Ger­many out­lines plan to sup­port fight against IS

Mass brawls erupt in crowded mi­grant shel­ters in Ger­many

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

FRANK­FURT: Ger­many could send 1,200 sol­diers to the Mid­dle East by the end of the year to sup­port a coali­tion bat­tling Is­lamic State, Ger­many’s top de­fense of­fi­cial told a news­pa­per yes­ter­day as his min­is­ter backed an in­ter­na­tional al­liance against the group. Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel promised to sup­port the of­fen­sive against Is­lamic State dur­ing talks with French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande, who called for more coun­tries to help fight the mil­i­tants af­ter the Nov. 13 at­tacks in Paris.

Ger­many’s de­fence min­is­ter Ur­sula von der Leyen called for the al­liance for a lim­ited time to com­bat the mil­i­tants in a com­men­tary in an ad­vance copy of the Bild news­pa­per due out on Mon­day.

She said the aim of what she called a “spe­cial pur­pose” al­liance was to “weaken ISIS, to limit its free­dom for ma­noeu­vre, to de­stroy its train­ing camps, to win back city by city, de­stroy its oil rev­enue and break the aura of in­vin­ci­bil­ity”. Ger­many’s troops plan, which still needs ap­proval from par­lia­ment and was out­lined by Ger­many’s Chief of De­fence Volker Wieker in Bild am Son­ntag, does not in­clude direct in­volve­ment in the coali­tion’s air of­fen­sive.

In Ger­many, the pub­lic still dis­likes send­ing forces over­seas ex­cept for in peace mis­sions, in part due to mem­o­ries of Nazi mil­i­tarism. Un­der the plan, a Ger­man fri­gate would ac­com­pany France’s Charles de Gaulle air­craft car­rier, Wieker said in the in­ter­view. Ger­man planes would re­fuel the jets of the coali­tion as well as take pho­to­graphs in the re­gion.

“From a mil­i­tary point of view for the ser­vic­ing of the planes and ships, about 1,200 sol­diers would be nec­es­sary,”Wieker told the news­pa­per.

He said he hoped to ob­tain the nec­es­sary man­date by the end of the year. Wieker also said Ger­many was in talks with Jor­dan and Tur­key about sta­tion­ing Tor­nado air­craft for re­con­nais­sance in the re­gion. Ger­man of­fi­cials said Merkel saw a big­ger Ger­man role as the price to pay for Hol­lande’s sup­port in tack­ling the refugee cri­sis in Europe.

Mass brawls

Mean­while, clashes broke out yes­ter­day be­tween hun­dreds of asy­lum seek­ers at a shel­ter in Berlin, in the sec­ond mass brawl to erupt over the week­end in Ger­many’s crowded mi­grant ac­com­mo­da­tions.

Sev­eral peo­ple were ar­rested at the fight that started in the food dis­tri­bu­tion queues at the for­mer air­port of Tem­pel­hof, which has been turned into a tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion for 1,200 refugees, an AFP pho­tog­ra­pher wit­nessed. The brawl came just hours af­ter an­other mass fight at a refugee shel­ter in the Berlin sub­urb of Span­dau, where mi­grants went at each other with fire ex­tin­guish­ers, a po­lice spokesman said.

Win­dows were smashed, so­fas were thrown, and fire ex­tin­guish­ers emp­tied, said po­lice, adding that sev­eral res­i­dents of the shel­ter were wounded. Some 500 peo­ple evac­u­ated the build­ing “in fear and panic” over the dis­pute. Separately, two other fights broke out in other shel­ters. At a refugee home in Berlin’s Kreuzberg area, a 18-year-old struck a 17-year-old on the head with a belt, po­lice said.

Mean­while, five peo­ple were in­jured in a fight be­tween Syr­i­ans in the show­ers of an ac­com­mo­da­tion in the east­ern state of Sax­ony-An­halt. Such dis­tur­bances have occurred be­fore in other shel­ters in Ger­many, with ten­sions es­ca­lat­ing quickly be­tween of­ten trau­ma­tized peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tures shar­ing packed spa­ces.

At the same time, they have been rel­a­tively rare given the sheer num­bers of new ar­rivals-Ger­many expects to take in a mil­lion asy­lum seek­ers this year alone, and has put up hun­dreds of thou­sands in flats, army bar­racks, sports halls and tent cities.

Ger­many’s po­lice union had called for refugees to be sep­a­rated by re­li­gion and by coun­try of ori­gin to min­i­mize the po­ten­tial for con­flict. — AFP

A mi­grant car­ries his child af­ter cross­ing the Greek-Mace­do­nian border, near Gevgelija, yes­ter­day. A group of mi­grants try­ing to en­ter Mace­do­nia pelted the po­lice with stones in­jur­ing sev­eral of­fi­cers as the small Balkan coun­try be­came the lat­est to build a border fence aimed at check­ing the flow of new­com­ers. — AFP

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