. As they return to Operation Inherent Resolve as part of a scheduled rotation with the Dutch military, Belgian F-16s now will operate with greater flexibility and coherence of effort as a result of the decision to conduct strikes in Syria as well.”
The United States continues to stand with the people of Belgium as they have responded with resolve and character to the March 22 terrorist attacks there, Carter said.
“Together with Belgium and all of our coalition partners, we will deliver ISIL a lasting defeat,” he added.