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US could be more engaged in ousting Assad: McCain

Israeli President Shimon Peres (R) meets with US Republican Senator John McCain in Jerusalem on January 19, 2013
Israeli President Shimon Peres (R) meets with United States Republican Senator John McCain at the presidential compound in Jerusalem on January 19, 2013. McCain said on Saturday that Washington could be doing more to back the "effort" of the Syrian people

Leading Republican Senator John McCain said on Saturday night that Washington could be doing more to back the "effort" of the Syrian people in ending the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Speaking at the beginning of a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, McCain recalled his visit to a refugee camp in Jordan earlier that day, "to see the suffering of the Syrian people up close".

"It's very moving to see thousands and thousands and thousands of people who had to leave their homes, their families, some wounded, because of the brutal dictatorship of Bashar Assad," the veteran senator said.

"All of us believe that Bashar Assad's departure is inevitable, but we are also very concerned about how long that process will take," said McCain who was heading a delegation of US senators to the region.

"There are some of us who would like to see the United States more significantly engaged in assisting the people of Syria in that effort," he said.

More than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria's 22-month conflict, according to the United Nations.

The conflict has sent some 600,000 people fleeing the country, most of them to neighbouring countries, according to the world body.

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