Augusta residents with Syrian ties say U.S. help should have come sooner

Assistance was hoped for sooner
Adonis Imam, a medical researcher at the Medical College of Georgia, left Syria for the U.S. in December. Imam worries about family and friends left behind.

 

As the U.S. considers a military strike against Syria, some Augusta area residents with ties to the war-torn nation said help for the Syrian people should have come sooner.

Adonis Imam, a medical researcher at the Medical College of Georgia, said the U.S. should have supported a no-fly zone over Syria.

“U.S. intervention is coming late because a lot of people have died,” Imam said.

President Obama asked Congress to approve U.S.
action after more than 1,400 civilians were killed in a chemical warfare attack Aug. 21 in the suburbs of Damascus.

On Wednesday, a Senate panel backed military force, but significant congressional opposition remains.

For Imam, fears of civilian casualties leave him hesitant about a U.S. strike, but something must be done to stop Syrian President Bashar Assad, he said.

“At this point, anything can be helpful. We need help,” said Imam, who is originally from Latakia, Syria, where he completed medical school.

Allan Mouna, a Syrian-American who lives in Evans, agrees that help has been delayed.

“We were hoping they would do it earlier,” he said. “But better now than never.”

A U.S. strike needs to destroy chemical weapon storage areas without harming civilians or sending American ground troops, he said.

“The Syrian people can do the rest for themselves,” Mouna said.

Imam, who left Syria in December, said he worries about family and friends left in the country. He is saddened by the vast destruction and casualties, saying it won’t end until Assad’s regime falls.

“There’s no way anything is going to change unless he leaves,” Imam said.

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