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Germany’s jets could be out of the ISIS fight for weeks after leaving Incirlik air base

German warplanes could be out of the Coalition's ISIS fight for weeks after Berlin pulls troops from Turkey's Incirlik air base amid a row with Ankara

Germany is relocating is troops and aircraft from the İncirlik air base in Turkey to Jordan, making its jets temporarily unavailable to the US-led Coalition against Islamic State.

However, Berlin is working hard to close the gap as soon as possible, a spokesman for the German Federal Ministry of Defense told Grasswire.

“Presently we assume that our tanker will be back on operation after about two to three weeks, the reconnaissance Tornados after about two to three months,” the spokesperson said.

“Germany will work hard on minimizing the time our tanker and our recce aircraft are not available to the Counter ISIL coalition.”

Germany to relocate military troops from Turkey’s Incirlik base to Jordan

The spokesperson added that Berlin is in close contact with the Coalition to ensure prompt return of the jets.

On June 7, the German cabinet recommended the withdrawal of Bundeswehr troops from Turkey. The Bundestag confirmed on Wednesday that the troops and aircraft will be relocated to Al Azraq air base in Jordan.

German soldiers, Tornado reconnaissance jets and other planes based at İncirlik currently conduct surveillance operations and refueling flights in support of the Coalition.

The decision to move operations came after Ankara blocked a Bundestag delegation from visiting 260 German soldiers based at İncirlik.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel made the announcement on Monday after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said “a visit to the NATO base in Konya is possible, not İncirlik.”

Qatar blockade

The move comes as the Coalition is facing an issue with another base used to conduct sorties in Iraq and Syria.

US Department of Defense spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said on Friday that the isolation of Qatar by several states in the Gulf region has hindered the Coalition’s ability to make long-term plans for anti-ISIS operations.

“While current operations from Al Udeid Air Base have not been interrupted or curtailed, the evolving situation is hindering our ability to plan for longer-term military operations,” Davis said.

Six Gulf and Middle Eastern nations, including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Egypt and Libya, announced on Monday that they are severing diplomatic ties with Qatar after accusing the government of supporting terrorist groups.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said later that the blockade was already impacting Coalition operations. “The blockade is hindering US military actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS,” he said in a short press briefing during which he did not take questions.


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