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Feb 7, 2012 2:44 AM by Ariel Wesler

Local military analyst explains Syrian uprisings

Western powers are trying to pressure the Syrian government to end its crackdown on protesters in the country.

The U.S. closed its embassy in Damascus Monday and Britain recalled its ambassador.

More than 5,000 Syrians have died since the protests began almost a year ago, but the Syrian president's regime says terrorists are acting out to de-stabilize the country, and they are not people seeking to reform the government.

We've seen a domino affect from the arab spring in the middle east with protests in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. Now, Syria is in the international spotlight.

As violence escalates in Syria and pulled its diplomats out of the country. It's an attempt to pressure President Bashar Assad to back down. While recent UN sanctions have failed, President Obama has said he's not ready to fight fire with fire.

"I think it's very important for us to resolve this without outside military intervention, and I think that's possible," Obama said.

KSBY News sat down with Military Analyst Col. Chuck Clark. He served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Reagan administration.

"Anything that happens in the mid-east involves all those countries," Clark said.

He says an air strike,like we saw in Libya, isn't likely because it could put U.S. ally Israel in harms way.

"Syria is just to the north of Israel. They have surface missiles that could easily reach Tel Aviv 200 miles away," Clark said. "It's too big a risk and there are too many unknowns."

But Obama has made it clear. It's not a matter of whether to remove Assad from power, but when.

"It is time for Assad to go," Obama said during an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer.

"Anything that might affect Israel and would create destabilization in any nearby country is important to us," Clark said.

There are many Syrians who also support the current government. We spoke with a local Syrian tonight who owns a liquor store in San Luis Obispo. His family lives a mile and a half from the fighting, but he declined to go on camera for fear his family would be harmed. He calls the protesters terrorists who want to see the country ruled by religion.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon panetta has said an Israeli attack on Iran is likely in the coming months to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power.

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