Senator John McCain (R-AZ) became the highest-ranking U.S. official to enter Syria since major fighting broke out more than two years ago when he made an unannounced visit to the country Monday to meet with rebel leaders. The Daily Beast first reported that McCain crossed the Turkey-Syria border with Gen. Salem Idris, the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army.
CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh confirmed that by approximately 2pm ET, McCain had already departed Syria, describing the route he took as a “perilous journey, certainly a difficult one for a man of his seniority.” The senator’s trip was organized by the American non-profit Syrian Emergency Task Force and was kept a secret even from those he was planning to meet for security purposes.
McCain has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s reluctance to intervene in the Syria conflict. After the White House confirmed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had crossed a “red line” by using chemical weapons, McCain told CNN’s Jake Tapper he believes the U.S. “should have intervened long ago” and called the affair “one of the most shameful chapters in American history.”
Watch video below, via CNN:
McCain sent out the tweet and photo below before taking off from Turkey.
Later, Twitter user @SoccerMouaz posted the photos below with Sen. McCain in Syria to Instagram:
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