March 19, 2013

Corker Says International Humanitarian Assistance in Syria is High Priority, Warns of Security Risks As Conflict Drags On

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today said international humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees is a high priority.  He also warned of risks to U.S. and regional security as the conflict threatens to spill over into neighboring countries and the influence of extremists in Syria grows.  Today the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs is holding a hearing on the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Syria.

“Millions of Syrians have lost everything in this tragic war, and we and our allies should stand with them to help keep extremism at bay and halt the slide toward chaos in the region, which must include making international humanitarian assistance a high priority.  The day after Assad falls won't be easy, so we have to be prepared to deal with what is likely to be a very complex challenge,” said Corker. “Having visited refugee camps in both Turkey and Jordan in recent months, I’ve witnessed the human suffering occurring and the threat of the conflict’s spillover into neighboring countries as it continues.  The crisis has significant implications for regional stability and ultimately U.S. security given the increasing influence of extremist elements inside Syria.  I'm very concerned we're not doing enough to think about and prepare for what a long term challenge Syria will be for us and for the region and to bolster the ability of friendly governments to weather the storm that is coming.”

In September of 2012, Corker visited the Kilis refugee camp on the Turkish-Syria border during a trip to Egypt and Turkey, where he met various members of the Syrian opposition.  The following month he traveled to Jordan where he toured the Za’atri refugee camp on the border with Syria.