MADISON, Ala.(WHNT)-The daily bloodshed from Syria’s ongoing civil war is hard to fathom, with the latest death toll now reaching 93,000 victims. That’s causing world leaders to scramble for a solution at the G8 summit, but for one local man the violence hits home far too hard.
Madison resident Dr. Ammar Alrefai immigrated to the United States from Syria more than a decade ago, but still has relatives back in his homeland. Dr. Alrefai’s younger brother was executed last year by forces loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Alrefai said his brother was pulled from a car and gunned down in the street after he attempted to deliver food and medicine to a town that had been recently attacked. Another one of Alrefai’s relatives recently went missing. He tells us sleepless nights are now the norm.
“The brutality is unbelievable, and it’s hard to explain it with words,” said Alrefai. “I wake up during the night several times to check the news. We live with the news, sleep with the news.”
Dr. Alrefai said one recent report from a family member still in Syria paints a picture of violence that is hard to fathom.
“He was telling me how many cats and dogs are running in the streets,” said Alrefai. “At the time I didn’t understand what he was talking about. But when I asked him what was the significance of that, he said there’s a lot of meat on the street. And the thought of that was sickening.”
Last week President Obama announced the U.S. will start arming rebel forces who are trying to overthrow Assad. But new evidence shows the resistance is now being led by a group loyal to Al Qaeda, leaving a potential lose-lose scenario for whoever emerges victorious. Iran and Russia have continued to support the Assad regime, and said they oppose U.S. led efforts to overthrow him.
“The extremists among the rebels are a minority, but unfortunately they’ve grown, mainly because of the inaction of the United States,” said Alrefai. “The United States has the moral authority and power and responsibility to stop these atrocities.”
Day one of the G8 summit provided no concrete answers on how world leaders will respond to the escalating violence.