Assad allies say US attack on Syria air base crosses 'red lines'

"We've already, I think, issued some very strong statements", Tillerson said. " "I think he's making a serious mistake". But it's only a step.

"Clearly they are Bashar al-Assad's current ally, they should have the greatest influence on Bashar al-Assad and certainly his decisions to use chemical weapons, they should have the greatest influence on him, to cause him to no longer use those".

President Donald Trump's military attack on the Assad regime was, in itself, a stark reversal from his earlier position to work with Russia, Syria's key ally, to negotiate a solution to the country's civil war. Ben Cardin of Maryland says the administration hasn't been clear on next steps and whether it would escalate a USA response if Syrian President Bashar Assad continues his assault on rebel forces with conventional weapons. Syrian activists claimed that the attack had come from the Assad-led government's airstrikes, although the Syrian army denied involvement in the strike.

But supporters of the strike say it was meant to deter Assad from carrying out future chemical attacks.

"It's very hard to understand how a political solution could result from the continuation of the Assad regime", McMaster said. "First and foremost, we must defeat ISIS".

The focus of USA policy has turned to possible Russian complicity with last week's chemical attacks which the United States says were launched from Syrian aircraft based at the Shayrat air field near Homs. Admiral Michelle Howard, who heads U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa, told Reuters U.S. forces are prepared to carry out further strikes if needed. "I always wanted us to help Syrian fighters on the ground who themselves wanted to negotiate".

"Someone who uses barrel bombs and chemicals to kill his own people simply can not be the future leader of Syria", he stated. "That's a distinct, limited goal".

Ghasemi described Iran as "the biggest victim of chemical weapons in recent history", referencing Iraqi use of the weapons during its 1980s war with the Islamic Republic.

"I think the real failure here has been Russia's failure to live up to its commitments under the chemical weapons agreements that were entered into in 2013, both by the Syrian government and by Russian Federation, as the guarantor, to play the role in Syria of securing chemical weapons, destroying the chemical weapons and continuing to monitor that situation", Tillerson told "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos Sunday.

"The deal was flawed that way in that we could not get the Russians to enforce it", Ford said. "There was an agreement in 2013 that if Assad even used chlorine gas, that the Russians and the Americans would take measures". "We haven't had one for six years during the Obama administration, and 400,000 civilians have died and millions of people have been displaced internally and externally in Europe and elsewhere".

Pressed by Fox host Chris Wallace to explain Tillerson's statements that destroying ISIS was the priority for the US, McMaster responded: "That's exactly what we're saying".

  • Leroy Wright