John McCain: Syrian Rebels 'Do Not Understand Why We Won't Help Them' (VIDEO)

05/30/2013 02:22 am ET

John McCain spoke publicly about his visit to Syria for the first time Wednesday night on CNN's 'AC 360.' The Arizona senator quietly entered the country and met with rebel leaders Monday.

McCain emphasized the desperation of the rebels' situation, with Bashar Assad's army receiving arms from Russia and support from Iran and Hezbollah.

"I wanted to be able to go back and be able to tell my colleagues in the Senate that at least the military side of those who are fighting against Bashar Al Assad is well-organized and they are well-led and they have people now who have been fighting for over two years," McCain told Anderson Cooper. "And they really are fighting an unfair fight. As you know the scuds continue, the air attacks continue, the massacres continue."

"They do not understand why we won't help them," McCain added.

The senator urged the Obama adminsitration to reconsider its stance on arming the Syrian opposition, and argued that it would be a mistake to avoid getting involved for fear of repeating the U.S. experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Everyone talks about Iraq and Afghanistan, and that's a legitimate concern. I'd also like them to consider that we went into Bosnia and we went to Kosovo and we were able to, without too much difficulty, to be able to stop genocide in those places," McCain said.

A HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in late April found that 51 percent of respondents opposed providing weapons to rebel fighters in Syria, while only 12 percent supported it. 49 percent were opposed to conducting air strikes in Syria, while 16 percent supported it.

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