Middle East has more room for Syrians, US congressman says

Peter King, Republican congressman from New York says Middle East has more room for Syrians

Photo by: Social Media
Photo by: Social Media

Peter King - Archive

One of the congressional opponent's of President Barack Obama's plan to allow more Syrian refugees into the US, Peter King said the Middle East has "more room" for Syrians fleeing war.

Republican congressman from New York, Peter King opposes Obama administration's decision to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees, arguing that helping Syrian refugees in dire need of humanitarian aid in the US, would make his country vulnerable to “terrorism”.

"I'm very concerned we're going to let terrorists into the country," King told Reuters.

"It is virtually impossible to vet who's coming in from Syria."

King chairs the Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence in the US House of Representatives.

King later added that the US should exercise pressure on Middle Eastern countries to host Syrians, instead of having them on American soil.

"There's far more room in Saudi Arabia or really in almost any of those countries," said King.

King said, Jordan was an exception to the Middle Eastern neighbouring countries to Syria. Saying it took in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

Turkey and Lebanon are the largest hosts of Syrian refugees, as they house 2 million and 1.1 million Syrians respectively. 

White House spokesman, Josh Earnest said an intensive security screening system for the Syrian refugees could take up to 18 months. National security is a top concern for bringing them in, given that Syria has “anti-American militants” on its soil.

"The president will not sign off on a process that cuts corners when it comes to the basic safety and security of the American people and the US homeland," Earnest told reporters.

Several Gulf countries came under criticism for not hosting Syrian refugees since the beginning of the civil war in March 2011. Gulf states argue that the criticism is unfair, because they claim thousands of Syrians currently reside in Gulf countries but not as refugees.

Saudi Arabia claims it had received nearly 2.5 million Syrians, but it does not classify them as refugees.

Germany has said it is preparing for 800,000 refugees to arrive this year, which prompted criticism over the American number, saying it is not high enough given the seriousness of the refugee problem.


TRTWorld and agencies