In a deviation from the concerned authorities previous posture, US ambassador to the UN proposes government change is now one of its priorities

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, has said that she sees government altered in Syria as one of the Trump administrations priorities in the country wracked by civil war.

Defeating Islamic State, pushing Iranian influence out of Syria, and the oust of Syrian chairman Bashar al-Assad are priorities for Washington, Haley said in an interview on CNNs State of the Union, which will air in full on Sunday.

Theres not any kind of alternative where a political answer is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime, Haley said, while reiterating that defeating Isis was still the number one policy goal. If you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, its going to be hard to see a government thats peaceful and stable with Assad.

Regime change is something that we think is going to happen.

The remarks represented a deviation from what Haley said before the United States made a Syrian air base with 59 Tomahawk missiles on Thursday in retaliation for what it said was a chemical weapons strike by Assads forces on Syrian civilians.

President Donald Trump ordered the missile strikeafter watching television images of newborns suffering from chemical weapons injuries.

You pick and choose your battles and when were looking at this, its about changing up priorities and our priority is greater to sit there and focus on getting Assad out, Haley had told reporters on 30 March, just days before dozens of Syrian civilians died from chemical weapons injuries.

Haleys latest remarks jarred with remarks made by secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who said on Saturday that Washingtons first priority is the defeat of Isis.

Once the threat from Isis has been reduced or eliminated, I think we can turn our attention directly to stabilising the situation in Syria, Tillerson said in excerpts from an interview on CBSs Face the Nation, that will air in full on Sunday.

Tillerson said the United States is hopeful it can help bring parties together to begin the process of hammering out a political solution.

If we can achieve ceasefires in their areas of stabilisation in Syria, then I believe we hope we will have the conditions to begin a useful political process, Tillerson said.

Syrian forces launched further airstrikes on Saturday that killed 18 people including five children in rebel-controlled Idlib province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Right and the civil defense rescue service reported.

Reuters contributed to this report

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