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Germany considers joining US-led strikes in Syria 'if chemical weapons used'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously ruled out military strikes in Syria [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 September, 2018

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The move would also signal a U-turn for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has previously said Germany would not take part in 'military missions' in Syria.
Germany is considering joining the US-led coalition in Syria, according to a report in Bild.

The German defense ministry is reportedly in talks with its US counterpart for the Bundeswehr to join possible air strikes by US, UK and French forces on Syrian targets.

The cooperation would mark the first time Germany drops bombs since the Balkans war in the 1990s, Bild said.

However, it would only strike against the regime in the event of another chemical attack.

In April, the US and its European allies carried out punitive strikes against Syrian regime targets after a suspected gas attack in Douma, which killed at least 70 people. 

The coalition warned last month it would strike again if President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against civilians.

If Germany joined the alliance, it would risk direct confrontation with Russia, which supports Assad. It would also signal a U-turn for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has previously said Germany would not take part in "military missions" in Syria.

German forces are already on the ground in Syria but are not active in combat missions. The Bild report said Germany's Tornado jets could take part in reconnaissance flights to assess the aftermath of an attack.

The foreign and defence ministries would not comment on the report in detail, but told Bild they were "in close contact with our US ally".

They also stressed it was important to avoid further escalation in Syria, particularly with regard to "the use of chemical weapons, which the Assad regime has used in the past".

The Social Democrats' (SPD) chair, Andrea Nahles, reacted to the report by saying that "the SPD will not approve Germany joining the war in Syria, neither in parliament nor in the government," according to news agency dpa. The Social Democrats are in a grand coalition with Merkel's CDU party.




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