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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes a statement on issues related to visas and travel, Monday, March 6, 2017, at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Sec. Tillerson cast blame on President Bashar-al Assad for the latest chemical attack


A new round of airstrikes have reportedly hit the Syrian city struck by chemical weapons

WATCH  | Trump said the 'unacceptable' chemical attack in Syria 'crossed a lot of lines' 

UPDATE April 6, 2:59 p.m. EST:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outrightly denounced Bashar-al Assad for conducting the recent chemical attack in Syria.

"There is no doubt in our minds, and the information we have supports that Syria, the Syrian regime, the leadership of President Bashar-al Assad are responsible for this attack," he said in Florida.

He expressed skepticism about Assad's future role in the country. 

"It would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people," Tillerson said.

The administration, he said, is is the midst of brainstorming appropriate responses to the attack. Tillerson also warned Russia to rethink its relationship with Assad. 

UPDATE 5:50 p.m. EST:

In a joint press conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Donald Trump said his attitude toward Syria and the country's dictator Bashar al-Assad has changed as a result of Tuesday's chemical attack. 

Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute noted that Trump hasn't offered any insight into the United States' next foreign policy move. 

"I still don't think we can read the tea leaves on what Trump's going to do about Syria," he said.

O'Hanlon did, however, note that the Trump administration seems to recognize that the situation in Syria is much different than it was 3-5 years ago. He added that the Trump administration's response shouldn't be solely based on the chemical attack "because it's not anywhere close to the worst thing that's happened in Syria since Trump's been president." 

"In a context like Syria's civil war, you cannot view human rights in isolation," O'Hanlon said. "You need a political and military strategy to end the war and that's going to be the best human rights policy as well because as long as this war continues a lot of people are going to die. 

As for the military action, O'Hanlon mentioned, U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley suggested Wednesday that the U.S. is open to using military action to help end the on-going civil war. 

UPDATE 1:28 p.m. EST:

During a joint press conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan, Trump said the Syrian attack "crossed many, many lines" when asked if it had crossed a "red line."

Trump said the attack changed his opinion of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, repeatedly remarking on the fact that the attack affected children. He also reiterated his criticism of the Obama administration's handling of the situation. 

Trump also reiterated a claim from a February press conference, saying he "inherited a mess" from the previous administration. 

When the UN consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.
Nikki Haley

ORIGINAL STORY: Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said Wednesday if the UN didn't intervene in Syria, the U.S. will, hinting at possible military action, CNN reports.

Sec. Tillerson cast blame on President Bashar-al Assad for the latest chemical attack

WATCH | Here's a clip of Haley's United Nations speech.

Haley did not mince words against Russia. She recently said Trump has not stopped her from "beating up" on Russia. 

The UN Security Council is considering a resolution that would condemn the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, demand flight logs on the Syrian government and call for meetings with Syrian officials. Russia, which supports Assad, is likely to veto the resolution.

Chemical weapons killed dozens of Syrians Tuesday. Trump blamed the attack on the "weakness" of the Obama administration.

Trump called the attack "horrible" and "unspeakable" Wednesday.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova decried the resolution, calling it "unacceptable" and hastily drafted. The British and Chinese ambassadors also sparred over the resolution.

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