Sen. Bob CaseyBob CaseyLive coverage: Senate Dems hold talkathon to protest GOP health plan Ryan Phillippe to visit Capitol Hill to advocate for military caregivers Dem senators seize on Senate press crackdown MORE (D-Pa.) said Thursday that he sent a letter to President Obama asking him to take further steps to protect the Syrian people from President Bashar Assad.

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“The U.S. has an opportunity here,” Casey said on the Senate floor. “I seriously ask the administration to consider taking further steps to secure Syria.”

Assad is accused of killing Syrians who oppose his rule during the civil war there that has raged for more than three years. The United States helped secure a United Nations deal that forced Assad to turn over his chemical weapons stockpile, but Casey said Assad would “never abide by the spirit of that agreement.”

“The violence is so terrible that the United Nations has stopped estimating the death toll,” Casey said. “We must act to change the battle’s momentum.”

Casey said he suggested the administration deploy “lethal assistance” to rebels fighting Assad, but he stopped short of calling for U.S. troops on the ground.