Local Syrian gives perspective on conflict - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Local Syrian gives perspective on conflict

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By: Jenn Schanz
jschanz@klkntv.com

Rula Jabbour left Syria at age twenty to study International Relations in the United States.

She considers herself now both an American and a Syrian.

With recent headlines, the PhD student is reminded of the ugly side of politics.

"It's very hard to see what's going on right now in Syria. But again, politics is involved in everything," she says.

Rula and her family are part of Syria's Christian minority. She remembers the pressure they felt from both government and opposition groups.

"So we were pushed by the two sides really; the government and the rebels. Because each one considered that if you are not with us, you are against us," she says.

Shortly after Rula moved to the United States in 2004, the terrorist group Al–Nusra Front burned her family's house down.

It's groups like that, comprised of mostly non-Syrians, Rula says, that stain her homeland's culture.

"In the beginning, it was rebels and revolution and calling for all of the social rights and political rights, but then it was high jacked by the extremists."

In a press conference on Tuesday, President Obama announced the U.S. is not the world's police, but that the nation can't stand by and allow the use of chemical weapons by Syria's government.

But with any military strike, there's a risk of unwanted harm.

For Rula, the big concern with U.S. intervention is the chance of taking innocent lives.

"Are we helping anybody with another military strike, with Syria? Are we helping these civilians, really?"

She says the root of the problem is more complex than removing chemical weapons and putting elections in place.

She says the separation of church and state is necessary in order for Syria to move forward.

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