BERLIN, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Germany's Cabinet gave its approval on Tuesday for 1,200 German soldiers to join the fight against the Islamic State in Syria, though they'd be restricted to a supporting role.
German forces would provide aerial and satellite reconnaissance, aerial refueling of long-range planes, and the naval escort of a French aircraft carrier. Final approval, by the lower house of Parliament, could come Wednesday.
Germany has been, since World War II, notoriously disinclined to send its troops on overseas missions.
The Cabinet's approval of the plan comes as the German government is sending mixed signals about the country's interest in Syria. While it considers the possibility of working with the Syrian government, Germany has insisted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be persuaded to leave office.
An article by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Layen, published Sunday, noted "the lack of unity among opponents is also a reason for the strength of [the Islamic State]. ... The fight against ISIS must have the highest priority, for France as well as for the USA, China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, the Arab states and us."
Later Sunday, in a television interview, she clarified her point, saying, "There will be no future with Assad, that's clear. That's why the transition phase is so important, but there are some parts of the army in Syria that you certainly can take, just as in the case of Iraq, where the training of local troops has happened successfully."
Her latter comments are similar to those of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who said Friday that cooperation with Syrian government forces against IS was possible "within the framework of a political transition."