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McCain Meets With Rebels In Syria

May 27, 2013

Arizona Sen. John McCain spent his Memorial Day in Syria. As NPR's Jonathan Blakley reports from Beirut, McCain's spokesman says the senator crossed into northern Syria from Turkey to meet with rebels in the country, ripped apart by the 2-year conflict turned civil war.

The Daily Beast reports McCain was with Brig. Gen. Salim Idris, the head of the Free Syrian Army, and met with rebels for a few hours before going back to Turkey. The Daily Beast added:

"Idris praised the McCain visit and criticized the Obama administration's Syria policy in an exclusive interview Monday with The Daily Beast. '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.' "

McCain is highly critical of President Obama's policy of non-intervention in Syria. The rebels have been calling for more weapons to fight the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a move that McCain strongly supports.

On Monday, the French newspaper Le Monde reported that it witnessed some type of chemical weapons being used on the rebels.

The past several weeks have been difficult for the opposition. It is trying to hold on to the key town of Qusair near Lebanon's northern border.

Both sides are taking heavy losses, and the threat of a sectarian spillover into neighboring countries weighs heavy on the region.

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