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Merkel says military efforts needed in Syria but they won’t end war

Merkel said she had spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the conflict in Syria on the sidelines of a meeting in Paris

Published: Updated:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a German radio station that military efforts were necessary in Syria even though they would not put an end to the four-year-old civil war there.

Merkel said she had spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the conflict in Syria on the sidelines of a meeting in Paris on Friday with him and the leaders of France and Ukraine.

“Regarding Syria, I said for the first time: We will need military efforts, but military efforts will not bring the solution; we need a political process but that has not really got going very well yet,” she told Deutschlandfunk.

Merkel also said it would be necessary to involve the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in talks.

Her comments show that support is broadening for military action in Syria and also that Assad will need to play a role at the negotiating table in discussions on ending the war.

The United States and its allies are involved in military action in Syria and Russia has also launched air strikes, saying on Saturday it would step these up.

Germany is not taking part in any military action in Syria but in neighboring Iraq it is providing Kurdish Peshmerga forces with weapons and training.

On the necessity of involving Assad’s government in talks, she said: “It doesn’t mean that we don’t see the terrible effects of what Assad has done and is doing to this day with barrel bombs against the population there,” she said.

“But to get to a political solution, I need both the representatives of the Syrian opposition and those who are currently ruling in Damascus and others as well to get real successes and then above all the allies of the respective groups.”

Merkel said she hoped such a process would get started now and Russia, the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Iran could play an important role as well as Germany, France and Britain.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem has suggested it would be impossible to end the crisis in his country solely through political negotiations, saying on Friday that no one should think they could achieve in talks what they failed to achieve in the field.