Russian Federation responsible 'by proxy' for suspected Syrian chemical attack: United Kingdom minister

Posted April 11, 2017

The United States is vowing to keep up the pressure on Syria after the intense nighttime wave of missile strikes from USA ships, despite the prospect of escalating Russian ill will that could further inflame one of the world's most vexing conflicts.

The United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Monday said that the USA will not allow the Syrian government to use chemical weapons against Syrian civilians again.

Second, in continuing deadly attacks on civilians, Mr. Assad seems to want to pursue a military victory at any cost, putting a lie to Russia's statements that a negotiated settlement is the sole solution. "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".

The leaders of the G-7 countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the US - are gathering for their own summit in Italy in May; but, the foreign ministers meeting Monday and Tuesday are laying the groundwork for those talks, with a priority on their collective efforts to oust Islamic State fighters from Syria and Iraq.

Russian Federation also hit out at British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's decision to cancel a visit to Moscow, scheduled to take place on April 10, citing developments in Syria.

Boris Johnson has pulled out of a visit to Moscow in the wake of the Syrian chemical weapons attack saying "we deplore Russia's continued defence of the Assad regime". US-Russia relations will deteriorate further. Once that threat "has been reduced or eliminated, I think we can turn our attention directly to stabilizing the situation in Syria", he said.

Sir Michael also reiterated his support of Mr Trump's cruise missile strike in the early hours of Friday.

Saudi Arabia, one of the most vehement opponents of Assad, said the missile barrage was the right response to "the crimes of this regime to its people in light of the failure of the worldwide community to stop it".

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani said in a phone call that aggressive US actions against Syria were not permissible and violated global law, the Kremlin said. US officials have in recent days offered contradictory statements on the long-held USA policy that Assad should be ousted. "We targeted fuel reserves, aircraft, and did not target chemical weapons storages", he said.

In Florida with the president, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said additional economic sanctions on Syria were being prepared.

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Syria state media said the USA air raid killed nine civilians, including four children. Advisers said he was outraged by heartbreaking images of young children who were among the dozens killed in the chemical attack.

Several lawmakers said Sunday that decision shouldn't entirely be up to Trump.

Skeptics noted that a confrontation with Russian Federation over Syria was well-timed for a president whose campaign is under investigation by the FBI and congressional committees for possible coordination with Moscow during the 2016 election.

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

Johnson earlier said that instead of traveling to Moscow, he would now be going to Italy for a Group of Seven (G7) meeting on April 10-11 to build coordinated global support for a cease-fire in Syria. The drone returned late in the day as citizens were going to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The secretary of state stopped short of accusing the Russians of complicity in the attack, but said that "they've been incompetent and perhaps they've just simply been out-maneuvered by the Syrians".

"And then we've got to go and make sure that we actually see a leader that will protect his people". Spokesman Sean Spicer said the missile attack sent a clear message to Assad, but he avoided explicitly calling for the Syrian to leave office. But he said Trump now needed to work with Congress to set a future course.

The Khan Sheikhun strike prompted Washington to take its first direct military action against Assad regime, with missile strikes against a central air base on Friday morning.

Still, the impact of the strikes was unclear. He rarely spoke of the hundreds of thousands killed and the millions displaced during the six years of clashes between the Assad government, backed by Russian Federation and Iran, and opposition groups. In the interview with CNN, Haley said peace in Syria was impossible with al-Assad in power.