SAC Condemns France Attacks, Urges Action Against ISIS

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The Syrian American Council (SAC), the largest and oldest Syrian American community organization, denounces in the strongest possible terms the heinous attack on Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, that left 12 people dead yesterday.

ISIS slaughters civilians and makes a mockery of Islam. We are committed to destroying ISIS, both at its source in Syria and around the world. As France has supported us in our struggle, we support the French in theirs.

The Syrian American Council (SAC), the largest and oldest Syrian American community organization, denounces in the strongest possible terms the heinous attack on Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, that left 12 people dead yesterday. The barbaric attack was viewed by its perpetrators as a retaliation for cartoons satirizing Islam, and its execution suggested extensive military training. Early media reports indicated that two of the attackers recently returned from Syria. One was a former recruiter for Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which is today known as ISIS.

"For over three years of revolution, Syrians have payed the price for free expression with their blood," said Bassam Barabandi, a Political Adviser at SAC. "We fully and wholeheartedly condemn the brutal attacks on Charlie Hebdo Magazine. We join with the French people in mourning the victims, and offer our consolations to the victims' families."

While many details remain unknown, media reports have already indicated that two of the attackers recently returned from Syria, and that one of them recruited for Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Today, Al-Qaeda in Iraq is known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) because the group regenerated in Syria from 2013-2014. According to IHS Jane's, the Syrian opposition has always been ISIS's main target, as they are victims to 64% of ISIS attacks in Syria. Syrian rebels have been at open war with ISIS since January 2014.

"As Syrian Americans whose compatriots in Syria have borne the brunt of ISIS attacks, we extend our hand in full friendship and cooperation with the people of France," added Sohaib Al-Agha, Vice President of the Syrian American Council. "ISIS slaughters civilians and makes a mockery of Islam. We are committed to destroying ISIS, both at its source in Syria and around the world. As France has supported us in our struggle, we support the French in theirs."

Since the start of the Syrian Revolution, France has been among the staunchest supporters of the Syrian people's quest for freedom. On Monday, just two days before the horrific attacks, French President Francois Hollande expressed his regret "that we didn't intervene in Syria when chemical weapons were used in August 2013." Hollande also firmly ruled out an alliance against ISIS with the Assad dictatorship in Syria, observing, "When you start allying yourself with the devil, it is rare that God will come to your aid."

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