Germany has warned Russia to stop covering up the crimes in Syria if it wants to be a respected international partner, adding that Russia will be carrying alone the burden of rebuilding Syria if it refuses negotiations and solutions.
Russia launched an air campaign on 30 September 2015 in support of Assad regime forces, in a military intervention that has helped to turn the balance of power in favor of President Bashar al-Assad.
Since then, Russia has been a partner with Assad regime in its war against the Syrian civilians, by taking part in bombing rebel-held areas, killing thousands of civilians, supervising deals of demographic change in Syria, and covering up the regime’s crimes by changing the truths and blocking any international move against the regime.
In the latest deadly incident, more than 87 civilians were killed in Syria in a new chemical attack carried out by Assad regime’s air force on the rebel-held Idlib province on April 4.
Medical sources said that more than 300 other civilians were injured in this attack, and many of them were transferred to hospitals near the Turkish borders or inside Turkey, where poison tests were made.
In a sharp escalation of the U.S. military role in Syria, two U.S. warships fired dozens of cruise missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea at the airbase controlled by Assad regime forces from which the attack as carried out.
Trump ordered the strikes just a day after he pointed the finger at Assad for this week’s chemical attack.
“Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.”
“Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically,” Trump said on Thursday.
Russia condemned the strikes, saying Washington’s action would “inflict major damage on US-Russia ties”, according to Russian news agencies.
Negotiations table is the solution
Germany has warned Russia it must come to the negotiating table if it wants any other country to help bear the huge financial burden of rebuilding war-ravaged Syria.
The country’s Foreign Minister said it is impossible for Russia to alone pay for Syria’s regeneration and that Moscow will have to ensure there are no more pictures of “children murdered by poison gas” if it wants to be a respected international partner.
Speaking following Boris Johnson’s failure to win strong backing for new sanctions on Russian and Syrian figures, German chief diplomat Sigmar Gabriel said there could be no “solution overnight” to the conflict.
Gabriel highlighted that there are things the West can offer Russia to entice it out of isolation on Syria.
He said: “Firstly, there would be no rebuilding of Syria as long as there is no change.
“Nobody would invest in Syria as long as there is war and civil war. Nobody would finance Assad and Russia knows that it cannot carry this financial burden alone.
“Secondly, I believe that Russia wants to be a respected international partner. One could not stand on the side of a regime that – not for the first time – had used poisonous gas against its own civilian population.”
Gabriel said he did not believe Russian politicians or civilians wish to see further “pictures of mothers and fathers carrying their children murdered by poison gas”, nor to see Russia supporting such a regime.
Sanctions on Russia
His words came after Britain’s failure to secure immediate support for sanctions at the G7 in Italy this week – in response to the Idlib chemical weapons attack – with allies Germany, the EU and Canada underlining the need for due process.
Asked about the sanctions, Gabriel said: “One cannot expect to come to a solution overnight after so many years of war.
“And Russia would not say ‘right, now we’ll do things how you want’ from one day to the next. Instead, a range of talks will be held.”
He called for the Geneva round of talks to be broadened to include Russia, the US, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
However, speaking later to British television, Johnson said there had been an agreement on support for further sanctions if evidence can be gathered against those involved in last week’s poison gas attack on a rebel Syrian town that killed 87 people.
Johnson said Britain and its European partners would await the outcome of an investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
“There was a very wide measure of agreement last night that … if we can show complicity by those Russian officers who are helping the Syrian military operation, then they should also be sanctionable as well,” he told the BBC.
Johnson also said there was no evidence that Russia knew of plans for a gas attack.
“Did they know that Assad was going to unleash chemical weapons? We have no evidence for that, we don’t know whether the Russians were involved at all,” Johnson told Sky News.
“It may very well be that they (Russia) have simply been betrayed by their client, by the guy they have been backing.”
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.