Germany is reportedly in talks with the US to provide military aircraft to patrol a safe zone in northern Syria proposed by Donald Trump, like reported by telegraph.co.uk/.
Angela Merkel’s government has been in secret talks the US over the plans for several months, according to Spiegel magazine.
The proposals could see German Tornado fighters patrolling Syrian air space to protect the country’s Kurds from attack by Isil or Turkey.
The planned force is seen as an opportunity for the US and Germany to find common ground. The two countries have been increasingly at odds during President Trump’s tenure, particularly over military cooperation.
But the proposed German involvement could be scuppered by opposition from Mrs Merkel’s coalition partners, the centre-Left Social Democrats (SPD).
Mr Trump proposed a safe zone along the Turkish-Syrian border in a tweet earlier this year in order to protect the US’ Kurdish allies from attack.
Last year he ordered US troops to begin withdrawing from northern Syria, arguing Isil is all but defeated.
But the planned withdrawal has come under heavy criticism, with opponents arguing it will leave the US’ Kurdish allies at the mercy of Turkish forces.
For Germany, sending aircracft to patrol the safe zone would be a step-up in its military involvement in the region.
The German air force already has Tornados in the skies over Syria, but they only provide reconnaissance and refuelling for for air strikes by US-led coalition forces. Germany has also sent soldiers to train Kurdish peshmerga forces in northern Iraq.
Germany has come under intense pressure from Mr Trump’s demands for Nato’s European members to pay more towards the cost of their own defence. Despite a major increase this year, German military spending still lags far behind Nato’s target of 2 per cent of GDP.
The Syrian operation is seen as an opportunity for Germany to prove it is a reliable military ally.
“We should be sympathetic to the US government’s request,” Jürgen Hardt, a foreign policy spokesman for Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrat party (CDU), told Spiegel.
But military deployments abroad remain deeply controversial in Germany because of its Nazi past, and the new proposals face serious opposition from Mrs Merkel’s coalition partners.
“The SPD pushed through last year that the current Tornado deployment expires this autumn,” Rolf Mützenich, the party’s foreign policy spokesman, said. “An extension or change of the mandate is in our view out of the question.”
Under Germany law, all military deployments must be approved by parliament, and Mrs Merkel could struggle to find a majority without the support of the SPD.