Germany Rejects US Demand for Ground Troops in Syria

Germany will contribute to anti-ISIS operation, but no ground troops

US plans to withdraw some of their ground troops from Syria continue to advance, and US officials made clear over the weekend that those plans would be far more convenient if Germany sent some ground troops into Syria to replace the Americans.

Germany, however, announced on Monday that they will not be sending any ground troops. Spokesman Steffan Seibert said Germany will continue to contribute to anti-ISIS operations, but that the framework of the coalition has always made clear that wouldn’t include German ground troops.

US officials were keen to push Germany on the deployment, because President Trump wants them spending more on their military. Officials argued that the deployments could be presented as “non-combat” troops to avoid controversy within Germany.

That’s clearly not the way it works, however. German officials were quick to say that sending troops to Syria would almost certainly be illegal, given post-WW2 laws intended to limit Germany’s engaging in overseas adventures.

German MPs are seen as broadly against expanding the Syrian operation to include ground troops, and between legal restrictions that the German government actually follows and a parliament that actually gets consulted, there was just no way German Chancellor Angela Merkel was going to be able to send troops even if she was so inclined.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.