BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:10 P.M.) – The U.S. military has asked their German counterparts to extend their mission in Syria until the last remnants of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) are eliminated, Der Spiegel reported on Friday.
The Der Spiegel article said a U.S. general asked the German military to extend its reconnaissance and tank missions in Syria, as the Islamic State has not been fully defeated on the ground.
The German publication cited a confidential letter they received in May from the head of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), General Kenneth McKenzie, to Germany’s Chief of Defense, General Eberhard Zorn.
According to Der Spiegel, McKenzie reportedly commended Germany’s reconnaissance mission and asked the Bundeswehr armed forces to continue “support in the provision of surveillance flights, air refueling and army training in Iraq.”
“Only with the continuation of permanent air surveillance for our men and women … can we ensure a dominance that is crucial for the success of the coalition,” he wrote.
Germany’s coalition government agreed last year to end all reconnaissance flights and refueling missions by the end of October 2019.
SPD Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who on Friday visited the airbase in Jordan where Germany’s Tornado reconnaissance aircraft are located, suggested last week that an extension was possible.
“Everything else will have to be discussed and decided in the Bundestag in due course,” he said after a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“We very much welcome the fact that the United States has decided to maintain its presence on the ground,” Maas said.
Sources: Der Spiegel, DW