BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed Wednesday to increase support for the coalition fighting Islamic State militants and will soon provide German crew members for Airborne Warning and Control System reconnaissance aircraft to monitor Syrian airspace.
Germany is not involved in anti-IS combat operations, but already has Tornado jets and a refueling plane stationed in Turkey in support of the mission, as well as a frigate protecting a French aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.
Since the Islamic State group does not have aircraft, the crews approved for NATO’s upcoming deployment of AWACS planes will monitor the movement of other combatants in and around Syrian airspace.
The deployment could help resolve disputes over who’s responsible for air strikes on civilians and aid groups in Syria.
The plan still needs Parliament’s approval, but isn’t expected to meet resistance.
According to NATO plans, the AWACS patrols will already begin later this month, before the German Parliament signs off on allowing the German aircrews to take part.