Germany throws weight behind anti-ISIL fight in Syria

Parliament authorises Merkel government to deploy 1,200 personnel and reconnaissance jets to support anti-ISIL fight.

    Germany's parliament approved Chancellor Angela Merkel's plan to join the effort to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, as more British jets arrived at a UK base in Cyprus to join the fight.

    The German government on Friday announced it was sending six Tornado reconnaissance jets and a refuelling aircraft, but maintained that its military will not conduct air strikes.

    The Bundestag, the lower House of parliament, voted for the mandate by an overwhelming majority of 445 votes in favour and 146 against. Seven politicians abstained.

    The Bundestag has to vote on any extension to the mission.

    The $142m year-long mission also involves deploying up to 1,200 military personnel, as well as a frigate to support the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which Paris has dispatched to the region.

    British Tornado jets took off from the Royal Air Force base at Akrotiri in Cyprus before dawn on Thursday, hours after parliament in London voted 397-223 to support Prime Minister David Cameron's plan to extend air strikes from Iraq to Syria.

    Britain said its jets struck oil fields used to fund ISIL.

    An international coalition has stepped up its campaign against the group since last month's ISIL attacks in Paris in which 130 people were killed.

    French President Francois Hollande on Friday visited the country's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, which is now off the coast of Syria.

    The coalition's strikes have so far failed to dislodge the fighters from a swathe of territory in Syria and Iraq where they have proclaimed a state.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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