Influential US Senator Calls for Airstrikes on Syria

Posted March 5th, 2012 at 4:25 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Senator John McCain has called for U.S. airstrikes on Syria to protect population centers and create safe havens for opponents of the Syrian regime.

McCain, an influential Republican from Arizona, pressed for foreign military intervention in remarks on the Senate floor Monday.

He said safe havens could help the Free Syrian Army and other armed groups train and organize themselves, and could aid in the delivery of humanitarian and military assistance.

McCain also said the United States has a clear national security interest in stopping the violence in Syria and forcing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave power. He said Syria has become a “full-blown state of armed conflict,” and that “Assad needs to know that he will not win.”

Last month, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Obama administration still supports a political resolution of the crisis. But, he said the Assad government's ongoing assault on the Syrian people is “heinous and unforgivable” and will require the United States to “evaluate” its approach “as time goes on.”

This is not the first time McCain has called for foreign intervention in Syria. Also last month, he urged supplying Syrian opposition forces with weapons and other aid, and said people “being massacred” deserve to be able to defend themselves.

McCain was the Republican candidate for president in 2008, when he lost to Democrat Barack Obama.