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On Sunday, Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the U.S. must play a bigger role to prevent chemical weapons from falling into the wrong hands.

The U.S. should create a “safe zone” in northern Syria, Mr. Rogers told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“It means small groups with special capabilities re-engaging the opposition so we can vet them, train them, equip them so they can be an effective fighting force,” he added.

The Obama administration is providing nonlethal aid to the opposition, including $60 million in aid to the Syrian National Council to help administer rebel-held territories and food and medical aid to rebel fighters. But it does not support a plan backed by Britain and France to arm the opposition.

The Syrian opposition wants the U.S. to do more.

“This is a very critical stage of the struggle, and we haven’t seen much leadership on the part of the president,” Mr. Ghadbian said. “Nobody is calling for military intervention, but in the area they call ‘non-lethal’ there is a lot of room for communication assistance and intelligence sharing.”

“We believe that the best way to end this war is to speed up the process of overthrowing the regime,” said Mr. Ghadbian. “We don’t see that happening.”

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said the international community, and the U.S. in particular, bears some responsibility for the setback to the opposition.

Mr. al-Khatib’s resignation “represents a failure of American leadership, which is only further weakening what is left of Syria’s responsible, democratic opposition,” Mr. McCain said. “If the United States remains on the sidelines of this conflict, the Syrian revolution will be hijacked by al Qaeda, and anti-American radicals will inherit post-Assad Syria.”