‘Following the announcement by top US diplomats that Washington will no longer pursue regime change in Syria, Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham condemned the administration’s shift in priorities, saying it would empower ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the future of President Bashar Assad “will be decided by the Syrian people.” Earlier in the day, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Washington’s “priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out.”

“There is a political reality that we have to accept in terms of where we are right now,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Friday, explaining that the current administration “lost a lot of opportunity the last administration had with respect to Assad.”’

Read more: ‘Crushing news’: McCain and Graham furious over Syria policy change