Tate Zeigler (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
Washington – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) today released the following statement on the Obama Administration recognizing the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people:
“We commend President Obama for recognizing the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. This was an essential, and long overdue, step in the right direction for our Syria policy. But much more still needs to be done. Nearly 40,000 people have already perished, and the situation in Syria is growing more dire.
“We urge the President to provide the National Coalition directly with the substantial assistance it needs to succeed, including financial support and humanitarian assistance that can be distributed to communities in opposition-controlled parts of Syria. Syria is experiencing a rapidly worsening food crisis, and we must help the National Coalition to show that it can provide relief to the Syrian people.
“We also believe that the United States must play a far more active role in changing the military balance of power against Assad and his forces. The Syrian opposition's recent formation of a new, nationwide military command, the Supreme Military Council, presents an opportunity that we must seize to increase our support. We urge the President, in coordination with our friends and allies, to provide opposition forces in Syria that share our interests and values with weapons, training, intelligence, medical assistance, and other life-saving equipment. We also urge the President to lead an international effort to establish a no-fly zone over parts of Syria that opposition forces can control on the ground. As in Libya, a no-fly zone would provide opposition groups in Syria with the opportunity to organize, train, and equip themselves to contest the Assad regime more successfully, both politically and militarily. It is essential for the United States and our friends and allies to deny Assad the ability to use airpower to kill people indiscriminately in Syria.
“If the Syrian opposition is to succeed more rapidly in liberating its country, marginalizing extremist groups, and preparing to secure and govern a post-Assad Syria, the United States must play a greater role. We now have a recognized partner in the National Coalition, and we must do what it takes to help them succeed.”