Allies of Bashar al-Assad's murderous regime rallied around the Syrian strongman and pledged to respond to United States "aggression" after the Trump administration bombed a military airfield in retaliation for a poisonous gas attack.
In remarks from his Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, President Donald Trump explained his decision to launch a military strike against a Syrian air base Thursday night, expressing disgust at the "very barbaric attack" by Syria.
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.
Nikki Haley's comments in an interview airing Sunday came as part of an apparent shift in United States 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.
Rubio has long argued that Assad needs to be removed from power in Syria.
"The real failure here has been Russia's failure to live up to its commitments under the chemical weapons agreements that were entered into in 2013", Tillerson said during an interview on ABC's "This Week," calling the attack a product "in large measure a failure on Russia's part to achieve its commitment to the global community".
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.. At the same time, Tillerson said Assad's fate would be decided by the Syrian people.
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.More news: KFC to stop using chickens raised with human antibiotics
Syria's government has denied any involvement in Tuesday's attack on Khan Sheikhun, suspected to be the second-deadliest chemical weapons attack since the country's war began in March 2011.
Another airstrike came in the northwest Syria town of Urom al-Joz, where 18 people were slain - including five children and two women, and another Saturday bombing by the USA -led coalition killed at least 21 people, including a woman and her six kids on a boat in the Euphrates River, according to activists.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani called Assad to reaffirm his support for the Syrian leader in the wake of the U.S. strike, Rouhani's office said on Sunday. He said he will remind his counterpart of Russia's obligation to act as the guarantor of the agreement to eliminate chemical weapons from Syria.
The two leaders who talked on the telephone on Sunday said an impartial investigation should look into the chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians last week.
"I'm disappointed in that response from the Russians because it indicates their continued support for the Assad regime", said Tillerson, who is expected to make a hard trip to Moscow next week.
If Syria carries out more chemical attacks, he said, "that is going to be clearly very damaging to US-Russian relations".