- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2013

Sen. John McCain visited rebels in Syria Monday, making him the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the war-torn country in more than two years.

The Arizona Republican made the unannounced trip from Turkey to Syria with Gen. Salem Idris, the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, according to an exclusive report by The Daily Beast.

The men met with leaders of Free Syrian Army units, who called on the United States to step up its support for the opposition. The rebels asked for “heavy weapons, a no-fly zone, and airstrikes on the Syrian regime and the forces of Hezbollah,” The Daily Beast reported.

Gen. Idris lauded Mr. McCain’s visit, saying U.S. involvement in aiding the rebels is critical in ending the country’s civil war.

“The visit of Senator McCain to Syria is very important and very useful, especially at this time,” he said. “We need American help to have change on the ground; we are now in a very critical situation.

“What we want from the U.S. government is to take the decision to support the Syrian revolution with weapons and ammunition, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft weapons,” he added. “Of course, we want a no-fly zone and we ask for strategic strikes against Hezbollah both inside Lebanon and inside Syria.”

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