After the sudden U.S. airstrikes on Thursday evening that destroyed an airfield believed to be the location where Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack began in Idlib, Syria, many Syrians are praising the U.S. response, while others are calling for more.
Ali Essa, a 27-year-old aid worker in Idlib, told Fox News that the strike was symbolic because the chemical attack “killed many of our friends and neighbors.”
“I am so happy. People are happy. They have hope the U.S. can end this war by stopping the regime aircraft from more bombs. We wish for the peace.”
In the Thursday attack, at least 50 U.S. Tomahawk missiles struck the airbase in Shayrat, marking the first time in the country’s six-year war that the U.S. military has directly targeted Syrian forces versus only attacking ISIS posts.
A doctor treating victims of the chemical bombs, Dr. Mohammad Alhamwj said the strikes are a message to Russia, Iran, and Syria that the U.S. will be “the main player on the land in Syria.” He also noted that the real need is a complete ban on warplanes in the region.
Susan Baaj, the chairwoman for the nonprofit Syrian Institute for Peace, said, “Many Syrians have a lot of respect for this move by President Trump. We needed someone to take action, not just say they would take action. This is a real turning point.”
Dr. Souheil Abbal of the Syrian American Medical Society said the U.S. response was long overdue and praised the move.
Abbal told Fox News, “This [is] what Obama should have done when Assad crossed the red line,” referring to the former president’s warning of retaliation to a 2013 chemical attack that he did not carry forward. “The U.S.A. now has great supporters in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Gulf states, and Iraq. Even Lebanon was waiting for such action to signal serious containment of Hezbollah. This is the moment of truth in the Middle East.”
Some in Syria, however, want the U.S. to go further.
“The death of 100 people by nerve gas is vindicated only through shelling a small airport in suburbs Homs, … a very modest intervention that does not rise to the crimes,” said humanitarian volunteer Rania Kisar. He also stated that he hopes America will now “go back to being a great nation like it was before the leadership of Obama.”
Suhaib Zakour, an Idlib local, agreed that the one set of strikes “will not stop” more deaths. “Some were hoping for more.”
Ayman Abdel Nour, who is a Syrian-American political activist and president of Syrian Christians for Peace, warned that although the strikes do send a “very clear message to Assad,” this one time “cannot be the last.”