Digital Access

Digital Access
Access daily-chronicle.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
The Holiday Gift Auction is Live! Click here and bid now on great local gifts!
Nation & World

Sen. McCain makes trip to Syria to visit rebels

In this photo provided by U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on his Twitter site, McCain visits troops Monday at a Patriot missile site in southern Turkey. McCain quietly slipped into Syria for a meeting with Syrian rebels Monday, confirms spokeswoman Rachael Dean.
In this photo provided by U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on his Twitter site, McCain visits troops Monday at a Patriot missile site in southern Turkey. McCain quietly slipped into Syria for a meeting with Syrian rebels Monday, confirms spokeswoman Rachael Dean.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John McCain, a proponent of arming Syrian rebels, quietly slipped into Syria for a meeting with anti-government fighters Monday.

Spokeswoman Rachael Dean confirms the Arizona Republican made the visit. She declined further comment about the trip.

The visit took place amid meetings in Paris involving efforts to secure participation of Syria’s fractured opposition in an international peace conference in Geneva.

And in Brussels, the European Union decided late Monday to lift the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition while maintaining all other sanctions against Bashar Assad’s regime after Saturday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said after the meeting.

Two years of violence in Syria has killed more than 70,000 people. President Barack Obama has demanded that Assad leave power, while Russia has stood by Syria, its closest ally in the Arab world.

McCain has been a fierce critic of Obama administration policy there while stopping short of backing U.S. ground troops in Syria, but he supports aggressive military steps against the Assad regime.

Gen. Salem Idris, chief of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, accompanied McCain across the Turkey-Syria border. McCain met with leaders of the Free Syrian Army from across the country, who asked him for increased U.S. support, including heavy weapons, a no-fly zone and airstrikes on Syrian government and Hezbollah forces, according to The Daily Beast, which first reported the senator’s unannounced visit.

The White House declined to comment late Monday.

A State Department official said the department was aware of McCain crossing into Syrian territory Monday.

Further questions were referred to McCain’s office.

Last Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to provide weapons to rebels in Syria, as well as military training to vetted rebel groups and sanctions against anyone who sells oil or transfers arms to the Assad regime. McCain is a member of the committee.

__

Associated Press writer Bradley Klapper in Paris contributed to this report.

Loading more