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Syrian in D.C.: "Nobody thought it would last that long"

Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 01:44

March 15 - Syrians rally in Washington, D.C., to mark the third anniversary of the revolt and violent crackdown that led to more than 140,000 killed. Nathan Frandino reports.

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As the red star of the Syrian flag lifts in a gentle Washington, D.C., breeze, names echo across a loudspeaker. Each name represents a face, a family, a fatal loss in three years of conflict. Now what started with mass protests has left at least 140,000 dead enters its fourth year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEHAD AJLANI, FROM DAMASCUS, SAYING: "Nobody thought it would last that long. Without the West intervening, it's going to last a lot longer than that and the casualties will be a lot higher than that." In between prayer and moments of silence, Syrians in the U.S. marked the anniversary with a rally in Lafayette Park, just outside the White House. Holding a sign that says "Freedom for the captured. Free people in the prisons of the oppressive regime," one protester has a message for the U.S. government. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HASSAN ZEIDAN, FROM LATAKIA, SAYING: "If you ask me what I feel, I want to ask that guy who lives inside the White House, the Barack Obama. How would you feel? Like a million people killed in Syria I want to ask him, how would you feel, Barack Obama? With everybody with Bashar al-Assad, he killed right and left. He started from the kids, the children, old women, old men. He doesn't care." Even with so much death, there is still hope and rare moments of joy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEHAD AJLANI, FROM DAMASCUS, SAYING: "If I raise the flag in this area, it gives me a lot of satisfaction. And it shows the people in Syria that we're here for them. They're not by themselves." Not by themselves, but still struggling in a conflict that shows few signs of peace.

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Syrian in D.C.: "Nobody thought it would last that long"

Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 01:44