DN - Defence Notes

Germany says Syria did not eradicate chemical arsenal

12th April 2018 - 18:49 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Berlin

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on 12 April that an alleged toxic gas attack blamed on Damascus showed that Syrian President Bashar al Assad's regime failed to eradicate its chemical arsenal, but she ruled out joining any military action against Syria.

Noting that there is ‘strong evidence’ that Damascus deployed the chemical weapons, Merkel said: ‘We... must now acknowledge that it is obvious that the destruction was not completely carried out.’

Damascus narrowly avoided US and French air strikes in 2013 in retaliation for a suspected sarin attack by agreeing to hand over its chemical arsenal.

Following the alleged chemical attack in rebel-held Douma on 7 April, US President Donald Trump ratcheted up the pressure on Damascus, warning in a series of tweets that ‘missiles will be coming’ in retaliation.

Merkel said a ‘full spectrum of measures’ will be considered in response to the gas attack, but ruled out any military deployment.

Merkel said: ‘Germany will not participate militarily, but we will provide our support if the representatives in the UN Security Council ... were to take steps beyond diplomatic measures.’

Germany has deployed reconnaissance and refuelling flights as part of the international anti-jihadist operation in Syria.

But any further military role would require parliamentary approval.

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