McCain’s brief and largely publicity intrusion into Syria came on Monday near Syria’s Bab Salameh border crossing with Turkey, where he reportedly held talks with leaders of foreign-sponsored militant group, so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), according to his spokesman Brian Rogers cited in US-based press reports.
During McCain’s meeting with Gen. Salim Idriss, leader of FSA’s “Supreme Military Council,” and other militant commanders, Idriss asked the US to supply the insurgent gangs with “heavy weapons, set up a no-fly zone in Syria and conduct airstrikes on Hezbollah,” the Islamic resistance movement in Lebanon, The Los Angeles Times reports on Tuesday.
Idriss further described McCain’s visit as “very useful,” and called on “the US government to take the decision to support” the militant gangs “with weapons and ammunition, antitank missiles and antiaircraft weapon.”
“Of course we want a no-fly zone and we ask for strategic strikes against Hezbollah both inside Lebanon and inside Syria,” Idriss is also cited as saying.
FSA’s political and media coordinator, Louay al-Mokdad further said of McCain’s meeting with anti-Damascus militant leaders: “We asked about targeted strikes… He (McCain) was very open and promised to push for us with the US administration.”
Al-Mokdad is further quoted as saying in a Washington Postarticle on Tuesday that the US senator and the militant gang leaders also “discussed solutions to help remove” President Bashar al-Assad from power amid growing reports on faltering “military and diplomatic efforts to oust him.”
The US-based dailies, however, do not elaborate on what the foreign-backed militant leaders might mean by asking for US “targeted” or “strategic strikes” in Syria and against Hezbollah, but observers believe that they are referring to the use of assassination drones used as part of the Obama administration’s controversial targeted-killing program.
According to the Times report, McCain was not able to meet with many of the foreign-backed militant commanders as planned “because of the Syrian government offensive in Qusayr,” a major city on its border with Lebanon, where the US and the anti-Damascus militants have expressed serious concerns about major Syrian gains, alleging a Hezbollah support role.
“Part of the difficulty in arranging this meeting is that many of the commanders McCain was hoping to meet were on the front lines in Qusayr,” said Elizabeth O’Bagy, political director of the US-based Syrian Emergency Task Force, who accompanied the American Senator into the Syrian territory.
O’Bagy, whose “nonprofit” group provides support for the foreign-sponsored militants inside Syria, further said that McCain’s office “approached the task force two weeks ago about visiting with rebel leader,” the report adds.
McCain’s covert intrusion into Syria, the report adds, came as part of his Middle East tour, during which he has “met with officials from Egypt and Lebanon, spoke at the World Economic Forum in Jordan and visited American troops in Turkey.
While in Jordan, the pro-Israeli American Senator, who is the top Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has also called for the installation of US Patriot batteries on Jordan’s border with Syria as a “first step” in establishing a “buffer zone inside Syria” to better facilitate Washington’s military backing of anti-Damascus insurgents and a possible invasion of the country.
We are prepared to take every step to protect the Jordanian regime’s stability, its people and its territory. The provision of Patriot missiles comes under this protection,” he reportedly said in a interview with Jordan Times newspaper.
Source: Press TV