US Threatens More Pressure on Syria After Missile Strikes

Johnson pulls out of Moscow visit over Russian support for Assad regime

A foreign ministry statement said Lavrov also reaffirmed Russia's position that accusations that the Syrian regime had launched a chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhun "are not in line with reality".

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani said in a phone call that aggressive USA actions against Syria were not permissible and violated global law, the Kremlin said.

Mr Johnson will tell his counterparts that Assad has no future in Syria, Russia must stop supporting the regime and a plan to rebuild the country must be drawn up.

In Washington, a senior United States official said Syria may have had help carrying out the alleged chemical attack, but stopped short of accusing Russian Federation of complicity. Despite intense worldwide pressure, Assad has clung to power since a civil war broke out in his country six years ago, helped by financial and military support from both Russian Federation and Iran.

In the capital Damascus, dozens of Syrian students gathered outside the offices of the United Nations to protest the USA missile attack.

"Therefore, we demand that all should retreat from this risky escalation we are monitoring", said the secretary-general of the 22-member Arab bloc based in Cairo. "We are prepared to do more".

Washington has blamed the Syrian government for the attack on Tuesday.

Overnight to April 7, following an order from the U.S. President Donald Trump, the U.S. armed forces fired a total of 59 Tomahawk subsonic cruise missiles on a military airfield in Syria's Homs Governorate.

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The monitor also reported an air strike on Urum al-Joz, another Idlib town, on Saturday that killed 18 civilians including five children.

The United States is vowing to keep up the pressure on Syria after the intense nighttime wave of missile strikes from USA ships, despite the prospect of escalating Russian ill will that could further inflame one of the world's most vexing conflicts.

"If Russia wants to be absolved of responsibility for future attacks, Vladimir Putin needs to enforce commitments, to dismantle Assad's chemical weapons arsenal for good, and to get fully engaged with the United Nations peacekeeping progress".

Mr Tillerson will visit Russian Federation this week to deliver a "clear and coordinated" message to the Kremlin, after Mr Johnson pulled out of a trip following conversations with Mr Trump's team.

But as lawmakers called on Trump to consult with Congress on any future military strikes and a longer-term strategy on Syria, Trump administration officials sent mixed signals on the scope of USA involvement.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will join Mr Johnson and ministers from France, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada in Tuscany.

"We. need a strategy to figure out what is our goals in Syria", said Republican Senator John Cornyn.

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