(CNN) – While watching horrifying images of a possible chemical attack near Damascus, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona grew impassioned when he warned Thursday that time was running out to take action in Syria.
"When does the United States, with very little cost, stand up for these people and stop this horrific - you can't look at those pictures without being deeply moved. Are we just going to let that go on?" the Arizona Republican said on CNN's "New Day."
Anti-regime activist groups in Syria say more than 1,300 people were killed in the attack outside Damascus Wednesday, many of them women and children.
McCain said he did not have any doubt that chemical weapons were used after seeing the pictures. He said he was certain President Bashar al-Assad's regime would use the chemical weapons again "unless they are reined in and prevented from doing so".
When asked what realistically the Obama administration can do to prevent future atrocities by the Assad regime, McCain said there were concrete steps the U.S. could take without physically putting U.S. boots on the ground.
"We could take out the runways and take out the 40 or 50 aircrafts they're using which is dominating the battlefields in the towns and the cities and we can supply the right kind of weapons to rebels to establish a no fly zone by using...moving patriot missiles up to the border," McCain assured that all those steps could be done without putting "a single (American) life at risk."
The senator reiterated that U.S. credibility was at all-time low in the region because of inaction and not doing anything would give "a blank check to other brutal dictators around the world if they want to use chemical weapons."
McCain referred to President Barack Obama's comments made about a year ago in which the president stated that use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would constitute crossing a "red line."
"When the president of the United States says that if he (Bashar al-Assad) uses these weapons, that it would be a 'red line and a game changer' he (Bashar al-Assad ) now sees that as a green light and that is the word of the president of the United States can no longer be taken seriously as it isn't throughout the entire region."
The Syrian government denied the claims on state-run media Wednesday, calling them "completely baseless."
CNN could not immediately verify where or when the videos were recorded, and could not authenticate the number killed or injured.
A United Nations chemical weapons inspection team is currently in place and trying to get access to the area where the attack took place.