Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham issued a joint statement today urging the Obama administration to act on Syria. “[I]f requested by the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army, the United States should help organize an international effort to protect civilian population centers in Syria through airstrikes on Assad’s forces," they write. "To be clear: This will first require the United States and our partners to suppress the Syrian regime’s air defenses in at least part of the country."

The senators add:

“The ultimate goal of airstrikes should be to protect civilian population centers from Assad’s killing machine and establish safe havens in which opposition forces can organize, rest, refit, and plan their political and military activities against Assad. These safe havens could serve as platforms for the delivery of humanitarian and military assistance – including weapons and ammunition, body armor and other personal protective equipment, tactical intelligence, secure communications equipment, food and water, and medical supplies. These safe havens could also help the Free Syrian Army and other armed groups in Syria to train and organize themselves into more cohesive and effective military forces, likely with the assistance of foreign partners, and provide political space for the Syrian National Council to organize on Syrian soil."

And McCain, Lieberman, and Graham conclude: “The people who are fighting for freedom in Syria are natural allies. They have expanded the boundaries of what everyone thought was possible in Syria. They have earned our respect, and now they need our support to finish what they started. The Syrian people deserve a chance at freedom, and shame on us if we fail to help them now in their moment of greatest need.”

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