Chemical attack could happen in United States 'if we're not smart': Nikki Haley

Chemical attack could happen in United States 'if we're not smart': Nikki Haley

Assad was determined "to butcher his way" to an overwhelming victory and only the Russians could pressure him to come to the negotiating table in Geneva, Johnson said.

In an indication that the West, too, would prefer to lower tensions, the United States and Britain both reiterated that their military action on Saturday was not aimed at Assad, Putin's ally, only at his use of chemical weapons.

"If the goal was to pressure Syria to expedite a political solution, I think what happened will complicate the political solution and will strain worldwide relations and the Geneva track, if not torpedo Geneva altogether", Nasrallah told an election rally in Lebanon.

A group of Russian politicians has met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose mood they describe as good a day after Western airstrikes.

The announcement of new sanctions comes shortly after the US, Britain, and France conducted "precision strikes" in Syria on Friday in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed dozens, many of them children, in the rebel-held Syrian town of Douma. Chlorine, in contrast, has been used more widely in Syria's conflict without past US reprisals, and the chemical is far easier to find and weaponize, experts say.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview published Sunday in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper that "we should join our efforts to promote a political process in Syria that would allow a way out of the crisis".

She also suggested that Russian Federation wasn't helpful in pursing global diplomatic responses to the chemical attack, saying the 105 missiles launched by the U.S., France and the United Kingdom at three Syrian sites connected to the making and storing of chemical weapons "didn't have to happen".

"This was very strong attack on the chemical weapons program". That's the last thing the President wanted was war. "This was not muscle flexing".

U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said the allied airstrikes "took out the heart" of Assad's chemical weapons arsenal. "Our job was never to start a war".

But Haley said the USA would not pull its troops out of Syria - despite vows by President Trump to bring the military home - until its goals are accomplished.

Trump has told military commanders to quickly wrap up operations so he can bring the about 2,000 troops on the ground home within a few months, but Haley insisted there was no deadline.

USA envoy Nikki Haley said the strikes were "justified, legitimate and proportionate".

Trump said a small American force over the past year has virtually eliminated Islamic State control over what once was a vast territory spanning parts of Syria and Iraq.

Air missile fire is seen over Damascus after a USA attack on Syria on April 14. "I can assure you that the president is watching".

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