Denmark says deploying special forces to Syria against Islamic State

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark will deploy up to 60 special forces to fight Islamic State in Syria, 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.

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.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Dominic Evans