DRUMS OF WAR?

Tillerson: ‘Steps Underway’ for U.S.-Led Coalition to Remove Assad

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks about the chemical weapons attack in Syria during a meeting with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray at the State Department in Washington, U.S., April 5, 2017.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday said that steps are already underway for organizing an international coalition to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after the regime used a chemical attack on civilians. Asked whether Assad has to be removed from power, Tillerson told the press that “Assad’s role in the future is uncertain, clearly, and with the acts that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people.” On what steps the U.S. is prepared to take to end his rule over the country, Tillerson said: “The process by which Assad would leave is something that 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.” And asked whether the president is planning to organize an “international coalition” to remove the Syrian president, the secretary said: “Those steps are under way.” He concluded: “It's a serious matter. It requires a serious response.”