Putin backing 'evil person' in Syria's Assad, says Trump

Putin, speaking Tuesday after talks in Moscow with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, said the USA invaded Iraq based on false allegations that it had chemical weapons.

His trip follows Monday's claim by a senior USA official that Washington has concluded Russian Federation knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack.

Putin added that some in the West are using Syria to cast Russian Federation as a "common enemy".

A grass fire that broke out next to the Moscow airport where U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was due to arrive has been extinguished.

"The Secretary said when he was at the ministerial that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance is also fundamental to countering both nonviolent but at times violent Russian agitation and aggression".

Live footage from the scene showed tall clouds of black smoke billowing just over the tarmac.

"They agreed that U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson's visit to Moscow this week provides an opportunity to make progress toward a solution which will deliver a lasting political settlement". This echoes other United States officials' demands that Russia unconditionally abandon Assad, amid ongoing allegations of Russian complicity in a putative gas attack. Still, Haley said the US didn't see a peaceful future Syria with Assad in power.

In his first televised interview, H.R. McMaster pointed to dual US goals of defeating the Islamic State and removing Assad.

Turkey's health minister said Tuesday that test results confirm sarin gas was used in an attack on a northern Syrian town earlier this month and the Russian military said the Syrian government is willing to let worldwide experts examine its military base for signs of chemical weapons. "There must be an investigation on the ground into the chemical attack".

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

Moscow has dismissed suggestions that the Syrian government that it backs could be behind the attack in Idlib province. He tells Fox Business Network that Putin's support for Assad is "very bad for Russian Federation".

Sanctions against Russian Federation and Syria will not be put in place until after an investigation into last week's apparent chemical attack, British government sources told BBC.

Tillerson, who is now in Italy for the two-day G7 foreign ministers' meeting, said Monday the United States would take a stand against any government who committed atrocities on innocent people.

Russian Federation said that instead, the Syrian air force perhaps carried out a conventional attack that hit a chemical weapons cache controlled by the rebels.

USA officials previously have said Russians routinely work with Syrians at the Shayrat air base where the attack is supposed to have originated.

Yet even as the USA seeks to project a sense of urgency about the Syria crisis, Washington has struggled to explain a hazy strategy that has yet to clarify key questions: whether President Bashar Assad must go, how displaced Syrians will be protected and when America might feel compelled to take further action.

Tillerson went on to predict that if Russian Federation refused USA demands to abandon Assad, they would effectively become "irrelevant" in the Middle East.

President Donald Trump's national security adviser Sunday left open the possibility of additional US military action against Syria following last week's missile strike but indicated that the United States was not seeking to act unilaterally to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. It is unclear if the nation's top diplomat has a directive to drive Russian Federation to the negotiating table. But he says that distinction "doesn't much matter to the dead".

"We're still looking into the particulars of that question, and there's not a consensus on our side about the extent or how to interpret the information that we have and continue to get", the official said in response to a question.

Tillerson traveled Tuesday to Moscow.

"The Prime Minister and the president agreed that a window of opportunity now exists in which to persuade Russian Federation that its alliance with Assad is no longer in its strategic interest", May's spokesperson said in London.

  • Joanne Flowers