It could become Germany’s biggest military deployment.
The Bundeswehr plans to send a force of 1,200 to support the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria. The defense ministry confirmed to Handelsblatt that this will be the figure that the cabinet is preparing to sign off on this week.
The government last Thursday decided to support the international coalition against IS. The troops will be stationed outside Syria and operate Tornado reconnaissance jets, tanker aircraft for aerial refueling, satellite surveillance and a naval frigate that Germany is sending to the region.
The cabinet will make its final decision on Tuesday, after which the debate in the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament, can begin.
German law requires parliamentary approval for any military deployment.
Rainer Arnold, the defense spokesman for the Social Democrats, the junior coalition partner of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, has demanded the government announce concrete plans as soon as possible.
“The defense ministry must give parliament a detailed account of these plans by Wednesday, at the latest,” Mr. Arnold told Handelsblatt.
Mr. Arnold said that Berlin’s contribution will give important support to Germany’s partners.
After the terror attacks of November 13, Paris appealed to its European partners for support in its battle against Islamic State. The terrorist group, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, controls parts of Syria and Iraq. While the West has backed rebel groups trying to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the terrorist attacks have resulted in a refocus on IS targets.
While Germany has not so far committed to direct military action, it is hoping to provide support to France, an E.U. partner and NATO ally.