East Tennessee physician shares firsthand experiences in Syria

East Tennessee physician shares firsthand experiences in Syria

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"It needs to be a clear plan about what we are going to do after that. Are we going to help civilians? Throwing bombs and stepping aside will cause more damage," Dr. Hassan said. "It needs to be a clear plan about what we are going to do after that. Are we going to help civilians? Throwing bombs and stepping aside will cause more damage," Dr. Hassan said.
The Obama administration is considering possible military action, following reports of a massive chemical weapons attack with many victims being civilians. The Obama administration is considering possible military action, following reports of a massive chemical weapons attack with many victims being civilians.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) – The crisis in Syria is hitting close to home for an East Tennessee doctor.

U.S. officials are considering military action against Syria. Navy destroyers, submarines, and fighter jets are moving closer to Syria ready to attack if President Obama orders a strike.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called a chemical weapons attacks that killed Syrian civilians "inexcusable and undeniable".

A United Nations team sent to investigate possible use of chemical weapons came under sniper fire.

Dr. Jaber Hassan is a pulmonary and critical care doctor born and raised in Syria.

He went to medical school there and has been practicing in Maryville for the last nine years.

Dr. Hassan, along with a team of doctors who belong to the Syrian American Medical Society, make regular trips back to Syria.

While graphic images from Syria have been showcased by U.S. media only recently, people like him have been plugged into the violence for months.

He showed 6 News video of him treating a boy severely injured in a mortar attack in April.

"Every month the casualties have averaged at 5,000 people," Dr. Hassan said about what he's seen there.

Even physicians fled the country, fearing persecution.

"At one point there were only eight physicians taking care of 1.5 million people," he added, talking about what he saw in Aleppo, the region in which they were based.

The Obama administration is now considering possible military action following reports of a massive chemical weapons attack with many victims being civilians.

"It needs to be a clear plan about what we are going to do after that. Are we going to help civilians? Throwing bombs and stepping aside will cause more damage," Dr. Hassan said, explaining how the long term strategy of the U.S. in Syria will be what makes the difference.

Sen. Bob Corker has also expressed his views on the issue.

"I think you're going to see a surgical, proportional strike against the Assad regime for what they have done, and I support that. I do not want us, though, to move into a situation where we're moving beyond supporting the moderate opposition on the ground," said Corker on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "I think Syrians need to be the ones to deal with this issue but certainly with the use of chemical warfare, I think we have to act; and I think we'll do so again in a very surgical proportional wayIf the Assad regime can't be taken down altogether, Dr. Hassan has seen exactly who pays the price."

"The regime will become more harsh and will retaliate against civilians," Corker added. said.

Dr. Hassan was planning a trip to Syria in September. Now he'll postpone that trip waiting on what the U.S. does.

He says several of his relatives have fled the country, while his mother remains in Syria, choosing to stay in her home. 

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