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Local man hopes for peace in Syria

Updated: Saturday, September 7 2013, 11:27 AM EDT
ALBANY -- The conflict in Syria hits close to home for families right here in the Capital Region, many of whom have been watching the news closely to learn the state of their home country and what their families have been living with particularly over the last few days.
Wahid Albert is hoping the United States gets involved to help the countless innocent people who were attacked, killed, or worry about falling victim to violence themselves. While this conflict may be long and complicated in origin, a solution to some Syrians is simple: consider the people who are stuck in the middle.
"I'm afraid that one of the missiles is going to kill my mother and my sister, my father and mother-in-law," Albert said.
Albert was born in Syria and came to America in the 80's. He belongs to St. George's Antiochian Orthodox Church in Albany with other Syrians who watch as people of his Christian faith are killed in the country. Violence between rebels and the government has escalated to a boiling point.
"There is hope that it would end and every time you talk to them they think it's calming down, and then it flares up again," Albert said. "Now they're very discouraged."
Albert's family is worried about the involvement of outside forces.
"There's attacks daily in a lot of areas from the opposition that does not make the news," Albert said. "Fighters, Taliban from Afghanistan and Pakistan are showing up in Syria now. People from Chechnya are showing up in Syria."
But the influence Albert hopes for comes from the outside, too -- his adopted homeland. The solution he wants does not include violence. He came to the Capital District to get away from the sound of missiles. He wants to hear something else.
"I just hope that the US uses their power to come up with a peaceful solution to this," Albert said. "I think there is a peaceful solution to this. But you need somebody like the US to champion that solution."
Mr. Albert speaks to his family in damascus every day -- hanging on every ring on the phone line. A missile fell about one hundred yards from his mother's home and his two nieces were at a restaurant under attack where 13 people died. He doesn't know how they survived.Local man hopes for peace in Syria

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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.


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