The Washington Times - June 3, 2013, 09:33AM

Sen. John McCain said Monday that the United States should establish a no-fly zone over Syria and support rebel groups with cruise missile strikes.

Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, recently took a surprise trip to Syria, where he met with opposition forces, and he now is making the case that the United States should get involved before the civil war there spills over into the rest of the Middle East.

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“This thing could spread and engulf the entire Middle East in a civil war and a regional conflict,” Mr. McCain said on “CBS This Morning.”

Mr. McCain has spent months arguing that the U.S. should play a greater role in the conflict, which he said by some estimates has led to the death of upward of 100,000 people.

Making the rounds Monday on the television talk-show circuit, Mr. McCain said that he understands American are war-weary, but that if the conflict spirals out of control, it would have serious consequence for the U.S. and the region.

He also said the British and French are ready to lend a hand, but they are waiting for the U.S. to lead the charge.

“I believe we could still intervene by cruise missiles taking out their [air forces] on the runway, providing a safe zone protected by Patriot missiles. No boots on the ground. No American aircraft overhead,” Mr. McCain said.