“We must ask ourselves, how many more innocent people must die before we take action?” McCain said. “Yes, there are risks to greater involvement in Syria ... but the risks of continuing to do nothing are worse.”

McCain continued his call for “American leadership” in the country. He said there are several actions the United States could take to aid rebels.

“The world is failing [Syrians] and the longer we fail them, the worse the outcome will be for us all,” McCain said. “The time to act is long overdue, but it is not too late. ... But the truth is that there are many options that we have the capability to undertake that would save lives and protect our important strategic interests in Syria."

McCain suggested that the United States “take Syrian air power off the table” so that Assad cannot launch missiles against his own people.

McCain also warned that Assad is close to using chemical warfare — something President Obama has said would be unacceptable. McCain cited reports that Assad is now using scud missiles, which are capable of containing chemical weapon heads.

“Let there be no doubt that the threat of chemical weapons is real,” McCain said. “This is a dangerous and unfair fight and the costs to the United States are significant.”

McCain warned that if the United States doesn’t get involved, extremism in the region would only get worse and empower radical groups such as al Qaeda.