'In a dark place like Syria, just saying the truth is something more valuable than you can imagine'

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Audio Transcript: Marco Werman: I'm Marco Werman and this is The World. Our newsroom is still in shock over the execution of James Foley. Before his 2012 abduction in Syria, we had interviewed him several times. A freelance journalist covering some of the most dangerous news stories of the past few years, from Libya's revolution to Syria's civil war. His gruesome killing by Islamic State militants has sparked outrage all over the globe. Syrians are also appalled. Qusai Zakarya is a former university student from the Damascus suburb of Moadamiya. The area was under siege by the Assad regime for more than a year. After he was gassed and left for dead during the chemical attacks one year ago today, he became an activist. Qusai is now in the United States, where he's trying to drum up support for intervention in Syria and joins us now from Washington. What was it like to be in Washington and see and read the news about James Foley being executed by extremists of Islamic State? Qusai Zakarya: When I first heard about it, I was shocked. I felt a lot of sadness because in Syria, as an activist, it's a crime to just publish the truth and I felt a lot of rage and I was so disgusted by the acts of ISIS militants when they beheading the reporter, Foley. I want to express my deep warm emotions for his family. I think I cannot express how bad it feels like to lose another hero who came to Syria just to publish the truth. Werman: And there are many, many heroes in Syria just trying to survive. You lived through the gas attacks of last year, you've watched as ISIS has pushed into Iraq, spreading the conflict in Syria. The United States did not intervene with airstrikes in Syria but they have in Iraq. How does that make you feel? Zakarya: I would be a big liar if I said that I didn't feel rage when I heard President Obama saying that he's going to act in Iraq while he didn't in Syria. I felt glad for all those poor people ISIS surrounded in the mountains and I was happy that they would get help. But I also felt very sad and disappointed to see that help only goes to a few people. President Obama talked about potential genocide and that's why he acted - while in Syria, we had a true genocide going on. Werman: Do you feel like lawmakers in Washington are listening to you and your concerns? Zakarya: To be honest with you, there are a lot of amazing people - and I will say again - a lot of people of amazing people who, in the States, who showed a lot of true sympathy and they were dying and working hard to have real support for Syrian people since the beginning. But I know all these efforts and all these amazing people are always blocked by President Obama in person. But unfortunately President Obama doesn't have the decency to admit that his policy towards Syria was a big failure and I think when dictators around the world feel that there is no consequences, we will see a lot of new Assad regimes in the world and a lot of new ISIS all across the world. Werman: So you feel Syria needs more attention. Let me ask you this final question: do you feel that the risks and now sacrifice made by James Foley and other journalists in Syria, has it been worth it? The numbers of dead and those who fled are so numbing. Are people paying attention to the reporting? Zakarya: Guys like James Foley are true martyrs for the Syrian people and for the world and I feel their sacrifices won't be a waste because, believe me, when you're living in a dark place like Syria, just saying the truth or sending the truth is something more valuable than you can imagine. I really hope that all their sacrifices some day will pay off. Dozens of true heroes, reporters, died in Syria - from France, from Britain, from the United States, from all over the world - from Japan - and we really hope and pray that all their sacrifices, along with the sacrifices made by the Syrian people, will some day pay off and we will live to see the free Syria that we paid this unbelievable price of blood - to have it someday. Werman: Qusai Zakarya is Syrian. He's a former university student from outside Damascus and he's been speakin with us from Washington. Thank you very much for your thoughts. Zakarya: Thank you sir.