UK's Johnson cancels Moscow visit after Syria gas attack

Miranda GreerApr 10, 2017

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

He said a solution could only come about if Mr Assad quit as president.

The nature of the substance used has not been confirmed, and Syria has insisted it would not and has not used chemical weapons.

Last Friday in Syria, the day the United States fired 59 cruise missiles around 3:40 a.m. local time against Al Shayrat airfield, the US-led coalition carried out just seven air strikes against IS targets in Syria, according to the command.

In a statement, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Mr Johnson of living "in his own reality".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes a statement about the visit of China's President Xi Jinping and about the situation in Syria on Thursday.

Referring to Russia, Sir Michael wrote: "This latest war crime happened on their watch".

Rubio, a Republican, had said last week it wasn't a coincidence Tillerson suggested Assad could remain in power and then there were attacks using chemical weapons.

United States strikes in Syria: Game changer or deterrent? As long as Assad refrains from using chemical weapons again, the officials have said, the U.S. does not plan to carry out further attacks on his forces.

Russian Federation has consistently denied that Syrian forces used chemical weapons, insisting the incident at Khan Sheikhoun was caused by a hit on a rebel chemical weapons plant, a claim dismissed by the West. At least six people are reported to have died.

Tillerson was critical of Russia immediately after the USA airstrikes Thursday in Syria but made clear Sunday that Russians were not the target. "Russian Federation is fully supporting Syria and trying to make excuses for the use of weapons of mass destruction", Mr Shelbrooke said.

"That America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines".

Eighty-nine people, including 33 children and 18 women, died in the suspected nerve agent attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday.

The missile strikes and Tillerson's remarks Sunday also appear to send a message to any nation operating outside of worldwide norms.

The Syrian opposition, which long accused the Obama administration of inaction, wants the USA attack to be the start of a more aggressive policy toward Assad. Marco Rubio's comments about the timing of past comments by the secretary of State and a chemical weapons attack in Syria were "regrettable".

Tillerson also said the United States wants to solve the Syrian crisis through worldwide coalition, after the administration, in the days before the attack, suggested that removing Assad was not a priority. While there have been a few close calls between Russian and United States jets, some of them unintentional, the US-led air campaign has, for the most part proceeded without interference from Russian or Syrian fighters, or air defenses.

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