Merkel calls for European response to Syria, takes flak from opposition

DW – February 22, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called on the European Union to play a greater role in the Syrian conflict, as President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Russia pressed an offensive against a rebel-held enclave near Damascus that has killed hundreds of civilians in the past five days.

“What we see at the moment, the terrible events in Syria, the fight of a regime not against terrorists, but against its own people, the killing of children, the destruction of hospitals, all this is a massacre which has to be condemned,” Merkel told the Bundestag parliament in Berlin in a debate on Thursday.

According to monitors based in the UK, Russian and Syrian regime bombardment of rebel-held eastern Ghouta has killed more than 400 civilians and injured around 2,000 more since Sunday, with residential buildings, hospitals and infrastructure being hit.

Merkel’s comment to the Bundestag comes a day ahead of EU leaders meeting in Brussels and as a coalition agreement drawn up between her conservatives and the Social Democrats is awaiting approval.