United States steps up pressure on Syria ahead of Russian Federation talks

"By proxy Russian Federation is responsible for every civilian death last week", Fallon, whose government voiced support for US President Donald Trump's decision to target the Syrian air base, wrote in the Sunday Times newspaper.

Following the suspected attack, US President Donald Trump launched air strikes against a Syrian government air base, and branded Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad a "dictator" who had "launched a terrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians". At the end of last month, Haley told reporters that the US priority in Syria "is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out".

The Kremlin said in a statement Rouhani also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone.

Assad's government has denied any involvement in the attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the rebel-held Idlib province. Diplomatic efforts to curb the weapons' use by Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, a mass murderer who has previously attacked his own citizens with poison gas, haven't worked. "In such atmosphere, boosting cooperation among Iran, Russia and Syria in countering violence and terrorism is essential", the president remarked.

Clearly, Russia has not enforced that agreement, a failure Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed in an appropriately damning way: "Either Russia has been complicit or Russia has been incompetent in its ability to deliver on that agreement", Tillerson said. "(What) we are saying is, other countries have to ask themselves some hard questions", he said.

The official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, said a Russian drone was spotted flying overhead of a Syrian hospital where victims were taken to be treated after the attack.

But United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said there can be no peace in Syria with Assad in power.

Graham said he supports the president's decision to order the strikes, but wants to see more from the administration on Syria.

"Rest assured that we will liberate Syria from all kinds of occupying forces, it does not matter from where they came to the occupied part of Syria", the statement warned.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Russian Federation of "failing" to "live up to its commitments under the chemical weapons agreements" in relation to the current situation in Syria. "And saying, 'we are only going after chemical weapons areas, ' ignores the enormity of the problem", he said.

President Trump ordered the cruise missile strikes on the airfield Thursday evening in response to a deadly chemical attack that the United States has blamed on al-Assad's regime.

Rouhani said the USA strike would not affect Iran's Syria policy, while Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would not withdraw in the face of similar aggressions. Secondly, we don't see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there.

The death toll from the air strikes in Urum al-Joz was expected to rise, said the Observatory, a Britain-based organisation that reports on the war using a network of sources in Syria.

"The United States took a very measured step last night", Haley said at the UN special session Friday.

  • Leroy Wright