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Local Man Keeps Eye On Events In Syria
Ashraf Traboulsi has been watching the revolution in Syria closely over the last couple of years and as the United States contemplates a military strike against the Assad regime, Traboulsi said he wishes the international community had intervened sooner.
"I wish the world took upon itself and the international community, especially the United States, as a world leader had done earlier," Traboulsi said Wednesday.
He has lived in the United States since the 1990's and is the president of the Syrian American Foundation. Traboulsi said he would have liked to have seen the U.S. government and its allies approach the United Nations about a resolution condemning President Bashar Assad's regime a couple of years ago. He also believes more could have been done to prevent arms from being sent to the Syrian government from Russia. He said the opposition is fighting for basic civil rights.
"The reality is such a personality should not be allowed to be a president," Traboulsi said of Assad.
The Syrian government is suspected of using chemical weapons on civilians - many of them women and children. United Nations inspectors are in Syria investigating as the United States and its allies discuss a possible military strike on Assad's government. Since the revolution started more than two years ago, the U.N. says more than 100,000 people have been killed. Hundreds of opposition groups are fighting against Assad's regime.
"The added intensity in the last week is just in the news really. The reality is on the ground. It's been this bad for the last two years," Traboulsi said. He added, "I'd like to see a very clear international community response to Assad's regime and his aggression in the way that protects Syrian civilians and Syrian population."
Traboulsi's wife is in Turkey working for an organization that provides medical care to refugees who've left Syria. His sister and her family live in Homs. He stays in touch with them via Skype and telephone. Sometimes communicating is difficult because phone and internet service in Syria can be shut down at any time.
"I just wish that this situation will end in a way that preserve the country and preserve the people and pressure and we would use all the means possible to pressure Assad and his supporters to stop this carnage."
Traboulsi hopes President Assad and his regime will be tried for war crimes in Syria someday. He would like to see elections held in the country to determine who will lead it next - not a dictator.
Ashraf Traboulsi is also the president of the Syrian American Foundation.