Russia and China, Syria’s two most powerful backers, have started to remove away from their defense of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as U.S. Senator John McCain called for U.S.-led airstrikes to stop Assad’s autarchy.
Russia and China condemned the bloody violence in Syria and dispatched diplomats to the region this week, increasing the possibility of a diplomatic breakthrough that could end their opposition to UN Security Council action critical of the Assad regime.
In the meantime, McCain stated that the diplomacy has failed to stop Assad’s military assault against civilians and urged the U.S. to create civilian safe havens by leading air strikes against Syrian military forces and air defenses.
“Despite a year’s worth of diplomacy backed by sanctions, Assad and his top lieutenants show no signs of giving up and taking the path into foreign exile,” the Arizona Republican said in remarks to the Senate yesterday.
“In addition to the moral and humanitarian interests at stake in Syria, what is just as compelling, if not more so, are the strategic and geopolitical interests,” said McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The United States has a clear national security interest in stopping the violence in Syria and forcing Assad to leave power.”
The Obama administration has opposed sending arms or undertaking a more extensive military intervention about the risks of fueling a civil war. Several Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have said they favor offering arms to back the Syrian opposition.