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Germany Votes to Support Fight Against Islamic State

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, casts her vote at the German Federal Parliament in Berlin, Germany, Dec.4, 2015.

Germany's parliament has voted overwhelmingly to send military aid to the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria, answering France's appeal for help after last month's deadly Paris attacks.

Lawmakers in Berlin voted 445-146 Friday to send Tornado reconnaissance jets, a frigate, refueling aircraft and up to 1,200 military personnel to join the coalition against IS.

However, German pilots will not join U.S., British, French and Russian airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria.

Following the Paris attacks on November 13, French President Francois Hollande appealed to the international community to escalate the fight against the Islamic State group.

Behind Paris attacks

IS claimed responsibility for the attacks in France that killed 130 people.

Despite the parliamentary approval, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said a drawn-out conflict in Syria is in nobody's best interest and that a political solution remains a top priority.

"Nobody -- not the Americans, not us, not the Russians -- wants this deployment to go on for many years," Steinmeier said. "I venture to say that if we make progress on a political solution, when we really take steps forward, then the military conflict will be of a manageable length."

Britain, which has been attacking IS targets in Iraq, sent warplanes on additional raids into Syria Thursday after Parliament voted its approval.

Special forces troops

In Washington, President Barack Obama agreed to send special forces troops into Syria. U.S. officials said the small number of American forces on Syrian territory will be "a specialized targeting force" to find and capture key Islamic State militants and gather intelligence about the extremist group.

President Hollande is due to visit the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle Friday off the coast of Syria. The warship was ordered to the eastern Mediterranean after the Paris attacks to expand France's role in the anti-IS campaign.

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