South Florida Syrians Watching Violence In Homeland Closely

FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A fierce battle is being waged in the Syrian city of Homs.

According to witnesses, anti-government forces are fighting to retain control of the city.

It appears that Syrian President Bashar Assad wants to wipe out areas held by the opposition during the 11-month uprising.

Also Monday, the International Committee of the Red Cross says it is in talks with the Syrian government and the rebel groups about a possible cease-fire.

Those developments are being watched closely by Syrians in South Florida, including a man who asked us to call him “Mohamad.”

He said he left his family in Homs to come to Florida after working to overthrow Assad.

“When I left Syria it was like a river of blood flowing in the streets,” Mohamad told CBS 4’s Carey Codd.

Mohammad said he saw friends being killed and his city left in ruins. Internet video showing bombs exploding in Homs and bullets being fired are nothing new to him.

Mohammad said he was arrested and tortured.

“If I were an animal believe me they would be even kinder with me,” Mohamad said.

Mohamad and others in the Syrian community in South Florida rallied Sunday in Miami. They want the United States and United Nations to do more to help the Syrian people.

Mohammad awaits word on his family – whom he hasn’t heard from in weeks. He said he fears showing his face because he believes his loved ones in Syria could be targeted.

“(Government forces) could even kill them all,” he said. “They don’t care.”

Mohamad is not alone in seeking refuge in South Florida.

A man who asked to be called “Zaher” also said he recently left Homs because he tried to help the victims of government bombing.

“We are sick of everything — of lies, of brutality of killing,” Zaher said. “I want Bashar Assad to be killed. To be killed. Nothing else.”

Mohammad also wants Assad gone after seeing thousands of Syrians killed. He hopes Syria can one day be free.

“We know that after this, we know we’re going to get a great life,” Mohamad said. “The life everyone deserves to live in.”
Another person who believes Syrians need to be free — Razzan Ghazzawi. She is from Miami and she is a blogger and activist in Syria for freedom and human rights. She was reportedly detained by the Syrian government last week then released over the weekend.

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