German prosecutor reviewing claim of illegal arms shipment to Syria through Ramstein
Source: Stars and Striped
By JENNIFER H. SVAN AND MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 15, 2017
The German prosecutor’s office in Kaiserslautern said Friday it is looking into a report that the Pentagon used Ramstein Air Base to transport weapons covertly to rebel fighters in Syria — an allegation, that if true, might have broken German law.
Ramstein — a key U.S. military logistical hub overseas from which cargo is ferried throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa — was linked to Washington’s effort beginning in 2013 to arm Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State, according to a report Tuesday in the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
The weapons transfer through Ramstein would have required permission from the German government, the report stated.
Officials with Germany’s Economic Affairs Ministry told Stars and Stripes that the ministry did not give the U.S. military permission to transport weapons to Syria through the country. They denied having any knowledge of such activities.
A spokeswoman for the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein referred an inquiry about the weapons report to a spokeswoman at the Pentagon, who said the department “does not store or transit weapons or ammo bound for Syria in or through any U.S. bases in Germany.”
DOD “has and will continue to comply with all German laws,” said Army Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza, a Pentagon spokeswoman, in a statement to Stars and Stripes on Friday.
“To that end, DOD has specifically directed our contracted vendors to not transit or store equipment in Germany that is intended for use in Syria.”
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