Iraq's parliament speaker said during a visit to Damascus on Thursday that he would prefer Arab countries host Iraqi refugees instead of them going to the United States.
Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said he feared a US decision to allow about 7,000 Iraqis into the country would amount to "a brain drain" of the Iraqis and that once in America, they would not return easily.
"We hope that our people will be hosted by Arab countries," al-Mashhadani told reporters after meeting Syrian President Bashar Assad for talks which focused on the flow of Iraqis to Syria.
"When the reconstruction process begins, we can bring them back to their destroyed country to rebuild it," al-Mashhadani said.
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