ISTANBUL - Following a meeting today with Syrian refugees and opposition groups at Camp Kilis on the Turkish-Syrian border, Senator Bob Corker, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made the following statement:
“I just visited the border between Turkey and Syria and met with various groups representing the Syrian opposition and refugees,” said Corker. “Hearing the stories of what is happening every day to ordinary citizens in Syria challenges the most basic American sensibilities.
“I was also able to witness firsthand the outstanding humanitarian work Turkey's government is performing in the refugee camps, and I hope that the ongoing bilateral meetings on Syria between the United States government and Turkey will bear significant results.
“On one hand, there is much discussion here about the U.S. arming the Free Syrian Army to deal with Syrian aircraft, and, while that may end up being the right course of action, their current loose alignment and lack of cohesiveness could make it a very problematic decision in the long run if Assad’s fall no longer gives common purpose to their efforts. On the other hand, the longer that the conflict goes on, the more lives will be destroyed and the greater the risk that the opposition becomes radicalized.
“Determining the proper role for further U.S. involvement without committing ourselves to another long-term entanglement or fueling a greater conflict that destabilizes the region must be our goal.”
Since Wednesday, Senator Corker has been on a fact-finding trip to Egypt, Turkey and the Syrian border, which included meetings with U.S. and foreign officials, Syrian refugees and various members of the Syrian opposition. Earlier this year, he coauthored a Senate resolution to require a report from the Obama administration on the Syrian opposition groups and the number of and security of all weapons used by the Assad regime and opposition forces in Syria.