BBC News Visits Little Arabia to Take the Pulse of Syrian-Americans on Possible Strikes

President Barack Obama addressed the nation on Tuesday regarding the ongoing crisis in Syria, placing blame squarely on Bashar al-Assad's regime for deadly August 21 chemical weapons attacks in a Damascus suburb. The president stopped short of saying air strikes were imminent, opting for the time being for continued diplomacy with Russia, a Syrian ally.

Potential strikes have proven to be overwhelmingly unpopular with the U.S. public, but what about within the Syrian-American community? Exploring that question, BBC News dropped by Anaheim's unofficial Little Arabia enclave to find out.

Reporter Laura Trevelyan talked with Syrian-Americans whose parents fled the regime of Hafez al-Assad over tea at Al Amir Bakery's new location back on Brookhurst street. They viewed President Obama's speech with a sense of disappointment over its overtures towards the proposed diplomatic solution.

BBC News Visits Little Arabia to Take the Pulse of Syrian-Americans on Possible Strikes
BBC News screenshot

Over at Aleppo Kitchen in Burbank, named after Syria's largest city and not to be confused with Anaheim's own Aleppo's Kitchen, Assad supporters deemed rebel fighters as terrorists and said only intervention worth supporting were efforts backing the regime.

Watch the video of the report HERE (since we can't embed it for our readers).

Since a peaceful protest against the reigning Assad regime started more than two years ago in March 2011, its decent into a bloody, entrenched civil war has become a fault line in the greater Arab-American community as reported in the Weekly's cover story on Little Arabia. As tensions rise over the question of Syria, the weekend-long annual Arab American Day Festival in Garden Grove has been cancelled. In the recent past, the event has been the site of protest, not from usual OC Islamophobes, but by anti-Assad protesters.

They've taken issue with event organizer Ahmad Alam and his Anaheim-based The Arab World Newspaper saying that it has been given favorable coverage to the regime.

The Arab American Day Festival has occurred every September since 1996.

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter@ocweekly or on Facebook!


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >