Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Tillerson carries Syria stance to Moscow as Trump assumes West's leadership

Tillerson carries Syria stance to Moscow as Trump assumes West's leadership

The group's stance was a rebuff to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who said Monday the G-7 was considering new sanctions on Russian military figures to press Moscow to end military support for the "toxic" Assad government. Calling for a United Nations investigation, Putin held to his claim that it was actually Assad opponents who introduced chemical weapons into Syria's harrowing civil war. They claim that there's no infrastructure for chemical weapons at the base that the USA struck.

"I think it's clear that the Russians are trying to cover up what happened there", one senior administration official said.

Seventy percent said that Trump must seek Congressional approval before taking additional action against Syria.

Tillerson hoped to discuss Ukraine, NATO, Iran, Syria and better U.S. -Russia relations, but sarin gas, dead children and missiles are now on the table instead.

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.

The official, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly on intelligence matters and demanded anonymity, didn't give precise timing for when the drone was in the area, where more than 80 people were killed.

Moscow was complicit in last week's chemical attacks, according to the U.S., prompting an angry response from the Kremlin as Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, prepares to visit Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, we as Americans should do all we can to contribute humanitarian aid and support the victims however possible, including resettling more refugees in the United States.

After the G7 meeting, Tillerson will head to Russian Federation, where he said he will pressure Moscow to choose align with the G7 nations and regional partners, or the Assad-Iran alliance through its Hezbollah proxies.

"Russia has aligned with the Assad regime, the Iranians and Hezbollah".

Russian Federation plans to put forward a proposal on Monday for an independent and impartial investigation of the attack, a spokesman for German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in Berlin. US officials in Washington have also raised that prospect. And Assad will be reluctant to wipe out ISIS because the real threat to his authority comes from moderate rebels who could work with the West to overthrow him. Assad and Russian Federation have accused the USA of supporting terrorist groups, who've staged atrocities to gain worldwide sympathy for their cause.

The trip to Moscow comes just days after a USA missile strike hit a Syrian government air base in response to a poisonous gas attack that the US and its allies believe was carried out by forces loyal to the Syrian president - though the Russians say there is no proof of this claim.

The Trump administration has not yet defined a clear policy and Rome fears Washington may fall into step with Egypt and Russian Federation, which both support general Khalifa Haftar, a powerful figure in eastern Libya. The U.S. has said its Syria strategy centers on persuading President Vladimir Putin to stop supporting Assad. "It is clear to us the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end", he added. The idea is for political talks to follow, but Tillerson acknowledged the lack of progress so far.

Retaliating for barrel bombs would require a major shift in US policy since rebels say the weapons are used nearly daily.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due to travel to Moscow this week and the spokeswoman for May said the two leaders had agreed during their conversation that the visit was an opportunity to make progress toward a solution. The Kremlin declined to say if Putin would meet Tillerson.

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