Valley family from Syria offers perspective following Presidential address
In his address, President Obama continued to stand behind intelligence reports he says prove the Assad regime is responsible for a chemical weapons attack in Damascus.
However many of the Syrian people deny the government would commit such an attack on it's own people.
Being from Syria and visiting regularly, the Salamas and their extended family have a unique perspective. Wahib Farah and his wife Madalen left the Syrian town of Zaidal just over a week ago. We asked them to describe the current state of the country and it's people.
Wahib's nephew Lawrance translated after Wahib spoke, saying, "He told you that, the people over there were very worried about the strike. They were very worried because this strike is going to strengthen the terrorists over there, Al Qaeda supported groups, and it's going to weaken the Syrian army. Which is the protectors of the people."
They say the rebels are relentless, sniping people for fun in the nearby city of Homs. Entire towns are being leveled and people are in constant fear for their lives.
Lawrance translates for Madalen. "You cannot even walk in the street because you could be kidnapped by the so called rebels. Either they want money, or they're going to kill you, or they're going to torture him."
The United States government continues to describe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a dictator responsible for a chemical weapons attack in August of this year. However, the Syrians do not agree.
"The Syrian people do not think he's a dictator," Lawrance says. "What most of Syrian people think right now, that he is defending them from what could be the worst to come to that country."
Lawrance's sister worked as a doctor in Homs when the rebels first entered the country during the spring of 2011. She tells us the Syrian army protected the hospital, which gave free care to those who could not afford it, as rebel forces attempted to destroy the building.
When it came time for the President's speech, the family watched intently, hoping to hear of progress for a diplomatic solution. Even though the president delayed the vote in congress, the family heard little to relieve them of their fears.
They believe a U.S. strike against the Assad regime, would only makes things worse in their homeland.
Lawrance translates for his father, Fouad. "He's saying he wants to ask our lawmakers, why do we have the double standards. In Europe, the United States, we've been fighting the terrorists, so called Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan since about 12, 13, 14 years right now. And now we support them in Syria, this is a double standard, it's just very illogical. "
"You cannot save people by killing more people, simple as that," Lawrance says. "Mr. president, your argument is very weak. Very weak Mr. President."
They say there is no civil war in Syria because they are not fighting other Syrians, rather foreign insurgents who have entered Syria to assert their own agenda. But, if the U.S. does attack, those insurgents will be able to launch a much more successful offensive.
The family, even the youngest generation at the family gathering, only want peace for the country they love.
Vanessa Salama tells us, "I go to Syria every summer, but this summer when my parents told me were not going to go to Syria, I was devastated. I felt like crying. All we want is peace for Syria."
Karen Salama adds, "We have a lot of family over there, and I don't want anything to happen to them. Please, stop the war against Syria."
Copyright 2014 Gulf California Broadcasting. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.