Syrian Responses to US Strike in on Assad Airbase

Since the US launched missiles strikes against Assad’s Shayrat airbase last week in response to its deadly chemical attack, many media outlets have gathered international responses (links at bottom of post), but what do Syrians and conflict actors think? We are gathering the responses from key players in the conflict and will update this post as we go.

Updated: 10 April 2017

Etilaf (The Syrian National Coalition)

Etilaf is the primary coalition of Syrian political opposition groups. Etilaf put out a statement on Friday welcoming the US strikes on Shayrat airbase. The statement said that these strikes sent a strong message to the backers of the Assad regime and that Etilaf sees these strikes as “the beginning of change where the words of US messages, for the first time, were translated into action to punishment perpetrator of the crime. It also sees in them a turning point in the American position on Syria as the Trump administration, unlike its predecessor, did not allow the murderous regime to continue its crimes of using internationally banned weapons.” (Etilaf)

Free Syrian Army (FSA affiliated opposition groups)

Moderate armed opposition groups operating under the Free Syrian Army banner put out a statement welcoming the US strikes against Shayrat. The statement said that they “consider this strike to be a first step in the right direction towards the international community assuming its moral and legal responsibility to protect Syrian civilians.” The statement also said that Syrians now fear retaliation from Assad and his allies, and that the US’s responsibility does no stop with this one strike. (@FSAPlatform statement – AR, @FSAPlatform statement – EN)

Hezbollah

Hezbollah is an Iran-backed Lebanese militia that is fighting on the side of Bashar al-Assad. Hezbollah strongly condemned the US attack on Shayrat airbase. In a statement released on Friday, Hezbollah called the strikes “stupid” and said that this was a continuation of the US’s “aggressive path against our Umma, serving the Zionist ambitions in the region.” (Al Manar – Hezbollah-affiliated media outlet)

What do normal Syrians think?

We asked some to find out:

  • Syrian in besieged Douma: “My opinion is that the strikes are a good step, but their goal was not to help the opposition, they had other intentions. And since then our fear increased, because the regime has said that it is increasing its insistence on beating terrorists. But on the ground, the victims are Amira Skaff, Amran [children who have been killed in recent attacks] … The thing that the Syrian people need is an end to the bloodbath, then the departure of Iran and Russia, and for Bashar al-Assad and his regime, and then we can talk about a new constitution and a new government and a new life away from the pain of war.”
  • Syrian forcibly displaced from besieged Moadamiya last year, now in Turkey.): “I am ashamed, actually… the strike is not to bring Assad down, it’s for US interests only… what about the continuous ongoing attacks? Even with chlorine and cluster bombs! The problem, as we always say, is Assad and his militias… If the US, or any other country, wants to help us: bring Assad down. Or else let us die standing tall.”
  • Syrian escaped from besieged Talbiseh, now in northern Syria: “US strikes gave Syrians some hope that we lost last 6 years… we hope Trump will continue this job until Assad at least stops using warplanes against innocent civilians.”
  • Syrian refugee in Sweden: “We don’t care if he [Trump] did it or not…He just did it for the (red line) and the dignity of the USA… not to impact Syrians… Why didn’t he attack the regime and Damascus?? Instead he attacked an airbase in Homs suburb.”