Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump would send all the Syrian refugees the United States accepts back to Syria if he is elected.
Speaking at a campaign rally in Keene, New Hampshire on Wednesday, Trump said that he was worried that members of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) might be among the refugees.
"If I win, I'm going to say it right now and I'll say it to you, those 200,000 people — they have to know this and the world will hear it — are going back.”
The crowd of more than 3,500 responded with the loudest applause of the event even though Trump’s exhortations marked a partial flip-flop. Last month he told John O’Reilly of Fox News that even though ISIL supports might be among the refugees, he would accept them in the United States. “I hate the concept of it, but on a humanitarian basis, with what’s happening, you have to,” said Trump.
Conditions in Syria have been growing increasingly dire as the civil war continues. As many as 9 million people have been displaced, including more than 4 million who have fled the country, according to the United Nations.
In September, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees from around the world next year, up from 70,000, and that total would rise to 100,000 in 2017. At the time, he said the U.S. could not accept more refugees because of post-Sept. 11 screening requirements and a lack of money made available by Congress.
On Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General is Ban Ki-moon urged world leaders to do more to solve the refugee crisis.
Trump began his campaign in June by saying Mexico is sending its criminals and rapists to the U.S. On Wednesday, while making his intentions clear, he doubted those of the Syrian refugees, calling them a “200,000-man army.”
"Did you ever see a migration like that?" he said, according to the Washington Post. "They're all men, and they're all strong-looking guys... There are so many men; there aren't that many women. And I'm saying to myself: Why aren't they fighting to save Syria? Why are they migrating all over Europe? Seriously."
Al Jazeera with wire services