Syrian-Americans weigh in on crisis overseas

(FOX19) - Native Syrians across the Tri-State area are weighing in about the conflict in their home country.

"It's very difficult.  I can't explain to you how much difficult it is," said Ashraf Traboulsi, a native of Syria now living in West Chester.

For Traboulsi, each day the conflict in Syria continues his life gets harder.

He has a sister, nieces and countless other family members living there. He stays in touch by phone and Internet, but there are times when communication is cut.

"You spend a few weeks that you cannot communicate at all with them. These are difficult to deal with, especially when you know the area is being bombarded or under attack," added Traboulsi.

His young niece has a fear of some animals, but is no longer afraid of what has become the daily norm.

"She would run away if she saw a rat running in the street.  Nowadays, she walks in the street and she sees airplanes bombing, and it's normal for her," Traboulsi told FOX19.

Traboulsi and a fellow Syrian, Mohammad Sheatt, are two of the co-founders of a group called the Syrian American Foundation.  Among their efforts, they try to help native people through these tough times.  In Sheatt's household in Mason, the days are just as tough.

"It is very hard. It's frustrating. You just never know who is going to be next," said Sheatt.

His family has had two relatives killed by snipers. However, his mother, father and sister still live in the northern part of the country amid gunfire.

"We've been trying to get them out of there.  But, every time you say, 'How about you guys get out of there,' they say this is where we grew up.  This is where we live.  For now, we are staying,'" Sheatt told FOX19.

Thousands of miles apart, Sheatt says all Syrians are affected no matter how near or far.

"Every single Syrian that I know here in the United States have had some family member or friend that has been, unfortunately, shot and killed," said Sheatt.

The Syrian American Foundation has about 30 families working to help their families abroad. Traboulsi estimates, at minimum, at least 600 Syrians live in the Cincinnati area.

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