Christians divided over Trump's proposed 'safe zones' for Christian refugees

U.S. President Donald Trump's proposed safe zones for Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees have sparked mixed reactions from Christian groups, with some doubting if the plan will work and others expressing support for the policy.

(REUTERS / Muhammad Hamed)A Syrian refugee walks with her children during rainy weather at the Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria March 29, 2015.

In a statement to the Catholic News Agency, In Defense of Christians' executive director Phillippe Nassif said the creation of safe zones will stop Syrians from leaving their homeland. He added that the policy will also lead to a resolution that will benefit the believers.

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'We think it's within the United States' national security interests to support the creation of safe zones to at least stop the exodus of people leaving Syria and move that conflict more toward a resolution which is favorable to Christians," Nassif told CNA.

However, not all agree with Nassif. Catholic Relief Services' vice president of government relations and advocacy Bill O'Keefe said safe zones are unlikely to make Syrian refugees "safe indefinitely." He said declaring a safe zone would also entail responsibility for the safety of the people there, a task that could prove to be "extremely expensive and difficult to sustain."

President Trump has already spoken with Middle East leaders about the plan to set up safe zones in Syria and Yemen to provide safe accommodations for innocent people displaced by conflict. Nassif said there should be "troops on the ground and a no-fly zone" for the policy to work.

Late last month, Trump already requested support from Saudi Arabia for the implementation of the safe zones. There are many who think that the plan could spark a beef between Russia and Iran over Syria, Al Jazeera reports.

On the other hand, Trump's plan for a safe zone could change the regional situation in the Middle East. Endorsing a safe zone could end the U.S support for the People's Protection Units YPG. It could also fast-track the "looming confrontation" between Turkey and the YPG.

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