Syrian-American Group Says Delaying Strikes Bolsters Opposition | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Syrian-American Group Says Delaying Strikes Bolsters Opposition

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As the U.S. Senate starts debate over the possible authorization of military force against the Assad regime of Syria, local Syrian-Americans are speaking out.

A recent Reuters poll shows a majority of Americans still oppose U.S. military intervention into the Syrian civil war, even after last week's chemical weapons attack on civilians. On the other hand, some Syrian-Americans suggest President Obama's pledge to strike the Assad regime pending congressional authorization falls short of their expectation.

Daniel Layman, spokesperson for the Washington, D.C.-based Syrian Support Group says the SSG believes the president's delay in attacking Syria could help incubate the agenda of extremists in that country.

"Immediately after Obama's remarks, we started getting reports of extremist groups increasing their recruitment efforts and starting smear campaigns in Syria, telling people that anyone who remains hopeful for U.S. support has betrayed the revolutionary cause, and betrayed the Syrian nation," Layman says.

The Senate began hearings Tuesday and the House of Representatives is expected to begin debate when the full chamber returns next week. Layman says the sooner the better.

"Extremist elements remain small within the opposition, but opportunities like this give them the chance to grow," Layman says.

Calls to the Syrian embassy in Washington, D.C. requesting comment were not returned.

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