US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the US is organizing a coalition to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that “steps are underway” on an international coalition to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, the Fox News TV-channel reported on Thursday. The statement was made in West Palm Beach, Florida, after welcoming China’s President Xi Jinping for a two-day summit with US President Donald Trump.
When Tillerson was asked if the US would organize a coalition to remove Assad, the US top-diplomat said: “Those steps are underway.”
Speaking after the US Navy had carried out his order to strike the Syrian airbase, Trump called on “all civilized nations” to join the US in order “to end terrorism” in Syria.
“Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types. We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed. And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will, in the end, prevail,” the US President said.
Earlier, the CBS News TV-channel reported that Trump was going to meet US Defense Secretary James Mattis in Florida in order to be briefed on military options against Syria. According to the TV-channel, one of the military options was cruise missile strikes from US Navy ships.
The US Secretary of State noted that Washington coordinated the actions with its allies before the striking at the Syrian airbase, and they supported the US plans.
“We coordinated very carefully with our international partners in terms of communicating with them around the world. I would tell you that the response from our allies, as well as the region and the Middle East has been overwhelmingly supportive of the action we taken,” Tillerson told reporters.
National Security Adviser to the US President, Lt General Herbert McMaster, said that Trump discussed various options of military action in Syria with members of the US National Security Council, but eventually chose the missile strikes.
“There were three options that we discussed with the president, and the president asked us to stop at two, work through them, he had a number of questions that we tried to answer… After lengthy discussions, the president decided to act,” McMaster said.
Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency reported, citing an unnamed US defense official, that the US strike on Syria was a ‘one-off’. The report still has not been confirmed. However, against the background of statements about creation of a coalition against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Trump’s calls on foreign countries to join the US in Syria, the ‘one-off’ nature of US strikes in the Arab republic raises doubts.