GOP senator demands Obama do more to help Syrian rebels

“Assad has succeeded in stopping the momentum of the rebels but with the right military support, the pendulum could swing back in favor of the rebels," Wicker said on the Senate floor Tuesday.

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Wicker stopped short of calling for U.S. boots on the ground but said the Syrian rebels would be greatly aided if the U.S. sent more weapons. 

“The question now is not should we put American troops on the ground — we should not,” Wicker said. “The question is whether the administration will strengthen the capability of Assad’s opposition.

Wicker called the Syrian civil war a “regional disaster” and urged Obama to do more.

“There is no peaceful ending for the people of Syria if Assad remains in power,” Wicker said. “We know too much about Bashar al Assad to maintain the status quo.”

Wicker pointed out that it is in the long-term interest of the United States to topple Assad’s regime, which is being propped up by Iran and Russia.

Some Senate Democrats have warned that arming Islamic rebels in Syria could repeat mistakes made in Afghanistan when the United States supported the Taliban against the Soviet Union.