US asks Europe to secure Strait of Hormuz, combat Iran aggression

The US has formally asked Germany to join France and the UK in a mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz. The UK sent its Type 45 Destroyer HMS Duncan to the region on July 29. (AFP photo/Crown copyright 2019)
Updated 30 July 2019

US asks Europe to secure Strait of Hormuz, combat Iran aggression

  • The comments confirmed by embassy spokesman
  • The UK sent its Type 45 Destroyer HMS Duncan to the region on July 29

BERLIN: The US has formally asked Germany to join France and Britain in a mission to secure the Strait of Hormuz and to combat Iranian aggression, the US Embassy in Berlin said on Tuesday.

At a time of heightened tension between the United States and Iran, Washington has proposed stepping up efforts to safeguard the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf, through which about a fifth of the world's oil passes.

“We’ve formally asked Germany to join France and the UK to help secure the Straits of Hormuz and combat Iranian aggression. Members of the German government have been clear that freedom of navigation should be protected... Our question is, protected by whom,” said an Embassy spokeswoman.

The comments, initially reported by Germany's DPA news agency, were confirmed by an Embassy spokesman.

Ties between Iran and the United States have deteriorated since Washington pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran last year and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. Recent attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz have further soured relations.

There is considerable opposition among Germany's Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition, to getting involved in a US-led mission.

“The German government has already rejected participation in the US military mission, Operation Sentinel, to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz,” said Nils Schmid, a foreign affairs spokesman for the SPD parliamentary party.

“It should stay like that. Otherwise, there is a risk of being pulled into a war against Iran on the side of the United States,” he added in an interview with the Stuttgarter Zeitung.


Damascus angered by Turkish army convoy heading for key Syria town

Updated 38 sec ago

Damascus angered by Turkish army convoy heading for key Syria town

  • Dozens from both sides have been killed in the latest fighting
  • Syrian and Russian airstrikes aimed at hindering the convoy’s advance through Idlib province

DAMASCUS: Damascus on Monday condemned the deployment of a Turkish military convoy toward a key town in northwestern Syria where regime forces are waging fierce battles with militants and rebels.
“Turkish vehicles loaded with munitions... are heading toward Khan Sheikhun to help the terrorists... which confirms once again the support provided by the Turkish regime to terrorist groups,” a foreign ministry source quoted by the state news agency SANA said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported Syrian and Russian airstrikes aimed at hindering the convoy’s advance through Idlib province.
The Idlib region is supposed to be protected from a massive regime offensive by a buffer zone deal signed between government ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey in September.
But it was never fully implemented, as militants refused to withdraw from the planned demilitarized zone.
On Sunday pro-regime forces entered Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province for the first time since they lost control of it in 2014.
They are battling to seize a key highway connecting government-held Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo, which the regime retook from rebels in December 2016.
Dozens from both sides have been killed in the latest fighting.
Militant group Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, controls most of Idlib province as well as parts of the neighboring provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia.