Austinites rally for peace in Syria



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Posted on September 7, 2013 at 10:31 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 7 at 10:41 PM

AUSTIN -- Students, community activists and retired Austinites gathered at the Texas Capitol on Saturday to rally against a U.S. military strike in Syria.

"We don't believe this is a case in which we represent a minority," said rally organizer Adrian Boutureira. "We are confident we represent the majority."

They're also confident they represent not only Americans, but Syrians.

Ghada Housen game to Austin from Syria last year. She said enough Syrian blood has been shed.

"Hands off Syria," Housen said.

Syrian native Lama Nassif agreed, saying the conflict is not exactly what it seems.

"First, maybe there was a peacful movement demanding reforms, but now it is completely different," Nassif said. "It's more complicated than it seems. It has been turned into a Jihadist war with influx of fighters. Jihadists, extremists coming from outside Syria."

President Barack Obama wants to strike Syria. White House officials say the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people.

UN investigators went to the country to investigate the claims and collect soil samples, but do not have results yet, leaving many skeptical.

"I even find it so strange that the decision has been made to attack even before waiting to hear from the international investigators," Nassif said. "There even has been satellite images showing that it was the rebels."

These protestors say they just want members of Congress to listen to the voice of the people.

"We believe it's common sense. Another U.S. military intervention in the Middle East with Russian ship snow on the shores of Syria is another Cuban missle crisis on our hands," Boutureira said.

"I think the U.S. intervention will make things even more complicated because we're not dealing with rebels here who are looking for democracy," Nassif said. "The majority of Syrians in Syria now, according to polls, even Western plls, are not in favor of this military strike. So I believe it's just up to the Syrian people to decide whatever they want. No one has the right to interfere in their business and tell them what to do and how to live their lives."

Congress is expected to decide next week whether military action will be taken.