United States missiles blast Syria; 'end the slaughter,' Trump demands

The Pentagon said the base was used to store chemical weapons after at least 86 people, including 33 children, were killed in a nerve gas attack in rebel-held Idlib province earlier this week.

Images of civilians suffering the apparent effects of a gas attack, including convulsions, vomiting and foaming at the mouth, provoked worldwide outrage and prompted US President Donald Trump to order a strike on a Syrian airbase.

Haley said "getting Assad out is not the only priority" and that countering Iran's influence in Syria was another.

"If you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it's going to be hard to see a government that's peaceful and stable with Assad", she added. "In no way do we see peace in that area with Russian Federation covering up for Assad", she said during another interview, on NBC's "Meet the Press". Assad accused the USA of trying to boost the morale of "terror groups" in Syria.

In an interview on CBS News's "Face the Nation" set to air Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration's top priority is defeating the Islamic State.

Rouhani said "neutral countries should come and assess to make it clear where the chemical weapons came from".

"I don't draw conclusions of complicity at all, but clearly they've been incompetent and perhaps they've just simply been out-maneuvered by the Syrians", he told ABC's "This Week".

Iran has provided crucial military and economic assistance to Assad throughout Syria's six-year civil war.

The American strikes "aim at slowing the victories of the Syrian army and its allies, and reinforcing terrorist groups", they said in a statement.

Mr Johnson expressed his support to the United States on Friday after it fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Shayrat airfield near Homs in central Syria. "Assad signed the chemical weapons treaty ban". But the chemical weapons attack seemed to spur a rethink.

But there have been repeated allegations of chemical weapons use since.

But President Vladimir Putin has not himself condemned the US airstrike, and some reports suggest he is unhappy that Assad has boxed him into defending what many consider a war crime.

Trump aides said that they could not unequivocally rule out future strikes against Assad's forces, but they cautioned that the president's decision did not signal a broader ramping up of USA military engagement on the ground.

In the days after the Khan Sheikhoun attack, Turkey provided the Syrian Civil Defense search and rescue outfit with 50 protective kits for responding to chemical attacks, and trained them in their use, Anadolu said.

Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin also spoke by telephone about "the unacceptable nature of American aggression", a statement from Moscow said.

Both leaders also said they backed "an objective inquiry" into the Khan Sheikhun incident has also caused a diplomatic spat between Moscow and London.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will call for new sanctions on Russian Federation if it does not cut ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following an escalation of the conflict in Syria, the Times reported Monday.

Britain's defence secretary, Michael Fallon, on Sunday criticised Russia's support of Assad, describing the chemical attack as a war crime that happened "on their watch".

New strikes hit outside the town on Sunday, with no immediate reports of casualties, the monitor added.

  • Zachary Reyes