The German air force has joined the air power coalition fighting ISIL in Syria.
German Tornado fighter-bombers are being used by coalition air power as spotters for attacks by planes from other forces, notably the US, France and Britain but also Gulf state planes. They will not engage in lethal operations unless fired upon.
In total Germany will deploy six Tornadoes, which will fly from the Incerlik airbase in Turkey.
Also deployed are some 1200 military personnel who will help guard the base and train anti-Assad and anti-ISIL fighters. Germany is also contributing refueling planes and a frigate to help guard France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.
The deployment was approved in the German parliament last week, an unprecedented post-war overseas deployment for the Germans in support of EU partner France.
The government faced lively criticism in the Bundestag, but the vote was won with ease despite many people’s reservations about the effectiveness of such an air campaign.
Germany is also helping France in Africa, sending troops to Mali to join the fight against Islamic extremists there, and taking some of the strain off French forces