The German lower house of parliament has approved military action in Syria against Islamic State (Isis). The anti-IS (Daesh) mission was approved by 445 lawmakers against 146 and seven abstentions.
The military action will include dispatching six Tornado reconnaissance jets and the Augsburg frigate to protect French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which is in the eastern Mediterranean, and refuelling aircraft. Germany will also send 1,200 military personnel under UN and EU collective security laws. Unlike Britain, France, the US and Russia, Germany will not conduct air strikes against IS positions in Syria.
Many MPs were initially reluctant to approve military action but changed their minds after the Paris attacks on 13 November, in which 130 people were killed by IS militants. Ministers believe Germany is now an IS target and want to show solidarity with France, which requested collaboration after the terrorist attacks.
"I would not have imagined two years ago what sort of an abyss we would be staring into," Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said earlier in December. The mandate, which will cost €134m (£97m, $146m), is the country's biggest current military operation abroad and will last until 31 December 2016.
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas told Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper that the Syria operation will be within the framework of international law. "There are three resolutions of the UN Security Council against IS, which cover the submitted mandate. In addition, France can quite rightly cite the support obligations of its EU partners," he said.
Germany's opposition Left party opposed the motion and its leader, former UN chemical weapons observer and foreign affairs spokesman Jan van Aken, said the mission was a "big mistake" drawn up in only "three days".
The German army says forces will be deployed "in and over Syria where IS is operating, on the territory of states whose governments have given approval [to Germany], in the eastern Mediterranean, Gulf, Red Sea and adjoining seas".