German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) attends a press conference with Malaysian Prime minister Najib Razak (unseen) at the chancellery in Berlin on September 27, 2016. (Photos by AFP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced skepticism over the implementation of a no-fly zone over Syria.
“Given the way the situation is at the moment, I’m skeptical that we can enforce a no-fly zone right now,” she said following a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
She noted that given the current situation only negotiations can ensure progress towards halting the conflict in the country.
“Syrian authorities and Russia must take a step toward strengthening, renewing the ceasefire and humanitarian support,” she added.
Her remarks directly contradicted those of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who recently called for the implementation of a seven-day no-fly zone after a UN aid convoy was hit in Aleppo.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stands in front of a destroyed bridge during a visit with his French counterpart in Slavyansk, Donetsk region on September 15, 2016.
On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that his country was firmly against a no-fly zone in Syria, noting that a solution must be found that would benefit all parties engaged in the conflict with the exclusion of terrorist organizations.
Also on Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ruled out the establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria, stressing that such a measure would merely complicate the ongoing crisis in the Arab country and strengthen foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants on the ground.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference September 22, 2016 in New York.
“They have mortar shells, tanks, missiles and armored personnel carriers. They have cannons and artillery batteries but no warplanes. The creation of a no-fly zone is not a right step. This is an ill-advised suggestion,” he added.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry demanded that Russia and the Syrian government halt anti-terror flights over the Syrian battle zones in order to “restore credibility” to the efforts aimed at resolving the Arab country’s years-long crisis.
Syrian government forces celebrate in the largely deserted Palestinian refugee camp of Handarat, north of Aleppo, on September 24, 2016 after they captured the area following multiple Russian air strikes.
Foreign-backed militancy has been wreaking terror and havoc across Syria for over the past five years. United Nations sources put the death toll at over 400,000.
Over the past few months, terrorists active in the war-torn country have suffered major setbacks as the Syrian army has managed to retake several areas.