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Syrian-Americans Living Locally Following International Situation Closely

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- "Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week," said Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday.

Was he suggesting a way to avoid a U.S. missile strike against Syria?

"Russia stepped up to the plate, said, 'Okay, this is what we propose.' Syria said, 'You know, we'll do it.' And I think now they're scrambling," said Dalel Khalil, who has family in Syria.

Khalil's family has owned Khalil's Restaurant in Bloomfield for over 40 years. She thinks Secretary Kerry's comments put the Obama administration in a tough place.

Khalil believes that Muslim extremists have hi-jacked the revolution in Syria and that Saudi Arabia is backing those rebels.

"If we go in there, we'll be supporting al Qaeda linked networks," she says.

She blames rebel mercenaries for much of the mayhem in Syria, some directed at her Christian relatives.

"I have a cousin, who is 18-years-old, who was murdered on her way walking to her house," Khalil said.

Khalil is unsure about the horrific video of chemical weapons' victims. Was it the work of Bashar al-Assad or the opposition?

"But there is doubt, and that doubt is enough to spare American lives to go into that country," she added.
"Don't give me boots on the ground; no boots on the ground, yet."

Fr. Meletious Zafaran comes from a small town near Damascus. He ministers to a good-sized Syrian-American population in New Kensington at St. George's Antiochean Orthodox Christian Church.

He and his parishioners will be listening closely to President Obama tonight.

"We are all looking for diplomatic solutions. We are all against war," he said.

"He said the red line, but he changed his voice and he said, the world drew this red line - no chemical weapons," added parishioner Sam Cross, Jr. "So what I'd like to see is - stay out of Syria."

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