Russian Federation notifies USA of suspending communication hotline with Pentagon

Warplanes on Saturday struck the Syrian town where a chemical attack had killed scores of people earlier this week, as Turkey warned that a retaliatory USA missile strike on a Syrian air base would only be "cosmetic" if greater efforts are not made to remove President Bashar Assad from power.

Criticized for his low-profile diplomacy, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is emerging from the shadows with a leading public role in shaping and explaining the Trump administration's missile strikes in Syria. It is arguable that Russian Federation is using the Syrians, and that China is using North Korea, to test America's mettle at a time when it is undergoing not only a major change of government in Washington, but also what its approach will be under its new government to developments in the world, including the Syrian possible chemical attacks and North Korea's reckless firing of missiles. He said that for that "this oppressive Assad needs to go".

The Pentagon chief also emphasized Washington's focus on defeating IS extremists.

Tillerson told ABC that that the administration opposed "violent change at the top", which would make it "very hard to create the conditions for stability longer term". "Now, we are not saying that we are the ones who are going to effect that change".

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said further strikes were on the table. "Russian Federation can be a part of that future and play an important role - or Russian Federation can maintain its alliance with this group, which we believe is not going to serve Russia's interests longer term". "It's our national security first and foremost".

Reluctant to put significant troops on the ground in Syria, the US for years has struggled to prevent Assad from strengthening his hold on power.

"We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world", Tillerson said.

Russian Federation says the original chemical attack was the result of Syrian jets hitting a terrorist weapons depot.

Sky's Foreign Affairs Editor Sam Kiley, in Moscow, said: "At the moment Russian Federation holds all the cards when it comes to the future of the Assad regime". Assad's eventual fate, he said, "is something that we will be working [on] with allies and others in the coalition". Despite the attack, Syria has continued using the base, according to Syrian rights activists.

"One thing new administrations have to learn to do is tightly coordinate talking points among top officials", Ford said. "People like McMaster, Tillerson and Haley are pros, and they will learn how to do it too".

"Three months ago Syria wasn't really an issue for them but our push and recent events have made a difference".

It was as if the United States had taken a vow of silence in order to prove that President Obama meant it when he said that he would not be dragging the United States into another quagmire in the Middle East in the aftermath of the Iraq intervention of 2003. "Discipline in this area is essential".

On Monday, Trump reached out to traditional North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, discussing Syria by telephone with British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The diplomatic damage from the alleged chemical weapons attack and the US response might yet be contained, but this is not the way either side imagined this first, important meeting.

Tillerson's comments came just a few days after the United States fired dozens of cruise missiles at the Syrian airbase that was allegedly used in the chemical attack. He also congratulated the United States military on Twitter for "representing the USA - and the world - so well in the Syria attack". Johnson said Tillerson will be able to give a "clear and co-ordinated message to the Russians".

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted, however, that defeating ISIL in Syria remained Washington's top priority. "We want to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people". "The president will make whatever decision he thinks is in the best interest of the American people".

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