Following a meeting Saturday with civil war refugees and opposition groups near the border of Turkey and Syria, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said he is concerned about whether American involvement could bring unintended consequences for all parties involved.
Sen. Bob Corker (center left) meets with Turkish officials Sept. 1, 2012, during a fact-finding trip to the Middle East.
“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,” said Corker, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Since Aug. 29, the Tennessee Republican has been on a fact-finding trip to the Syria border in Egypt and Turkey, which included meetings with U.S. and foreign officials and refugees. He also met with various members of the opposition group trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Earlier this year, he coauthored a Senate resolution to require a report from President Barack Obama and his administration on the Syrian opposition groups, as well as the amount and security of all weapons used by the Assad regime and opposition forces in the country.
Hearing the stories of what is happening to ordinary citizens in Syria “challenges the most basic American sensibilities,” he said.
“I was also able to witness firsthand the outstanding humanitarian work (the Turkish) government is performing in the refugee camps,” Corker said in a press release, “and I hope that the ongoing bilateral meetings on Syria between the U.S. government and Turkey will bear significant results.”
Although there has been much discussion about the U.S. arming the Free Syrian Army to deal with Syrian aircraft, Corker said he remains concerned about how American involvement would affect the situation.
“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,” he said.
Corker continued, saying, “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.”