Published: Wed, April 19, 2017
USA | By Cassandra Hanson

US strike on Syrian air base has limited impact on Assad


United States warships in the Mediterranean fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles around 3:40 am Syria time (late Thursday in Washington, 0040 GMT Friday) at the airfield located near Homs in central Syria.

He said the United States expected Russian Federation to take a tougher stance against Syria by rethinking its alliance with Assad because "every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russian Federation closer into some level of responsibility".

On Friday, the United States carried out missile strikes on a Syrian airbase it said was suspected of storing chemical weapons.

Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said she's "skeptical" that Bashar al-Assad's regime was behind the chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people in Syria. But a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the strikes dealt "a significant blow" to relations between Moscow and Washington.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seemed to take a more patient stance in regard to Assad, saying on Saturday that Washington's first priority is the defeat of Islamic State. But Tillerson said he sees no reason for retaliation from Moscow because Russian Federation wasn't targeted.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told CNN in an interview to be aired Sunday she sees no possible political solution in Syria as long as President Bashar al-Assad remains in power.

"I think the Russians were caught off guard (by the USA strikes)", Hertling said.

In a separate development, activists opposed to the Islamic State group said a USA -led coalition airstrike hit a boat carrying civilians fleeing across the Euphrates River.

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"It's not the first time for Assad to do that", Mostafa said. "It is necessary to make it absolutely clear that such USA military action is unacceptable to us", the spokeswoman added.

European Union Council President Donald Tusk said on Twitter, the "U.S. strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks".

Russian envoy to the United Nations told the council that the U.S. missile strike was "a flagrant violation of worldwide law and an act of aggression".

In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official website April 7, 2017, an aerial view shows shelters for aircraft at a Syrian air base after it was hit by USA strike in Syria. Mevlut Cavusoglu said Saturday that the US intervention was only "cosmetic" unless it removes Assad from power.

Syrian government officials said the base has played an instrumental role in the fight against the Islamic State group, which until recently controlled the historic town of Palmyra in Homs province.

While threatening further strikes, the USA envoy also said it was time to press on with a political solution to the six-year war. Syria's state news agency SANA said two missiles hit nearby villages, killing four people and wounding seven.

On Friday, senior US military officials were looking more closely at possible Russian involvement in the poison attack. "President Obama, do not attack Syria", Trump said in his message.

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