US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to offer differing views on the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Haley told CNN' that the US does not see a peaceful political resolution for Syria's civil war as long as Assad remains in power.” We don't see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there,” Haley said.
"The objective of US policy is to defeat ISIS. I mean, we've got to do that for peace and stability in the area. It's also to get out the Iranian influence, which we think is causing so much friction and worse issues in the area. And then we’ve got to go and make sure that we actually see a leader that will protect his people. And clearly, Assad is not that person," Haley said.
But speaking on ABC News' 'This Week', Tillerson said the Syrian people will eventually decide Assad's fate.
"Our priority is first the defeat of ISIS. Once we can eliminate the battle against ISIS, conclude that, and it is going quite well, then we hope to turn our attention to cease-fire agreements between the regime and opposition forces," Tillerson said.
“In that regard, we are hopeful that we can work with Russia and use their influence to achieve areas of stabilization throughout Syria and create the conditions for a political process through Geneva in which we can engage all of the parties on the way forward, and it is through that political process that we believe the Syrian people will lawfully be able to decide the fate of Bashar al-Assad,” he added.
Their comments highlight the degree to which questions remain about the nature of US policy in Syria after President Trump authorized missile strikes against a government air base believed to have been involved in the deployment of chemical weapons against civilians last week, The Washington Post writes.