Sen. John McCain Calls For Air Strikes In Syria
John McCain took to the Senate floor Monday, calling for action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Republican senator from Arizona made an impassioned speech in which he called for air strikes within Syria in an effort to protect civilians.
“The ultimate goal of air strikes should be to establish and defend safe havens in Syria, especially in the north, in which opposition forces can organize and plan their political and military activities against Assad. Time is running out. Assad's forces are on the march,” McCain said.
McCain previously called for the United States to arm and provide support for the Syrian opposition. That request was denied by the White House, which has thus far remained refused to officially comment on McCain’s Senate speech. However an unidentified Defense Department official told the New York Times McCain’s speech “could very well exacerbate problems inside the country.”
It is unclear why the Obama administration has opted to try for a diplomatic solution in Syria rather than a military one after participating in air strikes in support of the Libyan opposition last spring.
The humanitarian situation in Syria, specifically the area around Homs remains dire. United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos is expected to travel to Damascus Wednesday and former-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is expected in Syria Saturday to act as an envoy for the Arab League.
More than 7,500 people have been killed since the uprising began in March according to UN estimates.