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Questions and answers: What does the Turkish Syria offensive mean for Germany?

2019-10-09T14:52:30.494Z

TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates



Berlin (dpa) - Despite all warnings from NATO allies, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his announcement true: On Wednesday afternoon, he announced on Twitter the beginning of the military offensive in northern Syria to combat the Kurdish YPG militia, by Turkey as a terrorist organization is seen. The attack could be effective far beyond the region - even in Germany.

What is the Federal Government's opinion on the attack?

She has warned against it in clear terms. A military intervention by Turkey could lead to a further escalation in Syria and to an additional destabilization of the country, said the deputy government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer shortly after the announcement of the invasion plans. "Of course, it would also have fatal security and humanitarian consequences."

Are more refugees from Syria coming to Europe now?

What is certain is that a new escape movement is triggered. However, it is not yet clear where the civilians can find refuge. In the short term, a part of the predominantly Kurdish population could go to northern Iraq. If Turkey permanently occupies its homeland, at least some of these people should try to reach Europe in the medium term.

On the other hand, it is not very likely that Syrian refugees from Germany could be placed in the "security zone" provided by Turkey. Firstly, the Turkish government wants to settle mainly Syrians who have found shelter in the country with them. It is also unclear who would provide security in the area - for example, from air raids by the Syrian army and its Russian allies.

Is this country with attacks expected?

The security authorities believe that attacks by militant Kurdish groups on businesses, clubs, mosques and other facilities of Turkish migrants in Germany are possible. This year, several Kurds were sentenced to prison terms after the Turkish military offensive in northern Syria in early 2018.

And what about the danger from the IS?

It can not be ruled out that fighters of the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS), who are being held captive by the Kurds, will use the war turmoil to escape and regroup. An opportunity for escape could also result for the IS women and their children living in the Syrian camps Roj and Al-Hol. The Kurds and their previous US patronage have repeatedly called on Germany and other states to retrieve their nationals. Germany has so far referred to some still unresolved identities and possible risks for the German population.

The Foreign Office only organized the departure of some children. According to the Federal Government, at the end of September, 111 Islamists who had left Germany were detained in Syria. Only some of them have evidence of initiation of preliminary investigations in Germany.

Can the Bundeswehr be involved in the Turkish operation?

The Bundeswehr is not deployed in Syria with ground forces. However, the Luftwaffe flies over the war zone with reconnaissance aircraft seeking positions or hiding places of the Islamic State (IS) terror militia. The results can only be used for the fight of the international anti-IS coalition against the extremists. To ensure this, there is a so-called Red Card Holder, who pulls out the red card, if orders to the Luftwaffe or the use of the material violate the German mandate. This is intended, for example, to prevent the Turkish military from obtaining information about Kurdish positions from German sources.

Will the Bundeswehr's anti-IS operation be extended anyway?

The Federal Cabinet has already decided that. But the last word has the Bundestag, which will decide in October. So far no one has questioned the planned extension of the government factions. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on a visit to Mali on Tuesday that she considers training for Kurds in Northern Iraq even more important. The stationing of German Tornado reconnaissance jets in Jordan and the use of tankers for the anti-IS coalition is to run according to Cabinet decision only until 31 March 2020.

What does the offensive mean for German-Turkish relations?

After a phase of relaxation since the beginning of last year, they will be put to a new stress test. In the last Syria invasion of Turkey in the Afrin region, however, the criticism of the German government on the NATO partner had certain limits. So she refused to say whether she considers the operation for international law or not.

Foreign Office of Turkey

Foreign Office on Syria

Source: zeit

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