The danger of Syria’s 22-month-old civil war embroiling its neighborhood became even more evident on Wednesday with confirmation that Israel conducted an airstrike on a military target inside its war-torn neighbor.
“I don’t think there is any disagreement that the situation is serious… that it threatens to spill over into surrounding nations,” Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said at the McCain Institute in Washington on Wednesday. “The situation in Syria could have significant and profound effects throughout the Middle East.”
More than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, according to the United Nations. Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League special envoy for Syria, told the Security Council this week that Syria had plunged into “unprecedented levels of horror.”
Such dire warnings have increased pressure on the international community, and especially the U.S., to do more to bring the crisis to an end.
“Syria is unquestionably a place where humanitarian issues and [U.S.] strategic interests converge,” Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said while advocating a greater U.S. role at a debate at the McCain Institute.
President Obama this week announced that the U.S. is providing an additional $155 million in humanitarian assistance.