Las Vegan nervously awaiting news from family in Syria - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Las Vegan nervously awaiting news from family in Syria

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Habib Chamie is anxiously awaiting news from his family in Syria. (FOX5) Habib Chamie is anxiously awaiting news from his family in Syria. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

While the events in Syria may seem a world away, there are some in the Las Vegas Valley with strong personal ties to the country and its people.

One of them is Habib Chamie. He's been on the edge of his seat as the debate over U.S. intervention continues, his brother and elderly mother still residing in the wartorn country.

Chamie said news from his family has been spotty at best. Still, he remains hopeful he'll see his mother and brother again.

Chamie keeps busy at his tailoring and leather shop at Desert Inn Road and Decatur Boulevard. However, his thought are never far from his family.

"I don't know what will happen to them," he said.

While much of his family has fled Syria, his brother remains in the northern part of the country and his mother has stayed in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and the scene of a great deal of fighting.

"The last time I talked to her for only a few minutes, and then the phone shut off," Chamie said.

The most frustrating thing about the situation for Chamie is the fact that his mother has American papers, which allow her to leave Syria.

"She cannot leave. She's 83. Who wants to pick her up?" Chamie asked.

While Chamie said he will support the United States in whatever decision is made, for now, he and his family are siding with President Bashar Assad's regime.

"He is protecting the minority. That's why I support him," he said.

Chamie's family members are Christians, a minority group in Syria. He claims Christians have been the victims of attack by foreign elements in rebel forces.

"They already killed two priests for us, and the church where I was baptized, they blew it up," he said.

That's something which College of Southern Nevada political science professor Mark Peplowski has heard about. He said Syria's war isn't as simple as one side versus another.

"What you have is a multitude of groups within Syria that would like to see the president gone. And even worse, there are foreign groups coming in – Hezbollah from Lebanon, al-Qaida from Iran and Iraq," Peplowski said.

For now, Chamie says all he can do is wait for news.

"[There is] nothing I can do. I can send them money, and that's it," he said.

Chamie said he isn't absolutely convinced chemical weapons were used in Syria.

Peplowski said that without American boots on the ground, there will be no way for the U.S. to determine who will eventually take control of Syria.

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