The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, says the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is one of the priorities of the Trump administration.
“There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” Haley said in an interview with CNN, which will air in full on Sunday.
“If you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it’s going to be hard to see a government that’s peaceful and stable with Assad,” she stressed. “Regime change is something that we think is going to happen.”
The ambassador, however, emphasized that defeating the ISIL terror group was still a top policy goal in Syria.
The comments represented a departure from what Haley had said before the US military launched a massive missile strike against a Syrian airbase in the early hours of Friday.
President Donald Trump said the operation was in response to a suspected chemical attack this week, which Washington has blamed on the Assad government.
“You pick and choose your battles and when we’re looking at this, it’s about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out,” Haley had told reporters on March 30.
Syria and Russia said the chemical explosion in Idlib, which left more than 80 people dead, was caused by an airstrike on a militant-controlled depot.