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Germany, EU funding militants in Idlib: Tagesspiegel

12 November 2018 14:23

 

The German government and other EU members are funding militants still present in Idlib and involved in a conflict against the Syrian army, Germany’s Tagesspiegel newspaper has revealed.  

According to the report cited by British daily the Telegraph on Sunday, “no less than 37.5 million euros” has been transferred to militant groups in Idlib by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In total, Berlin has paid nearly 49 million euros to militants fighting to topple the Syrian government and facilitated the transfer of similar funds by other EU members, it added.

Those funds included “11.3 million other sources, or 17 million euros from the European Union, for which Germany would have played an intermediary role.”

According to the report, the German government does not communicate the precise list of recipients of the funds for fear of angering Russia and other sides involved in the Syria war.

This file photo shows Jabhat al-Nusra militants at the entrance of Idlib in northwest Syria.

The information was revealed in an answer given by German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Walter Lindner to a question asked by Member of European Parliament Evrim Sommer, to which Tagesspiegel was able to have access.

The report comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian and Turkish leaders in Istanbul late last month to discuss a solution to the Syria conflict.

Ankara has long backed militants seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, while Moscow is a close ally of the Syrian government in its relentless fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

Merkel apparently rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call to financially contribute to Syria’s reconstruction after they met outside Berlin in August.

Germany is a member of a US-led coalition which has been bombarding Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Syrian government or a UN mandate.

Just recently, Berlin said it was in talks with Washington and other allies about a possible involvement in airstrikes on Syria if it used chemical weapons.

Syria and Russia have warned of a “false flag” chemical attack by militants in order to give the US and its allies an excuse to target Syrian troops which have sought to evict terrorists from their last stronghold in Idlib.

Germany has reportedly deployed special forces to northern Syria to aid US-backed Kurdish militants. In September, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Germany would not reject a possible longer-term deployment of troops to the Middle East.

She made the remarks during a visit to the Azraq air base in Jordan where some 300 German troops are operating as part of the US-led coalition.

The US and its allies characterize their military presence in the region as part of their war on Daesh, but fiercely oppose a final push by Syrian troops against terrorists in Idlib.

Extremists from across Europe joined Daesh in droves in 2014, when the Takfiri terror group launched its campaign of bloodshed and destruction in Iraq and Syria.

Back then, many European leaders ignored repeated warnings that militants could return home one day and that they would pose a security challenge for years to come across the continent.

Last month, Germany said more than a hundred militants, who had been fighting in Iraq and Syria, had returned to the country, but among them only dozens were being investigated for possible terror links.

German Interior Ministry said in a statement that they knew of 124 people, who were part of at least 249 people who had traveled from Germany to Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile, some 40 percent of at least 900 Britons who traveled to Syria to join Daesh had returned to the United Kingdom, but UK counter-terrorism chief Neil Basu said they were no longer considered a main threat.

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