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We were joined Monday morning by the head of the Syrian American Foundation in Mason, Ashraf Traboulsi. (WKRC)

 CINCINNATI (WKRC) – There is still a lot of debate over the U.S. airstrikes in Syria.

It was in response to alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians by Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

http://local12.com/news/good-morning-cincinnati/head-of-syrian-american-foundation-speaks-about-airstrikes

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CINCINNATI — When Syrian native Dr. Ashraf Traboulsi heard about the United States’ missile attack, his first thought was, ‘Where and who is going to die?’

President Donald Trump cast 59 U.S. cruise missiles at a Syrian air base Thursday night in response to recent chemical gas attacks against civilians. It was the United States’ first direct attack against the Syrian government and Trump’s most dramatic military order since taking office.

Traboulsi, president of the Syrian American Foundation, knows of the violence of Bashar al-Assad’s regime all too well. The lifeless faces of children and civilians following Syria’s chemical gas attack, he said, hit close to home.

WCPO_Traboulsi_1491602973540_57960080_ver1.0_640_480“It’s very difficult to talk about reactions,” Traboulsi said. “It brings memories back. It brings their (Syrians’) own suffering back.

“They went through this. They went through bombings.

“They went through their homes being destroyed, losing families, loved ones, and basically it reopens that story every time they see it … they see it everyday and it becomes part of their daily life.”

People are desperate for a solution, Traboulsi said, but he isn’t sure the attack Trump ordered is the answer.

“What President Trump has done is a slap on the hand,” he said. “What we are looking for is a more robust policy and comprehensive strategy that leads to the end of this conflict, to the peaceful resolution of this conflict.

“It leads to holding Assad, and his cronies, and the people who are supporting him accountable to the war crimes they have committed in the last seven years.”

Public officials expressed mixed opinions on the strike. About two dozen lawmakers were briefed on the strikes, but Trump approved the action without consulting Congress or the United Nations.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH, praised the attack but said the U.S. needs a “comprehensive strategy.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said the strike was a “proportional response” to Assad’s attacks, but he also said the strike poses many questions, including how it will impact troops and long-term military engagement in Syria.

MORE:How did public officials respond to Syria strike?

Dr. Rebecca Sanders, assistant professor of political science at University of Cincinnati, said it’s unclear at this point what the attack will impact the United States’ image.

“Missile strikes without a larger articulated strategy of political and possible military engagement don’t send a particularly clear message,” Sanders said. “So I think we need to learn more about what the Trump administration is intending to do vis-a-vis Syria before we can really gauge what the reaction of the international community and the American public is going to be.”

But she said one thing is for certain: The attack will prompt debates in many political circles.

“Politically over the next few days, we’re probably going to see Democrats raise significant concerns about the lack of congressional approval for the strike … we’ll probably see a debate within the Republican Party over whether the United States should continue to be more aggressive, or whether they should use this as an opportunity to negotiate with Russia,” Sanders said.

“And of course we’ll see anti-war protesters and people who are really concerned about the United States being embroiled in another unsolvable conflict in the Middle East like we saw in Iraq. And then we’ll probably see people who are really concerned about the humanitarian situation saying, ‘Look, this might look good on television to have this strike against chemical weapons, but what are we actually doing to help refugees?'”

The first step to some kind of a solution in Syria, Sanders said, is a public discussion about what the policy is.

“In the absence of that discussion, we don’t have a strategy, we just have a one-off use of force against another sovereign state,” Sanders said. “Now, the Assad regime is an atrocious regime — I think it needs to go at some point — but how we’re going to get there is something that we need to have a discussion about.”

Traboulsi agrees a clear strategy is needed to begin to resolve the situation.

“I’m not looking for more casualties, more victims,” Traboulsi said. “I’m looking for a strategy that would hold Assad accountable for his crimes, stopping the import of weapons into his regimes, holding the powers that are supporting him accountable to their actions … more war is not the answer.

“More bombing is not the answer. Unless there is a strategy, it’s not the answer.”

The United States’ strike was not a particularly sad day for Syria, Traboulsi said.

“Everyday’s a sad day for Syria. For the past six years,” he said.

 

http://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/hamilton-county/cincinnati/syria-native-says-attack-is-slap-on-the-hand

By:Rose-Ann Aragon, Abby Anstead

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t doesn’t change anything, said Ashraf Traboulsi, head of the local Syrian American Foundation.

1378394916000-syria2Syrian civilians died yesterday. They’re dying today. They’ll die tomorrow.

One airstrike – where a reported 23 of the 59 missiles fired by the U.S. reached the Syrian military base – doesn’t change that.

It gives U.S. President Donald Trump a way to say, “We have resolved,” Traboulsi said, “we’ve been tough on this.”

But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is still in power.

Syrians are still dying.

This is not a long-term plan.

“It looked and it sounded like a slap on the hand,” Traboulsi, of West Chester, said Friday morning, a little more than 12 hours after the strike.

“I mean, Assad has been bombed before, and his forces have been decimated by the opposition. It’s not the first time he got hit. And it doesn’t hit anything that is instrumental for his existence.”

Traboulsi, a Syria native, has been in the U.S. since 1990 when he came to earn his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical science. He’s worked for Procter & Gamble since 1999. He loves his life here, but he grieves for his home country.

Daily, he sees photos of dead children and devastated neighborhoods. He craves a long-term solution to the war. A systematic, worldwide shift instead of a one-time airstrike.

“If we are only to punish (Assad) for using chemical weapons, then we are giving him the green light to use any other kind of weapons,” Traboulsi said. “Are we saying, ‘It’s OK to kill them with rockets and bombs but not with chemical weapons’? Is this the message?”

Shortly before the suspected chemical attack that prompted the strike, a hospital in another Syrian city was attacked, Traboulsi said. It went largely unreported, he said. An afterthought.

One airstrike won’t fix that.

And Syrians continue to die.

 

Cincinnati Enquirer

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/07/syrian-strike-slap-hand/100172180/

, hsparling@enquirer.com

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MASON, OH (FOX19) –

A group in the Tri-State is working to promote freedom and human rights in Syria.

The Syrian American Foundation in Cincinnati already sent one sh23295867_BG1ipment of clothing, school supplies, and children’s toys back home last winter. Now they’re working to fill a new container, but say that until lately it has been difficult to explain the need.

They say people often didn’t  know what was happening in Syria while their own families lived in fear and uncertainty.

“They have been screaming for two and a half years,” said Dima Almeniawi with the foundation. “They have been aching and weeping and no one was listening to them. I think it’s about time people know what’s happening in Syria.”

“I believe God put me here for a reason that there’s something I can do still even though I’m away from my family and my country,” added Dr. Maram Khabbaz.

Both Almeniami and Dr. Khabbaz have lived in the United States for over ten years. While they and their children are safe – it simply isn’t enough. They feel a responsibility to be the voice of those still back in Syria, but they also share a desire to be the arms and legs of hope with the help of neighbors. Thursday friends from Morocco and Palestine helped the effort by filling boxes.

“Sometimes you cry until you think there are no more tears and then that’s what makes you work. You say ‘If I cry, I’m not helping. It’s not going to solve the problem, it’s not going to ease their suffering’. You pray and you work,” Almeniawi tells FOX19.

Currently they have over 60 percent of the filled boxes they need to make the shipment which will likely take six weeks to deliver.

“We are just trying to ease the suffering of our people,” Almeniawi explained.

“I want to put a smile on somebody’s face. Maybe a child there. They’re still children,” added Dr. Khabbaz.

They hope their neighbors here in the United States will soon join in their effort to end the suffering.

“The distance is far but we are still human. We have the same feeling,” Dr. Khabbaz said.

“Finally people are starting to get the message that somewhere people are being killed, and we have to do something,” Almeniawi told FOX19.

Dr. Khabbaz says they aren’t asking the United States to get involved in a war, but simply want help bringing international pressure and aid.

When they get all the boxes filled, they’ll be sending them to Turkey where many refugees have fled.

 

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.

http://www.fox19.com/story/23295867/syrican-american-foundation-in-cincy-sending-packages-abroad

Dan Hurley is joined by Dr.Ashraf Traboulsi to talk about Syrian refugees issues.

 

The first ones here: Syrian family settles in

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Read more about it on : http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2015/11/17/first-ones-here-syrian-family-settles/75902946/