McCain: Syrian rebels feel ‘abandoned’

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainManchin, Donnelly back Pompeo This week: Senate barrels toward showdown over Pompeo Romney forced into GOP primary for Utah Senate nomination MORE (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday that the rebels engaged in a civil war with Syrian President Bashar Assad feel “abandoned” by President Obama. 

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“I was very disappointed that the president did not mention the Free Syrian Army and our moral and material assistance for them, which is required,” McCain said on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe." “I think they do feel that they’re being abandoned.”

“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 PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand's reversal advances Pompeo Overnight Defense: Pompeo clears Senate panel, on track for confirmation | Retired officers oppose Haspel for CIA director | Iran, Syria on agenda for Macron visit After Dems stood against Pompeo, Senate’s confirmation process needs a revamp MORE (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.