Syrian American Community Keeps Close Tabs On Homefront
By Spencer Raine, WBGO News
September 20, 2013
New Jersey’s Syrian American community is keeping close tabs on Bashar al-Assad’s approaching deadline to turnover his inventory of chemical weapons to the United Nations. In so doing, Montvale Councilman Michael Ghassali is leading a political action committee which is making the case for diplomacy. After meeting with members of Congress to try and steer them away from a strike in recent weeks, he says the committee is now pressuring the Syrian embassy.
He says they want the Assad government to turn over its poison gas arsenal – so it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands, " They have a thousand ton(s) of chemical weapons. It's made to kill people. And by killing people you're going to create more chaos and more problems. None of us want that. Syria doesn't want that either."
Ghassali says raising money is their other main effort as conditions on the ground go from bad to worse. Facebook postings from his relatives disappeared after last month’s deadly chemical attack. He’s hoping the upcoming meeting of the U-N General Assembly translates at the very least to more humanitarian outreach – if not a few online reunions.
A fundraiser is scheduled for Friday night at the Sultan Restaurant in Clifton at 9 p.m. Organizers say over Syrian food and music the community aims to send help back home.