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Germany extends Bundeswehr mission in Iraq

January 12, 2022

Germany's troop deployment to Iraq has been extended by nine months. Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government has called an official end to Germany's operations in Syria.

German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht (left) talks a soldier during a visit to German armed forces deployed in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq
German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht talks to a German soldier during her visit to IraqImage: SAFIN HAMED/AFP

The German government decided to keep its troops in Iraq until at least the end of October.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Cabinet also decided on Wednesday to end Germany's military role in Syria. 

The Bundeswehr supports regional efforts against the "Islamic State" terrorist militia in Iraq, providing military training, reconnaissance jets, and tanker aircraft for air-to-air refueling. Most of Germany's soldiers in Iraq are stationed in the northern Kurdish region of the country. The Bundeswehr's mandate for operations in Iraq allows for stationing up to 500 soldiers in Iraq.

The German military will provide "air refueling, air transport, air surveillance and situational awareness capabilities as well as staff," according to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht.

In Syria, German military jets flew reconnaissance missions until March 2020. Wednesday's Cabinet decision removes Syria from the list of countries where the Bundeswehr is permitted to operate.

The Cabinet's decisions still needed to be approved by the German parliament.

German soldiers with G27 rifles at a military base in Iraq
Most of Germany's soldiers are stationed in the northern Kurdish region of IraqImage: Kay Nietfeld/dpa/picture alliance

Lambrecht in Jordan and Iraq

The decisions came after Lambrecht traveled to Jordan and Iraq for talks with King Abdullah II, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, and Defence Minister Juma'a Enad over the weekend.

Lambrecht also spoke to members of the Bundeswehr deployed at the Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan and the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The US military announced it had ended its combat role in Iraq in December. The move came just a few months after a July meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and US President Joe Biden.

lo/sms (dpa, Reuters)