The Republic will join 33 other nations in a multinational coalition to combat the Islamic State militant group, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament on Monday (Nov 3).
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has previously participated in multinational coalition efforts against religious extremists who pose a terrorist threat to Singapore and Singaporeans – as it did in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and the Taliban – and it will continue to participate in such efforts, Dr Ng said.
In response to a question from MP Alex Yam on how SAF will contribute to the coalition, Dr Ng said SAF’s contribution will be “within its means” and “sustainable and useful”. This includes sending liaison and planning officers to the United States Central Command and the Combined Joint Task Force HQ, a KC-135R tanker aircraft for air-to-air refuelling, and an Imagery Analysis Team – assets that were previously deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
These contributions have proved effective and were appreciated by international partners, he added.
There will be no SAF troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria; they will instead operate out of neighbouring countries, Dr Ng said.
“There will be risks to our SAF servicemen as they carry out their missions. To mitigate these risks, we will ensure that our servicemen are well equipped, and receive additional training in weapon handling, dealing with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), as well as reacting to hostile elements,” Dr Ng said.