Terrorists in Syria Planning Chemical Provocations to Justify US Strikes

Getty									Marc Kasowitz the personal attorney for President Donald Trump departs after speaking at an event June 8 in Washington DC

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that Washington is open to enforcing no-fly zones in Syria in coordination with Moscow.

Tillerson noted that the US and Russian Federation have a variety of unresolved differences but said Syria is an opportunity for the two countries to create stability in Syria.

"The United States and Russian Federation certainly have unresolved differences on a number of issues, but we have the potential to appropriately coordinate in Syria in order to produce stability and serve our mutual security interests", Tillerson said.

The United States launched a retaliatory cruise missile strike days after the onslaught in Khan Sheikhun, targeting a Syrian airbase from where it said the chemical weapons attack was launched.

In a statement sent as he departed for a summit meeting of the Group of 20 major economies, Tillerson said the volatile situation in Syria would be a topic of discussion between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, NBC News reported.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday Moscow was seeking to clarify a claim by his U.S. counterpart that Washington is ready to work together to set up "no-fly zones" in Syria.

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Standing alongside Lavrov, he said that France, which has backed opposition groups fighting Assad, had set a red line on the use of chemical weapons in the country.

"[IS] has been badly wounded, and is could be [sic] on the brink of complete defeat in Syria if all parties focus on this objective", Tillerson said, according to the written statement issued by the state deparment.

Pifer said he hopes Trump and Putin "take a look at the range of issues, but follow the approach that Tillerson laid out".

Russia and the United States support opposing sides in Syria - Russia backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and also carries out strikes against anti-Assad rebel groups, some of whom are armed and supported by the U.S. to fight ISIS. Tillerson's emphasis on removing "obstacles to the defeat of ISIS" also recalls recent tensions between Russia, Syria, Iran and the U.S.

One of those attacks prompted the Trump administration to carry out the US' first ever strike against Assad's forces in the Syria, where the country had been exclusively targeting ISIS and other terrorist groups. But Trump is under pressure at home to take a hard line with Putin due to allegations that Russians meddled in the USA election and of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The Trump administration has grappled with a strategy on how to deal with Syria once Islamic State is pushed out of its territory.

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