May, Merkel express support after U.S. airstrike in Syria

May, Merkel express support after U.S. airstrike in Syria
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British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday expressed support to the president for the Trump administration's decision to launch a missile strike on a Syrian military airfield, the White House said.

The president on Monday spoke separately with both May and Merkel.

The leaders talked about the U.S. response in Syria after a chemical attack last week in northern Syria that killed civilians.

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The two world leaders agreed that Syrian President Bashar Assad should be held accountable for his actions, according to the readout of the call from the White House.

A report Monday said the U.S. determined Russia knew about last week's chemical attack in Syria beforehand, which the White House disputes.

Prime Minister Theresa May's office confirmed the phone call and said Trump "thanked the Prime Minister for her support in the wake of last week's US military action against the Assad regime."

“The Prime Minister and the President agreed that a window of opportunity now exists in which to persuade Russia that its alliance with Assad is no longer in its strategic interest," a a Downing Street spokesperson said.

They office said May and Trump agreed that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's upcoming visit to Moscow this week will be an "opportunity to make progress towards a solution which will deliver a lasting political settlement."

A senior U.S. official told the Associated Press that the presence of a drone, controlled by Russia, over the hospital where victims were being treated following the attack was not a coincidence. 

World leaders last week praised the U.S. decision to carry out the missile strike in Syria.

May's office said in a statement last week the U.K. government "fully supports the U.S. action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks."

In a joint statement, Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said Assad brought on the U.S. attack on the airbase and "carries responsibility for these developments."

Updated 8:21 p.m.