(WASHINGTON) — Speaking at a forum in Washington, D.C., Sen. John McCain talked about the current situation in Syria, speculating that President Bashar al-Assad would ultimately lose his battle to stay in power.
However, the Arizona Republican added, “The question is will Assad fall with the help of the West or without the help of the West?”
McCain has been an outspoken proponent of the U.S. arming rebel fighters in Syria, a proposal the Obama administration and the rest of the West has been reluctant to heed.
Believing that opposition forces need all the help they can get against a much more heavily armed Syrian military, McCain has come out in support of Patriot missiles lined up at the Turkish border that would presumably enforce a no-fly zone over Syria.
McCain’s take on this scenario is that, “Pilots are not going to fly into certain death. I don’t care how brave they are. You shoot down one or two of them, and they’re not going to fly there again. They may like Bashar al-Assad, but they like to live a little more.”
NATO is concerned that providing Patriot missile batteries will also push them into the fighting that has gone on for 20 months with over 35,000 lives lost.
However, McCain contends that a no-fly zone, like it was done over Libya, can be accomplished “without boots on the ground.” The senator argued that the conflict is dragging on because the rest of the world is ignoring the rebels’ pleas for help.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN