syria sirija damask.jpg
Photograph: EPA/MOHAMMED BADRA

Four German Tornado reconnaissance jets stationed in Turkey are scheduled to begin operations in Syria against the extremist militia organization Islamic State on Friday.

Initially, one flight per day - consisting of two planes - is planned from NATO's Incirlik air base in Turkey, a spokesman for the German military said. The frequency of flights could be increased later.

Aiding the international coalition as it seeks to destroy Islamic State forces is seen as one of the most sensitive missions in the history of Germany's post-war military.

The planes are planned to be used for reconnaissance missions and not for bombing Islamic State positions.

On Monday, more than 100 German air force members, including pilots, technicians, ground crew and reconnaissance specialists, were deployed from Hamburg to the Incirlik base to begin their mission in Syria.

The German government pledged as many 1,200 soldiers to fight Islamic State in reaction to the terrorist attacks in Paris in November, where 130 people were killed. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

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