WNYers Protest Possible U.S. Military Action Against Syria

12:08 AM, Sep 10, 2013   |    comments
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NORTH TONAWANDA, NY -- President Barack Obama says he still has not decided on what he will do in Syria, a nation he says used chemical weapons against its own people.

The President will make his case for military action in a primetime address that you can see Tuesday night at nine on Channel 2 and NBC News.

Monday, the President conceded he might lose his battle for congressional support. And, he is not saying what he would do if Congress won't support U.S. retaliation for the chemical weapons attack in Syria last month.

The President also says a statement from Syria suggesting that it might agree to surrender control of its chemical weapons stockpile is a potentially positive development.

This comes as groups hoping for peace in Syria held three rallies across Western New York.

"The public doesn't want it. Hopefully, Congress will not authorize it, and we won't have a war," said one protester.

At noon, about two dozen people gathered on Niagara Square for what they called a "No War On Syria" rally. The faith-based groups hope for peace.

"What we're talking about doing, there's absolutely no guarantee or even a good probability that we're going to stop the killing," said another protester.

In a CBS interview which aired Monday, Syria's president had this warning about attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East should strikes happen.

"You should expect everything. Not necessarily through the government. The governments are not the only player in this region," he said.

And, President Obama had this response.

"The notion that Mr. Assad could significantly threaten the United States is just not the case," said Obama.

Monday night, the anti-war cries continued in North Tonawanda where several Syrian-Americans pushed for peace instead of military action.

"I don't think Obama should bomb Syria at all. I don't think he has the right to," said Syrian-American Alex Bitar.

Bitar is a first generation Syrian-American. He still has uncles living there. He also supports the Syrian government.

"I don't believe they have proof against Bashar Al Assad using chemical weapons at all," he says.

Bitar, like many of his friends and family members, believes the people causing problems in Syria are not affiliated with Assad's regime.

"It's al Qaeda. There is more than two-hundred groups who fought in Syria. The most are from different countries. They are not Syrian, but all of al Qaeda in different names," said Wadi Bshara, who was born in Syria.

The people at the rallies are calling on lawmakers to support increased humanitarian aid in the region.

They are also planning an emergency protest if the U.S. takes military action against Syria.

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