US Official Says Assad Must Go as Syria's Leader

It will be their first face-to-face encounter since U.S. cruise missiles slammed into a Syrian air base early Friday Damascus time in retaliation for a suspected sarin gas attack on April 4 that killed at least 87 civilians in Syria's northern Idlib province.

"We are asking for an impartial global fact-finding body to be set find out where these chemical weapons came from", Rohani said as he condemned the USA missile strikes as an "aggression".

But he backed calls for an independent inquiry into the suspected chemical weapons attack.

U.S. officials informed Russian forces ahead of the missile strikes, and avoided hitting Russian personnel.

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".

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has cancelled a scheduled visit to Moscow next week, his office announced Saturday, saying "developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally".

The strike came a day after the United States bombarded a Syrian airbase that had launched the chemical attack in Idlib, to send Bashar al-Assad's regime a "message".

One theory advanced by US military officials is that the hospital bombing sought to cover up any evidence of the prior chemical attack.

"If we would want to appeal rationally to Russia, this is a great opportunity for the Russian leadership to reevaluate what they're doing", McMaster said on "Fox News Sunday".

Rather, the U.S. Tomahawk missile strike was meant to be "a strong signal" to Syria not to use chemical weapons again.

"We deplore Russia's continued defence of the Assad regime even after the chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians".

Eighty-nine people, including 33 children and 18 women, died in the suspected nerve agent attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday. It is unclear what the USA is prepared to do next, but one thing is for sure: Mr Al Assad has been put on notice.

Russian Federation has criticized the U.S. military intervention as a "gross. violation of global law".

On Friday, hours after the U.S. missile strike, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Western allegations were "bogus".

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have spoken on the phone and agreed that recent USA airstrikes in Syria were unacceptable and violated global law, the Kremlin said Sunday.

  • Larry Hoffman