Syria war: G7 rejects sanctions on Russian Federation after 'chemical attack'

The U.S. military's airstrikes that attacked an air force base in Syria last week did not aim to destroy the very chemical weapons that led to the bombings, a branch of the U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday.

In 2013, shortly after Bashar al-Assad's government murdered hundreds of Syrians in the Damascus suburbs with sarin gas, Russian Federation decided to make itself useful.

Though meant to punish Assad for a chemical weapons attack, the US strikes last week served to refocus the world's attention on the bloody war in Syria, now in its seventh year.

"Many nations look to the Geneva process [negotiations] to resolve the Syrian conflict in a way that produces stability and gives the Syrian people the opportunity to determine their own political future", Tillerson said.

Reluctant to put significant troops on the ground in Syria, the US for years has struggled to prevent Assad from strengthening his hold on power.

And while viewing the airbase strike as decisive, most commentators are not seeing a radical change in the U.S. approach to Syria.

The United States launched the missile strikes on Friday in response to a chemical attack that killed 90 people including 30 children.

Kremlin officials on Monday publicly distanced themselves from a what appeared to be a threat by commanders on the ground in Syria to attack United States interests if the Trump administration orders any more strikes against the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

However, there does seem to be a general consensus that Russians routinely worked at the Shayrat air base where the attack supposedly originated, and that chemical weapons were stored at that base.

Members of Trump's administration have hinted that the U.S.is not done intervening in Syria.

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He reiterated that the USA priority in the region remained defeating Islamic State, and he suggested that Assad could be replaced through negotiations that have so far produced no results.

"We are not aware about that; we can not confirm that, and we do not know where Reuters got this and where these anonymous sources appeared from again", said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, referring to one of the news wires that reported on the statement. Then focus attention on a political transition to end Syria's civil war and possibly bring an end to Assad's rule.

The White House on Monday warned Syria that further use of chemical weapons or barrel bombs could bring U.S. military retaliation.

"We must have a dialogue with Russian Federation", he said.

While no readout was immediately available from the hour-long meeting, the goal was to arm Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with a single, strong message for Russian leaders when he travels to Moscow later Tuesday in the first visit by a U.S. Cabinet official since President Donald Trump took office in January.

Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, said at a press conference in Tehran on Monday that some reforms were needed in Syria, but made clear Iran believed that could only be achieved through elections.

The U.S. hopes the regional countries can help ensure security and stability in Syria after the Islamic State group is defeated.

In a letter to Trump, two Republican lawmakers Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Peter Roskam urged him to suspend aircraft sales to Iran arguing that Tehran is using commercial passenger aircraft to supply its worldwide network of terror proxies, including the Assad regime in Syria.

  • Leroy Wright