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Triangle residents with Syrian connections back using force

Posted August 29, 2013

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— While the world weighs a military strike against Syria, the Syrian community in Raleigh is watching, waiting and hoping the world will step in to remove President Bashar Assad.

Khalila Sabra, who works with Syrian refugees, has seen the effects of Syria's civil war firsthand. She calls Assad a butcher.

"He's committing genocide, and the world is just standing by and watching it happen," Sabra said Thursday.

Sabra and the Islamic Association of Raleigh have been gathering medical supplies and donations to send to the refugee camps on Syria's borders. More than 2 million Syrians have fled to Lebanon and Jordan, and as many as 200,000 people have died in the civil war, she said.

"I would like to see Bashar al Assad removed by any means necessary," she said. "I know that Americans have grown weary of war because of Afghanistan and Iraq, but our moral compass demands that we do something about Syria."

Bilal Kanawati, who emigrated to the U.S. from Syria after high school, still has family in Damascus. He said he wasn't surprised to hear about a chemical attack in his homeland.

"He's done it before, and I'm sure he will do it again if we don't stop him," Kanawati said of Assad.

His sister and her children don't live far from the neighborhood that was gassed. They have since sealed their windows, he said.

Local Syrian activist: World must stop genocide Local activist: World must stop genocide in Syria

Kanawati says air strikes against the regime would slow down the air assault and help the rebels.

"If they bomb his airport, his runways, (and) stop the air attack, that will help a lot," he said.

Although some worry that a U.S. military strike could kill more civilians and escalate the war, Sabra said the Syrian people would welcome a strike.

"The people are going to die anyway if (Assad) continues to kill them," she said. "Not doing anything, that's a crime in itself."

The Islamic Association has declined to take a position on military action in Syria but said it is "very concerned" by the humanitarian crisis there.

Ahmed Bakerli, a Raleigh community activist originally from Syria, also characterized the situation in his home country as a humanitarian crisis.

"It's not political right now. It's just to stop the massacres," he said. "(Assad) is killing several hundreds everyday in Syria and the silence of the world is killing them more because nobody is acting because Syria is not an oil-producing country."

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  • Get your IDs Aug 30, 2013

    Then again, how has Obama botched the whole thing? Obama didn't choose to gas those children, Syria did. Please explain how he botched it?

    Bill Brasky

    By waiting too long when we had an American friendly rebel group there, which has now been pushed aside by more radical extremists. Basically Barry is backing Al Qada now. He has picked the wrong side again, just like in Libya and Egypt. C'mon William keep up, Barry's failures are coming faster now. People are starting to see he is a bigger joke than Bush!

  • Bill Brasky Aug 30, 2013

    "Iran has already said they would attack Israel if we attacked Syria. Then what? Thanks for trying though. You need to quit trying so hard to defend Barry. He has botched this whole thing and will make it worse."

    If what you said was actually true, Israel could handle Iran the same way they have been handling Iran for 70 years. They have far superior soldiers and weapons, not to mention nuclear weapons if needed.

    Then again, how has Obama botched the whole thing? Obama didn't choose to gas those children, Syria did. Please explain how he botched it?

  • downtowner Aug 30, 2013

    "a long time aga O"

    in a galaxy far far awago! I absolutely LOVE Star Wars too!

  • Steve Mchugelarge Aug 30, 2013

    Like you have never had a type-o

    I have type AB- actually

  • Steve Mchugelarge Aug 30, 2013

    Are we going to war with Iran?
    Bill Brasky

    Ahhh William, tsk tsk tsk. Do we really have to go here? Iran has already said they would attack Israel if we attacked Syria. Then what? Thanks for trying though. You need to quit trying so hard to defend Barry. He has botched this whole thing and will make it worse.

  • Steve Mchugelarge Aug 30, 2013

    Our country is going down the tubes because our moral compass has been lost a long time aga O.
    brandy213122

    Intersting, some would say our compass went haywire in 2003. What has changed? What is different?

  • zoso62 Aug 30, 2013

    It really isn't America's problem, it's Syria's. They are just killing their own people.

  • brandy213122 Aug 30, 2013

    Like you have never had a type-o. It was supposed to be slaughter. Why don't all of you nay-sayers google the images of what happened and also look up the images of the holocaust and other acts of genocide and let me know if you are still ok with it not being our problem. Our country is going down the tubes because our moral compass has been lost a long time aga
    O.

  • Bill Brasky Aug 30, 2013

    "Remember when libs screamed that Romney would get us in a war with Iran? Why are they so quiet now?"

    Are we going to war with Iran?

  • br549znc Aug 30, 2013

    Let the Triangle residents with Syrian connections take care of it. The rest of the US needs to stay out.

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