San Diego Syrians Anxious About Loved Ones Back Home As Crisis Worsens
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Aired 2/8/12 on KPBS News.
Many fear thousands more will die if international community doesn't intervene.
Anxiety is running high for Syrians living in San Diego as they watch their fellow citizens being crushed by government forces in the Syrian uprising.
Anthony Khirella is a private contractor in San Diego by day. By night, he scours news websites for the latest on his hometown located in the Syrian province of Idlib in the north which has been pounded by the government twice. What Khirella doesn’t learn from official reports he tries to glean from conversations with loved ones back home. And those accounts are bleak.
“There is no sleep, no food, no medicine, no water," Khirella said. "It’s a disaster down there and the people are barely managing. It’s not a life.”
Frustration is also growing among Syrian-Americans in San Diego over the international community’s failure to end the bloodshed back home.
The uprising is in its 11th month. More than 7,000 Syrians have been killed including hundreds of children. San Diegan Yasser Alsaied – a high-tech manager – wonders aloud how many more Syrians will be killed by President Bashar Al Assad’s forces before the world’s powers move beyond diplomacy. Alsaied is frantically trying to check up on relatives in the town of Homs which was bombed by government troops for five days straight.
“How can you sleep?," Alsaied asked. "I’m not a bleeding heart. You know a rock will break once he sees the images. There is a picture I will never be able to get out of my mind. There’s a father holding his dead daughter and he’s helpless.”
There are about 1,500 Syrian-American families in San Diego County.