Cedar Rapids man with Syria ties concerned as tensions rise - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids man with Syria ties concerned as tensions rise

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Cedar Rapids resident Hatem Abumaizer may live on the other side of the world, but the rising tensions in Syria feel a whole lot closer to home.

"I do have family over there," he said.

Abumazier, who grew up in Syria's capital city of Damascus, says he is becoming more concerned about the situation there.

He says he spoke to family Tuesday morning.

"In the suburbs, it's becoming more difficult because you don't know who is holding the gun anymore," Abumaizer said.  "There is no police department to go to, so basically try to stay safe in those areas and hope for the best."

The escalating events overseas is a helpless feeling for many others in Iowa with ties to the area.

"Those that are far from it can't control anything and all we can do is give our prayers and support in what ever way we can," said Timothy Hyatt, a board member with the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids.

The United States is threatening to take limited military action against Syria after U.S. Officials say they have undeniable evidence that the Syrian regime is responsible for a large scale chemical weapons attack August 21st, killing hundreds of innocent people.

"Anyone who can claim that an attack of this staggering scale can be contrived or fabricated, needs to check their conscience and their own moral compass," Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday.

While Abumaizer believes the attacker needs to be held responsible, he questions whether it was the Syrian government that was the attacker.

He is concerned any military strikes before United Nations investigators determine who is responsible, or before U.N. officials give approval, would escalate things quickly.

"We should not do any unilateral actions without the United Nations, without the Security Council.  We have gone through that route before, and we know the actual results. It looks like we're headed down the same route again," Abumaizer said.

The Syrian regime denies responsibility for last week's alleged chemical weapon attack.

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