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Merkel Strongly Condemns Turkish Military Offensive in Afrin

German Finance Minister and vice-chancellor Olaf Scholz, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chancellery’s Chief of Staff Helge Braun before the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany, March 21, 2018.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday sharply criticized Turkey's military offensive in the northern Syrian town of Afrin and condemned ongoing attacks by Syrian forces in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.

Speaking to lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house of parliament, Merkel said the German government was condemning the air strikes on eastern Ghouta "in the strongest terms". She pointed to the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but also blamed Russia for "just watching" the events unfold.

Turning to the fighting in Afrin, Merkel said that Turkey's actions were unacceptable despite its security interests. "I'm also condemning this in the strongest terms," she added.