Russia knew Syrian chemical attack was coming

Posted April 11, 2017

Two days after the U.S. launched military strikes on a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack widely blamed on the Assad regime, Haley said the departure of President Bashar al-Assad was inevitable.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to Moscow this week will be an early test of whether the Trump administration can use any momentum generated by a missile attack on a Syrian air base to craft and execute a strategy to end the Syrian war. Those include getting rid of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's remaining chemical weapons and pressing Assad to negotiate Syria's future.

Russia, along with Iran, is Assad's primary backer, and its intervention in Syria's war has been crucial to ensuring his grip on power, although no longer over the entire country.

Tillerson himself raised fresh expectations for aggressive USA action - and not only in Syria - as he visited Sant'Anna di Stazzema, a Tuscan village where the Nazis massacred more than 500 civilians during World War II.

From Italy, Tillerson will travel to Moscow, becoming the first Trump administration official to visit Russian Federation.

"The Russians were never targeted in this particular strike", Tillerson said.

"If you gas a baby, if you put a barrel bomb in to innocent people, I think you will see a response from this president", Spicer said.

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"Countries that have been supportive of the Assad regime bear some of the responsibility for the chemical attacks on innocents", he said. The attack was widely blamed on the Assad regime.

But the official said the presence of the surveillance drone over the hospital couldn't have been a coincidence, and that Russian Federation must have known the chemical weapons attack was coming and that victims were seeking treatment.

Leading up to the USA missile attack, Trump's administration had said Assad's future was up to the Syrian people.

The top U.S. diplomat insisted he had no concerns about possible Russian retaliation following an unprecedented USA strike on a Syrian airfield this week. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said Sunday that Europe's broad support for the USA military strikes had contributed to a "renewed harmony" between the United States and its partners. The official says a Russian-operated drone flew over a hospital while victims arrived and tried to cover up the attack.

Yet the US has sent mixed messages about what it wants in the short term; it's not even clear whether Washington intends to help oust Assad.

"The president thanked the Prime Minister for her support in the wake of last week's United States military action against the Assad regime".

The United States is suggesting its true goal was to send a political message: that long-term peace in Syria will require changes in government, and the countries backing Bashar Assad should stop. "They are still not giving up on working with the Trump administration". One government official after another has suggested they would like to see Assad gone, but not elaborated on whether it's an immediate USA priority.