Ashraf Traboulsi believes the United States needs to take action against Syria. But he’s not sure if using the military is the right way to do it.
Traboulsi is the president of the Syrian-American Foundation in Cincinnati and has family living in Syria.
One of the people He left behind when he moved to the U.S. 23 years ago was his sister. In addition to his sister, he has four nieces and several cousins who still live in country.
He said it’s difficult to go through day-to-day life knowing they're in danger.
"Just for example: Not this Friday but the Friday before, I was at work and my brother-in-law was injured in a bombing, and I got the news in the middle of the day,” he said. “I have meetings and I have to continue my work, and go on as everybody else."
He tries to keep in touch with his family every day to make sure they’re OK, but Traboulsi said worst-case scenarios are always in the back of his mind.
"People are living in fear for the past two and a half years,” he said. “I mean, (President Bashar al-Assad) has been using his army throughout with impunity and with no restrictions, so they've been using tanks, airplanes, missiles, scud missiles."
On Friday, President Barack Obama and his administration bluntly accused the Syrian government of Assad of launching a chemical weapons attack that killed at least 1,429 people - far more than previous estimates - including more than 400 children.
"We've been looking for the U.S. to exercise its world leadership over the past two and a half years. This is too late actually, in reality," Traboulsi said.
But he doesn’t necessarily believe military action is the way to punish Assad’s regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons and other violent transgressions against the people of Syria.
"That could happen with sanctions, stopping weapons, with no fly zone, with taking him to criminal court, international criminal court. There could be a lot of other options to stop him from what he's doing," Traboulsi said.
That’s a message echoed by a speech given by Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday.
"Some cite the risk of doing things" in response, Kerry said in a speech that acknowledged that Americans at home and U.S. allies abroad are weary of war. "But we need to ask what is the risk of doing nothing."
Regardless of what happens, Traboulsi says something must be done.
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