Arab League turns down Syrian request for Iraqi refugee assistance

Arab League representatives rejected a Syrian request Monday to set up a fund to support Iraqis who have fled to neighboring countries, said an official involved in the decision. Syria and Jordan, which host more than 2 million Iraqi refugees, have complained that the influx has overwhelmed their health and education infrastructures, leaving them desperate for outside assistance. But Arab League officials in Egypt's capital, Cairo, preparing for the group's meeting on Wednesday turned down Syria's recent request for financial assistance, according to Abdulwalli el-Shmeri, Yemen's representative to the 22-member organization made up of Arab foreign ministers. "There was no Arab consensus to set up this fund," said el-Shmeri, without providing a reason for the decision.