Syrian American Council Member Living In Sacramento: ‘This Is Hell On Earth’
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – As President Obama seeks congressional support for an attack on Syria, two local Syrian men say they support the president’s order to take military action.
The two men are both using only their first names because they’re scared speaking to CBS13 could have dire consequences for their family in Syria.
“They are terrorized. It’s become a struggle for people in Syria just to stay alive,” said Mohammad, a board member of the Syrian American Council.
Mohammed says his family wants to escape Syria but can’t leave. While he’s speaking out in support of the president’s decision to attack Syria, he says he needs to be careful because he’s been threatened before for talking.
“We’ve taken your picture and it will be sent to Syria to deal with your families,” Mohammad said of one threat he has received.
Even talking on the phone is dangerous because calls are being monitored by Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
“We try to talk in codes as much as possible,” said Mohammed.
Mohammed and Zak, a member of the Syrian American Council, are the only ones brave enough from the Syrian American Council to speak out.
“If it was not for the concern of the safety of their families, you would find not one or two people here, you would find 15 people here” said Mohammed.
Zak says his wife’s family in Syria lives each day wondering if it will be their last.
“They’ve lost their houses. They’ve lost their businesses,” he said. “Rockets start falling on the streets they live in.”
Zak says his wife’s family moves constantly, fearing they’ll be killed. They only eat when people are willing to risk their own lives to deliver food.
It’s then that during our interview Zak seems scared he’s already said too much.
“If they knew who I am, they will go after them for distributing food,” said Zak. “This is how scared we are.”
His family in Syria says they’re trapped in their homes, afraid to come across checkpoints set up all over the country where people are kidnapped. It’s already happened once before to Zak’s family after his cousin was taken more than a year ago.
“This is hell on earth,” he said.
They say they suffer high anxiety every day, fearful about what is happening to their family.