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Trump's UN Envoy: Ouster of Assad A Priority of US

22 April 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered cruise missile strikes on a Syrian air base after he blamed Assad for the chemical attack, which killed at least 70 people, many of them children, in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun.

It will be their first face-to-face encounter since United States cruise missiles slammed into a Syrian air base early Friday Damascus time in retaliation for a suspected sarin gas attack on April 4 that killed at least 87 civilians in Syria's northern Idlib province.

"There's not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime", Haley told State of the Union host Jake Tapper.

"You saw this bad tragedy on innocent people, a lot of them children, and the first reaction from Russian Federation wasn't 'how frightful, ' it wasn't 'how could they do this, ' it wasn't 'how did this happen, ' it was: 'Assad didn't do it.' Why was that the reaction?"

Russia, one of the main backers of the Assad regime alongside Iran, condemned the United States strike, denouncing a "flagrant violation of worldwide law and an act of aggression". "It's important that we keep our priorities straight".

Speaking during an emergency Security Council session, Haley said the United States was prepared to take further action in Syria but hoped it wouldn't be necessary. The apparent U-turn in the Trump administration's Syria policy, according to Haley, was a direct result of the latest development in the county. Prior to the attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Tillerson said al-Assad's fate should be decided by the Syrian people, suggesting Washington would not oppose him standing for re-election.

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Sir Michael said Mr Assad must depart and the search for stability begin.

Washington has long backed rebels fighting Assad in a multi-sided civil war that has killed more than 400,000 people and driven half of Syrians from their homes since 2011.

Rouhani said "neutral countries should come and assess to make it clear where the chemical weapons came from".

Syria's government has denied carrying out any chemical attack, and Russia's Defense Ministry said the toxic agents were released when a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel chemical weapons arsenal and munitions factory.

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani said American military intervention was a "violation of worldwide law" during telephone talks backing the Syrian regime.

British foreign minister Boris Johnson also had planned to visit Russian Federation this coming week, but decided on Saturday to cancel the trip because of the fast moving events in Syria.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday played down concerns of a rift with Russian Federation over Ankara's support for the strike, saying Turkey was committed to the cease-fire mechanisms it has developed with Russian Federation for Syria.

He said the United States expected Russian Federation to take a tougher stance against Syria by rethinking its alliance with Assad because "every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russian Federation closer into some level of responsibility".

"The United States took a very measured step last night", Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, told the Security Council, after a missile strike on a Syrian air base.

A statement carried on the military media arm of Hezbollah condemned the American strike in much stronger language, saying it had "crossed red lines" and vowing to "reply with force" to any future aggression "in a variety of ways".

He underlined that, however, "unfair individuals" should not be member to the committee and the committee should not be headed by the US.

Tillerson says the Islamic State group is a threat not just to the USA but to stability in the region. They said eight ISIL fighters and four of their own men died.

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Trump's UN Envoy: Ouster of Assad A Priority of US