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