Politics

Syrian American talks about overseas violence

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The violence in Syria reached a new level on Wednesday, raising fresh concerns about how to stop the killing. A bomb blew up inside Syria's national security building in Damascas, killing three top officials including the brother in law of President Bashar Assad. ABC7 spoke to one Syrian American whose family was very close to that explosion.

The recent bombing in Syria has the feel of a turning point. The first time the death toll from Syria's uprising has reached the ruling family.

This is the first time Syrian rebels have penetrated Syria's inner circle. Killed in the explosion was Syria's defense minister, along with a former defense minister and the military's deputy chief of staff who was also Assad's brother in law. A rebel commander confirms that a bomb was planted inside the national security building in Damascus and then detonated.

"I mean this is really close, this is in the heart of the capital," said Feras Alhlou.

Alhlou is a Santa Clara marketing consultant who up just three blocks from national security building. His family is still in the same house. His father heard the blast

"What he said was that what you hear on the news, these three top leaders were killed," said Alhlou.

Alhlou says his dad said almost nothing about what happened Wednesday morning out of fear.

"Because the government there, they wire-tap, they listen to you, they might come and harass you if you said the wrong thing," said Alhlou.

Alhlou said he compensates by going online where the conversations are much freer.

"Here it says Syrian Army helicopters fired machine guns," said Alhlou.

He calls the Assad regime "thugs" knowing that his comments will wind up on the Internet, but he feels compelled to speak out in some fashion.

"It's not just me, I'm not such a brave guy, but in everybody you see it, here and in Europe even people inside of Syria now they go and do their own recording and they just publish stuff," said Alhlou.

The non-government reports coming out of Syria are mostly on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Alhlou says it's giving courage to Syrians around the world.

"I don't think these thugs are have the time and capacity to monitor everything, but two years ago I guarantee you I would've declined this interview," said Alhlou.

Alhou says it feels to him like the Assad regime is on its last legs.

Wednesday Secretary Of Defense Leon Panetta, and former congressman from Carmel, said pretty much same.

"This is a situation that is rapidly spinning out of control," said Panetta.

The U.S. is broadening economic sanctions against members of the Assad regime, freezing bank accounts and assets in the United States. The U.N. is set to toughen international sanctions in a vote scheduled for Thursday, but so far Russia is refusing to go along.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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santa clara, syria, violence, politics, mark matthews
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