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Statement by Senators McCain, Lieberman and Graham on Syria


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following joint statement regarding the situation in Syria:

"Last March, as Moammar Qaddafi's tanks were approaching the gates of Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, the United States and our allies intervened, averting a massacre and helping the Libyan people to win their freedom and liberate their country.

"Today, armored columns are advancing on Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria, with the clear intention of unleashing indiscriminate violence against civilians. Helicopter gunships, heavy artillery, and fixed wing aircraft are already pounding Aleppo and other Syrian cities. The State Department spokesperson has expressed "concern that we will see a massacre in Aleppo" -- and for good reason. And yet, the United States is failing to take any of the steps that are within our power to stop Bashar al Assad's killing machine.

"It is not too late for the United States to make the difference in Syria, as we did in Libya. We can and should be providing weapons, intelligence, and training directly to the rebels -- not sitting on the sidelines and outsourcing this job to others. Even more urgently, as 62 foreign policy experts recently urged, the United States and our allies should work with the Syrian opposition to establish safe havens in liberated parts of Syria and do what is necessary to guarantee their protection, including consideration of a no fly zone, given Assad's use of helicopters and aircraft. In none of this, moreover, does the U.S. need to act alone. Our allies in the region are ready and eager to work together with us -- indeed, some of them are already much more engaged in this fight than we are -- but American leadership is necessary. Right now, it is woefully absent.

"Years from now, the Syrian people will remember that -- in their hour of desperation, when they looked to the world for help -- the United States stood idly by as brave Syrians struggled and died for their freedom in a grossly unfair fight. If we continue on this path of inaction, a mass atrocity will surely unfold in Aleppo, or elsewhere in Syria. We have the power to prevent this needless death and advance our strategic interests in the Middle East at the same time. If we do not, it will be a shameful failure of leadership that will haunt us for a long time to come."

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