Florida leaders voice Syria concerns

Growing number of Syrian refugees a concern

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - On the second day of tough questions about Syria for President Barack Obama's National Security Team, members of the Foreign Relations Committee questioned the National Security team.

"I view this as unconstitutional, to attack a country that did not attack us," said U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Gainesville).

The Foreign Relations Committee appeared divided over a possible military strike on the war-torn nation. The panel debate comes as President Obama received his first major approval for a limited strike from the State Foreign Relations Committee.

The Committee passed a key resolution with permits up to 90 days of military action and bars deployment of U.S. troops in Syria.

After Wednesday's panel debate wrapped up on Capitol Hill, Yoho said he will vote "no" on military action and called the president's proposal an, "act of aggression."

"I cannot, will not, support intervention in this conflict. Intervention would be one of attacking a sovereign nation, one that did not attack us. An act of war, and if we start war, we invite war, do we not?" stated Yoho.

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Ponte Vedra) also voiced concerns about possible retaliation Wednesday. DeSantis told Secretary of State John Kerry that he would vote against a military response in Syria, saying the President has not given a clear objective.

"My fear is that what would motivate them, would be the Muslim Brotherhood of course, Al Qaeda type terror groups," said DeSantis.

"If Assad is arrogant and foolish enough to retaliate against his own criminal activity, the United States and our allies have ample ways to make him regret that decision w/out going to war," Kerry responded.

During a Senate Committee Meeting, Sen. Marco Rubio said he remained unconvinced that the use of force would deter the Assad Regime.

"Sadly, Syria is the latest example of that fundamental truth. Had we forcefully engaged in empowering moderate rebels earlier in this conflict, today we would have more and better options," said Rubio.

Channel 4 also spoke Wednesday with Florida Chairman of the Syrian-American Forum, Sandy Simon. The growing number of Syrian refugees is becoming an increasing concern to Simon and others involved in the Syrian-American Forum.

"It will be massive and it's tragic. There will be maybe 2 million people fleeing Syria," said Simon.

The growing number of Syrian refugees is becoming an increasing concern, as U.S. lawmakers weigh whether or not to launch a Military strike in response to a chemical weapons attack. Government officials say some 2-million people have fled to neighboring countries and more than 4-million have found shelter in other parts of Syria.

"My mother, a lot of cousins, aunts, grandfather, grandmother that are still there spread out throughout the country," said Simon Barsoun.

Barsoun has been keeping his phone and family photos within arm's reach as he anxiously waits for updates from his mother and dozens of other family members in Syria.

"Everyone is suffering there right now and that suffering needs to come to an end," said Barsoun. "There are 3-million internal refugees who have moved where the war is going on or under the hold of the opposition and foreign fighter, and have moved to a safer more peaceful area less militarized opposition. Adding fuel to the fire is not going to solve it."

Sandy Simon put the numbers of refugees into perspective.

"It'd be like 75 million people swarming into the United States in days," said Simon. "I don't believe the politicians have looked into the repercussions of what they're about to do."

Simon said he fears the current aid would not be enough to help all the Syrian refugees and that aid could be crippled if the U.S. moves forward with a strike.

"They live among the scenes you've seen in Haiti. They are very, very poor, and it's very hard for these countries to provide for them," said Simon.

Last month, President Obama authorized $195 million in humanitarian aid for Syria, bringing America's total contribution since the conflict began to more than $1 billion.

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