Support Around the World

Local Syrians Rally For Peace

Hundreds of Syrians from across the Lehigh Valley rallied at St. George’s Orthodox Church in Allentown Saturday in support of Syria’s president.

Syria’s President Bashar is a British trained eye doctor who took office back 2000.

He’s a Muslim, an Alawi Muslim.

And since he’s been in office Syria has been Iran’s closest Arab ally. But the Syrian American’s 69 news spoke with in Allentown Saturday said Basar is also a unifier, and while they like the move towards democracy, their homeland, unlike other Middle Eastern Countries, has been peaceful under Basar.

“What is so special about my people the syrian community is that we didn’t follow the rest of the middle east. We stuck together and put our country first,” said Waad Dayoub.

The unrest in the Arab world has made it’s way to Syria.

Still, a crowd of Syrian Americans, most of them Christians, gathered in Allentown Saturday to support President Basar Al Assad.

“Bashar is not like Gadafi. Much different. And all of the Arabic world is not like Bashar,” said Father Anthony Sabbagh. “The christian community never faced in it’s history a better loving president. A more peaceful atmosphere for the Christians over there than in the time of Bashar,” he added.

The Al Assad family has been in power for the last 4 decades, Bashar has been in office for the last 11 years.

Saturday, the Associated Press called the Assad family one of the most rigid regimes in the Middle East.

“We have all our religious freedoms in Syria. If they take out Mr. Asad it’s going to be worse that Iraq, worse than Egypt. Christians will be slaughtered,” said Fouad Younes.

Local Syrians said Basar has made many moves towards democracy in the last decade.

“10 years ago life was different now it’s free business you can open your own business,” said Farid Fred Farah.

But recently Syrians have endured violent pro democracy protests.

They’re fighting for more freedom, and for Assad to get rid of an old emergency law that allows the government to override constitutional and penal code statues, monitor emails and phone calls and censor the media.

But some are skeptical about the protesters.

“It’s not always what they’re claiming they want,” Waad said.

Local Syrians said they want freedom and change, but they support Assad because they want peace.

“There’s a fine line between freedom and anarchy. You see what happened in Iraq and in Afganistan. When you take these leaders out of place you cause anarchy,” Younes said.

The Syrian Americans who spoke to 69 News on Saturday said supporting Basar Assad doesn’t mean they’re against democracy. They were clear, they love America, and want more freedom in Syria.

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