Syrians in the metro escaping war react to American airstrike

Posted at 10:10 PM, Apr 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-07 23:43:25-04

A day after American forces fired around 60 missiles at a Syrian airbase, Syrians living in the metro said they supported the decision from the U.S.

Ibraheem Alkhwaja, who escaped Syria and came to Independence last September, knows the horrors of the country's civil war.

On Friday, he showed 41 Action News the scar on his arm from the time a sniper with government forces shot at him.

Pictures on Alkhwaja's phone also show the destruction from the six-year-old war.

While Alkhwaja has difficulty speaking English, he described the violence he witnessed firsthand.

"Every house, mosque, hospital, school, every," he said, when asked about the damage in his hometown near Damascus. 

Following this week's chemical attack, believed to be carried out by government forces, Alkhwaja said he was heartbroken.

Reports estimate that at least 100 people died in the violence, including children.

"Dead boys and girls," he explained. "Everybody dead."

On Thursday night, as reports of the American strike circulated, Alkhwaja said he smiled.

"We are happy and every Syrian from Syria is happy," he said. 

The American airstrike was also met with support from Fariz Turkmani, who lives in Overland Park after moving from Syria in 1979.

"I was very happy, very excited," he explained. "Mixed feelings but at least something is done."

Despite the help from American forces, Turkmani said it hurt to see his home country at the center of war.

"You see your own country being bombed by someone else now," he explained. "What happened yesterday won't stop it completely but I hope [President Donald Trump] continues attacking all the military airports." 

The attack by American forces came as controversy continues over Trump's proposed immigration ban.

The plan would bar Syrian refugees without a visa from entering the country.

On Friday, Turkmani said this week's airstrike could show that the president's views on Syrian people and immigrants could be changing.

"Somebody who just did what he did to help the people, I have a feeling he's going to come out and say, 'This thing (immigration ban), we're going to put an X on it and we're going to continue having refugees,’" he explained. "Maybe there will be another change of heart for the refugees, I'm hoping for that."

While Turkmani did not expect the American airstrike to end the Syrian civil war, he hoped it could help change the course of the conflict.

"Maybe it will make the president (Bashar al-Assad) think twice before he bombs with chemical weapons," he explained.