On Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said “steps are under way” to form an international coalition to remove the president of Syria Bashar al-Assad after Tuesday’s chemical bombings in Syria.
Partial transcript as follows:
TILLERSON: Well obviously, the events that have occurred in Syria with the chemical weapons attack here in the past day I think have just horrified all of us and brought to the front pages and to our television screens as well the tragedy that is part of the Syrian conflict. There is no doubt in our mind and the information we have supports that Syria, the Syrian regime under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad are responsible for this attack and I think further it’s very important that the Russian government consider carefully their continued support for the Assad regime.
REPORTER: Does Assad have to go?
TILLERSON: Assad’s role in the future is uncertain and with the acts that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people.
REPORTER: And what steps is the United States prepared to take in order to remove him from power?
TILLERSON: The process by which Assad would leave I think 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.
REPORTER: So will you and President Trump organize an international coalition to remove Assad?
TILLERSON: Those steps are under way.
REPORTER: Has President Trump been talking about that with other leaders.
TILLERSON: We are considering an appropriate response which violates all previous U.N. resolutions, violates international norms and long-held agreements between parties including the Syrian regime, the Russian government and all other members of the U.N. Security Council. It’s a serious matter. It requires a serious response. Thank you.