“They Are Just So Scared,” South Florida Doctor Says of Relatives in Damascus

Dr. Doured Daghistani, a physician at Baptist Hospital, supports military action against the Assad regime

As more blood is spilled in Syria, more tears are shed by Syrian expatriates everywhere, especially after the regime there allegedly attacked its own people with a cloud of deadly gas.

“It’s really horrible, I’m a pediatric oncologist, I spend my life saving children’s lives, I wake up Wednesday and 450 children died with gas, they look like angels but they’re dead, it’s just heartbreaking, there is no word that can express anybody’s feeling about this atrocity that is happening right now,” said Dr. Doured Daghistani, who moved to the United States in 1982. He worries about family members who still live in Damascus.

“They are just so scared, they don’t know what is gonna happen,” Daghistani said.

The Baptist Hospital physician says he supports military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying Assad has crossed a threshold that can’t be ignored.

“Absolutely, there are thugs there who think they are invincible, and they have to pay the price, and forget politics this is humanitarian, how can you leave these people just killing, massive killing like this, somebody has to step up to the plate,” Dahgistani said.

Since President Barack Obama decided to seek congressional approval for a limited strike against Syria, he’s received support from some key Republicans, such as senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and House Speaker John Boehner. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami says she’s leaning that way. As expected, many Democrats, including Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, are lining up behind the president.

“We have national interests, national security interests in the region, we have to protect our allies because if we don’t respond here, who’s next? Israel, Jordan, Turkey? I think it’s our moral responsibility,” Wasserman Schultz said.

Wasserman Schultz supports sending a message to Assad and other players in the region, especially Iran. Dahgistani agrees.

“You cannot ignore it like an ostrich, your head in the sand and say there’s nothing going on,” Dahgistani said.

To everyone who worries that American involvement in Syria will lead to another quagmire like Iraq or Afghanistan, Dahgistani says think of the Kosovo model instead. In the 1990s, the U.S. successfully intervened in the Balkans conflict, freed Kosovo, suffered zero casualties, and never put American boots on the ground.

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