MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - It didn’t take long for pictures of men, women and children reeling from a chemical attack last week to spread around the world. The U.S government said Syrian forces carried out the attack on civilians using a sarin-like gas. After the incident drew worldwide condemnation President Donald Trump ordered a missile strike against the air base from which the gas attack was launched.
Trump’s National Security Advisor said Sunday the United States is prepared to strike again in Syria if the regime attacks its own people with chemical weapons again.
Local Syrians are watching the situation closely and are wondering if the U.S government plans to use force to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from office.
“He doesn't discriminate against anybody,” said Mohamad Khouli, a Minneapolis business owner from Syria. “So he kills. He targets children, civilians.”
Khouli still has siblings and extended family in Syria. He welcomes the Trump Administration's decision to respond to the attack with a missile strike, after what he calls years of inaction from the west. He said inaction has allowed Assad's regime to flourish and gave ISIS and Russia an opening.
“We wanted some action against this brutal regime, this murderous regime,” Khouli said.
In his first televised interview, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster told Fox News Sunday the attacks intended to send a message.
"This is very significant, because I think everyone should realize this is the first time that the United States has acted directly against the Assad regime,” McMaster said. “That should be a strong message to Assad and to his sponsors, who are enabling his campaign of mass murder against his own civilians."
But as for what's next, McMaster said the Trump Administration wouldn't act on its own to remove Assad, possibly involving allies and Russia.
Khouli understands that it's complicated.
“It's really complicated to say ‘well Trump, he has to have boots on the ground and go out and have Assad taken out,’" he said. "It's easy to say but we saw how that happened in Libya and other countries.”
Khouli said pressure on Assad will continue from Syrian people, both those in that country and abroad.