Syrian Americans Join MPAC in Calling for Enforcement of Humanitarian Aid in Syria

Press Conference Held on One-Year Anniversary of Start of Revolution

March 24, 2012

On March 15, MPAC held a press conference with local Syrian Americans to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of the Syrian revolution. They condemned the ongoing atrocities committed by the al-Assad regime against the people of Syria in response to their calls for freedom, human rights and the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid.


SEE: KTTV Fox 11 Coverage of the Press Conference (YouTube)






ALSO SEE: "Syrian Revolt Marks 1-year; Locals Speaks Out” (KABC 7 - Los Angeles)

Joining MPAC Senior Adviser, Dr. Maher Hathout, and Edina Lekovic, Director of Policy and Programming, were Dr. Saleh Kholaki, Vice Chair of the Islamic Center of Southern California and a board member of the Syrian American Council, and Reem Salahi, a civil rights attorney.

“These are not crimes against only the Syrian people; these are crimes against humanity and should be treated as such,” said Dr. Hathout, who implored the U.S. government and the international community to ensure that humanitarian aid get to the Syrian people. “Nobody should have the right to stop medicine and food from reaching people who are suffering.”

More than 8,000 Syrian civilians have been killed since demonstrations broke out in Daraa one year ago, and tens of thousands more have fled the country as refugees.

“It's been one year since Syrians started rallying day in and day out for democracy, and it's been one year of bloodshed, torture, disappearances, illegal detentions, executions, rapes, refugees and war crimes,” Salahi said.

“It has been one year of killing innocent men, women and children who stand up for democracy and freedom,” Dr. Kholaki said. “We in the United States take for granted that freedom is a given right. When we came to this country, we forgot how the word free would feel if you don’t have it. Our Syrian families are facing death just because they want to be free.”

The speakers also addressed the newest revelations of al-Assad's and his wife’s extravagant spending, even as they have waged horrific violence against their own people.

“Adolf Hitler was very happy in the bunker, but his bunker was still burning,” Dr. Hathout said. “This is how the mind of a dictator works. They believe they are super humans and we are all made to support them.”

MPAC has called on Russia, China and Iran to end their indirect aid of al-Assad. MPAC recently issued an open letter to Iran's leader, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, urging him to take measures to stop the massacre of innocent people.

SEE: Open Letter to Khamenei

Yesterday, MPAC hand-delivered the letter to the Iranian embassy for the United Nations in New York City. The letter read, in part:

We ask you to speak up for the people of Syria, based on the basic values of Islam that the republic carries in its name. We ask you to insist that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad allow humanitarian aid and medical access to the victims, and to have the area opened to local and national media, as the worst crimes are committed behind closed doors.

Last month, MPAC also released a special report on the current unrest in Syria, “The Current Challenges to the Syrian Democratic Revolution.” The report outlines the egregious violence perpetrated by the al-Assad regime in the context of U.S. human rights policy toward the Middle East and North Africa.

Help us continue our work with a quick
one-time or monthly donation.