US, Russia jab over Syria before diplomatic talks in Moscow

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued an ultimatum to Russian Federation on Tuesday: Side with the U.S. and likeminded countries on Syria, or embrace Iran, militant group Hezbollah and embattled Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

"We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world", Tillerson said.

Until Monday, U.S. officials had said they weren't sure if the drone was operated by Russian Federation or Syria.

At a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Italy, the Foreign Secretary will demand the Kremlin is slapped with sanctions unless it agrees to the removal of Bashar al-Assad within months.

The Kremlin condemned US military strikes against Syrian regime targets, which were launched in retaliation for a chemical attack that left more than 80 civilians dead.

"The Syrian government has lost the ability to refuel or rearm aircraft at Shayrat airfield and at this point, use of the runway is of idle military interest", Mattis said, describing the strike as a "measured response".

The United States has concluded Russian Federation knew in advance that the Syrian regime would employ chemical weapons in a large-scale attack last week, according to the Associated Press.

In a 2013 agreement with the Obama administration, Russian Federation said it would work with Syria to get rid of its chemical weapons stockpile.


On Monday, Col. John J. Thomas, a US military spokesman, said the USA has taken extra defensive precautions in Syria in case of possible retaliation against American forces for the cruise missile attack. On the same day, Tillerson said on a trip to Turkey that the "longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people".

In a separate Sunday show interview on CNN this morning, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said there are "multiple priorities" in Syria, especially defeating ISIS. "They are the power".

"I think that's a regrettable comment on the part of Senator Rubio", Tillerson said on CBS's "Face The Nation". Calling for a United Nations investigation, Putin held to his claim that it was actually Assad opponents who introduced chemical weapons into Syria's harrowing civil war.

"We will be discussing the possibility of further sanctions certainly on some of the Syrian military figures and indeed on some of the Russian military figures who have been involved in co-ordinating the Syrian military efforts and are thereby contaminated by the appalling behaviour of the Assad regime", Mr Johnson told reporters. The dossier also derided a "drumbeat of nonsensical claims" from Syria and its allies, a clear reference to Russian Federation.

"I think we have to learn the lessons of the past and learn the lessons of what went wrong in Libya when you choose the path of regime change", Tillerson said on ABC's This Week.

The April 4 chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town in Idlib province left almost 90 people dead.

The rebel commander in charge of two opposition-held towns in western Syria says evacuations will also begin from his districts tomorrow. "Repeating this action can be very unsafe for the region", he said.

"Lavrov stressed that an attack on a country whose government is fighting terrorism only plays into the hands of extremists creates additional threats to regional and global security", the statement said.

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