Syrian-American Group: Donald Trump Deserves Nobel Peace Prize
A Syrian-American group believes President Donald Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for his action last year that stopped any plans to attack a Syrian city housing thousands of refugees from Syria’s civil war.
Trump’s action to protect Idlib, in northwestern Syria, was separate from the ongoing crisis between Turkey and Syria in the Kurd-dominated northeastern section of Syria. The U.S. on Thursday announced a cease-fire in northeastern Turkey to allow Kurdish families to leave a section of Syria Turkey wants as a “safe zone,” CNN reported.
Dr. Tarek Kteleh, a rheumatologist in Indiana and member of Citizens for a Secure and Safe America, said that he and Dr. Rim Al-Bezem, a cardiologist from New Jersey who is the president of the group, had met Trump at a fundraiser and pressed their case that Idlib, which houses about 4 million civilians, should be protected at all costs. They told Trump they feared Syrian troops would massacre innocent families.
Trump said then he was “not going to let this happen,” Kteleh told Fox News.
Despite being skeptical, Kteleh hoped Trump meant what he said. Shortly after, tweets from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then Trump himself warned Syria not to invade Idlib, which it has not.
The 3 million Syrians, who have already been forced out of their homes and are now in #Idlib, will suffer from this aggression. Not good. The world is watching.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 31, 2018
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province. The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2018
“We thought maybe that was just an accident,” Kteleh said. “But it could not be an accident — that the president said he’s not going to let this happen and then the next morning for the first time Secretary Pompeo says this.”
The action was precedent-setting.
“This is the first time ever in the last seven or eight years that anyone has done anything for the Syrian people and many of the civilians,” Kteleh said.
In a letter to Trump, Kteleh and Al-Bezem contrasted Trump with former President Barack Obama.
“Unlike your predecessor, you bombarded Assad’s military airport when he launched chemical weapons against civilians. We are grateful for this display of strength. The world now knows: you mean what you say,” they wrote.
Kteleh said that he had told Trump informally that he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, then decided to take that idea and run with it.
“We took it seriously and started thinking about how we could give him credit for what he’s done. Number one because he deserves the credit. Saving millions of people is an honor people need to be awarded for,” Kteleh said.
“And number two because we feel that if he gets the nomination or gets considered, that will shed more light on these people who became refugees and at any point in time if [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin and [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad start assaulting them again it will give them hope and make the world recognize it.”
Kteleh said a petition and Facebook page have been launched to press for Trump to be awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize and has so far received more than 20,000 signatures.
Although the current Turkish-Kurdish conflict in Syria has drawn controversy, Kteleh stood by Trump’s policy.
“We’re American first. We understand where he’s coming from. He promised he’d bring the troops home. He promised during his election and campaign. He promised he would not be intervening in wars all over the world,” Kteleh said. “He’s just trying to commit to what he promised the people who elected him.”
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