German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that her country « will not take part in military actions » against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. However, she said her government will « support everything that is done to mean that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable ».
Merkel was reacting to threats of strikes by France and the United States in recent days in retaliation for the recent alleged chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Duma, in eastern Ghouta, which fell to the Syrian army on Thursday.
Emmanuel Macron remained firm in his accusations claiming on French TV to have « proof » that « chemical weapons were used, at least chlorine, and that they were used by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad ». The first experts of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are on their way to Syria and will start their work on Saturday, the UN dependent organisation said on Thursday. The OPCW will meet on Monday to discuss the alleged chemical attack, which killed at least 40 people.
« We must now recognise that it is clear that the destruction [of Syrian chemical weapons] has not been total, » said the German Chancellor. Without the agreement of the Chamber of Deputies, no operation of the Bundeswehr (the German army) can take place overseas. Germany has deployed reconnaissance missions and refuelled aircraft over Syria and Iraq, but only as part of the international coalition against militant groups.
Russia, one of the most loyal supporters of the Syrian regime, warned Western capitals against launching any military operations in Syria, threatening « grave consequences ».