What is required now is a limited campaign of U.S.-led airstrikes to neutralize Assad’s planes, helicopters and ballistic missiles, which are being used to terrorize the Syrian population. Taking such a step would not require the U.S. to act unilaterally, nor would it involve any American boots on the ground.

At the very least, U.S. Patriot missile-defense batteries that are already deployed near the Turkish-Syrian border could be used to stop the barrages of Assad’s Scud missiles that have been raining down indiscriminately on the towns and cities of northern Syria.

There is no more stark illustration of our refusal to help Syrians, despite having the military means to do so, than the continuing devastation caused by the Syrian regime’s ballistic missiles mere miles away from our Patriot batteries.

Conversely, if the Patriots were used to establish a safe zone in northern Syria, they would instantly become a powerful symbol of U.S. solidarity with Syrians, bolstering moderates in the opposition and giving them the space they need to organize inside the country.