Published: Wed, April 12, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

US missile strike in Syria dashes hope of improving ties with Russia


Tillerson on Sunday blamed Moscow for failing to prevent the Assad regime from using chemical weapons, despite a 2013 Russian-organized agreement in which the Syrian government was to surrender its chemical weapons arsenal.

At the weekend, USA ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley suggested regime change in Syria was inevitable in the wake of last week's chemical weapons attack that was widely blamed on the Assad regime.

The Pentagon is looking for any evidence that Moscow knew about or was complicit in the attack in Idlib province that killed at least 80 people and injured dozens more, the CNN reported quoting a senior U.S. defense official as saying.

"We deplore Russia's continued defence of the Assad regime even after the chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians".

Following the U.S. attack on a Syrian airbase overnight, Russian officials expressed outrage.

Indeed, the dozens of cruise missiles launched from two US Navy ships reportedly did little to hamper Syria's air operations, as Syrian forces took off from the targeted airfield hours later.

Johnson announced Saturday he would not travel to Moscow next week, saying that "developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally".

Shortly after the regime's chemical attack, a small, unmanned aerial vehicle - "either [Syrian] regime or Russian" - was seen over the local hospital as victims were being rushed there for care, an official said.

"Returning to pseudo-attempts to resolve the crisis by repeating mantras that Assad must step down can not help sort things out", Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Monday.

Mr Tillerson said the Washington would hold to account "any and all" who commit crimes against civilians.

Russian Federation called the bombing a significant blow to U.S.

"I think it is very important in these circumstances for the world to present a united front and for there to be absolutely no ambiguity about the message", he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has again backed the USA after President Donald Trump this week authorised a missile strike on a Syrian airbase.

"There has been a swift and just response and now it is up to the (UN) Security Council, up to Russian Federation in particular, to bring this conflict to an end".

At least 87 people were killed - including women and children - in the assault on the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun last Tuesday. "This is the action that many of us were hoping for years ago". And by launching an attack on Syria the billionaire president has contradicted his own "America First" position, which certainly disavows an interventionist policy.

The Turkish foreign minister, whose country is a strong backer of the Syrian opposition, said the USA missile strikes were not enough.

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