Berlin (dpa) – German troops deployed in Iraq will be partially relocated to Jordan and Kuwait due to the tensions that have followed the US killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
Bases in the capital Baghdad and Taji in particular will be “temporarily thinned out,” Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote in a letter to parliamentarians, a copy of which dpa saw on Tuesday.
Both reiterated that talks were ongoing with the government in Baghdad about a continuation of the German deployment.
“Of course we will respect every sovereign decision of the Iraqi government,” they wrote. “We are in principle ready to continue our tried and tested support as part of an internationally coordinated framework, if this is desired by Iraq and the situation allows it.”
On the situation in Baghdad and Taji, the ministers wrote: “The soldiers deployed there will soon be relocated to Jordan and Kuwait. When the training can be resumed, these forces can be transferred back.”
Because of the tensions over the deadly US airstrike on Soleimani in Iraq, the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State militia in Iraq is preparing a partial withdrawal.
The headquarters for “Operation Inherent Resolve” will be partially relocated to Kuwait, sources told dpa. This would also affect three of the German soldiers posted at the headquarters.
At the Taji military complex in central Iraq, 27 German soldiers who are helping train Iraqi forces will be moved.
Overall, Germany has 415 soldiers participating in the operation, 120 of them in Iraq.