Just under a week after the proposal by Secretary of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) to set up an international security zone in the hitherto Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria, the possible configuration remains unclear.
According to SPIEGEL information, the Ministry of Defense has calculated that in a hypothetical German participation about 2500 soldiers of the Bundeswehr would have to be used. These could then take over the lead in a zone of 40 kilometers in length and 30 kilometers in breadth, and set themselves three robust combat battalions.
But even in the Ministry of Defense officials do not know what scenario they should go out in terms of their boss's plans. At the request of the German Press Agency, a spokesman said: "As long as mission, scope, participating nations and capabilities required for a hitherto unclear mission are unclear, no one can speak seriously about numbers." Against the background, numbers games are "speculative."
CDU Vice Laschet: "What does she mean, there are many questions open"
Above all, it is unclear how an international protection force should be mandated within the framework of the United Nations, because the UN Security Council would require the consent of Russia. In Syria, the position of ruler Bashar al-Assad - especially due to the military help of Russia and Iran - is consolidated after years of civil war. Due to the military offensive of Turkey in the north against the Kurdish militia YPG, the Kurds - so far Assad's opponents - have allied for fear of the Turkish offensive with the ruler in Damascus.
The criticism of the Vorpreschen Kramp-Karrenbauers does not stop. The Defense Minister also disputes from within her own ranks, such as CDU vice-president Armin Laschet. Many things are still in the near future: "What does she mean, does she mean a UNO Blue Helm mission? Does she want a combat mission? There are many questions unanswered." He also said to the "Augsburger Allgemeine": "I think it's easier to vote in a coalition."
Especially Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) had reacted irritated to the Syria initiative Kramp-Karren Bauer. The initiative was not coordinated within the grand coalition in Berlin. Maas had just been informed via SMS on Monday, Kramp-Karrenbauer would say something to Syria. Details did not call him Cabinet colleague on demand.
Bundeswehr Association to Chancellor: "This must finally become a top priority"
Foreign Minister Maas travels to Turkey on Saturday. There he will meet his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Cavusoglu in Ankara a good two weeks after the Turkish invasion of Syria and wants to invade a permanent ceasefire. He also wants to call for compliance with international law in dealing with refugees and support for political peace efforts for Syria.
Because Maas had repeatedly criticized the Turkish military operation against the Kurds, Cavusoğlu warned the German against appearing with a "wagging finger" and wanting to teach Turkey. If Maas did that, he would receive a "corresponding answer". Whether Maas will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is still unclear. Erdogan had recently described Maas as a "political dilettante".
The head of the Bundeswehr Association, André Wüstner, has been urged by Angela Merkel that the Chancellor must take care of the North Syrian conflict herself. Germany must use all political means to persuade Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to end his military offensive in northern Syria, Wüstner told the "Rheinische Post". "Due to our very own security interests, this must finally become a matter for the Chancellery."
To reflect in the SPD to question the NATO membership of Turkey because of the offensive, Wüstner said: "As understandable as the anger over the Turkish policy is: A expulsion from NATO can not be the solution." Turkey is "an important partner on the eastern flank of the Alliance". NATO should not "lose" Turkey to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Half of Germans against Bundeswehr soldiers in Syria
Other experts warned Maas against harshly go to court with Turkey. The head of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, told the SPIEGEL: "We have to prevent a lasting crisis in relations with our NATO partner Turkey." In addition "the suggestion of Mrs. Kramp Karrenbauer can make a contribution".
For the Director of the Science and Politics Foundation (SWP), Volker Perthes, some reactions to the military offensive of Turkey are exaggerated. Demands for a NATO expulsion or a total export stop are "absurd and excessive". SPD parliamentary leader Rolf Mützenich had told the newspapers of the Funke-Mediengruppe: "Everyone has to check for themselves whether they still can and want to be part of NATO." This also applies to Turkey. "
On the idea of a deployment of German soldiers in Syria shows a recent survey a mixed picture: In an online survey of the Institute Civey for the "Augsburger Allgemeine" explained 49 percent of the well 5000 respondents, they were against a German military involvement. 40 percent supported a corresponding Bundeswehr deployment.