Concern grows among Syrians in South Florida

Hoping for diplomatic solution; no military action

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - As the White House tries to persuade congress to support the use of force in Syria, some south Floridians with deep and personal connections to that nation hope to avoid U.S. military action there. They were born and raised in Syria, now living in south Florida as U.S. citizens. Some of them hope that a diplomatic solution is still a possibility.

Habib Alzein of West Palm Beach, tries to connect with friends and family in his native Syria. Over the last few weeks, that communication has been crucial. But it has also been cut short unexpectedly. "Sometimes you hear the bomb on the phone," he said of his conversations with relatives.

Alzein and his loved ones - here and abroad - are watching and listening as the drumbeat toward possible U.S. military action in Syria grows louder. But U.S. involvement, Alzein believes, does not have to come in the form of a missile. Instead, he says, it should come in the form of diplomacy. "We should bring these people together - the government side, the opposition side - come together and talk peace," he said.
President Barack Obama, meanwhile, is urging U.S. congressional leaders to support the use of force in the wake of the deadly chemical attack in August. South Florida lawmakers - at least right now - are split on taking that course of action.

"I couldn't sleep last week," said Alzein. With each passing day of delicate discussion, he hopes that the violence on the streets of his homeland will cease without U.S. military intervention. "They live in danger every day; day in and day out," he said.

If lawmakers do vote 'no' next week, President Obama will become the first president in modern times to lose a vote on the use of force.

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