Tillerson takes a hard line on Russian Federation

Credit AP

Russian Federation and Iran have issued a warning to the USA as G7 foreign ministers prepared to meet in Italy to discuss Syria.

Top aides to President Donald Trump demurred on Sunday over where US policy on Syria was headed after last week's retaliatory missile strike, leaving open questions about whether removing Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad from power was now one of Trump's goals.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday", McMaster said the United States would take further action in Syria if necessary.

The U.S. attacked the Syrian air base in retaliation for what it said was a chemical weapons assault by Syrian President Bashar Assad that killed dozens of civilians, including many children.

"It's very hard to understand how a political solution could result form the continuation of the Assad regime", McMaster said.

Describing the USA attack as a "limited strike" that was quickly over, another senior ally of Assad in the region said toppling him did not seem to be a priority for Trump.

The Russian-Iranian joint operation room in Syria said on Sunday that Syria's allies will strongly respond to any aggression against Syria, adding that the US attack is a risky precedent and a violent aggression on the sovereignty of the Syrian state and people.

Moscow and Damascus say the deaths were the result of a Syrian air strike on a depot where rebels were making chemical weapons that then leaked into the town - a claim rebels deny and Washington dismisses as beyond credibility.

"What we should do is focus on ISIS".

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Russian Federation and Iran renewed their support for the Syrian government in a flurry of calls on Sunday, saying last week's USA missile strike violated Syrian sovereignty but failed to boost the morale of "terror groups" in Syria.

Trump sent a letter Sunday to Congress that explained why he acted, the details of the attack, asserted his constitutional authority to act and affirmed his efforts to "keep Congress informed".

"If you violate global agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point a response is likely to be undertaken", he told ABC's "This Week".

He called on Russian Federation to do "everything possible to bring about a political settlement in Syria and work with the rest of the worldwide community to ensure that the shocking events of the last week are never repeated". "First and foremost, we must defeat ISIS", Tillerson said in making his first Sunday talk show appearances since becoming the country's top diplomat. "Russian Federation should ask themselves. why are we supporting this murderous regime that is committing mass murder of its own population?"

"There seem to be a difference in what Ambassador Haley is saying, that Assad has no future, and what I heard this morning from Secretary Tillerson", Republican Senator Marco Rubio told ABC, adding that Tillerson's strategy won't work.

It was the first time Washington has directly targeted Assad's government in six years of civil war, and has pushed the administration of President Donald Trump into proclaiming that Washington still wants Assad removed from power.

Tillerson was critical of Russia immediately after the US airstrikes Thursday in Syria but made clear Sunday that Russians were not the target.

In a phone call with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the strike on Friday a "blatant violation" of Syrian sovereignty, Syrian state media reported.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - when asked about Tillerson's priorities during his upcoming Moscow visit, Spicer said that the U.S. administration needs to make sure that Moscow "fully understands the actions that Syrian President Bashar Assad took, the commitments that Syria has made and Russian Federation has equally agreed to the same understanding".