Syrian-Americans are divided in their opinions of the recent missile strike in Syria, with some saying it didn’t do enough and others saying it went too far.
On Friday, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France launched a joint missile strike in Syria, which targeted three areas believed to be enabling Syrian President Bashar Assad to create and carry out his alleged chemical weapons attacks.
Support for the Strikes
The Syrian-American Council (SAC), a grassroots organization advocating for a free, democratic, and pluralist Syria, praised the move and sent a message of gratitude to President Donald Trump’s administration.
“We send our sincere thanks to the administration for holding Assad accountable for Sunday’s chemical attack in Douma, and the crimes against humanity over the past seven years of the Syrian war,” Fox News reported the organization said in a statement.
SAC called it a “genuine opportunity” for America to end Syria’s war and implored the president not to stop at one missile strike and suggested:
- Sustain the strikes
- Ground Assad’s air force
- Create a No-Fly Zone
By doing this, SAC argued that Assad’s ability to “commit further war crimes and mass atrocities” would be disabled.
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Mohamed Khairullah, the Syrian-born mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, agreed with SAC and said one missile strike does not go far enough when it comes to punishing Assad. He told USA Today:
“While it’s a welcome move, that doesn’t mean Assad will not continue to kill Syrians by using other illegal weapons, such as napalm, cluster bombs, and white phosphorus. Assad as a person and his henchmen need to feel they are a target if they continue this pain and suffering of the people.”
Ahead of the strike, Fehmi Khairullah, who is not related to the Prospect Park mayor, explained to USA Today that Trump should take strong action to “stop the empty threatening of Assad” instead of “showing off.”
“It is good, but not enough,” Moustafa Assad, who came to America in 2015, shared with the Detroit Free Press. “You have to remove al-Assad, not just the chemical weapons … He can still kill people with his bombs and other weapons.”
Against the Strikes
However, views on the missile strike are hardly unanimous, and some Syrian-Americans are also saying “enough,” albeit in opposition to the strike.
“I don’t want any more civilians to die,” Huda Shanawani told USA Today. “Enough is enough. A million people already died. I do not want to see Damascus as Baghdad.”
She added that she watched the news with “tears in my eyes” as she wondered what would become of her family still living in Syria. American-born Syrian Tony George told Fox News 8:
“Our president was misled by faulty intelligence by our country. President Bashar al-Assad would never use chemical weapons on his own people. Not at this point in a civil war and bring the wrath of the whole world on his back.”
George also said that if Assad is ousted, “Christians will get slaughtered.”
During an interview with CBS affiliate WHIO TV, Ibrahim Ahmad, a Syrian-American doctor who travels to his home country at least twice a year, implored Trump to negotiate.
“I still can’t comprehend that decision,” his wife, Beth Salama added. “What makes it even worse, we feel like we are helpless and we don’t like that feeling.”
Friday’s strike was double the size of last year’s missile strike, and Trump praised it as having been “perfectly executed.”
Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said during a special Security Council meeting that Assad should know if he continues his alleged use of chemical weapons, the U.S. is “locked and loaded.”