Angela Merkel 'Obvious' that Syria didn't eradicate chemical arsenal: Chancellor

"We... must now acknowledge that it is obvious that the destruction was not completely carried out," she said, noting that there is "strong evidence" that Damascus deployed the chemical weapons.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel pictured during a joint press conference with the Danish Prime Minister on April 12, 2018 at the Chancellery in Berlin play

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pictured during a joint press conference with the Danish Prime Minister on April 12, 2018 at the Chancellery in Berlin

(AFP)
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday an alleged toxic gas attack blamed on Damascus showed that President Bashar al-Assad's regime failed to eradicate its chemical arsenal, but she ruled out joining any military action against Syria.

"We... must now acknowledge that it is obvious that the destruction was not completely carried out," she said, noting that there is "strong evidence" that Damascus deployed the chemical weapons.

Damascus narrowly avoided US and French air strikes in 2013 in retaliation for a suspected sarin attack by agreeing to hand over its chemical arsenal.

Following Saturday's alleged chemical attack in rebel-held Douma, US President Donald Trump this week ratcheted up the pressure on Damascus, warning in a series of tweets that "missiles will be coming" in retaliation.

Merkel said a "full spectrum of measures" will be considered in response to the gas attack, but ruled out any military deployment.

"Germany will not participate militarily, but we will provide our support if the representatives in the UN Security Council ... were to take steps beyond diplomatic measures," she stressed.

Germany has deployed reconnaissance and refuelling flights as part of the international anti-jihadist operation in Syria.

But any further military role would require parliamentary approval.

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