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U.S. strikes win global praise - but ratchet up Russian Federation tension

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The kingdom is among the most vehement opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad and supports Sunni rebel groups fighting to oust him.

"There's not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime", Nikki Haley told "State of the Union" program.

Haley did not say the United States had changed its policy.

Cairo - Arab League chief Ahmed Abu Gheit warned on Saturday against a "dangerous escalation" in Syria after a U.S. missile strike on a Syrian airbase following an alleged regime chemical attack.

US President Donald Trump has signaled a startling about-turn toward Assad, who many in the worldwide community hold responsible for Tuesday's horrific events.

Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, USA -based Physicians for Human Rights has recorded 382 attacks on medical facilities and hospitals throughout the country.

Syria's government has denied carrying out any chemical attack, and Russia's Defense Ministry said the toxic agents were released when a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel chemical weapons arsenal and munitions factory. "It is in our vital national security interest to prevent the spread and use of chemical weapons". Jabbing at US credibility, the Russian leader reminded reporters about unfounded USA claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, used to justify America's 2003 invasion.

"The strikes are a reaction, but not a change of US strategy in Syria, to the extent that one exists", said Sarhang Hamasaeed, director of Middle East programs at the US Institute of Peace.

"The only reason why Bashar al-Assad is in power today is because of Russian Federation and Iran, certainly not because of Syrians".

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"The United States took a very measured step last night", Haley told a special UN session on Friday. He has denied involvement and Russian Federation, which is backing the Damascus government in its six-year-old war with rebels, has stood firmly by its ally.

Criticized for his low-profile diplomacy, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is emerging from the shadows with a leading public role in shaping and explaining the Trump administration's missile strikes in Syria.

Tillerson is slated to travel to Moscow next week for meetings with Russian officials. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said they destroyed six Syrian air force MiG-23 fighter jets that were undergoing repairs, but didn't damage other warplanes at the base.

About 900 U.S. ground troops, the bulk of them special operations forces, are in northern Syria, where they train and advise an Arab-Kurdish alliance fighting IS.

"This administration has acted recklessly without care or consideration of the dire consequences of the U.S. attack on Syria without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning", The Hill magazine quoted Gabbard as saying on Thursday.

He slammed the United States attack on the Syrian airbase, saying that while the issue is not clear yet, the U.S. attacked the Syrian airbase and killed innocent people.

"Well this is part of the problem in Syria, is Russia's sponsorship of this murderous regime", McMaster said on "Fox News Sunday".

Russia's military said the strike had an "extremely low" military impact, with fewer than half the missiles reaching the base.

The escalating dispute over last week's events in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun has thrust Washington and Moscow into a level of tension rarely seen since the end of the Cold War.

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