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Local Residents React to War in Syria

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EUGENE, Ore. — A number of local advocates fighting for peace rallied in Eugene against the war in Syria Wednesday evening.

The peace advocates at the old federal building aren’t the only ones against getting involved in the Syrian war. One Eugene man who grew up in Syria says the last thing the country needs is more violence.

Armen Kevrekian is an entertainer, serving up espresso and food at the Ambrosia Restaurant.

“I was born in Aleppo. I lived there until I was 22 years old. That’s when I came to the U.S.,” Kevrekian said.

For Kevrekian, the Syria he sees on TV and in pictures isn’t the country he remembers.

“When I was growing up there, I felt very safe. I was able to go to church. I was able to go to my high school, Armenian high school, and I learned my language, and I learned my religion,” Kevrekian said.

Members of Congress are currently deciding if the U.S. should side with President Obama’s wishes to step in and get involved in Syria.

“It is difficult for me to really accept that we’re going to go down there and really bomb those people when there will be like hundreds of thousands of innocent people dead. I still have a lot of relatives there,” Kevrekian said.

With relatives in Aleppo and Damascus, Kevrakian says the regime falling will cause a domino effect resulting in thousands more innocent lives lost.

“Again, I am very, very concerned that if the regime falls, a lot of the minorities are going to be like completely massacred, especially Christians,” Kevrekian said.

And while he hopes to one day return to his homeland, he’s unsure if that’ll ever be possible.

“I do, but I am afraid that it will never be the same again because there is so much destruction in there, like I look at the pictures of Aleppo, and they are all like blown up. It’s sad,” Kevrekian said.

Kevrekian says he’s not sure if he believes U.S. claims that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is responsible for the use of sarin gas, since so many outside militant groups, like Al-Qaeda, currently occupy so many different cities inside of his home country.

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