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Donnelly meets with Syrian refugees

Syrian rebels do not want U.S. ground forces fighting in their nation’s civil war, Sen. Joe Donnelly said Monday.

Donnelly told reporters that he met last week with Syrian opposition leaders and families in refugee camps in Turkey.

“They said, ‘Look, we don’t want American men and women on the ground.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s a good thing, because there won’t be American men and women on the ground.’ I don’t support that at all,” Donnelly said during a teleconference call with reporters.

“They said, ‘All we want is the tools to create success here.’ And the other thing they said, repeatedly, in group after group, is that they are the moderates,” Donnelly said. “They said, ‘95 percent of us are moderates. We just want to have a decent life and take care of our families.’ ”

Donnelly, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was part of a five-member congressional delegation that visited Pakistan and Afghanistan in addition to the refugee camps along Turkey’s border with Syria.

He said he would support U.S. involvement as part of an international coalition that might impose no-fly zones over Syria or supply certain weapons to moderate rebels fighting President Bashar Assad’s troops.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Tuesday.