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Germans fear terrorism if army fights in Syria

DPA/The Local · 1 Dec 2015, 08:41

Published: 01 Dec 2015 08:41 GMT+01:00

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According to the survey by YouGov, 71 percent of Germans believe the threat is high and only 18 percent think there is no increased threat caused by Germany's planned commitment of its armed forces to Syria.

On Tuesday morning the government agreed to send several Tornado reconnaissance jets, a refuelling plane and a warship to take part in the military operations against the jihadi organization.  The Bundestag (German parliament) will also now have to vote on the mission.

The planned participation of the Bundeswehr (German army) is a response from Germany to the terrorist attacks on Paris on November 13th.

The Bundeswehr mission - which is set to involve 1,200 military personnel - would be restricted to 12 months, the normal mandate given for army missions in Germany. It is estimated to cost €134 million.

Within the German population, support for the mission is relatively high: 45 percent are for it, 39 percent are against, the poll revealed.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier defended the mission and warned that solving the problem posed by Isis would take "a long breath".

"We're doing what is required militarily, what suits our strengths, and what we find politically responsible," he told Bild newspaper. "But it remains my conviction that with bombs and rockets alone terror won't be beaten. That takes political processes."

The government is also considering working with Syrian troops, although which troops remains unclear.

At the weekend, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Germany would consider working with Syrian soldiers, the implication appearing to be cooperation with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. But on Monday she appeared to backtrack from this position, saying that "there is no future with Assad".

The Linke (left party) reject a military operation. Party leader Bernd Riexinger described it as "breaking a taboo and irresponsible, because with it the terrorism risk here at home will also rise".

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DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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