Local Syrian Americans protest, support US military action
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- Dissent among South Florida's Syrian Americans to the Obama administration's intentions to launch a military attack against Syria was in full display Saturday as peaceful demonstrators took to the streets to protest the punitive measures while a Syrian native supported the commander-in-chief's decision.
"No more war!" chanted a man, one of nearly a dozen people who assembled in Young Circle. Most of the protesters held up signs.
"We don't believe that the U.S. should attack Syria; we don't think that's in our best interests," said protester Nancy Chresante, who held up a pink sign that read "Stay Out of Syria" in big, bold letters.
"I don't think that the whole American people support this, and it's not fair for the Syria people to, after everything that happened, we go there and bomb them," said fellow protester Karina Sye.
At a a nearby restaurant, Hallandale Beach resident Mohammad Al Homsi, who is originally from Syria and lived there before he moved to South Florida, watched President Barack Obama's news conference on a flatscreen as he revealed his decision to seek congressional support before carrying out punitive action against the Middle Eastern nation. "I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets," said Obama. "This will not be an open-ended intervention. We will not put boots on the ground."
Al Homsi, whose wife and children still live in Syria, said he's convinced the Syrian government is behind the Aug. 21 chemical attack where, according to U.S. intelligence, more than 1400 people, including at least 400 children, were gassed to death. "Everybody knows right now that the Assad regime used the chemical weapons against civilians," he said. "That's not the only time he did [this]," he added. "He did it 26 times. When I was in Syria he did it twice."
Al Homsi said he agrees with the Obama administration's decision but indicated it needs to happen soon. "Please, put your pressure on the Congress and try to get that attack done as soon as possible," he said. "Everybody, especially him, and everybody in the Congress and the government has children, and I believe that they don't like to see their children dead because of that dictator or the chemical weapons."
Protesters at the Young Circle demonstration said they organized the peaceful demonstration for three reasons:
- They believe the United States has no business getting involved in the Syrian conflict.
- They contend that there's not enough evidence to prove Bashar Assad's regime was responsible for the chemical attacks.
- They argue that any attack on the Syrian people at this juncture would be too devastating.
It remains unclear what kind of military action the Obama administration plans to carry out. It is also unknown when such an attack would take place.
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