Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As the tension in Syria continues to heat up, here at home, one man is sharing his real life experiences in Syria while filming the civil war.
Rochelle Ritchie sat down with Matthew VanDyke, from Baltimore, who is calling for the U.S. to act now.
Matthew VanDyke has been called everything from a freedom fighter to a terrorist by Syrian media outlets.
In the 15-minute film, Matthew VanDyke from Maryland follows a young Syrian journalist as she documents her country being ripped apart by President Bashar al-Assad, who she calls a monster.
“Somebody has to see all this. Somebody has to know what this monster is doing to us and to his own people,” the journalist said.
The gunfire erupts, and even when the spirit of the people is lifted through singing and dancing, death is just around the corner.
“It’s definitely escalated. The revolution is not in a good state,” VanDyke said.
VanDyke, only armed with a camera and one gun for self-defense during filming, says he is hoping what Americans see here will push them to intervene.
“They desperately need western support. They desperately need weapons and ammunition,” he said.
Matthew VanDyke is a rebel with a cause and no stranger to Middle Eastern uprisings. In Libya, he fought against the Gaddafi regime–he was even captured and thrown in prison.
“I’m glad the job was finished. I wasn’t going to leave until Gaddafi was out of power,” said VanDyke.
His film on Syria is now being shown at festivals around the world and even to Congress to encourage U.S. military action.
Just this month, 1,400 people died after a chemical weapons attack, allegedly at the hands of Syria’s president. The number is significant. But VanDyke says it’s much worse.
“One hundred thousand people died before chemical weapons were used to kill a thousand. So the problem is the regime, it’s not the chemical weapons,” he said.
Polls have shown Americans do not want to get involved because of possible retaliation. VanDyke calls it an overblown fear.
“None of those countries have the capability to challenge the United States or Europe militarily,” he said.
VanDyke says he plans to return to Syria in the next few months.
VanDyke is a graduate of Georgetown University. He has no military experience.