Assad allies say US attack on Syria air base crosses 'red lines'

British Foreign Secretary Johnson answers a question during a joint press conference with Greek Foreign Minister Kotzias following their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Athens

President Hassan Rouhani stressed Iran's support for the Syrian state in "its war against terrorism" during a call with his counterpart Bashar al-Assad, condemning a USA missile strike on Syria as a violation of its sovereignty. "We don't see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there", Haley said on CNN.

After last Tuesday's chemical attack, President Donald Trump said his attitude toward Assad "has changed very much" and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson even said "steps are underway" to organize a coalition to remove him from power.

The Khan Sheikhun strike prompted Washington to take its first direct military action against Assad's government, with missile strikes against a central air base on Friday morning.

Soon after, the Kremlin slammed Trump over the strike, announced that it would bolster Syria's air defenses in response, and suspended a pact in which Russian Federation and the United States coordinate their air operations in Syria so as to prevent accidental midair collisions.

Sir Michael went on that there must now be a longer-term solution to the conflict that does not involve Mr Assad, adding: "Someone who uses barrel bombs and chemicals to kill his own people simply can not be the future leader of Syria".

Earlier this week, AP reported, citing U.S. military officials, that Washington launched an investigation into whether Russian Federation is linked to the suspected chemical attack in Syria's Idlib, which the USA claims was carried out by Damascus.

After considering a unilateral strike in 2013, Obama ultimately asked Congress for permission to strike after evidence was found that the Assad regime had crossed Obama's "red line" against using chemical weapons.

New airstrikes targeted a town in Syria that was hit by a chemical attack earlier this week, activists said, less than a day after the United States bombarded a Syrian air base to "send a message" to the Assad regime.

Sir Michael said the attack had happened "on their watch" and that Vladimir Putin must now live up to previously made promises that Mr Assad's chemical weapons have been destroyed.

Tillerson insisted he had no concerns about possible Russian retaliation after the U.S. attack on the airbase.

The statement by the Iranian and Russian military chiefs echoed comments made by their countries' leaders in the hours after the usa strike. "We're not saying that we are the ones who are going to effect that change". But the top goal is not ousting Assad but defeating the Islamic State terrorist group.

The two generals said the missile strike was a "preplanned program" meant to slow gains by the Syrian military and to "strengthen the morale of terrorists and their supporters". The OPCW in 2016 said that due to gaps and inconsistencies in Syria's declaration its compliance with the chemical weapons treaty could not be fully verified. Attention and resources would be spread between the two campaigns, and an increased focus on Assad would mean that the US-led incursions against ISIS would likely slow as a result.

Just last week Mr Tillerson said President Assad's future would be "decided by the Syrian people".

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

Is political transition a reality in Syria? Those were put in place over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea, Tillerson said, adding that until the issues in that region are addressed, "sanctions will remain in place".

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