(VOA NEWS) — An influential U.S. senator is calling for U.S.-led military intervention in Syria to stem the slaughter of civilians, assist rebels, and hasten the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad.

Republican John McCain of Arizona, who was President Barack Obama’s opponent in the 2008 election, made an impassioned plea for air strikes in Syria, with or without U.N. authorization.

Senator McCain condemned the continuing bloodshed in Syria, and blasted the Obama administration’s assertion that President Assad’s departure from power is inevitable.

“Nothing in this world is predetermined, and claims about the inevitability of events can often be a convenient way to abdicate responsibility,” said McCain. “But even if we do assume that Assad will ultimately fall, that may still take a really long time.”

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