Dem lawmaker supports airstrikes in Syria

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said he supported U.S. airstrikes in Syria if they were done with a coalition of nations. 

"Yes, it is something that, as long as we're doing airstrikes, this is something that I could support," Meeks said Tuesday on MSNBC. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Congress needs to give the president leeway on the strikes, "to make sure that he damages this devastating group known as ISIS," he added. 

Last year, the president sought to conduct airstrikes against Syrian leader Bashar Assad and sought congressional approval. He ultimately scrapped the plan after tepid congressional and international support. 

The president could face a similar scenario this fall, with midterm election congressional candidates reluctant to support another military campaign in the Middle East. 

Meeks, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added that the U.S. needed to work with regional allies on any military action in Syria, and without the permission or cooperation of the Syrian regime. 

Meeks suggested that the U.S. could possibly work with the moderate Syrian opposition on the ground in Syria. 

However, he said the president "did the right thing" in not arming the Syrian rebels years ago, when they began to ask for support against Assad and also the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

"Because if you see the spread that ISIS has now gained, it could have been a scenario where they would have been the individuals with some of our equipment," he said. 

"But it is clear that we cannot allow ISIS to continue to move and try to create this so-called Islamic state that it's looking to do," Meeks continued. 

"It's clear that these are vicious, mean terrorist individuals that have to be stopped, and in the best interest of the United States to make sure that they are stopped."