Tillerson rebukes Russia as failing to meet Syria deal

Tillerson rebukes Russia as failing to meet Syria deal
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Russia has not honored its years-old agreement to remove chemical weapons from Syria. 

“Clearly, Russia has failed in its responsibility to deliver on that commitment,” Tillerson told reporters Thursday after President Trump ordered a missile strike in response to a chemical attack allegedly launched by the Syrian government. 

“Either Russia has been complicit or Russia has been simply incompetent in its ability to deliver on its end of that agreement,” the secretary added. 

The deal in question was brokered by the U.S. and Russia in 2013 after then-President Obama backed away from a plan to take military action against Syrian President Bahsar Assad’s for reportedly using chemical weapons against the rebels trying to overthrow his government. 

Under the agreement, Syria would turn over its chemical weapons to be destroyed. But Syria has reportedly carried out several chemical attacks in the past few weeks.

On Tuesday, a chemical bomb hit a rebel-held area of Syria, killing dozens, including children. It prompted Trump to respond by launching cruise missiles at the base where the attack originated. 

The comments were Tillerson’s toughest rebuke of Russia to date.

Questions about Tillerson's ties to Moscow and President Vladimir Putin during his time as chief executive of Exxon Mobil dominated his confirmation hearings. Tillerson in the past received Russia’s Order of Friendship award, the highest honor its government gives to foreigners.