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Local Syrians worried for their families safety

11:11 PM, Aug 31, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Jacksonville Syrian Protesters

Protesters demonstrated in Hemming Plaza Saturday in opposition of war in Syria.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  If the United States moves forward with an air strike President Barack Obama has said it would be a limited -- no boots on the ground. 

But a number of local Syrians opposed to the idea of any kind of attack made their way to Hemming Plaza Saturday chanting "Hands off Syria" for fear of the impact it could have on their families.

"I am learning Arabic now, my mom showed me all the beautiful buildings there the neighborhood, and the memories they had there," said Andreas Moussa, a local Syrian-American.

Issam Moussa loves telling his 9-year-old son Andreas about life in his home country of Syria.

But in light of an apparent chemical weapons attack on August. 21, their conversations have changed from happy memories to keeping their relatives safe.

"[The] city has become very unsafe and there's no system because of random attacks," said Issam Moussa, a Syrian born Jacksonville physician.

Moussa's cousins and his wife's parents are still in Syria and said they are planning on moving from the city center of Damascus to the mountains now that President Obama has said he is ready to take military action against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

"This will not serve the long term strategy because it will empower the extremists and if the government goes down and the extremists take over it's not going to be good for Syrians, the United States or anyone," said Moussa.

Moussa believes a nerve gas attack did take place but that the president has not released legitimate evidence to our country's English allies or members of Congress about who is behind the chemical attack.

And with millions of Syrian citizens dependent on the government an air strike could turn a number of people into refugees and do away with the little stability his extended family has now.

"It would be nice to meet my relatives and all my cousins and see my grandparents again," said Andreas Moussa, Issam Moussa's son.

Congress isn't expected to debate the U.S. Approach to Syria until they return from Summer recess on Sept. 9.

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