Ben Carson is on his way to Jordan, expected to arrive Friday, for a visit with Syrian refugees, a Carson aide confirmed to CBS News. The trip is intended to be a "fact-finding" and "information gathering" mission to learn more about the refugees, the aide said.
During the surprise visit, Carson plans to visit the Azraq refugee camp, he told the New York Times in an interview before his charter flight departed.
While he's on the ground, in addition to learning more about the living conditions for Syrian refugees, Carson also said in an interview with Breitbart Thursday, that he would like to "get a better impression of why Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE -- why are they so resistant to integrating Syrians into their populations? What is it, what's the dynamic between these various groups that makes them not want to help each other?"
While it is true that the Gulf states are in general not resettling Syrians in their countries, Jordan has taken in hundreds of thousands of Syrians.
In addition to his visit to the refugee camp, Carson will drop by a clinic and hospital, bringing soccer balls and Beanie Babies to the children there, reported the Times.
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Carson's trip comes as recent polls show Americans are increasingly nervous about national security and the threat posed by groups like ISIS.
According to a CBS News poll released this week, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and Mali, more Americans are now concerned about a terrorist attack here in the United States. Sixty-nine percent think an attack in the U.S. is very or somewhat likely to occur in the next few months, up 25 points from April, and the highest since May 2011 after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The retired neurosurgeon's mastery of foreign policy has been questioned after comments he's made in interviews and debates. In the last GOP debate, for instance, he stated that the Chinese are in Syria. And a recent New York Times article reported that Carson was having some difficulty learning foreign policy.