“I believe there are no good options and every day it gets worse,” said McCain on NBC’s “Today” show.
McCain, long a proponent of helping the rebel groups, took a secret trip into Syria to meet with opposition leaders last week. On Sunday, McCain said that Assad now had the “upper hand” in his fight to hold on to power and warned that the violence could spread, destabilizing the region and sparking a humanitarian crisis.
“I’d like to see it with cruise missiles, no boots on the ground and no overfly. The Israelis have just shown that they’re able to take out selective targets,” said McCain.
Efforts to militarily intervene or provide rebels with lethal weaponry have faced opposition from the White House, which fears those arms will fall into the hands of Islamist groups.
McCain said time was running out to help build up pro-Western elements in the opposition.
“We need to negate the air power and give them the weapons they need. They’ve got lots of light weapons, they don’t have anything to take on tanks and aircraft,” he said.
“It’s shameful what’s going on and it’s destabilizing all these other countries in the region, added McCain. “Jordan cannot last under this present scenario as we’ve seen, fighting has started in Lebanon and this thing could spread and engulf the entire Middle East in a civil war.”