Germany Seeks European Intervention on Disputed Syria-Turkey Border

A Turkish army tank moves towards the Syrian border on October 18, 2019 in Ceylanpinar, Turkey. Turkish forces appeared to continue shelling targets in Northern Syria despite yesterday's announcement, by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, that Turkey had agreed to a ceasefire in its assault on Kurdish-held towns near its …
Burak Kara/Getty Images

Germany’s defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants European nations to contribute combat forces to an international security zone on the Syria-Turkey border, however she can give no guarantee German troops will take part.

The proposal comes after Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters invaded northern Syria earlier this month, after President Donald Trump pulled back American troops who had partnered with Syrian Kurdish forces against the Islamic State group.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told German news agency dpa on Tuesday, “the creation of an internationally controlled security zone with the inclusion of Turkey and Russia” would have the goal of deescalating the situation in northern Syria.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said it was outside her remit to commit German troops and the German parliament would need to decide if they could participate in such a zone. She also told broadcaster Deutsche Welle that Chancellor Angela Merkel had been informed of the proposal.

Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, must approve foreign deployments of the Bundeswehr, Germany’s military.

The German government considers the Turkey led incursion to be a violation of international law, but so far has only restricted some military exports to Turkey along with other states including Spain, Sweden the United Kingdom and Canada.

“We don’t believe that an attack on Kurdish units or Kurdish militia is legitimate under international law,” AFP reported Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as saying on Sunday. “If there is no basis in international law for such an invasion, then it can’t be in accordance with international law.”

Kramp-Karrenbauer’s proposal could increase tensions within Merkel’s ruling coalition as the co-governing Social Democrats reject outright any direct German military involvement in Syria.

Kramp-Karrenbauer defended her idea, saying she could no longer hear German politicians merely saying they were concerned about the violence in Syria without acting. Germany and its ruling parties must do more and help solve international crises, the minister said.

One thing that can be assured is that the U.S. will not be joining any military security zone.

Speaking last Wednesday to reporters in the Oval Office, President Trump said the conflict between Turkey and Syria is between the two Middle Eastern countries alone, as Britbart News reported.

“They have a problem at the border; it’s not our border,” the president said.

“If Syria wants to fight for their land, that’s up to Turkey and Syria,” he added. “Syria may have some help with Russia, and that’s fine. It’s a lot of sand. They’ve got a lot of sand over there. So there’s a lot of sand that they can play with.”

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