A German government report has revealed that Germany sold the Syrian regime chemicals that have a military potential. The government’s response on Wednesday followed an official inquiry made by the Left Party.
According to the government’s clarification, Germany provided Syria with forty tons of chemicals in 2002 and 2003 and more than 97 tons in 2005 and 2006.
The Syrian regime, led by President Bashar Al-Assad, is accused of using chemical weapons on 21 August in an attack that killed 1,500 civilians.
The report stated that the chemicals Germany sold to Syria include: hydrogen fluoride, ammonium hydrogen fluoride, sodium fluoride, potassium cyanide and sodium cyanide. These chemicals are classified as “dual-use”, meaning they could be used for both civil and military purposes.
According to German government data, the government in Damascus made it clear at the time that it intends to use the chemicals for civil purposes.
Germany supplied Syria with the chemicals during both the coalition government between the Social Democratic Party and the Greens Party led by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and during the coalition government between the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Ministry of Economy report asserted that Germany granted the export licenses only after extensive study, including the possibility of the chemicals being misused for military purposes. The study concluded that the materials would be used for civil purposes only.
Since European Union law classifies the chemicals Germany sold to Syria a “dual-use”, they require a special export permit.
In a written response to a parliamentary question raised by the German Left Party, the Ministry of Economy said that Germany sold the chemicals to Syria at a price of 174,000 Euros (US$ 232,000).
Chancellor Merkel said during a TV interview that the government “is looking at the allegations,” adding that “so far the export licenses were granted for civil use.”
British media reported last week that the United Kingdom had also approved the export of chemicals to Syria that could produce sarin gas.