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Syrians in Tucson speak up on whether to attack

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Syrians in Tucson speak up on whether to attack

By Craig Smith. CREATED Sep 6, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - As the U.S. Congress moves closer to deciding on force against Syria, we are hearing more from some of your own neighbors with strong ties to Syria.

For some Tucsonans the Syrian conflict is not a world away.  It's as close as their hearts.

Senator John McCain said he wanted to hear from the public---on  Syria, he sure did.

At his Tucson Town Hall meeting Thursday, a woman told him: "Overwhelming majority, 90-some percent of the people, don't want to go to war!"    
People were ready to get in the Senator's face in his Phoenix meeting too.

A woman told him: "We cannot afford to turn Syria into another Iraq, or Afghanistan, I beg you."
In both cities McCain told the audience of a government killing its citizens.  Syrians, for and against the regime there had their own skirmishes.

One man yelled across the room: "That is not true, you are lying!"

That man replied, "You can not shut me up here like you did in Syria."
Friday, we followed up with some of the Syrians and Syrians Americans at the Tucson meeting.
As the Islamic Center finished Friday prayers we met Wasid.  That's not his real name. He's afraid what he has to say about the Assad regime would bring more pain to his family in Syria than it's suffered already..

He told us, "My uncle has two children, two boys and the rest is girls.  They took two boys from his house without any reason, one was tortured.  I have the video of his face. He looked like this area was burned."
And he says showing that video would bring his family even more danger.

Dina Jaber has a special perspective on the Syria issue: "I am a Syrian and I am an American.  I am both."
Dina Jaber has Syrian parents. She visited Syria many times.  She plans to become a doctor and maybe help Syria recover someday.
When she sees so many families killed or displaced, she does not want to see U.S. troops directly involved and in danger, but does want the U.S. to arm moderate rebels and help Syria have the freedom she knows here..

"I think by doing simple things like a no-fly zone like we did with Libya, cutting off their supply from Iran and other countries who support the Syrian regime.  I think those sorts of things are very minimal but they do a lot."

After hearing so many people oppose intervention in Syria, Senator McCain said the President needs to make the case directly to the American people.  Today we learned he will do that in a televised speech Tuesday night.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press