Trump advisers: US seeks to fight ISIS and oust Syria's Assad

Reacting to media reports that Tillerson would use his visit to press Moscow to back away from supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia's biggest Middle East ally, Peskov signalled that was a non-starter.

The search for a unified approach to the Syria conflict after last week's suspected chemical attack looks set to dominate talks between the G7 group of leading nations in Italy on Monday.

The Times also said that "Johnson wants the G7 to issue a joint declaration that Russian Federation should end its support for the Assad regime, and remove its forces from Syria to enable aid convoys to return".

Haley added that she thought a regime change was necessary in Syria because "all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria".

Efforts to reach an agreement on statements ahead of time - a normal part of pre-meeting G7 diplomacy - have moved very slowly, partly because of a hard transition at the USA state department, where many key positions remain unfilled.

The United States says the attack was carried out by the Moscow-backed government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

".what we're trying to do is obviously defeat Isis". He went on to say that the Syrian people would determine the future of Assad.

Putin even personally awarded Tillerson a top Russian state award - the Order of Friendship - in 2013, and it was widely expected that the former oilman would meet Putin on what is his first trip to Russia as secretary of state.

Trump acts decisively in Syria: Now what?

However, she had said last week that Mr Assad's removal was no longer a United States priority.

"What we are focused on is building worldwide support for a political solution to end the conflict and bring lasting peace and stability to Syria", Mrs May's spokesman said.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, praised Trump's initial missile strike for sending a message to Assad, Russia, Iran and North Korea that "there's a new administration in charge".

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

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cancelled a visit to Moscow, scheduled for April 10, after the poison gas attack in Syria.

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon criticised Russia's support of Assad, describing the chemical attack as a war crime that happened "on their watch".

In a 2013 agreement with the Obama administration, Russian Federation said it would work with Syria to get rid of its chemical weapons stockpile.

At the end of last month, Haley told reporters that the US priority in Syria "is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out".

Syria's ally Russian Federation says the deaths were caused when a Syrian air strike hit a depot where rebels were making chemical weapons, leading to a leak of toxic gas.

  • Leroy Wright