Syrian American reacts to President Obama's decision to wait on - Tucson News Now

Syrian American reacts to President Obama's decision to wait on Syria Strike

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Tareef Saeb does not want President Barack Obama to wait to strike the Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

Saeb said his mother, four sisters, and three brothers are all living in war torn Syria and he is worried if they might be the next victims of a chemical attack.

"My own nephew, 22 years old, was shot by a sniper late at night while he was riding his motorcycle," Saeb said. "My niece told me as the neighborhood was being bombed and her house was being totally demolished, she and my sister were running away. They were walking on dead people, limbs and pools of blood."

Violence, bombings and blood-shed are the norm in Syria as rebel forces fight against Syrian President Bashar Assad. The civil war started in 2011 and has since claimed an estimated 100,000 lives. Saeb said that estimate is probably a lot lower than the number of Syrians killed by Assad's regime.

"It is total genocide and the world is just watching," Saeb said.

President Barack Obama's request for congressional authorization to strike Assad is something Saeb believes should not be delayed. Saeb wants a swift military strike on Assad for reported using chemical weapons on his own people during an Aug. 21 attack that killed more than 1,400 people. Of the dead, more than 400 were children, according to a U.S. intelligence estimate.

"We need a very heavy, not just a token military strike, we want to see something that can significantly alter the way the war is being carried out over there," Saeb said. "At least, it will send a message that there is a line, but it will send a message not only to him (Assad), but Iran, and Hezbollah that there really is a line somewhere."

Saeb compared Assad to Adolf Hitler and urged the U.S. to arm rebel fighters with more advanced weaponry, to fight for freedom.

"The Syrian people, as a nation, want to be free," Saeb said. "And, I don't think any group will be able to dominate."

Mr. Obama's plan to strike has been criticized for supporting rebel Al Qaeda fighters, who have joined the fight against Assad.

Saeb said the rhetoric that all of the fighters are Al Qaeda fighters is just that, rhetoric.

"That number might be closer to 10 percent," Saeb said. "What the Syrian people want is a little bit of freedom, to choose who we want. People want a democratic state."

Congress is due to reconvene from a recess on Sept. 9, that is the earliest any decision could be made.

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