By Niraj Warikoo
U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford was in metro Detroit Friday night meeting with local Syrian-Americans who oppose the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Ford said the U.S. wants Assad’s rule to end, but doesn’t support military action at this time, according to people who attended the meetings.
Along with U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Troy), Ford met with local Syrian-Americans at the Bloomfield Hills home of Ismail Basha, a native of Syria who opposes Assad. The Ambassador then held a meeting at the Beverly Hills Academy, an Islamic school in Beverly Hills. Almost all of those who attended the meetings are against Assad, but a couple of pro-Assad people attended the meeting at the Islamic school before they were escorted out, said Basha’s brother, Dr. Yahya Basha.
In metro Detroit’s Arab-American community, there are mixed views about the situation in Syria. Some are supportive of Assad, while others are strongly opposed to him.
Before his trip to metro Detroit, Ambassador Ford was in Toledo and Cleveland in Ohio, said Basha. On Saturday, Ford was in Chicago meeting with Syrian-Americans.
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