Published Thu, Jul 19, 2012 3:30 pm Dateline
Updated Thu, Jul 19, 2012 4:56 pm
Reports from Syria about the civil war there indicate the fighting is getting more intense and an Athens man is watching closely.
Amr Al-Azm says he is "an active member of the opposition" to the Syrian government.
Al-Azm describes the current situation in Syria as "the beginning of the end" and he is "jubilant" about that but worried about the days immediately ahead.
"I'm pessimistic because I don't think this is going to be very quick or very easy and I think there is a lot more pain and bloodshed and death before we see the end of this regime", he says. "But I'm also optimistic because I think once this regime falls, there's so much left within Syria and so much left within Syrian society that I think that this society will be able to heal itself and will be able to rise up again."
Al-Azm left Syria in 2010 but says once President Bashar Al-Assad is out, he would go back to help rebuild the country.
He says, "Whether I'll be able to permanently move back I don't know. You remember that this is a country that's gone through a very traumatic experience. The school systems, the main basic services and so forth are going to be very heavily hit. I have young children who are in school right now and I want to make sure they get a good education."
Al-Azm says he helped set up the Syrian National Council which is a coalition of opposition groups.
He now offers advice and analysis on Syria.
"That's my role, coordinating and organizing and basically making sure that the needs and demands of the Syrian people are heard where they need to be heard."
Al-Azm is now an associate professor of Middle East History and Anthropology at Shawnee State University.