About 25 people gathered at the Temecula Duck Pond, calling on the U.S. government to refrain from military action in Syria.
Carrying signs with slogans like “No War On Syria,” Alsalek, who said he's lived in this country for two years, stood among them, holding a flag.
The activists were an ad hoc group joined together by Wildomar’s Gene Trosper, who spearheaded Saturday afternoon’s effort.
“I don’t think we can afford more American blood to be spilled,” Trosper said. “Don’t bomb Syria. Stopping this war is the most pro American thing you can do.”
Trosper argued that another Middle East conflict will cause the loss of Syrian innocents and turn that country’s people “into potential enemies of the U.S.”
He pointed to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as examples of hostility toward the United States and said “blowback” from Syria would be damaging to American security.
“We have no national security interests there,” he said, noting that U.S. military intervention would be “a hornet’s nest.”
As many motorists honked in support of Saturday's protesters at the corner of Rancho California and Ynez roads, Trosper said the only benefactors of a strike against Syria are U.S. defense contractors. During Saturday's rally, he held a sign that read, "War Is A Racket."As for Alsalek, he told Patch he has sisters, aunts and uncles in his homeland, he said. They communicate with him via the Internet “when they have a connection,” he explained.
“They are nervous … Syrians are nervous. There are a lot of innocent people there,” he continued.
Alsalek believes an attack on Syria is a signal to that country’s people that America supports Jihadists.
“That’s how it’s perceived there,” he said, adding that the Syrian regime has been under threat by dozens of Jihadists groups from outside that country.
America was attacked 12 years ago on 9/11 and “now we’re helping Jihadists?” Alsalek questioned.
Alsalek shrugged with helplessness when asked what his relatives will do if Syria is attacked.
“They will pray,” he said.
President Barack Obama is facing an uphill battle in garnering support for a U.S.-led strike against Syria.
The New York Times reported Saturday the European Union has urged that an assault should be put off until United Nations inspectors submit a preliminary report on a chemical weapons attack near the Syrian capital.
A separate New York Times story shows U.S. lawmakers are divided on the Syrian issue, with a large number still undecided on a strike or are against action there.
—Article and photos by Patch Local Editor Toni McAllister