Germany to extend anti-IS mission: reports | News | DW | 16.09.2019
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Germany to extend anti-IS mission: reports

Germany plans to extend its anti-IS mission, but will begin to curtail parts of the mandate. The issue has divided the CDU-SPD coalition in Berlin.

The German government has reached a compromise to extend the Bundeswehr's anti-"Islamic State" mission in Syria and Iraq, according to media reports.

The Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD) have been in a tussle over extending the mission's mandate, with the SPD demanding the Bundeswehr end its role.

Read more: German Air Force short on pilots, not planes

Germany has four Tornado reconnaissance jets, an AWAC aircraft and an in-flight refueling tanker based in Jordan carrying out missions as part of a US-led international coalition against IS. The Bundeswehr also has a military training mission in Iraq.

According to a text of the CDU-SPD agreement seen by several German media outlets, the Tornados and refueling tanker will be given a mandate to continue operations until March 31, 2020. The mandate was set to expire at the end of October and would normally have been extended by a year. 

Read more: German Air Force short on pilots, not planes

The Iraqi military training mission and AWAC flights will be extended "no later than October 31, 2020," according to the compromise.

In addition, the number of troops deployed for the mission will be reduced to a maximum of 700 from 800 now.

The cabinet in Berlin is expected to approve the extension on Wednesday. It must then be approved by parliament.

The SPD has opposed extending the military mission in Iraq and Syria, arguing that former Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen had promised parliament to terminate the anti-IS mandate.

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote to parliamentary group leaders on Monday that Germany will intensify efforts to replace its capabilities with other nations.

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