Local Arab community comes together amid increased violence in Syria

TOLEDO (WTVG) - In Syria, Turkish forces continue their advance into the northern part of the country following the removal of U.S. forces. Friday marks the third day of the Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters. The death toll sits at 11 with at least six Syrian civilians dead.

Locally, Syrian refugees in the Toledo area are concerned for their loved ones still back home.

"It's chaos, basically, it is sad," says Lona Lakatos, co-founder and executive director of Social Services for the Arab Community, a faith-based organization that helps refugees settle in Toledo. "Basically, you're in a box getting bombed and there's no way out and you are just going to stay there and take it. Horrible."

Local Syrian families didn't want to speak to our reporter on camera in fear that their families back in their home country could face retaliation, but one man did have something to say. Nashawan Saddon is from Iraq, but his mother and aunts are in Kurdistan with the Kurds.

"It's just killing," said Saddan, speaking through an interpreter. "And it's for the basis of politics. A lot of people are being killed just for the sake of politics."

Nashwan moved to Toledo from Iraq with his wife in 2016. He says what is going on over there is heartbreaking. He says the people on the Syrian border are defenseless. He doesn't agree with U.S. troops being pulled from the region.

"I believe the UN needs to get involved and should be protecting people," he says.

"I believe that God is going to protect people there and do His work," continues Nashwan, who, like so many others, is leaning on his faith to get through the uncertainty. "But God wants to use people to help each other and not kill each other."

All of the Syrians being served by Social Services for the Arab Community have heard from their loved ones and they are safe but with daily bombings and continued violence, their concerns will not subside until there is peace.