US hosts 2,000 refugees, asks Gulf states to assist Syrians

US official says Gulf states not doing enough for Syrian refugees, while US hosts less than 2,000 refugees

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US State Department Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Anne C. Richard speaks to the media at the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria in Bayan Palace on March 31 2015

Oil-rich Gulf states and the BRICs nations should do more to help Syrian refugees who had to flee their home due to war in their country, says a senior US official on Friday.

"I would like to see more aid come from the Gulf states that are in the Middle East area and are relatively wealthy compared to Jordan and Lebanon," said Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard during a TV programme.

"We would also like to see more from the so-called BRICs -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and to a lesser extent South Africa," Richard said.

"These are the wealthy states that care about the region that could and should be doing more on the humanitarian side."

According to data by the United Nations, an estimated 350,000 refugees have sought asylum in European Union countries since the war began in Syria in 2011.

Turkey ranks the first which has been hosting the greatest number of refugees, with more than 2.2 million refugees, as followed by 1.1 million in Lebanon and 650,000 in Jordan.

However, the criticism by the assistant Secretary of State drew more criticism since the US has been hosting slightly more than 1,500 refugees, despite being the biggest economy in the world.

Only 1,854 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the US since the beginning of the Syrian conflict and have been placed in 130 towns and cities around the country.

Following international pressure, US President Barack Obama promised to take 10,000 more Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year, still a number below international expectation since the US is the richest country in the world.

However, a large number of people in American society are against taking in more Syrian refugees, since they might bring in “a threat of terrorism,” and more Muslim refugees might threaten the American culture.

Even some of the US presidency candidates for the 2016 elections carry out their campaigns on the refugee “problem” and assure the public to send back refugees - who are already low in numbers.

Early in October, the Republican front-runner Donald Trump, for example, said that if he is elected as the next US president the Syrian refugees are “going back” because they may be DAESH militants.

"And if I lose, I guess they're staying,” said Trump

“But if I win, they're going back."  

The assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard said that wealthy Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, should do more for refugees. However, the US, the richest country in the world, stands in no better place in helping Syrian refugees.

The UN estimates the death toll in Syria, since the war started as an uprise, to be at least 250,000, while the SOHR states that the number have now reached 350,000.

TRTWorld and agencies