McCain Calls For Greater US Help to Syrian rebels, As Armed Rebels Massacre Entire Population of Christian Village in Syria

May 27, 2013. Armed Rebels Massacre Entire Population of Christian Village in Syria (FNA)

“The armed rebels affiliated to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) raided the Christian-populated al-Duvair village in Reef (outskirts of) Homs near the border with Lebanon today and massacred all its civilian residents, including women and children.

The Syrian army, however, intervened and killed tens of terrorists during heavy clashes which are still going on in al-Duvair village.

The armed rebels’ attack and crimes in al-Duvair village came after they sustained heavy defeats in al-Qusseir city which has almost been set free by the Syrian army except for a few districts.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.

Hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed, when some protest rallies turned into armed clashes.

The government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.”


May 28, 2013. McCain calls for greater US help to Syrian rebels. The AP,

“Sen. John McCain on Tuesday praised the “brave fighters” battling the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad and renewed his call for the Obama administration to move aggressively militarily to aid the opposition.

In a series of stops in the Middle East, the Republican lawmaker and former presidential candidate quietly slipped into Syria on Monday for meetings with commanders from the rebel forces and traveled to Yemen on Tuesday to sit down with President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

“Important visit with brave fighters in (hash)Syria who are risking their lives for freedom and need our help,” McCain said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Gen. Salim Idris, chief of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, accompanied McCain on Monday as the lawmaker traveled inside Syria, the first US senator to travel to the country since the civil war began more than two years ago. McCain has been a forceful proponent of military action against the forces of Assad and a critic of President Barack Obama’s handling of the situation.

White House officials say they are reluctant to arm the rebels out of concern that will further militarize the conflict and the weapons could fall into the hands of radicals

McCain spent about two hours in Syria, crossing over the border from Turkey, and met with about 10-15 rebel commanders, Idris said in a telephone interview from inside Syria. His discussions focused on the fighting on the ground, the need for military assistance, humanitarian aid and medical care.

McCain, a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, favors providing arms to rebel forces in Syria and creation of a no-fly zone. He has stopped short of backing US ground troops in Syria.

Spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that the White House was aware in advance of McCain’s plans to travel to Syria. Carney declined to say whether McCain was carrying any message from the administration, but he said White House officials looked forward to hearing about his trip.

A State Department official said the department was aware of McCain crossing into Syrian territory Monday, but referred further questions to McCain’s office. McCain spokeswoman Rachael Dean confirmed the Monday trip, but declined further comment.

Yemen’s state news agency SABA reported that McCain met with Hadi in the capital Sanaa. The agency said Hadi told McCain that he welcomed Obama’s decision to lift the ban on transferring Guantanamo Bay prisoners back to Yemen. Yemeni detainees are the largest contingency in the US prison facility, comprising nearly 100 out of 166 suspects held there. The senator also took a walk through the Old City in Sanaa and some of its bazaars, according to the news agency.

The United States backed Hadi’s ascension to power after protests forced longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power early last year. Yemen’s military was also assisted by the United States when it fought to regain control of areas in the south of the country that had briefly fallen to al-Qaida , which is active on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

McCain’s Syria trip took place at the same time as meetings in Paris involving efforts to secure participation of Syria’s fractured opposition in an international peace conference in Geneva.

And in Brussels, the European Union decided late Monday to lift the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition while maintaining all other sanctions against President Bashar Assad’s regime after June 1, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

Two years of violence in Syria have killed more than 70,000 people, according to the United Nations. President Barack Obama has demanded that Assad leave power, while Russia has stood by Syria, its closest ally in the Arab world.

Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to provide weapons to rebels in Syria, as well as military training to vetted rebel groups and sanctions against anyone who sells oil or transfers arms to the Assad regime.”


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