After Syria attack, Tillerson vows to defend innocents

The vote is scheduled for 3pm (3am Malaysia) and comes as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Moscow to pressure Russian Federation to reconsider its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of the U.S. Central Command, provided detail at the presser on the Syrian strike at the Shayrat airfield and said the goal was to eliminate the chemical weapons capability, including aircraft, fuel and supplies that provided offensive military capacity for the Assad regime. "At this time, there is no US Intelligence Community consensus that Russian Federation had foreknowledge of the Syrian chemical attack", a senior administration official said. He told CBS's "Face the Nation" that the threat of ISIS would first need to be reduced, then "I think we can turn our attention directly to stabilizing the situation in Syria".

Freeland says she met today with the so-called "like-minded" group around Syria, which includes Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as other G-7 members.

Some 87 people, including children, are believed to have been killed in a suspected sarin nerve agent strike on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Ministers meeting in the Tuscan city of Lucca strongly supported U.S. missile strikes that targeted a Syrian air base believed to have been used to launch the attack.

"Three months ago Syria wasn't really an issue for them but our push and recent events have made a difference".

In her interview with CNN's "State of the Union", Haley said removing Assad from power was one of a number of priorities for the US. "We must not push Russian Federation into a corner".

He said Russian Federation was set to appeal to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and "call on the worldwide community to thoroughly investigate such incidents".

Also on Monday, Britain and Canada said sanctions could be tightened on Moscow if it continued to back Assad. 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.

But others want a more conciliatory approach.

The prime minister is making his strongest statement yet on the crisis in Syria and the future of the Assad regime.

The meeting in the Tuscan walled city of Lucca brings together the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Britain, Japan and Canada - as well as the US and current G-7 president Italy.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano says Russian Federation must not be "pushed into a corner" over Syria, as the Group of Seven ignored calls by Britain and the US for new sanctions on Moscow over its support of President Bashar Assad.

White House officials say the USA intelligence community is confident that Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked his own people with chemical weapons on April 4 - and that an alternative explanation offered by Russian Federation is an effort to deflect blame and "confuse the world community".

A spokeswoman for the prime minister said Trump had thanked May for her support following last week's USA military action in Syria against the Assad regime. But Tillerson also said that the top USA priority in the region remains the defeat of Islamic State militants.

USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson will go ahead with his visit this week to deliver a "clear and co-ordinated" message to the Kremlin.


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