Inside the War Zone: Syrian Town Meeting

A once in a lifetime opportunity arose for me as a writer when I was assigned to report on a Syrian citizen meeting. What an honor to see what the people of this war torn country were thinking. As an American reporter, I was surprised to learn that they knew almost as much as I did on the whole situation. How the Civil War started was brought up almost immediately. The citizens talked of the protests in 2011 that started up the revolution, and how badly Assad handled it. The mention of Assad made some very angry, as they brought up the chemical weapon attacks on their own people. All though it did not hit them, they are still appalled that their government killed their own people, including many children.

Out of the twelve people at the meeting, everyone believed that Syria was in need of foreign intervention. This is where I thought they all had the most productive conversation because they all agreed with each other. Because of this, the conversation flowed very nicely and each citizen had a valid reason in why they support the US coming in. The main reason was that they did not know who else would gain power if the rebels did overthrow Assad. This made many of them nervous because of the extremists who were rising through the rebel ranks. For example, there is a group called Jabhat al-Nusra, which is a group linked to Al-Qaeda. This group is mainly made of people following the Sumi religion, which is a sect of Muslim. This town meeting was filled with different religions, and some of the Christians did not feel safe with the Sumis going to power because they did not know what would happen to them. As a community, each different religion whether it is Christianity or different sects of Muslim supports one another, and would not want to be torn from each other. They are hoping that the US can step in and not only find a new leader but also stabilize their government.

Finally, they discussed the four options of what they could do in response to the chemical attacks that their own government. The options they discussed were fleeing, joining in arms, protesting, and then just staying put. This part of the meeting could have been run a little bit better, seeing as they never made a decision on what they would do. It seemed as if no option would work. Fleeing would only be a last resort because they do not want to completely abandon their homeland, and boarding countries and becoming more and more strict about refugees. Joining in arms appealed to some, but it also would be the one that put the most in risk of death. Protesting was narrowed out early, with the citizens thinking it is too late. Because I had to get back, I did not get the chance to listen to their arguments on staying, but I do not think they resolved anything.

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