March 21, 2018 / 11:29 AM / a year ago

Germany sounds alarm about Turkish actions in northern Syria

BERLIN, March 21 (Reuters) - The German government on Wednesday cited “growing concern” about actions by the Turkish military in the city of Afrin in northern Syria, and demanded that Turkey abide by international laws aimed at protecting civilian populations.

“We are following the reports of the capture of large areas of the city of Afrin by the Turkish military with growing concern,” government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer told a government news conference, citing worries about the safety of the civilian population and large numbers of refugees fleeing the city.

Foreign ministry spokesman Rainer Breul called for an investigation of reports of massacres and looting, and urged a return to a political process of ending the war in Syria.

He said Turkey had “justified security interests” with regard to its borders, but Ankara’s actions should “remain within the limits of what is necessary and proportional.”

“We have, clearly, and I can’t deny it, especially in light of the most recent developments, significant doubts about the necessity and proportionality of the Turkish actions,” he said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal Editing by Michelle Martin

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