Syrian refugees don’t ‘want to go to US’, envoy says in defense of Trump ban

America resettled 15,479 Syrian refugees in 2016. Under Trump, merely 3,024 were allowed in during 2017 and merely 11 in so far in 2018

Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United nations organization on Sunday defended the president’s ban on letting Syrian refugees into the US by claiming that people displaced due to the country’s civil war did not actually want to leave the region.

When asked how she justified the Trump administration admitting almost no Syrian refugees while also bombing Assad regime targets in the country, Nikki Haley cited dialogues she said she had had with refugees at camps in Jordan and Turkey.

” Not one of the many that I talked to ever told we want to go to America ,” Haley said on Fox News Sunday.” They want to stay as close to Syria because they can .”

The number of Syrians resettled in the US has fallen sharply under Trump because the president enforced a blanket ban on travelers from several Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, and added further checks to America’s tough vetting system for immigrants.

According to the US state department, America resettled 15,479 Syrian refugees in 2016 during Barack Obama’s last year as chairperson. That figure was criticised as insufficient by many activists. Under Trump, however, merely 3,024 Syrians were allowed in during 2017 and merely 11 in so far in 2018.

Haley said the US had expended more than$ 6bn on the Syrian conflict.” I will tell you, from a humanitarian standpoint, the US has been a massive donor in such situations ,” she told.” But also when I talk to the refugees, they want to go home .”

The ambassador to the UN made her statements after Trump tried to defend his use of the loaded phrase” mission accomplished” to declare success in Friday’s US-led military ten-strikes in Syria.

Trump was criticised for using the phrase, which became notorious in US politics in 2003 after then chairperson George W Bush appeared in front of a flag decorated with those terms soon after the start of the war in Iraq. Thousands of US troops remain in Iraq today.

On Sunday, Trump claimed in a tweet that the attack was ” so perfectly carried out, with such accuracy, that the only route the Fake News Media could demean was by my utilize of the term’ Mission Accomplished .'”

He added:” I knew they would seize on this but felt it is such a great Military term, it should be brought back. Use often !”

Donald
Donald Trump addressed the nation on the situation in Syria on Friday at the White House. Photo: Mandel Ngan/ AFP/ Getty Images

The US, Britain and France launched the ten-strikes on Friday night in response to a suspected chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Douma a week ago that killed at least 40 people.

Opponents of Trump said his declaration seemed premature. Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine , noted that the regime’s attack on Douma proceeded despite earlier ten-strikes from the US in April last year.

” I think it is very difficult to say’ mission accomplished’ if the mission is to deter the use of chemical weapons ,” King said on CNN’s State of the Union.” We hope that will be the case. But we did a strike a year ago for that same intent, and it was deemed a success, but the chemical weapons have continued to be used .”

Haley defended Trump’s use of the phrase, saying that he was referring to the completion of one short-term objective. She said this was the term’s common usage in military circles despite its wider political connotations.

” We of course know that our work in Syria is not done ,” said Haley, who reiterated that the US was prepared to attack Assad’s positions again if his forces carried out similar atrocities.

John Brennan, the CIA director under Barack Obama and a consistent critic of Trump, said the administration’s action against Syria was ” exactly right” but cautioned that it may not impede Assad’s capabilities significantly.

” I’m sure this ten-strike, which was a tactical and surgical success, has been a setback to the program ,” Brennan said on NBC’s Meet The Press.” But that doesn’t mean that the Syrians cannot recreate the chemical weapons to use once again .”

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