Bashar al-Assad's ouster a priority of United States: Nikki Haley

The Trump administration said Sunday that its focus in Syria is the defeat of Islamic State, not pushing President Bashar al-Assad from power. The missile strikes catapulted Washington into confrontation with Russian Federation, which has advisers on the ground aiding its close ally Assad.

"I can tell you his focus was on the fact that innocent victims were hurt by awful regime that was attempted to be covered up by Russian Federation or, you know, make excuses for [Syrian President Bashar] Assad by Russian Federation, and he said he wasn't going put up with it", Haley continued. "We're not saying that we are the ones who are going to effect that change". "We're calling on Bashar al-Assad to cease the use of these weapons".

Johnson said Saturday the situation in Syria has changed "fundamentally" following a chemical weapons attack on civilians and a US missile strike on a Syrian airfield.

212108212136212136Allies applaud strike on Syria amid questions of next stepsPresident Trump ordered a USA military strike Thursday night in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have spoken on the phone and agreed that recent USA airstrikes in Syria were unacceptable and violated global law, the Kremlin said Sunday.

The strike was the first time the US has purposely targeted the Syrian government since the 2011 civil war broke out there.

The US is investigating if a drone attack on a Syrian hospital was orchestrated by Russian Federation to cover up evidence of the chemical attack.

"We will take Mosul", McCain said.

Reluctant to put significant troops on the ground in Syria, the USA for years has struggled to prevent Assad from strengthening his hold on power.

The joint command centre also said the presence of U.S troops in northern Syria where Washington has hundreds of special forces helping the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to oust Islamic State was "illegal" and that Washington had a long-term plan to occupy the area.

Two senior US military officials speaking to reporters on background at the Pentagon laid out the justification for the strike against the Syrian regime, which saw two USA destroyers launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at a military airbase in Al-Shayrat in western Syria.

Mr Trump defended the United States decision not to blow up the runway.

Mr Tillerson will go ahead with his visit to Russian Federation to deliver a "clear and coordinated" message to Moscow, which continues to deny Syrian forces used chemical weapons last week.

Trump heads to Florida for meet with China's Xi
Then there is the charge of currency manipulation, which Candidate Trump liked to beat China with on the campaign trail. In the wake of the missile test, US General Jack Keane said bombing North Korea "may be the only option left".

Does President Trump need approval from Congress to take further action in Syria?

Iran has provided crucial military and economic assistance to Mr Assad throughout Syria's six-year civil war.

Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, agreed.

Mr Assad accused the U.S. of trying to boost the morale of "terror groups" in Syria.

"I think the president has authorization to use force", he said.

Use of chlorine weapons is prohibited under the global chemical weapons convention, but production of chlorine is not.

Later this week US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Moscow, while Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will garner support at a G7 summit of foreign ministers.

Prior to the attack in Khan Sheikhun, Tillerson said Assad's fate should be decided by the Syrian people, suggesting Washington would not oppose him standing for reelection.

Russian Federation and Iran have provided Assad with critical military support in his war against rebel groups fighting to topple him.

A senior National Security Council official pushed back on the notion that Trump's strikes were weaker than Obama's and that they would be too small to change Assad's calculus about using chemical weapons.

"While people are really anxious to find inconsistencies in those statements, they are in fact very consistent in terms of what is the ultimate political objective in Syria", he added.

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster told Fox News he also supported removing Assad, but said the USA was "not going to be the ones who effect that change".


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