Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Fallon blames Russian Federation for 'every civilian death' in Syria chemical attack

MIDEAST-CRISIS  SYRIA-ASSAD Syrian President Bashar al Assad has the support of Russia and Iran
Melinda Barton | 20 April, 2017, 07:13

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson touted the first meeting between the leaders of the two world's biggest economies as positive and described the discussions as "very frank and candid".

Republican Senator John McCain says Trump "now has an opportunity to reboot with the American people".

Only last week, top Trump officials stressed the lack of USA interest in removing Assad (which may have emboldened the dictator to think he was invincible).

"We don't see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there", Haley said.

Administration officials have said the attack successfully destroyed refueling stations, hangars and some planes, effectively making the base inoperable. Peskov refused to comment when asked by journalists why Russian Federation did not intervene to stop the airstrike.

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev also said that the U.S. strikes were one step away from clashes with Russia's military.

"Right now, I think everyone in the world sees Russian Federation as part of the problem", McMaster said.

But as lawmakers called on Trump to consult with Congress, Trump administration officials sent mixed signals on the scope of future US involvement.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that the airstrike near Khan Shaykhun by the Syrian air force hit a terrorist warehouse that stored chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq, and called on the UN Security Council to launch a proper investigation into the incident.

"The joint investigative mechanism has found beyond any doubt that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against its own people multiple times". Black doesn't think Assad is behind the chemical attack on civilians. He said Shayrat is the second-most active when it comes to take offs and landings, superseded only by the Hemeimeem base operated by the Russian military in the coastal province of Latakia. "The president will make whatever decision he thinks is in the best interest of the American people".

US -backed rebels groups have long pleaded for more USA intervention and complained that Washington has only fought the Islamic State group.

U.S. politicians have praised Trump for the attack, saying he must be "prepared to take other action" in Syria.

After the summit at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, Tillerson told reporters that Trump and Xi came to an agreement on North Korea. But few expected Trump to take that course. Russian Federation may seek to improve Syria's surface-to-air missile system in the wake of this U.S. attack but it would be very much a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

USA allies from Asia, Europe and the Middle East expressed support for the attack, if sometimes cautiously. "But what we did not see is a coherent policy on how we're going to deal with the civil war and also deal with ISIS". "I feel that was accomplished", she said. "Assad signed the chemical weapons treaty ban".

The United States is now likely to be more aggressive in pursuing intelligence about Syria's suspected chemical weapons program.

Russia expects Tillerson to explain Washington's stance when he visits Moscow next week, Interfax news agency cited a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman as saying.

Though Trump castigated Obama for appearing weak and indecisive, he maintained as a candidate that Syria was a morass the US should avoid. But in interviews broadcast Sunday, Tillerson said he sees no reason for retaliation from Moscow because Russian Federation wasn't targeted.

The missile strikes hit the government-controlled Shayrat air base in central Syria, where USA officials say the Syrian military planes that dropped the chemicals had taken off.

President Trump has long said the US should keep to itself.

Tillerson said defeating the Islamic State group remains the top focus.

Mr Trump notably called "on all civilised nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria [and] to end terrorism of all kinds and all types". "Strengthening Assad will only lead to more murders", she said.