USA officials say Russian inaction enabled Syria chemical attack

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The strike has raised questions about President Trump's broader Syria strategy and whether he will pursue regime change.

Is Trump now a humanitarian interventionist, willing to wield American military power when foreign governments threaten their own citizens? Trying to keep the length and cost of the war down is a crucial reason the Russians will avoid escalating any conflict with the United States, analysts said.

"And then we've got to go and make sure that we actually see a leader that will protect his people".

But Tillerson, who is expected to visit Moscow on Wednesday for talks with Russian officials, said on ABC's "This Week" programme there was "no change" to the US military posture toward Syria. "Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I'm proud of that flexibility".

Last week's nerve gas attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, which killed more than 80 people, stirred President Donald Trump to strike for the first time at Assad's forces. Yet they did so without any clear guidance from Washington on the next steps in Syria.

Immediately after, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. would soon announce new sanctions on the Assad regime to deter countries and companies from supporting it.

"Given repeated Russian blocking in the United Nations security council, the USA was determined to act", Fallon said, adding President Trump made "the right call by resorting to careful and narrowly focused military action".

"He will reiterate that sanctions will remain in place until Russian Federation reverses the actions that triggered them, and as well as on the Crimea-related sanctions that will stay in place until there is a change there", the official said.

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"We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world", Tillerson said. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Yet on some issues, he has shown a willingness to follow through. "Assad signed the chemical weapons treaty ban". Those travel orders have so far been blocked by the courts. "I always wanted us to help Syrian fighters on the ground who themselves wanted to negotiate".

Since Mr Trump ordered the launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles at the airfield in Syria's Homs province, the United States and UK on one side, and Russian Federation and Iran on the other, have made reciprocal threats of further military action.

It comes as the United Kingdom and U.S. prepare to lobby allies at the G7 in Italy for a tough statement against the Assad regime in Syria and Russia's backing for it. Tillerson has called for Assad's removal, but said Islamic State is the focus for now.

Ford said the priority now should be deterring another use of chemical weapons in Syria. "Trump suddenly realizes he's responsible for much of the world".

U.S. secretary of state Tillerson is due to arrive in Moscow on Tuesday for two days of talks.

Corker was among those who welcomed that shift.

A senior State Department official said generally Tillerson will stress that the United States is willing to work with Russian Federation on areas that are beneficial to the American people, but will "hold Russian Federation accountable when it violates worldwide norms". After months of allegations of ties between his election campaign and the Kremlin - the subject of current congressional and FBI investigations - Trump has found himself clashing with Putin. Also, Trump himself has yet to match the harsh criticism of Moscow that some of his advisers have levied.