Germany rules out air strikes, ground troops against IS

 Germany has ruled out participation in air strikes or any other ground offensive against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, denying reports that it was under pressure to provide air support to the US forces.

Berlin: Germany has ruled out participation in air strikes or any other ground offensive against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, denying reports that it was under pressure to provide air support to the US forces.

"There is no question of German soldiers getting involved in an armed conflict in Iraq," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a TV interview last night.
Steinmeier denied reports Germany was under pressure to join the US and France in air strikes against the IS in Iraq.

"No, the coalition doesn't work that way," he said, adding that the international alliance, which was formed recently to eliminate the threat posed by the jihadist group, will operate on the basis of a "division of labour" and Germany has taken over its responsibilities.

Germany announced last month to arm and train the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, who are battling IS militants in Iraq.

Alliance partners have appreciated Germany's decision to supply 'Milan' anti-tank missiles, thousands of machine guns, transport vehicles and night vision equipment to the Kurdish forces, he said.

Moreover, German soldiers are involved in distributing humanitarian assistance to the Kurdish provincial capital Irbil, he said.

IS had taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria since June and declared a Caliphate in areas under their control.
Steinmeier stressed the need for an international strategy to degrade and destroy IS.

He also rejected the possibility of cooperation between the West and the Syrian government to combat IS in Syria.

He also voiced his opposition to lifting a ban on the activities of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), even though it had offered to protect Yezidis, Christians and other minorities in Iraq persecuted by the IS militants.

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