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Lack of U.S. Aid May Prolong Syrian Crisis, Senator McCain Says

July 8 (Bloomberg) -- A lack of U.S. support for Syria’s rebels may lengthen President Bashar al-Assad’s rule over the country, Senator John McCain said.

Other countries in the region are “crying out for American leadership,” the Arizona Republican said on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” The U.S. aid needed for a quick overthrow would prevent a new government from being controlled by extremists, McCain said.

Assad’s “days are numbered, but these days could be very large in numbers,” he said. “Right now Bashar al-Assad is able to massacre and slaughter people and stay in power.”

An uprising in Syria that began peacefully 16 months ago has evolved into a deadly confrontation between rebels and Assad, whose family has held power for four decades.

International efforts to find a political solution to the violence are failing, United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan told the French newspaper Le Monde.

“Evidently, we haven’t succeeded,” Annan, who also represents the Arab League, said in an interview with Le Monde published yesterday.

Syrian forces battled with rebels in Aleppo in the north of the country as they sought to reassert control over the region, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. More than 50 people were killed yesterday, the Associated Press reported, citing activists.

The violence has claimed more than 10,000 lives. About 4,000 Syrians have been killed since Annan took on the Syrian peacemaking effort in February, according to the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alan Bjerga in Washington at abjerga@bloomberg.net; Catarina Saraiva in Washington at asaraiva5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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