WASHINGTON & BEIRUT (AP) - The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is calling for greater United States involvement in Syria through the creation of safe zone that would allow the U.S. military to train opposition forces attempting to overthrow President Bashar Assad.
Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan said on CBS "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he doesn't want to lure the United States into a "big boots, on-the-ground conflict."
However, Rogers said he believes a greater U.S. presence is necessary to prevent chemical and conventional weapons from falling into the hands of anyone who would like to harm the United States if Assad is forced out.
This comes as Syria's Western-backed opposition is in disarray after its president resigned and its military leader refused to recognize a prime minister recently elected to lead an interim rebel government.
The chaos inside the Syrian National Coalition threatens to undermine its bid to unite the forces battling President Bashar Assad and better organize the fight to oust his regime. It also could hamper support from the U.S. and other powers, who have hoped the coalition would emerge as the most credible body to channel aid to anti-Assad groups inside Syria and undermine the Islamic extremists who dominate the fight on key fronts of the civil war.
In his surprise resignation today, coalition president Mouaz al-Khatib expressed frustration with the both the international community and the opposition body itself.
Meanwhile, rebel fighters inside Syria pressed ahead today with their offensive in a restive southern province that borders Jordan. Also, Israel's military said its forces in the occupied Golan Heights responded to fire across the border by shooting at a target inside Syria.