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Pro-Assad Syrians show support for at independence day rally

April 15, 2018

Tony Hazim, of Allentown, is draped in a flag depicting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as members of the Syrian community celebrate Syrian Independence Day during a ceremony at St. George Orthodox Church on Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Allentown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Smith)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Syrian-Americans have expressed anger at the missile strike on their homeland as they celebrated their country’s independence day at a rally in Pennsylvania.

The Morning Call of Allentown reports about 50 Syrians chanted in Arabic and sang the Syrian national anthem at the annual event. They also sang the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

The rally in Allentown is usually a celebration of Syria’s independence. But the Syrian community, one of the largest in the U.S., is deeply divided about its feelings about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

On Saturday, those commemorating Syria’s independence from France in 1946 were on Assad’s side, calling Friday’s missile strike by the U.S., Britain and France illegal.

Others in Allentown’s Old Syria neighborhood who did not attend the flag-raising say there is fear and a sense of betrayal among some in the Syrian community.

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Information from: The Morning Call, http://www.mcall.com

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