Faith, civic leaders call on US, allies to help end violence in Syria

CHICAGO -- A diverse group of faith and civic leaders is calling on the United States and its allies to do more to end the bloodshed in Syria as the death toll, by some estimates, is 470,000 people.

Many of the casualties are women and children and the elderly. There is a well-documented use of chemical weapons used by dictator Bashir Al-Assad and a war of malnutrition against his own people.

The civil war is a multi-armed conflict among sects with ISIS, rebel groups and Assad forces helped by Iran, Russia and the terrorist group Hezbollah.

The U.S. and its Western allies have joined in the fight but to a limited extent and only against ISIS which dates back to the Obama administration and continues under the Trump presidency.

For the last nine days, Assad's forces have laid siege to the city of Ghouta which is located on the eastern outskirts of Damascus.

Among the people in Chicago standing in solidarity with Syrians, is Dr. Zaher Sahloul, the co-founder of Medglobal and a critical care specialist at Christ Hospital who has cared for the wounded and dying on the battlefields of Syria.

“This is out 21st Century Holocaust. In Ghouta, there is 400,000 people who are under siege for the past years. There is no electricity, there is no consistent food supplies or medication,” he said.

Other supporters calling for action include Samir Alomar who has been in the country for the last year after fleeing Syria for Turkey with his family. Also, Ralph Rehbock, a holocaust survivor from Nazi Germany.