But people who are dying of hunger or are injured there need help, he said, and help can come from Dallas through donations.
The humanitarian crisis stoked by the Syrian civil war is so widespread that potential donors might be discouraged from thinking they can make a difference. Hitto takes on that mindset. He hits home the message that local is global and global is local.
"The situation in Syria is a disaster from a humanitarian perspective. Don't get to the point where you convince yourself that your donation and your contribution will not make a difference," he said at a recent Shaam banquet.
"Unless we pull together, all of us as individuals, and as countries, and as organizations, and try to figure out how to solve the problem of relief in Syria -- how to feed people -- then we've got us a disaster of a magnitude that is beyond any one of us to handle. We've got to act, and we've got to act now."
A political outsider takes the reins
Shahin, the Muslim community leader in Dallas, said he believes Hitto is the perfect man for the job in Syria -- a hybrid of outsider and native. He's hopeful that Hitto will "come up with a solution that fits for the majority of people."
"At a time when there's so much baggage in the Middle East, they need an outsider. He's an outsider in the sense of no political loyalties."
Hitto has Kurdish heritage, one of the ethnic minorities in diverse Syria.
The general view about the civil war is that the al-Assad government is dominated by Alawites, and Sunni Arabs represent much of the opposition membership. But there are many more groups in Syria, ethnic and religious, and questions of allegiance or nonallegiance can be complicated and fluid. The choice of Hitto suggests that the opposition is working to be inclusive.
Hitto earned the leadership post in a vote by Syrian National Coalition members on Tuesday. He received 35 out of 48 votes during a meeting in Istanbul, where Syrian opposition groups have been based.
Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center, said in an essay that many Syrians will be suspicious of Hitto and his support from the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood -- a Sunni movement regarded as hard-line by some and brutalized by the ruling Baathist party since al-Assad's father, Hafez, ran Syria.
"Since the announcement, I have heard both Syrian nationalist figures and those from some minority communities -- inside and outside the country -- talk dismissively about the move."
For them, he wrote, Hitto is a "pawn of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood."
"There is a sense that Hitto's appointment has allowed the Muslim Brotherhood, assisted by key regional actors, to walk in through the front door and assume control of Syria's opposition movement."
Even if such views are "exaggerated," they should be worrisome, Shaikh said.
"The appointment of Syria's first interim Prime Minister should be a watershed moment for all Syrians. That it may not prove to be so, does not bode well for the impending post-Assad transitional period."
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, a Texas Republican, asked Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, about Hitto's connection to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ford told Poe at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that he had met Hitto twice.
"He struck me as more Texan than Muslim Brotherhood," Ford said. "I don't know what his political affiliations are, but I do know that he also has a tolerant vision of Syrian society. He is not a religious extremist, far from it."
Shahin said the al-Assad government will try to associate Hitto with the Brotherhood. But Hitto is merely involved with the Muslim community and is American, with all that means, he said.
Hitto will carry with him American values of liberty, justice and merit that transcend tribal and ethnic identity, Shahin said. He is hoping that Hitto's American citizenship will help forge a close relationship with the United States.
The Brotherhood rhetoric is "the typical thing to say for people that are more secular-leaning. Rather than having political discourse to consolidate differences, many will use the 'Islamist' swear word as a focus to get most Western support," Shahin said.
With Hitto's help, Shahin said, one day Syria will mature and its peoples' identities will be based on values, not tribe.
But it'll be a long haul, he said.
"Imagine being in a country where everyone spied on one another. People are highly suspicious," he said, referring to the al-Assad police apparatus. "There are going to be a lot of taboos he'll have to break."