US mulling more help in refugee crisis

  • 09/09/2015
US President Barack Obama (Reuters)
US President Barack Obama (Reuters)

US President Barack Obama is considering further measures to address the Syrian refugee crisis amid claims the world's largest economy is not doing enough.

"The administration is considering a range of approaches to contribute to the solution to this very difficult challenge," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Tuesday (local time).

The measures could include more funding to help house and feed refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey and other countries and admitting more refugees into the United States.

Earnest said the administration is looking "to see exactly what the administration and the country can do to help our allies and partners in Europe deal with this significant and growing humanitarian situation".

Any augmented support would likely need the support of the Republican-controlled Congress, where there are deep concerns about Islamic State group militants posing as refugees.

Since fighting erupted in 2011 the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has recommended 17,000 Syrians for resettlement in the United States.

By the end of this month, it will have accepted about 1800.

Traditionally, the US has led the world in accepting and resettling large numbers of those fleeing persecution but refugee advocates warn it has fallen behind on Syria.

National Security Council spokesman Peter Boogaard defended the US role, saying the United States was the single largest donor to the Syrian crisis.

"The United States has provided over US$4 billion in humanitarian assistance since the Syrian crisis began, and over US$1 billion in assistance this year," he said.