Dear Mr. President,
With nearly 40 years of experience in international relief work, assisting refugees and displaced people from Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, I would like to add my voice to those supporting the establishment of safe zones in Syria. This would allow Syrians fleeing from areas of conflict inside the country to find safety, food, medicine, and shelter, and stay within their borders, nearer their homes, until a political and military settlement has been reached. Most refugees that I have worked with over the years desire to eventually return home. As we have all seen, fleeing to another country adds great risk to their lives and exposes the refugees to exploitation by unscrupulous people who deal in human trafficking.
Establishing safe zones would require partnership with and military assistance from our allies in Europe and the Middle East, and it would require a considerable commitment from the United States. Without action I believe this crisis will only escalate. Europe and the United States will be unable to handle the flood of people; and the long-term implications are great with the possibility of ISIS infiltrating the refugees and bringing their terrorist activities onto our shores. It is more effective, more economical, and safer to work with our partners and deal with the problem there.
Mr. President, I ask you to lead the way in an alliance to provide safe zones inside Syria's borders. I pray that God will give you His wisdom as your decisions will affect the lives of so many. God bless you.
Franklin Graham, son of iconic evangelist Billy Graham, is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse. This post originally appeared on Facebook.
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