By Jonathan Easley - 09/11/13 12:01 PM EDT
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday that the rebels engaged in a civil war with Syrian President Bashar Assad feel “abandoned” by President Obama.
“I feel badly, very badly for my friends in the Free Syrian Army today,” he added.
In his Tuesday night prime time address, Obama asked Congress to put on hold resolutions to authorize a military strike to take out Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal while the administration seeks a peaceful solution to the crisis through the United Nations.
McCain said that while the diplomatic route might work, it wouldn’t come fast enough for the Syrian rebels because Assad began his bombing campaign against them as soon as it became clear that Congress would not act.
“There’s nothing that will drive Syrians more into the hands of the extremists than to feel that they have been abandoned by the West, and that impression I’m sure has been made on them today,” McCain said.
Not everyone in McCain’s party has such high regard for the rebel forces. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said the groups opposing Assad could not be trusted because they’re affiliated with al Qaeda and other terror networks, and had committed atrocities of their own, including the slaughter of Christians.