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14 April 2017, 02:44 | Ignacio Smith
After the United States launched cruise missile strikes on a Syrian air base alleged to have launched a deadly poison gas attack on Syrian civilians, Trump administration officials said they were prepared to take further actions if necessary.
Meanwhile, the Russian government has condemned missile strikes by the US on a Syrian airbase, calling Washington's move as "aggression against sovereign state in violation of worldwide law". "Clearly they've been incompetent and perhaps they've just simply been out-maneuvered by the Syrians". President Trump had spoken out during his election campaign against USA military intervention, and had been keen to fix relations with Russian Federation, whose president Vladimir Putin backs the Assad regime.
Both Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rohani "noted the inadmissibility of US aggressive actions against a sovereign state in violation of global law", the Kremlin said on April 9.
Putin and Rohani called for an "objective, impartial" investigation into the incident and expressed readiness to deepen cooperation to fight terrorism, the Kremlin said.
Assad has also drawn heavily on foreign Shi'ite militias sponsored by Iran, led by Lebanon's Hezbollah group, for his most important gains since the Russian intervention.
Tillerson said the US priority in Syria was defeating Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS.
Tillerson said the chemical attack had been preceded by two others in March. "Russian intelligence may not be as good as ours, but it's good enough to know the Syrians had chemical weapons, were using chemical weapons". The strike was the first time American forces targeted a Syrian government installation in the course of the war.
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After last Tuesday's chemical attack in Syria, Trump said his attitude toward Assad "has changed very much" and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said "steps are underway" to organize a coalition to remove him from power.
Tillerson will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow later this week.
A Syrian Sukhoi jet took off from the Shayrat airbase targeted by the volley of United States strikes, Hezbollah's al-Manar TV channel reported Sunday, saying repairs to the base began within hours of the attack.
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The U.S. envoy said "regime change is something that we think is going to happen" in Syria, but she stopped short of suggesting Washington would directly seek that outcome.
In the days after the Khan Sheikhoun attack, Turkey provided the Syrian Civil Defense search and rescue outfit with 50 protective kits for responding to chemical attacks, and trained them in their use, Anadolu said.
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