Tillerson: Russian response to strikes disappointing, unsurprising

Nikki Haley's comments in an interview airing Sunday came as part of an apparent shift in U.S. policy towards Assad's government after the alleged chemical attack last week on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun that killed 87 people, including many children.

President Trump last week ordered the USA military to conduct airstrikes on the Syrian airfield believed to have launched a chemical weapons attack that killed at least 70 civilians.

But United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said there can be no peace in Syria with Assad in power.

"There's not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime", she told the "State of the Union" programme.

He added: "There is no such thing as 'Assad yes, but ISIS, no.' This theory that you can defeat ISIS as long as Assad is there is not true".

"Regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria", she said.

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Thursday's strike "was related exclusively to the most recent horrific use of chemical weapons", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Sunday.

"It's important that we keep our priorities straight". "And so what we're trying to do is obviously defeat ISIS".

Tillerson on Sunday blamed Moscow for failing to prevent the Assad regime from using chemical weapons, despite a 2013 Russian-organized agreement in which the Syrian government was to surrender its chemical weapons arsenal.

It was the first time the United States has intervened directly in the Syrian civil war against the Russian-backed regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Before the Khan Sheikhun attack, Tillerson said Assad's fate should be decided by the Syrian people, suggesting Washington would not oppose him standing for reelection.

Earlier on Friday, the United States targeted the Shayrat air base in Homs with almost 60 Tomahawk missiles, killing six Syrian soldiers and nine civilians, including four children, and destroying nine Syrian warplanes. The Syrian government has denied it was behind the attack.

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It killed at least 87 civilians, including 31 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor.

The nature of the substance used has not been confirmed, and Syria has insisted it would not and has not used chemical weapons.

But there have been repeated allegations of chemical weapons use by the government since then. "The failure related to the recent strike and the recent bad chemical weapons attack in large measure is a failure on Russia's part to achieve its commitment to the global community", he added. It condemned the chemical attack, without naming Assad, calling instead for an worldwide investigation to identify the perpetrator.

"We've seen what that looks like when you undertake a violent regime change in Libya and the situation in Libya continues to be very chaotic and I would argue that the life of the Libyan people is not all that well off today", Tillerson said.

If Syria carries out more chemical attacks, he said, "that is going to be clearly very damaging to US-Russian relations".

In addition, a bomb killed one woman and wounded 25 others in the city of Homs, officials said.

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