Jacksonville couple speaks about Syrian conflict

American Military strike possible


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the civil conflict in Syria continues into its third year, President Obama is moving closer to a decision on an American Military strike. Congress also wanted to be involved in the decision on whether to take action.

Channel 4 spoke Friday night with local law makers about the situation in Syria.

"I think it'd be a huge, huge mistake for America to enter into this," said Congressman Ted Yoho.

Yoho said he demanded proof that doesn't seem available during a conference call with the White House.

"If it's this serious, I think we need to be back in Congress, call the recess off," said Yoho. "I think Britain did what was right. They debated it, and they said, 'We're not getting involved in this.'"

Senator Nelson also weighed on the conflict in Syria saying, "At this point, I believe it appropriate to take military action with NATO and our regional allies. Inaction would only lead to greater suffering and instability in the region and would further embolden Assad."

"Failing to act would further embolden Assad and his Iranian sponsors, leaving the impression that America is feckless and impotent," Senator Marco Rubio said. "A limited attack would do nothing to change the dynamics of the conflict, but could trigger a broader and even more dangerous conflict in the region."

Obama called the Syrian crisis, "a challenge to the world," Friday afternoon and said he believes the use of chemical weapons threatens U.S. national security.

In Obama's opinion, that threat merits a response. Obama said he is considering a "limited, narrow act" as a military response.

The crisis in Syria is worrying Syrian families in Jacksonville. Local families with ties to the Middle Eastern country spoke Friday night with Channel 4's Kent Justice about their fears.

Jacksonville couple Dr. and Mrs. Kassis said they won't even travel back to Damascus anymore because of the violence there. The couple's biggest fear is the chaos they say will happen if the U.S. makes a military strike.

"I do like to see America getting involved to solve the problem, not just hit and run," said Dr. Tony Kassis.

The Kassis' have a constant fear that their family, who still lives in Syria, will be the next victim of the civil war.

"The extremists, who advocate you need to believe in what we believe in or you don't need to exist, and this scares the minority, and our family is the minority," said Hazar Kassis.

"Believe me, for the last two years, we are all over the news every single day, all over the Internet," said Dr. Kassis. "We hear bomb here, mortar here, shelling here. We jump on the phone, 'Are you okay? It's close, it's far, etc.'"

With Pres. Obama openly discussing a response to reports of chemical weapons use in the conflict, Tony and Hazar's fears have worsened. They both want the U.S. to help their homeland, but with diplomacy.

"Syria is not, it's different. You have to deal with it very carefully, because the chaos after this intervention will be extremely dangerous," said Hazar Kassis.

"My feeling, if there's any American operation, military operation will not solve the problem, even more than that, it will make it worse," said Dr. Kassis.

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