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Corridor Opposition to U.S. Syria Strike

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- Newman Abuissa says, his family members in Syria's capital city of Damascus are civilians who feel responsible for what happens to their country, but who are caught in the cross hairs of civil war.

"I still have relatives (there), they are dodging the bullets, they are dodging the bombs, and life is getting more and more difficult," Abuissa said.

They're staying in Damascus to help other affected by the chemical weapons attacks from the Assad regime.

"They are the sons and daughters of Syria, and they are not going to leave their mom when it's suffering the most," Abuissa said.

Abuissa said the schools in Syria are failing, the healthcare system is failing, and the economy is near collapse. A military strike from the United States, he said, could be catastrophic.

"It will likely lead to civilian casualties, for which the United States will be responsible," said University of Iowa professor Vicki Claypool. She teaches a class called War in the Muslim World.

While the United States does have a moral obligation to help the people of Syria, Claypool said, attempting to topple the Assad regime through violence could actually make things worse by bringing someone else to power. The Syrian rebel group Al-Nusra is strongly associated with Al Qaeda.

"Frankly I don't see any upside for the United States. On the contrary, we have no evidence that a military strike will lead to or contribute to a political resolution of this conflict," Claypool said.

A strike could actually escalate violence from countries like Iran and Russia, who have vested interests in Syria, she said.

It is likely, Claypool said, that even though the Obama administration said that a strike would last no more than 90 days, that intervention and escalated violence could force the United States into prolonged conflict in the region, much in the way that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were extended.

"The American people have a good sense of what's going on and they don't want the American military to be involved. I think the American government should listen to the American people," Abuissa said.

In support of a peaceful, diplomatic solution, the group Peace Iowa is holding a vigil this Sunday on the Pentacrest in Iowa City at 7 p.m.
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