Rubio: It's no coincidence that Syria gas attack happened after 'concerning' Tillerson comments

Story highlights

  • "I don't think it's a coincidence that a few days later we see this," Rubio said.
  • Last week in Turkey, Tillerson said, "I think the status and the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people."

(CNN)Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that he doesn't think it's a coincidence that a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria occurred shortly after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad could remain in power.

"In this case now, we have very limited options and look, it's concerning that the secretary of state, 72 hours ago or a week ago, last Friday, said that the future's up to the people in Syria on what happens with Assad. In essence almost nodding to the idea that Assad was gonna get to stay in some capacity," Rubio said on the show "AM Tampa Bay."
"I don't think it's a coincidence that a few days later we see this," Rubio concluded.
Dozens died in an attack on Tuesday that activists said was committed by Assad's regime. The U.S. has also placed blame on Assad for the attack. Last week in Turkey, Tillerson said, "I think the status and the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people."
Other lawmakers, such as fellow Republican Sen. John McCain, have also rebuked Tillerson and the Trump administration. McCain said on CNN's "New Day" that he was sure that the Assad regime was "encouraged to know that the United States is withdrawing" from the conflict.
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In the radio interview, Rubio said he believes Assad will get away with the attack.
"Assad believes and sadly he may be right that he can gas his people with sarin, kill children, kill innocent civilians, people will complain, there'll be a meeting at the UN Security Council and then life will go on and he'll stay in power," he said. "He's made that calculation. The Russians support him on it. China is indifferent. And I hate to say this, I think he's gonna get away with it again."