Sen. John McCain on Thursday said the United States should find ways to help the Syrian people under siege from President Bashar Assad, without putting American "boots on the ground."
The violent repression of Syrian activists is accelerating, and there is no international consensus on halting the killings. The Arab Spring has reached its limits in the besieged and bloody city of Homs.
The Obama administration says it is not considering invading Syria or arming its rebels to remove President Bashar Assad from power. Diplomatic efforts at the U.N. have collapsed.
The European Union will impose harsher sanctions on Syria, a senior EU official said Wednesday, as Russia tried to broker talks between the vice president and the opposition to calm violence. Activists reported at least 50 killed in military assaults targeting government opponents.
European officials said Wednesday they plan harsher economic sanctions on Syria, including a possible flight ban, as ally Russia pursued its own effort to resolve the crisis by trying to broker talks between the regime and opposition.
The White House said on Tuesday that the U.S. is not considering arming opposition groups in Syria, deflecting calls from some lawmakers to explore such a possibility as one way to quell the violence in Syria.
Syrian forces renewed their assault on the flashpoint city of Homs Tuesday as Russia's foreign minister stressed the need for reform and dialogue during talks in Damascus with President Bashar Assad about the country's escalating violence.
The Obama administration has closed the U.S. Embassy in Damascus and pulled all American diplomats out of Syria.
The State Department on Monday suspended operations at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria, and pulled all its staff, including Ambassador Robert Ford, out of the country.