Germany voted in favor of engaging in a non-combat role against ISIS following calls from the French government for expanded European operations against the terrorist group.
In a 445 to 146 vote on Friday, the German parliament approved sending the international coalition fighting ISIS six Tornado reconnaissance planes, a refueling tanker jet and a frigate which will be tasked with protecting the French aircraft carrier Charles DeGaulle that is currently operating off the coast of Syria. The plan also authorized the deployment of 1,200 support troops to be placed around the region.
“The goal … is to fight and contain IS (ISIS), and destroy their safe havens and their ability to lead worldwide terror operations,” said Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday. When asked about the role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Von der Leyen was quick to point out that “The top line is: there will be no cooperation with Assad and no cooperation with troops under his command.”
Contrary to the German minister, Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to contradict Von der Leyen in a recent press briefing in Greece saying: “With respect to the question of Assad and the timing, I think the answer is … it is not clear that he would have to ‘go’ if there was clarity with respect to what his future might or might not be.”
The German frigate is currently on its way to join the French carrier, while two of the six Tornadoes will join other coalition air forces at the Incirlik base in Turkey as early as next week. The two Tornadoes are slated to go operational in a month.
The German parliament’s decision follows a vote in the U.K. expanding operations against ISIS, however, unlike the German operation, British forces will be actively engaged in aerial combat operations. (RELATED: Parliament Decision To Bomb Syria Breaks With Voters)
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