Trump, Saudi king discuss USA strikes on Syria

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Russian Federation should reconsider its support to Assad.

Trump, who is spending the weekend at his Florida resort, tweeted a brief explanation Saturday of why the military didn't strike the runways in its bombardment of the Syrian air field, writing, "they are easy and low-priced to quickly fix (fill in and top)!"

The cruise missiles were launched by two ships in the European region, the USS Porter and the USS Ross, in close coordination with U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East. It was not immediately clear who carried out the strike.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says peace in Syria is not possible with President Bashar al-Assad in power.

Bashar Assad also thanked the Iranian leadership and the people for their continued support of the Syrian people in the face of the terrorist war which is backed by many Western and regional states.

The U.S. officials said Russian commanders in Syria were informed of the strike beforehand in order to avoid casualties that could prompt a broader crisis.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani called for the formation of an worldwide fact-finding committee to investigate the chemical weapons attack. While the USA doesn't want Assad in power and has armed and trained Syrian rebels who want to unseat him, it has refrained from attacking him directly.

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

Talking with ABC's This Week host George Stephanopoulos, the official, who is set to visit Moscow April 11-12, said he would "call upon Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Russian government to fulfill the obligation it made to the global community when it agreed to be the guarantor of the elimination of chemical weapons".

US President Donald Trump is considering implementing new sanctions against Russian Federation and Iran, the US ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley has said in an interview with CNN.

Both governments have defended Assad against Western allegations that his regime carried out a suspected chemical weapons attack on Tuesday on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, killing at least 86 civilians.

But he said the United States expected Russian Federation to take a tougher stance against Syria by rethinking its alliance with al-Assad because "every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russian Federation closer into some level of responsibility".

Trump spoke by telephone Friday with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, who reaffirmed strong support for the military strike and thanked the USA president for his "courageous" action, according to statements issued Saturday by the White House and the official Saudi Press Agency.

Lister says he's learned from people directly connected to Trump that watching Fox News in the wake of the attack appeared to have a transformative effect on his perception of Assad, and played a critical role in his departure from his earlier stated aversion to directly intervening in the Syrian civil war.

A U.S. Navy admiral said the missile strikes had destroyed the ability of the Syrian military to launch chemical strikes from the base. "We need to make it clear to Putin that the time to back Assad has gone", Johnson said on Monday.

"The more complicated subjects will be left to the leaders", said an Italian diplomat, who declined to be named.

Moscow received no prior warning before Trump unleashed thousands of pounds of ordnance on Syria, according to Tillerson, and Russian Federation is demanding an explanation for Trump's stunning decision.

Last week's chemical gas attack in Syria killed almost 100 people and injured dozens.

The decision undercut another campaign promise for Trump: his pledge to try to warm relations with Moscow.

Johnson said Saturday the situation in Syria has changed "fundamentally" following a chemical weapons attack on civilians and a US missile strike on a Syrian airfield.

On Friday, senior US military officials were looking more closely at possible Russian involvement in the poison attack. That leverage will give Tillerson an advantage on talks in Moscow, where Assad's fate and the future of Syria are likely to be discussed.

  • Larry Hoffman