The Syrian American Council, the largest and oldest Syrian American grassroots organization, hosted a successful town hall meeting today with the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and the Syrian American community of Houston, Texas. The meeting included a discussion of key issues of importance to Syrian Americans.

The meeting was followed by a press conference where Shiyam Galyon, President of the Houston chapter of the Syrian American Council, spoke along with Secretary Johnson and Congresswoman Lee. The press conference was well attended by the media.

"We reiterated to Secretary Johnson our stance that a major cause for the rise of ISIS and other radical groups in Syria was American inaction against the Assad regime which continues to murder over 300,000 of its own citizens with barrel bombs and chemical weapons by the day" said Galyon at the press conference emphasizing that the European Union has confirmed the Assad regime's funding of the group through middlemen such as George Haswani.

"We are proud of our partnership with Homeland Security to work together to fight these terrorist organizations. We have called upon and continue to call on the Department of Homeland Security to vigorously prosecute those going to join ISIS, Al-Nusra, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations. It is a fact that the vast majority of these terrorists in Syria are not even Syrian" she added.

Secretary Johnson and Congresswoman Lee spoke about the role of Syrian and Muslim youth in the fight against ISIS. 

Mohammed Ghanem, SAC National Government Relations Director, and Shireen Jasser, SAC Houston Government Relations Director, also attended the press conference. SAC appreciates the hard work of Bassam Barabandi in helping set up the meeting.

The Syrian American Council is proud of its partnership with the Department of Homeland Security in its efforts to secure the Homeland especially since the Syrian American community has been at the forefront of the fight against terrorism and radical extremism.