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Arizona Sen. John McCain: Only Syria can determine if more US strikes are coming

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LISTEN: John McCain, Arizona Senator

Hours after the United States launched nearly 60 cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield, Arizona Sen. John McCain said, “Let’s see if they got the message.”

McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Arizona’s Morning News on Friday that the air strike, which was in response to what government officials believed was Syria’s use of banned chemical weapons, could be just the first.

“… Depending on the behavior of (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad,” he said.

The U.S. military said 58 of the 59 missiles struck their intended targets Thursday night in the strike on a Syrian air base.

President Donald Trump’s decision, McCain said, was “the beginning of a shift from eight years of failure under Barack Obama.”

The Arizona senator also said, “Assad is a war criminal, the Russians have been enabling them, to say the least.”

Russia responded to the attack by shutting down a hotline to the U.S.

The hotline was established in 2015 to help prevent midair incidents between American and Russian warplanes.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it will now help strengthen Syrian air defenses.

Before the air strike, the U.S. had avoided attacking Assad’s forces so as not to provoke Russia.

“We need to fight ISIS and eventually overthrow Bashar al-Assad,” the Vietnam War veteran said. “And that means a lot more commitment of American troops and equipment.

“I’m not saying we need to send American troops on the ground,” McCain added.

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine says President Donald Trump’s decision to retaliate against Syria was not legally justified, although it was right from a moral standpoint.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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