Syrians In OKC Fear For Family, Friends In Homeland - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Syrians In OKC Fear For Family, Friends In Homeland

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Native Syrians Fahim George Ghata and his wife Vanda moved to Oklahoma City in 1978. Native Syrians Fahim George Ghata and his wife Vanda moved to Oklahoma City in 1978.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Local Syrians with family still in their home country speak out as tensions there worsen.

American leaders are debating military action against the country after last week's deadly chemical attack. Syrian President Bashar Assad vowed Thursday that "Syria will defend itself" against western military strikes.

Syrians who live here in the metro fear for family they say are now trapped in the country.

"I need peace. Everybody is praying for peace over there and really nobody is helping," said Syrian native, Fahim George Ghata.

Native Syrians Fahim George Ghata and his wife Vanda moved to Oklahoma City in 1978. The couple owns a Mediterranean restaurant in El Reno, and has three children born and raised in OKC.

The last time the couple was in Syria was in 2011, just before the start of Syria's now three-year-old civil war.

"It was beautiful. Everybody was happy. Looks like it had been westernized," said Ghata.  

But now George's family lives in fear here in Oklahoma and in Syria as the war intensifies.

"It went from peaceful demonstration to a little hostile and other countries started supporting the uprising with weapons and money," said Ghata.

George says several members of his family have already been killed and he fears more could be lost.

"I lost an uncle. I lost a cousin's husband. My dear friend was crossing the street and got shot," said Ghata.

He just found out four of his good friend's children were killed last week.

"They are doing not too good you know," said George's wife, Vanda. "They live day by day. They are scared. You hear bombing everywhere around them. They are just too scared to go anywhere."

The couple is praying for peace at this point and does not support U.S. military action.

"I don't think it's wise. I don't know if they're looking for peace, because if they're looking for peace, that's not the way to go."

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe released the statement below after a briefing with the Obama Administration Thursday.

"The Administration informed us that they have a ‘broad range of options' for Syria but failed to lay out a single option. They also did not provide a timeline, a strategy for Syria and the Middle East, or a plan for the funds to execute such an option.

Several members agreed with me that whatever is decided upon, it's going to take military resources that are at decreased readiness levels due to a lack of funding.  As Sec. Hagel, Adm. Winnefeld, and I have discussed before, we have a financial crisis in our military. We have a starving military. Even Gen. Dempsey has said we are putting our military on a path where the ‘force is so degraded and so unready ‘that it would be ‘immoral to use the force.'

The Administration owes it to Congress and to the American people to layout how they will fund their military action. Is it going to be more furloughs? We have already had 14,000 furloughed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma alone. As I have said before, no red line should have even been drawn without first preparing a strategic plan and assessing our resources. "

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