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France, Germany fear more migration if Syria conflict escalates

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Syrian troops in the former rebel-held town of Zamalka in Eastern Ghouta on 11 April 11 Youssef KARWASHAN / AFP

The French and German interior ministers have warned that an escalation of the Syrian conflict could spark more migration to Europe, as the US considers air strikes against Bashar al-Assad's regime because of an alleged chemical weapons attack.


Gérard Collomb and Horst Seehofer called for the latest crisis to be resolved by dialogue at a joint press conference after meeting Collomb in Paris on Thursday.

"We can see what can spark conflict, we try to prevent it and that's how we can ensure that tomorrow there won't be more refugees from new conflict zones who will cause problems in our countries," Collomb said.

He blamed the influx of refugees into Germany three years ago for the election of 92 far-right MPs to the Bundestag last year.

"A continuation of this spiral would increase the problem of migration, " Seehofer said.

After speaking by phone on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed regret over the impasse at the UN Security Council, implicitly criticising Assad's ally, Russia, which this week vetoed a US-drafted resulution thar demanded access to the scene of the reported attack.

In a TV interview, Macron said that France had evidence that chemical weapons were used in the attack and that the Assad government' was responsible.

Collomb said France wants to "combine efficiency and a great wish for humanity" in migration policy.

"We share the same fundamentals," Seehofer said.