15:42 GMT04 June 2020
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    In proposing to expand foreign influence in northern Syria, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, apparently mixed up the concepts of protection zone and safe zone. Otherwise, a safe zone would be contrary to international law and the German Basic Law, retired Air Force General Harald Kujat explained.

    "We cannot participate in the so-called 'safe zone' because it is a violation of international law against a sovereign state, namely Syria. There will be no UN resolution for that: neither Russia nor the UN Security Council will approve the version, and generally, it is prohibited under the German constitution", retired general Harald Kuyat, who served as the Inspector General of Germany's Bundeswehr, stated.

    On Monday, the Minister of Defence and Leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), in a conversation with Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), demanded to literally create "an internationally controlled security zone" in the Syrian border region with Turkey with the aim of continuing the fight against terror by the Daesh* terrorist organisation and to actually continue the constitutional process that has just begun under the UN resolution.

    Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, in her own words, has already agreed on this initiative with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and will introduce it on Thursday and Friday to the NATO Ministers of Defence in Brussels.

    "Turkey cannot participate in the initiative."

    The German Federal Foreign Office was somewhat surprised by this proposal and declared the need for discussions. Kramp-Karrenbauer's phrasing, in Kuyat's view, is clumsy. He proceeds from the fact that Kramp-Karrenbauer incorrectly named what she had in mind:

    Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Tal Abyad after Turkish bombings, in a picture taken from the Turkish side of the border near Akcakale in the Sanliurfa province on October 9, 2019.
    © AFP 2020 / BULENT KILIC
    Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Tal Abyad after Turkish bombings, in a picture taken from the Turkish side of the border near Akcakale in the Sanliurfa province on October 9, 2019.
    "She probably meant the protection zone, in the UN vocabulary – a "safe haven". On the other hand, a security zone would be what Turkey is pursuing, arguing its need for a security zone as a defence measure against Kurdish attacks on Turkey. Of course, this is just an excuse", Kujat said.

    Kramp-Karrenbauer had just mentioned the inclusion of Turkey and Russia in her proposal, however firmly ruling out Turkey's participation in the alleged "security zone".

    "Turkey cannot participate in this initiative because it has violated international law". Ankara's real intention is to gain control over the 440-kilometre security zone that runs from Manbij in the west, to the Iraqi border in the east and goes 30 kilometres deep into the Syrian territory.

    Turkey's attack on northern Syria should mean thousands of Daesh fighters being released there with consequences for Europe's security. A protection zone in northern Syria would primarily provide for a so-called peacekeeping and peace-enforcement mission and should help resolve the situation.

    Kujat considers this idea reasonable and believes the UN Security Council could approve it.

    "That would first have to be coordinated with Russia, as the force responsible for order in the region, as well as with the Syrian government".

    After all, Russia's intervention has brought a positive development in the conflict, the expert said. However, he doubts that this initiative will be implemented.

    "It is not my task to interpret the words of Kramp-Karrenbauer, and she should clarify. But I believe that is not what she means". However, the defence minister did not rule out the possible participation of the Bundeswehr in the "security zone". In any case, the Bundestag will have to decide.

    The SPD has so far, been rather critical of the Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer initiative. It had not been agreed with the Social Democrats, Fritz Felgentreu, the SPD's defence expert in Parliament, said on Tuesday in a commentary for Deutschlandfunk.

    "I also have a lot of questions in this context. The fact that we are sceptical is obvious", he said.

    Previously, Roderich Kiesewetter, a special representative for foreign affairs on the German Bundestag's Committee on Foreign Affairs from CDU/CSU, spoke out on Monday in a debate over the creation of a humanitarian protection zone that could be secured by 30,000 to 40,000 soldiers from EU countries.

    "Of course, one must be prepared to send European soldiers there, including from the Bundeswehr", Kiesewetter said on RBB Inforadio.

    * Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Daesh, Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Operation Peace Spring, Russia, Turkey, Syria, Germany
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