Vladimir Putin Says the UN Should Investigate the Syria Chemical Weapons Attack

The implication is that Russian Federation was complicit in the horrific chemical attack orchestrated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, he noted, "and there's no evidence of that".

"We are ready to tolerate this, but we hope that this will nonetheless lead to some kind of positive cooperation trend", he said. Why would Assad jeopardize a status quo in which the USA was reconciling itself to his regime's survival by killing his people with the one kind of weapon that had previously led America to the brink of intervention?

The latest claims came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson touched down in Russian Federation to confront the Kremlin over its support for Assad on the first visit by a senior member of Trump's administration.

On his trip to Moscow, Tillerson was expected to urge Russian Federation to stop propping up Assad, prevent further use of chemical weapons, and raise concerns about election meddling, Brennan reports.

"Countries that have been supportive of the Assad regime bear some of the responsibility for the chemical attacks on innocents", he said.

"The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end", he confidently predicted.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the message from the meeting should be clear - that Russian President Vladimir Putin must be made to abandon his support for Mr Assad.

Vladimir Putin has claimed fake chemical weapons attacks in Damascus are being planned as a possible justification for further USA airstrikes in Syria.

"I do not believe that the Russians want to have a worsening relationship with the U.S.", Tillerson said in a TV interview on Sunday.

Leading up to the US missile attack, Trump's administration had said Assad's future was up to the Syrian people.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, opening an emergency meeting with key allies on the crisis in Syria and hours ahead of his arrival in Moscow, said Tuesday that Russian Federation bore responsibility for chemical attacks by Syrian President Bashar Assad on civilians in that war-ravaged country. "We can't let this happen again".

Diplomats gathered in Italy as USA officials in Washington floated the possibility of new sanctions on the Syrian and Russian military, plus the threat of additional US military action if Assad's government continues attacking civilians.

On Thursday, 59 Tomahawk missiles were fired on the government-controlled base in the United States' first direct military action against Assad's forces.

On Monday, Col. John J. Thomas, a USA military spokesman, said the US has taken extra defensive precautions in Syria in case of possible retaliation against American forces for the cruise missile attack.

Meanwhile, although a meeting between Tillerson and Putin had not been confirmed, America's top diplomat had hoped for a sit-down with the Russian strongman to discuss Syria, as well as Russia's meddling in the USA election.

As Tillerson landed in Moscow, senior White House officials briefed reporters on declassified US intelligence they said disproved Russia's claim that rebels were responsible for the chemical weapons. "Or Russia can maintain its alliance" with Syria and Iran.

A key focus since the chemical attack has been on increasing pressure on Russia, Assad's strongest ally, which has used its own military to keep Assad in power.

Tillerson told CBS' Face the Nation that defeating the Islamic State, not removing Assad, remained the top priority. But in the skies over Syria, Russian and US pilots are not co-operating, they're operating without the warning hotline established to avoid the risk of collisions or combat.

Tillerson said Russian-sponsored cease-fire talks could generate momentum toward broader talks about a political transition - if they create a durable cease-fire.

However, Lina Khatib, head of the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, says it is questionable whether sanctions would have any effect on Syria.

  • Salvatore Jensen