White House partially to blame for Syria chemical attack: McCain

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 17, 2017

Warplanes on Saturday struck the Syrian town where a chemical attack had killed scores of people earlier this week, as Turkey warned that a retaliatory US missile strike on a Syrian air base would only be "cosmetic" if greater efforts are not made to remove President Bashar Assad from power.

The U.S. decision to carry out the retaliatory strike marked a drastic escalation of the U.S. use of force in Syria and was widely praised by world leaders.

Marco Rubio, R-Florida, who said last week that Tillerson is "nodding to the idea that Assad was going to get to stay in some capacity" by saying the Syrian people, not the USA, will decide their own fate.

After last Tuesday's chemical attack, President Donald Trump said his attitude toward Assad "has changed very much" and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson even said "steps are underway" to organize a coalition to remove him from power.

Tillerson said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Russians were not targeted by the strikes. He says that once the militant group is eliminated, the US can turn to stabilizing Syria. Senior U.S. military officials have said they are looking into whether Russian Federation provided drone surveillance and helped Syrian forces try to cover up what they'd done.

"I agree with Ambassador Haley that I don't think there's any political solution to the civil war in Syria that doesn't mean that Assad moves aside, because he's tearing up the country", Kaine told host Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press".

US President Donald Trump has signaled a startling about-turn toward Assad, who many in the global community hold responsible for Tuesday's horrific events.

In this image released by the US Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. But in a television interview that aired Sunday, Tillerson said the priority "really hasn't changed".

"We have information from our partners and from contacts on that ground that makes it very plausible that the Assad regime was behind this awful poison gas attack", he said. The United States accuses the regime of President Bashar al-Assad of using chlorine gas mixed with a highly toxic sarin-like nerve agent in an air attack. However, there were no reports of further use of chemical weapons.

Sir Michael's comments came after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson pulled out of a Moscow visit hours before he was due to fly.

"You train the opposition to go after [Syrian President Bashar] Assad".

The U.S. has no evidence that Russian Federation was involved in last week's fatal sarin gas attack in Syria, but Russia's "failure" allowed the deaths of innocent people, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, ahead of his visit to Moscow.

At the same time, Tillerson carries to Moscow the weight of FBI and congressional investigations into Russia's interference in last year's presidential election.

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