Syria strike turns page on Obama's dithering

Activists including the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said buses carrying rebels began leaving the rebel-held towns Madaya and Zabadani near Damascus on Friday morning in the first phase of the deal, which will also see the evacuation of residents from two pro-government Shiite villages in northern Syria.

It would be best and most efficient if Russian Federation could be presented with new sanctions as inevitable, a decision already made by the new administration in Washington in response to the most recent abominable sarin attacks.

As Tillerson sat down for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, a senior Russian official assailed the "primitiveness and loutishness" of U.S. rhetoric, part of a volley of statements that appeared timed to maximize the awkwardness during the first visit to Moscow by a member of Trump's cabinet.

"Our view is that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end and they have brought that on themselves with their conduct", the top USA diplomat said.

Further punctuating the Syria dispute, Russian Federation on Wednesday vetoed a Western-backed resolution at the United Nations Security Council that condemned the chemical weapons attack. Trump said it was "certainly possible" though "probably unlikely".

For Trump, the grievances inherited from Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been compounded by Russian-backed Syria's chemical weapons attacks, retaliatory USA missile strikes, election meddling allegations and Ukraine's unsolved crisis.

US President Donald Trump offered an olive branch to Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, even as Washington and Moscow clashed over Russia's alleged US election interference and Syria's brutal conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he considers the United States strike on the military base in the Homs province a violation of worldwide law.

Russian Federation continues to dispute knowledge of the chemical attack on syrian civilians that led president trump to order a missile strike at the launch site. The country was discussed "extensively" during the meetings, Tillerson said, and during the press conference, added that the USA held Russian Federation accountable for dealing with its ally responsibly.

In Washington, at a news conference with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary-general, President Trump was asked by the BBC's Jon Sopel if he thought it was possible that Syrian forces could have launched the alleged attack without Russian Federation knowing about it.

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"That could happen, and it may not happen", he said. President Trump, as fond as any president of executive orders, could draw up new sanctions relatively quickly. There are legitimate questions, posed by the Russians and others, as to who would take power after Assad's departure.

Iran, Russia and Syria deny that the authorities in Damascus were behind the attack, in which more than 80 people were killed and hundreds injured.

Tillerson's Russian counterpart warned the US diplomat that Moscow believes it is "fundamentally important not to let these actions happen again in the future". The visit came amid a swift and severe deterioration in U.S.

Lavrov, meanwhile, said that "the future of Syria has to be determined by the Syrians themselves", echoing a statement Tillerson himself made only days before the chemical attack.

He restated the USA beliefs that Russian hackers and propagandists interfered in the United States vote and that Assad's forces were behind the latest chemical weapons attack.

But Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov responded that "not a single fact has been confirmed".

In a blatant response to the alleged chemical attack, the US launched dozens of Tomahawk to destro the Shayrat airfield in Syria.

Lavrov, whose government surprised the West last week when Putin's spokesman said support for the Assad regime was "not unconditional", said Moscow was not placing its hopes on any individual in Syria, including Assad. "I respect that. They don't want to expose their members to what they think could be a tough or controversial vote". -Russian relations since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. He said working groups would be established to improve U.S.

As a candidate, Trump decried USA interventions in the Middle East and promoted a strategy that would focus on fighting Daesh, not on Syria.

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