Only hours after the American military — together with British and French forces — struck facilities related to chemical weapons manufacture, storage and deployment in Syria, the nation’s largest Syrian-American group thanked President Trump for his decision to hit the Assad regime.
According to Fox News, the Washington-based Syrian American Council said in a statement that the Assad regime needed to be held to account for violations of international law by using chemical weapons on its own people.
“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,” the statement from the SAC read.
“We urge President Trump and the coalition to sustain the strikes and to ground Assad’s air force, creating a No-Fly Zone and thereby disabling the Assad regime’s ability to commit further war crimes and mass atrocities,” the statement continued.
In addition to committing war crimes like last wknd's chemical weapons attack, #Assad is issuing legislation that sends a clear message to #Syria|ns that they are not to return to their country, furthering a policy of demographic change. From @maitelsadany https://t.co/BitEm3zf8p pic.twitter.com/GQPGwHLMEn
— Syrian American Cncl (@sa_council) April 12, 2018
The SAC added that by Trump’s decision to act, they saw a “genuine opportunity” to end the Syrian civil war, which has been going on since March of 2011.
The SAC also noted that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons, cluster munitions and barrel bombs “to target and kill civilians” in the course of the war.
The Syrian-American Council has taken a strong stand against the Assad regime; in a statement on their website, they call the civil war “an uprising against more than 50 years of suffocating dictatorship under the Assad regime that squelched all forms of free speech, civil society and political expression.”
“Since February 2012, when Assad regime bombardment of civilian neighborhoods began in earnest, Assad’s forces have slaughtered more civilians than any other armed group in the world, including ISIS,” the statement reads.
“Reporting is not completely accurate, and numbers are almost certainly higher, but since the uprising began in 2011, at least 200,000 people are estimated have been killed. This is the equivalent of Akron, OH, Salt Lake City, UT or Knoxville, TN being wiped out. Half of these people are believed to be civilians.”
In their statement Friday, the SAC also urged the Trump administration to work with rebel groups to “empower them to collaborate with the United States and other international governments to fight terrorism and terrorist factions in Syria.”
This seems somewhat unlikely, as Defense Secretary James Mattis insisted the attack was a “one-time shot” and the Trump administration has indicated an unwillingness to get involved more deeply in the conflict.
The council also remains “optimistic” that allied forces will “remove Assad, put an end to the slaughter, and bring about peace, freedom, and democracy in Syria.”
SAC members all over the country were supportive, too. In Phoenix, Arizona, Steve Arkaw — president of the local Phoenix chapter of the SAC — told KSAZ-TV that he was ecstatic over the decision.
“Oh my God, thank you, thank you, thank you President Trump. What you did. It was heroic. It was excellent,” said Arkaw, who left the country when Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafiz al-Assad, ruled the country.
While the SAC celebrated the raid, another group — the Syrian-American Forum, which supports Assad’s regime — condemned the Trump administration’s actions and warned them to stay out of Syria.
“We don’t think that killing more innocent people in Syria by bombing them will rectify what has happened, whether it was done by the Assad regime or not,” Ghias Moussa, head of the New York and New Jersey chapters of SAF, told USA Today.
“Americans should not change regimes around the world to get somebody we like and fight people we don’t like.”
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