Germany Sending Tornado Jets to Syria to Help France Fight ISIS

In the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, German Chancellor Angela Merkel changes policy; German army previously operated these jets in Afghanistan.

In this April 2, 2007 file photo Tornado jets with a loaded Recce-Pod taxi to the runway at the German Air Force base of Schleswig near Jagel, northern Germany.
AP

In the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, Germany has changed policy and decided to join the fighting against Islamic State in Syria.

"Today the government took difficult but important and necessary decisions," Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told reporters after meeting with lawmakers. "We are standing with France, which was hit by these inhuman attacks from IS." 

 A senior lawmaker for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives confirmed on Thursday that Germany will deploy Tornado jets for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering missions, as well as warship, to support France.

"Germany will be a more active contributor than it has been until now," Henning Otte, defence expert for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) said in a statement on Thursday.

"Not only will we bolster our training mission in northern Iraq but we will, among other things, make a contribution to the fight against IS terror with Tornado reconnaissance jets." The German army previously operated these jets in Afghanistan.

Berlin expects to commit between four and six Tornado jets, provide satellite support, refueling planes and a frigate to help protect the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which the French navy has sent to the eastern Mediterranean to support air strikes in both Syria and Iraq.

The moves follow attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris on November 13 that killed 130 people and led Hollande to call for a grand coalition of countries to fight ISIS.