BERLIN (Dispatches) – The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) said on Wednesday her party would not agree to military intervention in Syria if the United Nations did not authorize the international community to take such action.
"As long as this doesn’t happen, we Social Democrats can’t agree to a violent intervention in Syria,” Andrea Nahles told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.
Earlier on Wednesday Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany could not simply look away if chemical attacks took place, speaking two days after the German government said it was in talks with allies about a possible military deployment in Syria.
Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy, is under pressure from the United States to boost military spending and shoulder more responsibility within NATO. It did not participate in military strikes carried out by U.S., French and British forces on Syria in April after a chemical weapons attack.
But Merkel and her conservatives must win over the more pacifist Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in the ruling coalition, and overcome massive public opposition to Germany’s participation in military combat missions.
SPD leader Andrea Nahles on Wednesday told lawmakers her party would not agree to military intervention in Syria unless the United Nations authorized such action.