Syria

Friday on “First Coast Connect” our weekly Media Roundtable featured blogger Fred Matthews, WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride, Jacksonville Business Journal editor Tim Gibbons and WJCT business analyst John Burr. We also spoke with journalist Soledad O’Brien, who is holding a workshop for young women Saturday at WJCT and we heard on in-studio performance by singer-songwriter Morley.   

     

  Monday on “First Coast Connect” we heard reaction to the Hemming Park protest Friday that turned violent, leading to six arrests. We discussed the event with Jacksonville Progressive Coalition members Wells Todd and Karen Morian and attorney John Phillips. We also heard about The Wall That Heals coming to Metropolitan Park later this week with the City of Jacksonville Public Affairs Director Bill Spann, WJCT board member Dan Bean and representative from Vietnam Vets local 1046 Bob Adelhelm. April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month and we spoke with neurologist from UF Health Jacksonville Dr. Odinachi Oguh, activist Jennifer Otero and Parkinson’s patient Bill Wilson  


Bruce Lipsky- Florida Times-Union

Six people were arrested Friday when a protest downtown against the U.S. firing missiles at a Syrian airbase turned violent.

Video of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s officers taking protestors to the ground has been shared around the world, including London’s Daily Mail.

On Saturday, protesters gathered in front of the Duval County Courthouse demanding the charges against those arrested be dropped.

World Relief Jacksonville

A bill to slow the flow of refugees may not have reached the governor's desk, but its impact will still be felt by those looking to resettle in Florida.

Republican Representative Lake Ray’s measure was aimed creating stricter guidelines before allowing Syrian refugees to relocate to Florida.


Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Voice of America / Wikimedia Commons

Refugees hoping to resettle in Florida could have to submit to an extra round of background checks if one Jacksonville lawmaker has his way.

Rep. Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville) has filed a bill requiring resettlement organizations to report more about who’s coming in.


A Russian warplane was allegedly shot down near Turkey's border with Syria Tuesday morning. Syria has been embroiled for four and a half years in a brutal civil war that has killed hundreds thousands of people, and sent millions of others fleeing.

The incident at the border with Turkey comes as the nation continues its heated debate about the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

This week, Florida Coastal School of Law will host a panel discussion on the crisis and the legal issues around refugee resettlement. We speak with Ericka Curran, immigration attorney and Clinic Director with the school, and Florida Coastal law student Elizabeth Lazar. Her family, Assryian Christians from Iraq, fled persecution there decades ago. 


  Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has joined Gov. Rick Scott and other governors around the country who’ve said they do not want refugees from Syria in their states. In a letter Tuesday, Curry asked Jacksonville’s congressional delegation to stop a plan to accept Syrian refugees.

Jacksonville has the fifth largest Syrian population in America, and one of the largest Arab-American populations overall.

The terrorist attacks in Paris have raised concerns about refugee resettlements from the region. The leaders of World Relief Jacksonville, which works to resettle refugees from all over the world, say those concerns are misplaced.

We speak with Michelle Clowe, Refugee Services Coordinator, Travis Trice, Church Mobilizer, and Katie Sullivan, Volunteer Coordinator with World Relief Jacksonville.

US military intelligence sources say there is evidence Russia is now sending troops and military hardware to bolster the forces of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The United States is fighting an air war against the Islamic State group in Syria but also opposes the Syrian government. Meanwhile, Jacksonville’s large Syrian-American community is watching closely as the refugee crisis in the region spirals out of control. We hear from two local men who have ties to the region: Jacksonville attorney Fadi Chakour and Rev. Nicholas Louh of St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church.


The First Coast has one of the largest Arab American communities in the country. In today's Voices of the First Coast interview, WJCT’s Melissa Ross speaks with Syrian American physician Dr. Yazan Khatib.

In collaboration with the program Arab American Stories, which is airing on WJCT TV on Friday's at 6:30 p.m., WJCT is interviewing Arab Americans in Jacksonville.

Hear more entries in our Voices of the First Coast series at WJCT OnDemand.

Stephen Jones / WJCT

The First Coast has one of the largest Arab American communities in the country. In today's Voices of the First Coast interview, WJCT’s Melissa Ross speaks with Syrian American Jacksonville resident George Mackoul.

In collaboration with the program Arab American Stories, which is airing on WJCT TV on Friday's at 6:30 p.m., WJCT is interviewing Arab Americans in Jacksonville.

Hear more entries in our Voices of the First Coast series at WJCT OnDemand.

Alexandra Chen, a specialist in childhood trauma, is on her way from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to the southern town of Nabatiyeh, where she's running a workshop for teachers, child psychologists and sports coaches who are dealing with the Syrian children scarred by war in their homeland.

"All of the children have experienced trauma to varying degree," explains Chen, who works for Mercy Corps and is training a dozen new hires for her aid group.

In Syria, a team of international weapons experts has begun the process of destroying the country's chemical weapons arsenal.

"The inspectors used sledgehammers and explosives to begin the work," NPR's Deborah Amos reports for our Newscast unit. "They are on a tight deadline to destroy more than 1,000 tons of nerve gas and banned weapons within a year."

An international team of weapons experts is at work in Syria on the job of finding and destroying the nation's chemical stockpile. Inspectors crossed in Syria from Lebanon on Tuesday.

But the job will be difficult and possibly dangerous, says Amy Smithson, a senior fellow at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

After the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus that reportedly killed more than 1,000 people and has been blamed on Bashar Assad's regime, the Syrian president's ambassador to the U.N. claimed that opposition forces had used such weapons at least three times in the days immediately after.

As Russia's RT.com reported on Aug. 28:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Pages