Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Saturday, after visiting a camp for Syrian refugees, that the displaced should be absorbed by Middle Eastern countries, with the international community sending aid and “encouragement” to the host nations.
Carson toured the Azraq camp in northern Jordan under heavy Jordanian security, with journalists barred. Carson’s campaign also limited access, not providing his itinerary and releasing only a short statement after the camp visit.
“Syrians have a reputation as very hard working, determined people, which should only enhance the overall economic health of the neighboring Arab countries that accept and integrate them into the general population,” he was quoted as saying. “There is much beauty in Syria and I suspect that many displaced Syrians will return there when peace is restored,” he added.
Overwhelmed host countries, particularly Lebanon and Jordan, have balked at the idea of longer-term integration of refugees. They have complained that they are carrying an unfair burden while the international community’s support has fallen short.
An aid appeal of $4.5 billion for refugees in host countries in 2015 is only about half funded.