US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that “steps are underway” to ultimately remove Bashar al-Assad from power.
“Assad’s role in the future is uncertain clearly and with the acts that he has taken, it will seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people,” Tillerson said during a press conference in Palm Beach, Florida.
The US blamed Assad for the chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun which left around 100 people dead and hundreds more injured.
“There is no doubt in our mind that the Syrian regime under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad is responsible for this horrific attack,” Tillerson said.
“The process by which Assad would leave is something that requires an international community effort both to first defeat ISIS within Syria, to stabilize the Syrian country to avoid further civil war and then to work collectively with our partners around the world through a political process that would lead to Assad leaving,” Tillerson said. “Those steps are underway.”
“We think it’s time that the Russians really need to think carefully about their continued support of the Assad regime,” Tillerson said on Wednesday.
The US military at dawn on Friday launched 59 cruise missiles at the Shae’rat airbase in eastern Homs province from where the chemical attack was launched.
US President Donald Trump said that he authorized the strikes in retaliation for the chemical attack killing scores of civilians, adding that his administration informed many countries in advance of the attack. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)