Iran's Rouhani wants chemical attack in Syria investigated

Iran's Rouhani wants chemical attack in Syria investigated

Iran's Rouhani wants chemical attack in Syria investigated

U.S. officials informed Russian forces ahead of the missile strikes and avoided hitting Russian personnel.

It will be their first face-to-face encounter since U.S. cruise missiles slammed into a Syrian airbase early Friday Damascus time in retaliation for a suspected sarin gas attack on April 4 that killed at least 87 civilians in Syria's northern Idlib province.

The Syrian army said the USA attack killed six people and called it "blatant aggression" that made the United States a partner of "terrorist groups" including Islamic State. Trump said that his strike was aimed at ending "the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria". Yet both have been sucked in and struggled to clearly define their objectives in the messy, complicated war.

"This is a great opportunity for the Russian leadership to reevaluate what they are doing", he said, "why they are supporting a regime that is committing mass murder against its own people".

But, he added, "There is no obvious military step that could follow".

When he goes to Russian Federation, keeping a low profile would likely be impossible, even if it were his goal. "That is a paradox that requires creative thinking". U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted, however, that defeating ISIL in Syria remained Washington's top priority.

Obama wanted to shrink the US military footprint in Middle East, and resisted pressure to take military action in the wake of Syria's 2011 uprising.

The Syrian government has denied involvement. In no way do we see peace in that area with Russian Federation covering up for Assad. Trump said Assad's forces launched a gruesome chemical weapons attack from the site earlier in the week.

Trump hasn't defined the outcome he seeks.

But Assad's office said: 'What America did is nothing but foolish and irresponsible behaviour, which only reveals its short-sightedness and political and military blindness to reality'.

Only a week earlier, Tillerson had alarmed USA allies by indicating the US was no longer interested in pushing for Assad's removal from power.

Trump spoke by telephone Friday with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, who reaffirmed strong support for the military strike and thanked the US president for his "courageous" action, according to statements issued Saturday by the White House and the official Saudi Press Agency.

"The first thing I thought of was, 'Wow, just like [President] Bill Clinton used to lob cruise missiles at [Iraqi leader] Saddam Hussein in the 1990s", Robert Ford, the former US ambassador to Syria, told NPR. And in just 24 hours the airbase returned to normal, with jets continuing to take off from it.

"The U.S. needs to come home, take care of business here, and stop interfering in other countries in the world", Welsh said. "It is important to make sure that the United Nations and experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) get immediate access and are able to conduct an investigation without any obstacles", he said. Others rejected the broadly accepted view that it was the hand of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Relations with Russia have deteriorated since its 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and assistance for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

U.S. -Russia relations just became even more troubled.

But Tillerson, who is expected to visit Moscow on Wednesday for talks with Russian officials, said on ABC's "This Week" programme there was "no change" to the USA military posture toward Syria.

Since then, the USA involvement has continued to build, with ground forces and increased airstrikes against ISIS targets. -Russian aims is the fight against terrorism, and Peskov said the American action "creates a serious obstacle for building an worldwide coalition to fight it and to effectively resist this universal evil". He said he expects the country's third-most active, Saqqal air base, which is also located in central Syria, will fill the vacuum created by the destruction at Shayrat. But the Pentagon has warned that it could be a long, hard fight.

The Rangers have been in Manbij to maintain the peace between rival factions of Syrian Kurdish and Turkish forces; the Marines have set up artillery to provide offensive fire support for thousands of Syrian Arab partner forces advancing on Raqqa, the de facto ISIS capital in Syria.

Meanwhile, Syrian rebels welcome the United States intervention.

These moderate opposition groups were prominent in the early days of the uprising. And, if Trump has suddenly been moved to address the suffering, he might start recognizing the legitimacy of Syrians as refugees of war and welcoming them to resettle in the United States. John Wayne Troxell, the top enlisted military adviser to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford, flew into Kobani on Wednesday to visit the base and see some of the artillery support and training that US forces are providing.

The U.S. -backed rebels are now bit players.

Such anger though did not extend to Breitbart, the news website formerly run by and still closely allied with Steve Bannon, Trump's anti-globalist White House strategist. Syrian rebel forces have tried to oust Assad and the Syrian leader has repeatedly attacked his own populace. Otherwise, he claims, Syria would be overtaken by a terrorist group like ISIS. Six years of efforts to end the war through diplomacy have failed. Political negotiations in Geneva have also proved futile, getting bogged down on the question of Assad's future role. "But clearly they've been incompetent and perhaps they've just simply been outmaneuvered by the Syrians", he said on ABC's "This Week".

If the US and its allies drive ISIS out of Raqqa and other cities, that could alter the trajectory of the war, but such a blow is likely months away at minimum, according to analysts.

The impact of the strikes was also unclear.

"This isn't a big blow for Assad and his forces", said Ford, the former ambassador.

Syria has been in a violent civil war since 2011. "He is still, little by little, winning". He gave the order to carry out the strikes at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, after two days of consulting with his top military chiefs and the National Security Council.

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