Russia knew in advance of Syrian chemical attack, US official says

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Although Russia has steadfastly supported Syrian President Bashar Assad's government, and they've coordinated military attacks together, Washington has never previously accused Moscow of complicity in any attack that involved the gassing of innocent civilians, including children.

A senior USA official said on Monday that US has concluded that Russian Federation knew in advance of regime's chemical weapons attack last week.

The meeting in the Tuscan walled city of Lucca brings together the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Britain, Japan and Canada - as well as the US and current G-7 president Italy. On the same day, Tillerson said on a trip to Turkey that the "longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people".

U.S. Senator John McCain has accused Russian Federation of having cooperated with Syria in a chemical weapons attack that has killed more than 80 people, including more than a dozen children.

Thomas said there has been no Syrian retaliation for the cruise missile attack, which he said destroyed or rendered inoperable more than 20 Syria air force planes.

Tensions between Russian Federation and the USA have increased sharply since Trump ordered the missile strikes.

He said the USA intends to return to full offensive air operations as soon as possible.

US military strikes against Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons are a warning to other nations, including North Korea, that "a response is likely" if they pose a danger, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says.

"What we're trying to do is to give Rex Tillerson the clearest possible mandate from us as the West, the United Kingdom, all our allies here, to say to the Russians "this is your choice: stick with that guy, stick with that tyrant, or work with us to find a better solution", Johnson was quoted as saying.

Ahead of the full meeting, Tillerson held bilateral talks with G-7 counterparts including Britain's Johnson, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

The Trump administration has also deployed an aircraft carrier group to the waters of North Korea, after the nuclear-armed hermit kingdom conducted several more missile tests in recent weeks.

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Syria, though, topped the agenda.

"Countries that have been supportive of the Assad regime bear some of the responsibility for the chemical attacks on innocents", he said.

G7 foreign ministers were on Monday to send a "clear and coordinated message" to Russian Federation on Syria as Washington upped the pressure following a suspected chemical attack in the wartorn country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, right, and their son Xavier visit Juno Beach in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France, on Monday, April 10, 2017.

The flipside of the talk about sanctions from Johnson and other diplomats is an implicit promise that Moscow could be allowed to rejoin the G-8, if it drops its support for Assad.

But, she says it's not something the USA should do alone, explaining, "I don't think it's something for the U.S.to decide. And I think that there will be a lot of answers that come out of that meeting", she told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

After the chemical attack, Trump said his attitude toward Assad "has changed very much" and Tillerson said "steps are underway" to organize a coalition to remove him from power.

His decision drew taunts from opponents that Johnson was a "poodle" of the Americans who had been told to stay home so he would not upstage Tillerson.

A day before the Khan Shekhoun attack, Haley indicated the United States had ditched the Obama administration's policy of removing Assad. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said Assad's long-term future would depend on the Syrian people.

Among European nations, there are also differences.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Sunday, where both leaders agreed on the "inadmissibility" of U.S. action against a sovereign state.

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