Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At Refugee Camp, Trump Envoy Haley Vows More Aid for Syrians

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At Refugee Camp, Trump Envoy Haley Vows More Aid for Syrians

Article excerpt

ZAATARI REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan * His skull and jaw wrapped in bandages, the young Syrian refugee stared nonchalantly into a small black box at a supermarket in this sprawling, dust-swept refugee camp. The box scanned his iris to identify him, charged his account and sent him on his way.

If the boy noticed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley watching intently from just a few feet away, he didn't show it. But Haley would later tout the iris-scanners as a fraud-cutting tool boosting efficiency for the more than $6.5 billion the U.S. has spent helping those whose lives have been upended by Syria's harrowing civil war.

Yet as Haley pledged Sunday that the U.S. would increase support, her message was diluted by President Donald Trump's own vow to put "America First," his planned budget cuts and hardline position on admitting refugees.

"We're the No. 1 donor here through this crisis. That's not going to stop. We're not going to stop funding this," Haley said. "The fact that I'm here shows we want to see what else needs to be done."

It was a theme the outspoken ambassador returned to over and over in Jordan at the start of her first trip abroad since taking office. In her stops here and in Turkey another Syria neighbor Haley is witnessing first-hand the strains placed on countries absorbing the more than 5 million Syrians who have fled the Islamic State group, President Bashar Assad's government, or both.

She climbed into the trailer of an 18-wheeler staged at the Ramtha border crossing half a mile from Syria, inspecting boxes of peas, tuna and canned meat stacked shoulder-high. The truck was to join 19 others in a convoy into opposition-held territory in Syria, carrying supplies from U.N. agencies and other groups, many U.S.-funded.

"This is all in the name of our Syrian brothers and sisters," Haley told aid workers in a nearby tent, swatting away flies in the summer heat. …

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