Rubio says USA can't defeat ISIS until Syria's Assad is removed

Posted April 10, 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the US position on Syria hasn't changed after American warships launched a military strike on an air base in Syria Thursday in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack that killed at least 70 civilians earlier in the week.

"All the external parties and their forces must withdraw from Syria".

Russia, which has been propping up the Assad regime since September 2015 in its fight against anti-government rebels. "Secondly, we don't see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there". Haley said she doesn't see a political solution in Syria with Assad remaining as president, but that other USA priorities were defeating Islamic State and to "get the Iranian influence out".

The secretary of state is set to travel to Moscow later this week.

Tillerson will also press Russian Federation on its failure to prevent Syria using chemical weapons, he said in interviews aired Sunday. "So the strike 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".

"I'm disappointed in that response from the Russians because it indicates their continued support for the Assad regime", said Tillerson, who is expected to make a hard trip to Moscow next week.

Other Republicans had harsher words for Assad. "I think it's based on assumptions that, quite frankly, are not the right ones", Rubio told ABC's "This Week." Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a proponent of further military action against Syria said on BNC. "So what I think you're seeing is, this isn't about policy or not, this is about thoughts". He also said the top US priority in the region hasn't changed and remained the defeat of Islamic State militants.

But there have been repeated allegations of chemical weapons use by the government since then.

New strikes hit outside the town on Sunday, with no immediate reports of casualties, the monitor added. No group claimed responsibility for that blast.

In the wide-ranging ABC interview, Tillerson also said the US has "no objective" to change North Korea's regime as Kim Jong Un continues to ramp up Pyongyang's nuclear program, and that there's no reason for the U.S.to lift sanctions placed on Russian Federation following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

In the letter, dated Saturday, Trump said he "acted in the vital national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations" and as commander in chief.

Trump's note said the United States would "take additional action, as necessary and appropriate".

President Donald Trump has spoken by telephone with South Korea's leader to discuss Syria and North Korea.

Both the Assad regime and the Russians denied any use of poisonous gas in the Tuesday attack.

The Iranian President said that this aggression constitutes a "blatant violation of the Syrian sovereignty and all the global laws and conventions", the agency said. Iran has also contributed Shiite militias to back Assad.