Reno businessman Ray Solaho watched the news every night for updates on the situation in the civil war struggles in Syria. He grew up under the oppression of Hafez al-Assad.
"It was terrible," he says. "You couldn't go out without worrying about your own safety and the safety of your family. I saw so many of my friends from high school and going to college - then that just disappeared. You knew that if the police came and they disappeared they were gone. That was it."
And so at the age of 17 he fled to Egypt. He worried about his family left behind. But he found freedom and eventually made his way the United States where he settled in Reno.
"Hafez al-Assad was a heartless dictator, but his son, Bashar al-Assad is even worse. He is killing children and he is killing people in the streets and while my family lives in Lattakia on the coast they are all impacted by what is going on in Aleppo."
Aleppo is on the border with Jordan which is where thousands of Syrians are crossing to UN refugee camps.
"The secret police and the violence are unbelievable," Solaho says. "My family is afraid even to go to the store these days. You can't even go to the store without seeing guards posted in the streets and being asked for your identification."
But he believes the struggles since his childhood are finally going to lead to democracy there.
"When this uprising started in March, I thought it will only last a month. But it has lasted two months, three months, now four months. The people rose up with peaceful riots. If they had taken up arms in March, I'm sure they would all have been killed then. But they did this through peaceful demonstrations and they are continuing to protest and the government cannot deny them their freedom. I think it will be done by the end of the year. By the end of the year the people will prevail."
Solaho has not been back to Syria in 30 years, but he says he stays in contact with his family through the Internet never talking details of daily events for fear of repercussions to his family there. But he feels by the end of the year he and many other Syrians around the world who have fled due to the oppression will see freedom there and will make the trip back.