Tags: Syria | rebels | McCain | Iran

McCain: Lack of US Aid to Syrian Rebels 'Shameful'

Sunday, 17 Jun 2012 11:06 AM

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Sen. John McCain said it is “shameful” that America is standing on the sidelines in Syria as people are being massacred, and he criticized President Barack Obama for not speaking out for the Syrian opposition.

The United States has refused to arm Syrian rebels in part to avoid a proxy fight with Iran and Russia, which back the Syrian government. The crisis in Syria is likely to come up when Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Mexico on Monday.

McCain told host David Gregory on NBC's “Meet the Press” Sunday that members of the Syrian opposition are being “killed and massacred and tortured and raped” and "the fact that Americans aren't helping them is shameful.”

The Syrian government has been waging a fierce offensive through towns and villages nationwide for the past week, and violence in Syria has killed more than 14,400 people since an uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad erupted in mid-March 2011.

“The most responsible course first is for the president to stand up and speak for these people,” said McCain. “When’s the last time the president of the United States spoke out and said these people deserve our moral support?”

The Arizona Republican urged the Obama administration to “make it a fair fight,” noting Russian shipments to the Syrian government.

“It’s an unfair fight now,” he said. “Secretary of state just argued that Russian helicopters are coming in to help Bashar Assad while we do nothing. We sit on the sidelines,” McCain said. “It cries out for American leadership. This president does not believe in American leadership and American exceptionalism and so we need to give them a sanctuary.

“We need to give them equipment working with other nations in the region."

Syrian activists say the rebel-held areas in Homs have been under attack for a week.

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