German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the statement of her government coalition partner in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) about the possible Bundeswehr involvement in Syria. "Saying “no” in advance to everything that happens in the world cannot be Germany's position," Merkel said on Wednesday, September 12, speaking in the general debate on the Bundestag budget.
"We cannot ignore the use of chemical weapons elsewhere and how the international convention is not respected. This cannot be the answer," said the head of the German government. She noted that Berlin operates in accordance with the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany and "within the framework of our parliamentary obligations."
According to Merkel, Germany cannot "stay detached" from everything. The basic principle of Berlin is ensuring peace by finding a political solution. In the Syrian case, we are in favor of negotiations, in particular, in the Astana format and under the aegis of the UN, continued the chancellor. The day before, SPD chairman Andrea Nahles, commenting on the reports on the possible Bundeswehr participation in the operation in Syria, stated that the Social Democrats "will not approve this step either in the government or in parliament". German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, in turn, noted that "the government will act in accordance with the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany and the international law."
Earlier, the Bild newspaper wrote that the German Defense Ministry is considering the possibility of joining the United States, France and Britain in military operations in Syria. In April 2018, these countries jointly launched air strikes against Syria in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army in Eastern Ghouta.
According to the newspaper, the United States invited Berlin to join the "military alliance against Assad". High-ranking representatives of the German Defense Ministry, including its head Ursula von der Leyen, and Pentagon, discussed this question in late August and early September. Bild writes that among the discussed options there were intelligence gathering flights by Bundeswehr aircraft prior to strikes, reconnaissance flights to determine consequences of the strikes, and direct participation in the air strikes against Assad.