A Syrian who now lives in St Leonards has told how he is “worried sick” for his his family’s safety in the capital Damascus as the US is poised to launch an air attack.
Yaser Dirki, 41, fled the war-torn country in 1999 to seek political asylum in London.
The father-of-three was moved down to St Leonards where he has lived ever since.
His 85-year-old mother still lives in the hills on the outskirts of Damascus but many of his 21 brother and sisters have already fled to Lebanon, Iraq or Turkey.
Yaser is opposed to the Assad regime but fears a military strike by America would be more devastating than the current situation.
“I want a peaceful situation,” Yaser told The Observer. “I am opposed to Assad but I want his regime removed peacefully. If the Americans bomb us there will be a lot of casualties.
“I fear my family could be victims of any attack. They live in the hillside around Damascus and that is where the Government will hide a lot things. We can not solve the situation with air strikes . There can be a political solution. “
Yaser is from the Kurdish area of northern Syria but studied at university in Damascus.
He claims there are now many factions fightings in the country which has descended into civil war.
He added: “It was all about democracy and freedom at the start two years ago.
“But the so called Free Syrian Army first came to attack the Kurds in the north of Damascus.
“Then they started to fight with the Goverment forces. There are many different communities in my country so it is a very fragile situation.
“I would appeal for the good people of Sussex to help send aid out to my country because it is in a terrible situation and many people really have got nothing.”