Ben Carson arrives in Jordan to visit Syrian refugees

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 27, 2015 8:16 AM

By Emily Flitter

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson arrived in Jordan on Friday for a two-day tour of multiple camps housing Syrian refugees, his campaign manager said.

The campaign manager, Barry Bennett, said the campaign would release a statement with photos on Saturday, but that no press was invited to accompany Carson on the trip. He did not specify which camps were on Carson's schedule and said Carson was due to leave the region on Sunday.

Carson, a top-tier candidate in public opinion polls, has faced increased scrutiny over his foreign policy credentials amid comments about China's role in the Syrian crisis, as well as remarks likening some Syrian refugees to rabid dogs.

The New York Times reported that the retired neurosurgeon would visit a camp in the northern Jordanian town of Azraq and tour a clinic and hospital.

Carson and other Republican presidential candidates have criticized President Barack Obama's plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, citing the risk that militants could slip through. The Obama administration has emphasized the refugee program vetting process.

Last week, Carson likened refugees fleeing the nearly five-year civil war in Syria to "rabid dogs."

He also faced questions over his comments at a recent debate about China's role in the conflict.

A political outsider, Carson has acknowledged he faces a "learning curve" when it comes to foreign policy. According to the Times, Carson's advisers said his trip to Jordan was part of an effort to enhance his understanding of the refugee crisis.

"I want to hear some of their stories, I want to hear from some of the officials what their perspective is,” Carson said, according to the paper. "All of that is extraordinarily useful in terms of formulating an opinion of how to actually solve the problem."

(This version of the story has been refiled to fix dateline to New York, not Washington)

(Reporting by Emily Flitter; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Ginger Gibson; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Leslie Adler)