General: Syrian Air Defense Complicates US Options [View all]
Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS
(03-06) 09:11 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) --
The top U.S. commander in the Middle East told senators Tuesday that the advanced air defense weapons Russia has provided to Syria's regime would make it difficult to establish a no-fly zone there as part of an effort to help the rebellion.
Marine Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command, declined to detail any military options the Pentagon has developed for action against the regime. But he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it would take a significant military commitment to create even safe havens in Syria where aid could be delivered, as Sen. John McCain suggested Monday.
Senators repeatedly pressed for options to stem the brutal offensive against the Syrian people by President Bashar Assad's regime. And they questioned Iran's involvement there, as well as Tehran's ongoing efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
McCain said he is growing angry over the argument that the U.S. and others want to figure out who the Syrian opposition is before providing greater aid to them. A lot of people will die before that happens, he said.