Top US diplomat Nikki Haley says no Syria peace with Assad

Posted April 20, 2017

Mark Feierstein, who served in the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, said it's hard to glean a direction for USA policy from Trump's actions in Syria because Trump "is not moored to any coherent ideology or set of ideas".

According to USA officials, two United States warships fired 59 cruise missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea at the Shuayart Airbase near Homs, causing significant damage to its airfields, fuel tankers and aircraft hangars.

US President Donald Trump was complimenting the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping over a steak dinner on Thursday (Friday NZT) as his military prepared to fire dozens of cruise missiles into Syria.

The move followed a deadly US air strike on the Shayrat airfield of the Syrian air forces, believed by Washington to be the base for warplanes that carried out the chemical attack on a rebel-held town on Tuesday that killed at least 80 people.

Scores of people were killed in a suspected chemical attack on Tuesday in the Idlib town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Near the central city of Homs, a bomb exploded aboard a bus carrying workers, killing a woman and wounding more than 20, according to state TV and the Observatory.

The Syrian military said at least 9 people were killed and several more wounded by the USA strike.

A United Kingdom government source said: "The important thing is that this is Britain helping to influence USA policy on Syria and Russian Federation, far from being a poodle". The Syrian government has denied any responsibility.

Spokesman Sean Spicer said the missile attack sent a clear message to Assad, but he avoided explicitly calling for the Syrian to leave office.

USA officials called the intervention a "one-off" meant to deter future chemical weapons attacks and not an expansion of the United States role in the Syrian war.

In a speech on the Senate floor in 2013, however, McConnell announced his opposition to Obama's proposal, saying, "A vital national security risk is clearly not at play, there are just too many unanswered questions about our long-term strategy in Syria, including the fact that this proposal is utterly detached from a wider strategy to end the civil war there, and on the specific question of deterring the use of chemical weapons, the President's proposal appears to be based on a contradiction".

He had planned to travel to Russia Monday on a trip meant to start a fresh dialogue with Moscow.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who also was in Florida with Trump and is scheduled to go to Moscow next week, said he was disappointed but not surprised by the Russian reaction because it showed continued support for Assad.

Mr Johnson has been lambasted for pulling out of planned talks with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov following discussions with the US.

"Why have you attacked the Syrian army which is at war with terrorists?"

The protesters in the capital held banners and chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel". There are no good options in Syria and no one is on the side of the angels. They were referring to the 2003 USA -led invasion of Iraq after Washington said Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction - a belief that later turned out to be incorrect. -Russian aims is the fight against terrorism, and Peskov said the American action "creates a serious obstacle for building an global coalition to fight it and to effectively resist this universal evil".

Once the threat from Islamic State has been reduced or eliminated, "I think we can turn our attention directly to stabilising the situation in Syria", Tillerson said in excerpts from an interview on CBS's Face the Nation, that will air in full on Sunday.

"So there's multiple priorities", she said.

Both Barack Obama and President Trump have sought to limit USA involvement in Syria for their own reasons.

"I discussed these plans in detail with Secretary Tillerson".

According to Syrian state media, seven people, including four children, were killed in the U.S. air strikes.

When reports of chemical attacks in Syria first surfaced, former President Barack Obama said the use of those weapons would invoke a US response.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most vehement opponents of Assad.

This raises a fundamental question about US aims in the Syrian war: If the two most powerful groups in Syria are both unacceptable, what outcome is the USA seeking?