German defense minister visits German troops at Jordan base

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Germany's defense minister is visiting a Jordanian air base where German troops have been stationed since October as part of an international military campaign against Islamic State extremists.

A group of German parliamentarians accompanied Ursula von der Leyen on a tour Saturday of the Azraq base in northern Jordan.

The German contingent was initially stationed in Turkey, but moved to Jordan after Turkey repeatedly barred German parliamentarians from visiting the troops.

The Islamic State group has lost large swaths of territory it once controlled in Syria and Iraq, Jordan's neighbors. The future of the anti-IS mission is unclear.

Four German reconnaissance planes and a refueling aircraft fly missions from Azraq, with an average of 280 German troops stationed there.

Jordan is as a key ally in the U.S.-led military campaign.