Belfast Telegraph

Syrian man living in Derry backs air strikes by UK

By Donna Deeney

A Syrian man who has settled in Londonderry has spoken of his support for British air strikes on Islamic State in his homeland.

Fahed Fallaha has around 60 members of his family still in Syria - including his brother, sister and many nieces and nephews - living with the perils of war that even people in Northern Ireland would find unimaginable. He was born there but came to England when he was 19 to study science at Birmingham University, where he graduated with a PhD.

For over 30 years Derry has been his home along with his wife and three sons, but the miles separating him from his homeland have never seemed so vast as now, and with every news bulletin he watches the dire situation develop anxiously.

His family live in the Hama region in a Christian town, which has a few Muslim towns and villages nearby.

Like so many other families, his has been touched by the conflict, although thankfully no lives have been lost despite his sister's house being hit by a rocket on two occasions.

Mr Fallaha said he believed Prime Minister David Cameron was right to carry out air strikes.

"Isis is an evil force that has spread its tentacles all over Syria and people living there are so afraid," he said.

"I listened to the debate and I understand that some people think we should look for a better way, but I think by the time you find a better way so many more people will die and it will be too late.

"I respect the decision the British Government has made. It is a very complex situation in Syria with many aspects, but what I would like ultimately to happen is for the United Nations to send ground forces in as well.

"I think it is important that they do something. There are so many still in Syria for me to worry about but hopefully some day soon it will be all over and everyone will be safe from Isis - Christians and Muslims alike."

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