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  1. ITV Report

US to impose new sanctions on Russia over support for Syria's Assad

  • Video report by ITV News Europe editor James Mates

The United States will impose new economic sanctions against Russia on Monday over its continuing support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, indicated the sanctions would be aimed at sending a message to Russia, which she said has blocked six attempts by the UN Security Council to make it easier to investigate the use of chemical weapons.

Joint airstrikes were launched in Syria by the US, UK and France on Saturday as punishment for a suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma.

"Everyone is going to feel it at this point," Ms Haley said, warning of consequences for Assad's foreign allies. "The international community will not allow chemical weapons to come back into our everyday life."

Ms Haley also made it clear that the United States will not be pulling troops out of Syria right away, saying US involvement there "is not done".

French president Emmanuel Macron. Credit: PA

French president Emmanuel Macron claimed on Sunday that his country convinced Donald Trump to keep an American presence in Syria.

"Ten days ago President Trump wanted the United States of America to withdraw from Syria. We convinced him to remain," he said.

However, the White House said Mr Trump still wants US forces to withdraw from the region as soon as possible.

“The US mission has not changed - the president has been clear that he wants US forces to come home as quickly as possible,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

President Macron said France wanted to involve Western powers, Russia and Turkey in a new diplomatic initiative to find a sustainable political solution in Syria.

He also offered to play the role of intermediary between the United States and Russia, whose relationship has been on edge over the chemical weapons attack and amid allegations that Russia tried to interfere in the US 2016 presidential election.