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Russian Federation knew in advance of Syrian chemical attack

13 April 2017

"The United States crossed red lines by attacking Syria, from now on we will respond to anyone, including America if it attacks Syria and crosses the red lines", the statement said. Votel is commander of U.S.

Tillerson's Moscow talks hinge on new United States leverage over Syria.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Moscow on Tuesday to confront the Russian leadership over its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Before the statement's release, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denounced the "flagrant U.S. aggression on Syria".

Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately showed that he wouldn't back down, saying Russia knew about planned "provocations" to blame Syria's government for using chemical weapons. Hopes waned, however, after the USA military conducted a massive missile strike on the Shayrat Airbase in Homs Province, Syria.

"The United States will not passively stand by while Assad murders innocent people with chemical weapons, which are prohibited by worldwide law and which were declared destroyed", Pentagon chief James Mattis said Monday.

As reported by UPI on Tuesday, Mattis said in a statement that the "measured response" by the USA was ordered to "deter [the Syrian regime's] future use of chemical weapons".

"It's clear that the Russians are trying to cover up the attack", said one of the senior White House officials.

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Senior Russian military officers involved in co-ordinating Syrian president Bashar Assad's ruthless campaign of repression against his own people could face worldwide sanctions, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has warned.

A Foreign Office source said that Johnson "went into the G7 wanting unanimity on Assad needing to go, on giving Russian Federation the option of playing a role in combatting [Islamic State] and rebuilding Syria using its armed forces for peace, and on targeted sanctions, including on military chiefs".

"Returning to pseudo-attempts to resolve the crisis by repeating mantras that Assad must step down can not help sort things out", Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Monday. The former Cold War foes even worked together in 2013 to remove and destroy more than 1,300 tons of Syrian chemical weapons and agents. He says that makes it hard to have clarity about US positions.

On Tuesday, senior White House officials discussed a four-page declassified report that says Syria and Russian Federation have used "false narratives" to try to confuse the worldwide community.

Moscow pledged to the U.S. in 2013 that it would work to rid Syria of its chemical weapons arsenal.

RidiculedJohnson was ridiculed when he cancelled a planned visit to Moscow on Sunday, apparently in deference to his USA counterpart, Rex Tillerson, who will be in the Russian capital on Wednesday. It's unclear whether Putin will grant Tillerson a meeting.

The US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said at the weekend that regime change in Syria was a priority for Trump, while Tillerson said on Saturday the first priority was the defeat of Islamic State.