World

US now wants regime change in Syria, says UN envoy

WASHINGTON: US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (right) said in an interview that she sees regime change in Syria as one of the Trump administration's priorities in the country wrecked by civil war.

Defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), pushing Iranian influence out of Syria and the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are priorities for Washington, Ms Haley said in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union".

She said: "We do not see a peaceful Syria with Mr Assad in there."

The comments represented a departure from what she had said before the US attacked a Syrian air base with 59 Tomahawk missiles on Thursday.

It was in retaliation for what the US said was a chemical weapons attack by Mr Assad's forces on Syrian civilians.

US President Donald Trump ordered the missile strike after watching television images of infants suffering from chemical weapons injuries.

'BATTLES'

"You pick and choose your battles, and when we are looking at this, it is about changing up priorities, and our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Mr Assad out," Ms Haley had told reporters on March 30, just days before dozens of Syrian civilians died from chemical weapons injuries.

Syrian forces launched further air strikes on Saturday, which killed 18 people - including five children - in the rebel-controlled Idlib province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the civil defence rescue service reported. - REUTERS

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