McCain Says Syrian Truce Unlikely, Blames Putin for Refugees

U.S. Senator John McCain said he’s skeptical a Syrian truce will stick because Russia has been given excessive leeway to continue attacks against terrorists.

President Vladimir Putin “wants to use Syria as a live-fire exercise for Russia’s military,” McCain, a Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Sunday at the Munich Security Conference. “Common sense will not end the conflict in Syria, that takes leverage.”

All major outside powers in Syria’s five-year-old conflict, including the U.S., Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, on Friday backed a truce that’s set to start Friday. Peace efforts have intensified after nearly six months of Russian bombing in support of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian regime, supported by Iranian and Hezbollah fighters, is threatening to drive rebels from Aleppo, once the country’s biggest city and an opposition stronghold.

McCain also blamed Putin for intentionally stoking the refugee crisis in order to sow discord withing Europe.

“He wants to exacerbate the refugee crisis and use it as a weapon,” McCain said. “His appetite is growing with the eating.”

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