U.S. Asks Germany for More Military Help in Fight Against IS

BERLIN (Reuters) -
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter  concludes a joint news conference with British Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon, at the Pentagon, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter concludes a joint news conference with British Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon, at the Pentagon, Friday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The United States has asked Germany for more military help in the fight against Islamic State, a German magazine reported on Saturday, a week after the U.K. Parliament approved a plan to join the campaign in Syria.

Der Spiegel said U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter had sent a letter asking for a bigger military contribution from Berlin.

Its mission currently includes six Tornado reconnaissance jets, a frigate to protect the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, refueling aircraft and up to 1,200 troops.

The deployment is a direct response to a French appeal for solidarity after terrorist attacks in Paris killed 130 people. Germany does not plan to carry out air strikes in Syria.

A German Defense Ministry spokesman confirmed that a letter had been received from the United States and its content was under consideration, giving no further details.

Germany has over the last two years shown a growing readiness to commit troops to foreign missions.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said last week that Germany might need bigger armed forces to cope with the more assertive role.

She said an analysis into staffing and the organization of combat forces would report in a couple of months on whether personnel levels were appropriate.

More than 3,000 personnel are currently deployed overseas and the Syria mission will raise that by up to 1,200. Von der Leyen also wants to send 650 troops to Mali to help the French campaign against Islamist terrorists there.

Germany last year started arming Iraqi Kurds fighting Islamic State.