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Published: Friday, 5/31/2013

McCain: Syrian rebels need heavy weapons


WASHINGTON  — Sen. John McCain says Syrian rebels battling the forces of President Bashar Assad need ammunition and heavy weapons to counter the regime’s tanks and aircraft.

McCain spoke today, the day after he returned from an unannounced trip to Syria. McCain says the rebels need some kind of capability to reverse a battlefield situation that currently favors Assad’s forces.

Gen. Salim Idris is chief of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army. He was with McCain on Monday as the lawmaker traveled inside Syria. McCain was the first U.S. senator to travel to Syria since the civil war began more than two years ago.

In a telephone interview, McCain said he met with 19 battalion commanders. He says lethal aid could be provided to them.

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