Russia to blame for Syria deaths - Sir Michael Fallon

The phone call between Moscow and Tehran on Sunday came as Washington's United Nations ambassador said that in light of Tuesday's suspected chemical attack, which prompted the first direct USA military action against the Syrian government, President Bashar al-Assad can not stay in power. Russia's Defense Ministry said this week's attack in the northern town of Khan Sheikhoun, which killed 87 people, was caused by Syrian airstrikes hitting a weapons warehouse where al-Qaida-linked fighters were storing chemical agents.

While the Syrian opposition applauded the US cruise missile attack on the airbase near Homs, it said it should not be a one-off and was not enough on its own to stop government warplanes from hitting rebel-held areas.

The official also said that the U.S. bombing was meant to send a message to the Syrian regime that any use of chemical weapon will not be tolerated by the US.

"I do not believe that the Russians want to have worsening relationships with the United States, but it's going to take a lot of discussion and a lot of dialogue to better understand what is the relationship that Russia wishes to have with the U.S.".

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 global community to stop it". There are also reportedly other Syrian government bases that still have chemical weapons stores.

Haley said Syria needs a president who protects his people, and, "Assad is not that person".

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

In a letter to the US Congress on Saturday, President Donald Trump explained his decision to launch an attack on the Shayrat Airbase in Syria, claiming he was acting to avert a "humanitarian catastrophe".

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.

Top US diplomats on Sunday gave mixed signals as to what President Trump intends to do next after unleashing 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase in retaliation for a poison gas attack that killed scores of innocent civilians.

Does President Trump need approval from Congress to take further action in Syria?

WALLACE: So, there is a possibility that President Trump, you are saying - leaving it wide open that he will act against President Assad if he goes against civilians no matter what weapon he uses?

"The United States will take additional action, as necessary and appropriate, to further its important national interests", Trump said.

The gas attack, Tillerson said, "violates all previous UN resolutions, violates global norms and long-held agreements between parties, including the Syrian regime, the Russian government, and all other members of the UN Security Council".

"We have to make sure that we're pushing that process", Haley added.

Protesters gather in NY for a rally against the US missile strikes in Syria. Tillerson said Sunday that they function as a warning to any country acting outside of global norms, in an apparent reference to North Korea.

Tillerson stopped short of accusing the Russians of complicity. The attack occurred in the Shuaib al-Zeker area, near where USA -backed Syrian fighters have been battling IS under the cover of coalition airstrikes.

He and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are scheduled to meet, but it is not known if the secretary of state will also see Putin, who personally bestowed the Order of Friendship on Tillerson in 2012.

Assad supporters have floated unsubstantiated theories that warplanes from other countries may have dropped chemical agents on Khan Sheikhoun, or that al-Qaida may have detonated a auto bomb filled with chemicals.

  • Leroy Wright