In a dramatic turn of events, the United States is building an international coalition to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad which may have to fight against Russian and Iranian-backed Syrian troops.
The change-of-mind comes after Syria’s President Assad dropped chemical weapons on civilians in an attack on rebel-held lands in the northern part of the country that killed more than 70 people including children.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that “steps are underway as the United States builds a coalition to remove Bashar al-Assad from power.”
Russia has argued that Syrian planes were destroying chemical weapons held by the rebels by targeting a rebel storage depot. That claim has been widely dismissed as implausible by experts.
The new policy could pit the U.N. and coalition nations against Syria’s backers Russia and Iran.