Impact of civil war in Syria reaches North Texas family



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Posted on August 19, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 20 at 3:07 PM

RICHARDSON — It's a long way from Richardson, Texas, but just a click of a mouse keeps Mohamad Kisar close to his native Syria — a country under siege, where a bloody battle for political control rages on.

"There's really no one who's not inside of their cross hairs," Kisar said from his suburban Dallas home.

And just weeks ago, the conflict hit very close to home.

"It was so surreal. We just didn't believe it," Kisar said. "There's no way... this isn't happening."

His 23-year-old cousin Abdughani and brother Mohammed Khairallah, 22, were tortured and murdered in their Damascus home. Video of the aftermath was posted on YouTube.

"They remained absolutely neutral. Never protested... nothing. None of that," Kisar insisted.

Yet they were killed, he says, at the hands of the Syrian army, fighting on behalf of the country's embattled ruler Bashar al-Assad.

Activists say the conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives since an uprising against the government erupted more than a year-and-a-half ago.

Today, Mohamad Kisar watches from afar.

"I feel guilty at times, because I'm sitting here and I'm safe," he said. "I have a nice home and I have running water and electricity. And I have food on my table every single day."

But in his native Syria, electricity is scarce, and basic food prices have doubled.

Kisar hopes to raise awareness in North Texas of what's happening in a land he holds dear.

"It's a beautiful place. And the people that are there are beautiful people," he said.

Kisar's prayer is for peace in a country gripped by violence, and justice for the innocent caught in the middle.

Concerned residents are planning a Walk for Children of Syria in Dallas on September 8, one of a series of similar marches in cities around the U.S.