Haley on Syria: No political solution with Assad in power

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNikki HaleyHaley has 'positive' meeting with Trump Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Ex-chief of staff says Trump won't run because he can't be seen as 'loser' MORE says she doesn't expect a political solution in Syria with President Bashar Assad in power.

"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 on CNN's "State of the Union" set to air 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 added.

"There's multiple priorities. Getting Assad out is not the only priority," Haley said of the U.S. strategy.

"What we're trying to do is, obviously, defeat ISIS," she continued, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"Secondly, we don't see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there. Thirdly, get the Iranian influence out. And then finally, move toward a political solution, because at the end of this is a complicated situation."

While Haley said that removing Assad wasn't the United States' "only priority," that assertion signals a major shift from her comments late last month, in which she seemed to dismiss the prospect of regime change.

"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 told reporters.

Haley's latest comments echoed those of Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonHillicon Valley — Blinken unveils new cyber bureau at State Blinken formally announces new State Department cyber bureau Hillicon Valley — TikTok, Snapchat seek to distance themselves from Facebook MORE, who said in a separate interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" that defeating ISIS is the Trump administration's "first priority."

The U.S. launched a missile strike on a Syrian military air base on Thursday after a chemical weapons attack allegedly carried out by the Assad regime killed more than 70 civilians in the country's Idlib Province on Tuesday.

The air base attack marked a major escalation in the U.S.'s use of force in Syria, where American military involvement up to this point has remained in an advising capacity and has focused mainly on fighting ISIS militants.

Updated: 9:18 p.m.