Syria war: USA missiles 'took out 20% of aircraft'

Cheryl Sanders
April 12, 2017

Russian Federation has argued that civilians in Khan Sheikhoun were exposed to toxic agents from a militants' arsenal hit by a Syrian air strike. The Kremlin declined to say if Putin would meet Tillerson.

Those comments left US allies wondering whether the April 7 missile attack was a one-off event.

"To date, Astana has not achieved much progress", Tillerson said.

Live footage from the scene showed tall clouds of black smoke billowing just over the tarmac.

Former Obama administration officials are pushing back against criticism of the former president, saying they proposed similar airstrikes in Syria to the ones President Donald Trump ordered this week, but were stymied by a Republican-controlled Congress reluctant to go along with the Democratic president's plan.

The airport said in a separate statement that the fire was outside the airport and it didn't affect its operations.

Efforts to reach an agreement on statements and strategy ahead of time - a normal part of pre-meeting G7 diplomacy - has gone very slowly, partly because of a hard transition at the US state department, where many key positions remain unfilled.

The officials said they had not yet determined whether or not Russian Federation had foreknowledge of the chemical weapons attack before it was carried out.

Freeland, in Italy for meetings of the G7 foreign ministers, says Assad's gruesome chemical attack against his own people and the US missile strike that followed have created conditions conducive to a political solution to the tensions in Syria.

It is unclear so far whether Tillerson will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The Syrian government would be ill-advised ever again to use chemical weapons", Mattis said.

Ministers meeting in the walled Tuscan city of Lucca strongly supported US missile strikes that targeted a Syrian air base believed to have been used to launch the attack.

Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy of the Russian General Staff said in televised remarks on Tuesday that the Syrian government is ready to let worldwide experts to examine the base and that Russia will provide security for them.

G7 foreign ministers hosted by Italy invited their counterparts from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Qatar - all of whom oppose Assad's rule - to sit down in the morning and discuss Syria.

Moscow has dismissed suggestions that the Syrian government that it backs could be behind the attack in Idlib province. So far, Trump had a conciliatory attitude towards Putin who reportedly even helped Trump during the Presidential campaign. Militarily, you can not destroy those chemical weapons.

The amusing thing is that even after the launch of Tomahawks on the Syrian airbase some experts didn't lose enthusiasm and continue to talk about Trump's pro-Russianness. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said Sunday that Europe's broad support for the US military strikes had contributed to a "renewed harmony" between the United States and its partners.

Trump authorized the launch of cruise missiles late April 6 on targets at Shayrat Airfield, a Syrian air base believed to have been involved in chemical weapons attacks that killed hundreds of civilians April 4, including women and children.

Washington wants Russian Federation to stop supporting Assad, who has been fighting a six-year-long civil war against mostly Sunni Muslim rebels, also with the backing of Shi'ite Muslim Iran. On Friday, Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement only 23 of the USA missiles made it to the airbase, blowing up just six MiG-23 planes.

President Donald Trump's administration accused Russian Federation on Tuesday of trying to shield Syria's government from blame for a deadly gas attack, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson brought a Western message to Moscow condemning its support for President Bashar al-Assad.

"It is unclear whether Russian Federation failed to take this obligation seriously or Russian Federation has been simply incompetent in its ability to deliver on its end of that agreement".

He says of the recent chemical attack: "We can not let this happen again". Pressed by reporters, he said: "In terms of the future of Bashar al-Assad, it is important to us that we undertake a political process that leads to the final conclusion of how Syria will be governed".

For better or worse, Tillerson will have the opportunity to ask the Russians that question personally when he makes his first visit to Moscow as secretary of state Tuesday.

Other reports by iNewsToday