Four days after the USA launched an attack on a Syrian air base in retaliation for Bashar Assad's chemical attack on the village of Khan Sheikhoun, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said ousting the Syrian strongman would be a priority for the administration.
In remarks from his Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, President Donald Trump explained his decision to launch a military strike against a Syrian air base Thursday night, expressing disgust at the "very barbaric attack" by Syria.
The U.S. still hopes to shepherd a "political process that we believe the Syrian people will lawfully be able to decide the fate of Assad", Tillerson said Sunday in reference to Syria's president on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos", one of two appearances on political talk shows.
Nikki Haley's comments in an interview airing Sunday came as part of an apparent shift in U.S. policy towards Assad's government after the alleged chemical attack last week on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun that killed 87 people, including many children.
"All the external parties and their forces must withdraw from Syria".
This week's airstrike "was a message to Bashar al-Assad that your multiple violations of your agreements at the United Nations, your agreements under the chemical weapons charter back in 2013, that those would not go without a response in the future", he said.
But United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said there can be no peace in Syria with Assad in power.
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Syria's President Bashar al-Assad..
Earlier on Friday, the United States targeted the Shayrat air base in Homs with almost 60 Tomahawk missiles, killing six Syrian soldiers and nine civilians, including four children, and destroying nine Syrian warplanes.
It killed at least 87 civilians, including 31 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor.
The comments came in a phone conversation with Iranian President Rouhani who called the Syrian leader to voice his strong condemnation of what he called the "US' blatant aggression" on Syria. It condemned the chemical attack, without naming Assad, calling instead for an global investigation to identify the perpetrator.
Tillerson is heading to Lucca, Italy, for a two-day meeting of G7 foreign ministers that starts Monday, and he will continue from there to Moscow for meetings with Sergey Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, and other Russian officials.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has cancelled a trip to Russian Federation over its support for Assad, prompting Moscow's foreign ministry to say London has "no real influence".